The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Hexagonal Phase
- And Another Thing...
- Narrated by: Jane Horrocks, Sandra Dickinson, Mark Wing-Davey, Geoffrey McGivern, Simon Jones, Ed Byrne, Lenny Henry, full cast
- Length: 3 hrs and 39 mins
- Radio/TV Program
- Release date: 04-13-18
- Language: English
- Publisher: BBC Digital Audio
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Forty years on from the first ever radio series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent and friends return in six brand new episodes, in which they are thrown back into the Whole General Mish Mash in a rattling adventure involving Viking Gods and Irish Confidence Tricksters, with our first glimpse of Eccentrica Gallumbits and a brief but memorable moment with The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast Of Traal.
Starring John Lloyd as The Book, with Simon Jones as Arthur, Geoff McGivern as Ford Prefect, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox, Sandra Dickinson and Susan Sheridan as Trillian, Jim Broadbent as Marvin the Paranoid Android and Jane Horrocks as Fenchurch, the cast also includes Samantha Béart, Toby Longworth, Andy Secombe, Ed Byrne, Lenny Henry, Philip Pope, Mitch Benn, Jon Culshaw and Professor Stephen Hawking.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2018, the series is written and directed by Dirk Maggs and based on And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer with additional unpublished material by Douglas Adams. This edition also includes over 50 minutes of unbroadcast bonus material.
Listeners are reminded that the relaxed attitude to danger provided by Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses is no substitute for running around, screaming.
The Voice Of The Book…John Lloyd
Arthur Dent…Simon Jones
Ford Prefect…Geoff McGivern
Zaphod Beeblebrox…Mark Wing-Davey
Trillian/Tricia McMillan…Sandra Dickinson
Constant Mown…Andy Secombe
Left Brain/Thor…Mitch Benn
Hillman Hunter…Ed Byrne
The Guide MkII…Professor Stephen Hawking
The Consultant…Lenny Henry
Heimdall/Barzoo/Buckeye Brown/Eccentrica /Gunner Vogon…Tom Alexander
Aseed Preflux/Sub-Etha Voice/HOG Door …Philip Pope
Modgud/The Viking…Theo Maggs Baldur… Phillipe Bosher
Music by Philip Pope
Production research by Kevin Jon Davies
Written and directed by Dirk Maggs
Based on the novel And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer, with additional material by Douglas Adams
Recorded at The Soundhouse Ltd. by Gerry O'Riordan
Sound Design by Dirk Maggs
Produced by Dirk Maggs, Helen Chattwell and David Morley
A Perfectly Normal Production for BBC Radio 4
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By J. Mormino on 04-21-18
Almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the HHGG.
As always, a PHENOMENAL bit of work by the BBC. Sound design is inspired and hearing the original radio show cast (minus a few who have, sadly , left us) is the auditory and emotional equivalent of slipping into a cherished pair of comfortable slippers. Truly wonderful stuff, that.
The rest is a bit troublesome.
Eoin Coffer is a brave author to wade into a pool as deep and sacred as Douglas Adams' eccentrically-named Hitchhiker's Trilogy and take on what was surely a lose-lose scenario: create a wholly new work and find it greeted as "not Hitchhiker's enough" or delve deep into the lore and find himself accused of coasting along atop Douglas' hard-won success.
To me, a die-hard Hitchhiker's fan since its first broadcast, the work comes off as clunky pastiche at best and fanfic at worst. It sounds like Douglas(ish.) And I suppose it sounds like Eoin(ish) but it feels overstuffed so chock-full of refences from the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that the work just feels forced. The parts that are original in tone or content, meanwhile, feel poorly integrated, and the whole thing reads like 2 authors writing, lightly at odds with each other while simultaneously attempting to mimic each other's style.
That said, the audio production itself is the work's saving grace. The original cast dances though the almost-but-not-quite-entirely-unlike-Douglas Adams prose as if Douglas had written it himself in the office down the hall from the recording studio. In their hands, and the capable hands of the sound designers, who pepper the saga with light callbacks to the original radio's sound, the work is elevated to far more than the sum of its parts.
