If someone mentioned the names Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Slartibartfast, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin the Paranoid Android, you might be forgiven for thinking that they're this week's Man City transfer-targets, or the latest cure for the common cold. But, back in 1978, they were names freely rolling from the mouths of fans of a certain cult radio-series that quickly turned into best-selling books, a computer game and various stage productions.
"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" was quite a phenomenon - written by the late sci-fi writer and humourist Douglas Adams, the Radio 4 programme was a comical mix of Monty Python, Edward Lear and Doctor Who. Initially dismissed as 'childish and codswallop' by some listeners, "Hitchhiker's Guide..." evolved into a 'quote heavy' surreal broadcast whose storyline was as perplexing as its characters names.
A re-run of the earlier radio episodes on the World Service helped the show reach overseas' markets, while the 1981 TV-series drew in geeky teenage audiences across the UK. Adams sadly passed away in 2001, but his legacy lives on. As well as "Hitchhikers Guide...", he went on to write episodes for Doctor Who (during the excellent Tom Baker period) and chipped in with scenes for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but it's the bonkers radio, TV and book series that carry most weight.
2012 will see that legacy continued with news of a theatre-tour of the newly-adapted stage presentation with a twist. Billed as "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show Live - The Original Cast, Reunited Live On Stage", the show will feature Simon Jones as Dent, Geoff McGivern as Prefect and the voice of Stephen Moore as Marvin. You can also expect a role-call of VIP guests from the various radio episodes, plus surround sound, crazy sound effects and robots.
The tour will start in Glasgow on 8th and 9th June, followed by stops in Birmingham, Liverpool, Woking and many more until the Edinburgh Playhouse on 21st July. Bromley's Churchill Theatre will present the only London shows (currently) from 28th to 30th June. We have tickets for all shows at various prices averaging at around £20 to £30.
Don't forget - all good travellers should take a towel...
Hitchhikers fans may also be interested in Douglas Adams: The Party at the Hammersmith Apollo on Sunday 11th Mar 2012, marking what would have been Adams' 60th birthday. Guests on the night include: Brian Cox, Robin Ince, Jon Culshaw, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Clive Anderson, Stephen Mangan and more. Tickets cost £30, with proceeds going to Adams' favourite charities; Save the Rhino (www.savetherhino.org) and EIA (www.eia-international.org).