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The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

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Unknown artwork from the series The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy

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1 - Episode 1

Original title : Episode 1
First Aired : 05.01.1981 (UK)
Director : Alan J. W. Bell
Writing credits : Douglas Adams
Cast : Terry Duran (Workman), George Cornelius (Workman), Douglas Adams (Man in Pub), Steve Trainer (Man in Pub), Bill Barnsley (Man Listening to the Radio), Steve Conway (Barman), Cleo Rocos (Alien), Andrew Mussell (Alien), Martin Benson (Vogon Captain Jeltz), Joe Melia (Mr. Prosser, Head Builder), David Grahame (Sandwich-Board Man)

The Story : Arthur Dent, a perfectly ordinary Englishman, is surprised to wake up one day to find bulldozers outside his house with orders to knock it down to build a bypass. Still in his pyjamas, he takes himself off to the pub, where he is even more surprised when his best friend, Ford Prefect, reveals that he is from a small planet in the vicinity of the star Betelgeuse. The two are forced to hitch a lift on one of the advancing Vogon spacecraft which proceed to blow up the Earth to make way for an interspace bypass. Our heroes soon find themselves trapped in a storage room in hyperspace, with only a menacing Vogon guard for company.

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2 - Episode 2

Original title : Episode 2
First Aired : 12.01.1981 (UK)
Director : Alan J. W. Bell
Writing credits : Douglas Adams
Cast : Jennifer Goble (Woman in Bikini with Marvin (uncredited)), Rayner Bourton (Newscaster), Gil Morris (Braincare Specialist Gag Halfrunt), Michael Cule (Vogon Guard), Martin Benson (Vogon Captain Jeltz), David Tate (Eddie), Douglas Adams (Man in Ocean)

The Story : Arthur and Ford have been discovered. Vogon Captain Jeltz tortures them by reading his poetry. He then has Arthur and Ford thrown off his ship, to what must be certain death - except for one improbable miracle. At the last second, an infinite-improbability prototype ship (which can pass through every point in the Universe) rescues them. What is rather surprising is that Zaphod Beeblebrox, the hip cat who stole the spaceship, is vaguely familiar to Arthur. And so is Zaphod's companion, Trillian.

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3 - Episode 3

Original title : Episode 3
First Aired : 19.01.1981 (UK)
Director : Alan J. W. Bell
Writing credits : Douglas Adams
Cast : Richard Vernon (Slartibartfast), David Tate (Eddie), John Dair (Rich Merchant), Susie Silvey (Handmaiden), Lorraine Paul (Handmaiden), Jacoba (Handmaiden), Nicola Critcher (Handmaiden), Zoe Hendry (Co-Pilot), John Austen-Gregg (Pilot)

The Story : The starship Heart of Gold is headed for the planet Magrathea, a planet which it is generally agreed does not exist. In trying to land on Magrathea's surface, the crew faces an ancient nuclear missile defence system, escaping only when Arthur turns on the Infinite Improbability Drive. This helpfully replaces the missiles with a bowl of petunias and a very surprised sperm whale, who learns about the ground before he hits it. Later on, deep in the core of the planet, an unknown enemy attacks Trillian, Zaphod and Ford while Arthur meets Slartibartfast, an old man who designs planets for a living. Slartibartfast takes Arthur on a tour of the factory floor, showing off his latest project — Planet Earth, Mark Two.

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4 - Episode 4

Original title : Episode 4
First Aired : 26.01.1981 (UK)
Director : Alan J. W. Bell
Writing credits : Douglas Adams
Cast : James Muir (Vl'Hurg), Richard Vernon (Slartibartfast), Anthony Garrick (Lunkwill), Timothy Davies (Fook), Charles McKeown (Vroomfondel), Matt Zimmerman (Shooty), Marc Smith (Bang Bang), David Leland (Majikthise), Eric French (G'Gugvant), Eddie Sommer (Magrathean Robot), Colin Bennett (Cheerleader), Valentine Dyall (Deep Thought), Richard Reid (Guard), David Tate (Tannoy/Benji Mouse)

The Story : Arthur learns about the Great Project. This is the second most powerful computer in existence, called Deep Thought, and it was created to answer the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. The computer comes back online much later to give its final answer, which is the number 42. The scientists are understandably less than thrilled with this answer and are even more hacked off when Deep Thought cannot tell them what the Ultimate Question was. So a new computer, called the planet Earth, has to be constructed for the same purpose. The current owners of the Great Project, Trillian's pet mice, want to cut Arthur's head open to find the Question inside. Then the crew members are all trapped behind a bank of exploding computers, and all seems to be lost.

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5 - Episode 5

Original title : Episode 5
First Aired : 02.02.1981 (UK)
Director : Alan J. W. Bell
Writing credits : John Lloyd, Douglas Adams
Cast : Colin Jeavons (Max Quordlepleen), Peter Davison (Dish of the Day), Colin Bennett (Zarquon), Barry Warren (Hotblack Desiato), Dave Prowse (Bodyguard), Jack May (Garkbit , Head Waiter), Mary Eveleigh (Woman at Milliways)

The Story : Arthur, Ford and their friends arrive on Magrathea at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which is built on the ruins of a planet-building complex, transported there by the exploding computers. Here, thanks to compound interest, customers can enjoy a vast five-course meal and cabaret at no cost whatever while the universe collapses and dies. Arthur and Ford are surprised to find Marvin still waiting for them in the star-ship park of the restaurant. He has been there for rather a long time. To escape, they decide to steal a space-ship, but unfortunately this turns out to be the stunt ship of Disaster Area, the loudest rock band of all time, and they find it has been programmed to plunge directly into the sun. So what next?

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6 - Episode 6

Original title : Episode 6
First Aired : 09.02.1981 (UK)
Director : Alan J. W. Bell
Writing credits : Douglas Adams
Cast : Aubrey Morris (Captain - B Ark), David Neville (Number Two), Geoffrey Beevers (Number Three), Beth Porter (Marketing Girl), David Rowlands (Hairdresser), Jon Glover (Management Consultant), Matthew Scurfield (Number One), Marilyn Gothard (Jogger), Reg Lloyd (Jogger), Doug Blather (Jogger), Enid Blackman (Jogger), Laurie Goode (Jogger)

The Story : Fortune is on the side of Arthur and Ford: their new ship's transporter is still working, but it needs someone to operate it manually. Marvin is therefore pressed into volunteering to sacrifice himself so that the rest of the group can escape. Arthur and Ford are separated from Zaphod and Trillian and find themselves on board a space ship which is about to crash-land into the prehistoric past of a planet which the two of them find strangely familiar. If this is indeed Earth, then history as we know it is about to be changed... and so is the Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe and Everything.

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