If you're a fan, or a completist, or a fan who is a completist, yes, you'll probably have to own this work. It's fun to hear familiar voices, and the performances are sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, but I felt so often that just as I had gotten into the groove of hearing Zaphod, Trillian, Ford, Arthur or the Guide itself, along came some clunky new stuff that just didn't fit the groove, or worse, a callback to the original works that felt so ham-handed and obvious that it knocked me right out of the merry suspension of disbelief needed to enjoy the Hitchhiker's universe.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Karen on 04-14-18
Enjoyed it—but also disappointed by it
It was brilliant to hear the original cast bring the radio show back to life again. There were a few almost-Adams-quality jokes—I laughed aloud once, which I hadn’t expected to do without the man himself at the helm—but the overall effect was marred by a number of inconsistencies and inaccuracies (“Zark” was not used quite so generously by Adams, nor in such a way [‘Zark this, zark that’... it just didn’t feel authentic]; there was no need for further hyperspace bypasses due to a technological breakthrough just prior to the destruction of Earth II, so why were the Vogons still using hyperspace bypasses to travel [I can get behind their excuse that they had to kill Earthlings too, but every detail matters, and the details were often inaccurate]; language like “bastard” and “crap” [I mean honestly, a little more creativity, please?] came up way too often; there was more sexual humor than in the originals; Trillian acted massively out of character [really? She would just fling herself on Wowbagger like that? I don’t think so]; on and on.) True, Adams himself included inconsistencies (with a flourish!) between versions, but I found the lack of continuity between radio show seasons unfortunate. Adams did maintain consistency within each respective version, after all. On the brighter side, Ford felt delightfully true-to-life, and I appreciated the moments when I could almost convince myself that Adams had penned a joke or two.
Overall, though, it felt rather contrived—both trying too hard and not trying hard enough at the same time. I’m wishing someone other than Colfer had been chosen to add to the series. It was pleasantly nostalgic, but I feel that someone who knew the series better or at least cared to do more thorough research would have produced a wittier, more accurate extension. Not much one can do without Adams himself, I suppose. A decent effort, though, and worth a listen.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Simon on 04-16-18
Out With The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal?
There are apparently people who don't like the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. No, don't scoff, it's true, I even know one of these rare anomalies! I have of course heard that the Lord works in mysterious ways and indeed that the human mind is a labyrinthine and complex world where the possibilities are endless but there can't be many greater unsolved mysteries than someone who didn't enjoy reading this trilogy. For me the BBC radio and TV series and of course the books were pure comedy nectar.
So that’s my colours nailed to the mast though it’s not quite that simple. Even I found there was a law of diminishing returns and after the initial trilogy I found that while I enjoyed the later books they just didn’t have the same impact. I was happy to read them but they didn’t rock my world in anything like the same way.
So fast forward a while and along comes master Eoin Colfer adding a sixth book to the trilogy. Based on the above I didn’t touch it until I saw the audiobook with the wonderful Simon Jones doing the narration a few years ago. And do you know what? It wasn’t half bad!
It was so comfortable getting back in touch with these wonderful characters and just drifting through multiple universes with them again. Personally I think Colfer really got it right and produced a great zany adventure in keeping with the wonderful original work. I particularly liked how the Vogons developed and call me soppy but I appreciated the ending too.
This production, as you would expect from our Auntie Beeb is excellent. Wonderful to hear that theme tune again, an excellent cast and great sound effects. Especially the screams! Of course the voices are different which can take some getting used to but that’s hardly something to complain about. So if it’s a bit of light-hearted froody goodness you are after then this really is better than an evening out with the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal!
13 of 15 people found this review helpful
By Amazon Customer on 05-09-18
Funny and like listening to old friends
I have loved Hitchhicker’s from the first radio show and this sounds as good as ever. Although based on the book by Eoin Colfer you can still hear Douglas Adams influences. The actors are all great and can still find their characters voices.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Robert A. Cant on 07-01-18
I'm glad they did this. Better than nothing......
Hitch-Hikers material by Douglas Adams draws intense fan loyalty. I'm pretty die hard, and have been listening to the first two series for 30+ years and would have lost count how many times I've heard them. I loved the first 3 books, really liked the 4th book, and was disappointed by the 5th book. Eion Colfer's efforts to continue to the story with a 6th was OK, but I think telling that he didn't try again. Dirk Maggs does a wonderful job of continuing the radio series legacy, and has turned the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th books into radio adaptions. Much like the books, the story-lines have steadily declined. That's not a reflection on Dirk Maggs or the others involved - the performances and adaption quality are excellent I thoroughly enjoyed. It's just that everything seems to be running out of steam.
I was really glad they made the movie, but it didn't take off. Similarly, I'm really glad they have made this radio series.
Sadly, Douglas Adams died in the early 2000s. I'm still incredibly sad about that. My attitude to these examples of 'new' material fall into the category of "better than nothing". If you are young, and have recently heard of the "Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" don't start with this. Start with the the earliest versions. It just makes sense regardless, and I can't recommend them highly enough. But if you're a fan, and are wondering "Should I bother?" I recommend you do.... just not strongly........