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New Trailer For Upcoming Hitchhiker's Episodes 179

Cally writes "I just heard a new programme trailer on BBC Radio 4 for the the first time. Some familiar voices... it's Arthur! It's Ford! It's the new radio series of Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy! The first broadcast goes out on Tuesday 21st September at 6:30pm (UK summertime, which is an hour off UTC.) Douglas Adams wrote the books in parallel with the two original radio series, which are still regarded as the definitive manifestation of HH-erdom. Hearing Mark Wing-Davey and Simon Jones' voices speaking new words - albeit new words from 'Life, The Universe and Everything' - is a spooky feeling. I just hope the sad death of Peter Jones does not detract from the final result. Let's hope the Beeb's live streaming media setup can cope with the mother of all Slashdottings!"
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New Trailer For Upcoming Hitchhiker's Episodes

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  • 42 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:18PM (#10223717)
    Anybody with 42 reference below this post is going to get in some serious trouble. I AM NOT KIDDING.

    You think I am kidding? You think I am kidding? Alright. Try it.
    • Re:42 (Score:5, Funny)

      by ByteSlicer ( 735276 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:20PM (#10223733)
      We appologize for the inconvenience.
      • Re:42 (Score:3, Funny)

        by ByteSlicer ( 735276 )
        Oops, apologize.
    • Re:42 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by God! Awful 2 ( 631283 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @09:35PM (#10224100) Journal
      Shortly after DNA's death, I was in London and I noticed that a large, green 42 was visible on the skyline (on a skyscraper). Does anyone who lives in London remember this and know whether this was in honour of Douglas Adamns or if this is just a street address or something.

      • Re:42 (Score:5, Informative)

        by damian ( 2473 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @03:51AM (#10226180) Homepage
        This wouldn't have been Tower 42 [] which includes a bar [] and a restaurant [] ?
        • This wouldn't have been Tower 42 which includes a bar and a restaurant ?

          Yes, I imagine it probably was. But I can't see from the pictures in those links whether there is a big green 42 on the top of the building.

          • by Cally ( 10873 )

            This wouldn't have been Tower 42 which includes a bar and a restaurant ? Yes, I imagine it probably was. But I can't see from the pictures in those links whether there is a big green 42 on the top of the building.

            The building's still better known (to Londoners of a certain age, anyway) as the Nat West Tower - it was built for them (a large UK bank) in the 70s IIRC and was the tallest building in the UK for some time (several years IIRC.)

            This [] google search finds some good pics of it under that name,

            • by Cally ( 10873 )
              Bad form to followup my own post but I just found this: rm/case_studies/natwest/image8.jpg

              The planview of the tower is the 70s NatWest logo. Well I never.

              • I browse through all the photos and didn't see any evidence of a big green 42 on the top of the building. Of course most of the photos were either from far away or from street level (so you can hardly see the top). Anyway, that leads me to suspect that it might have been temporary. (In the US, they regularly light up buildings with red, white, and blue.)

                • by Cally ( 10873 )
                  After posting (sorry) I did likewise and of course you're right - however (and this of course is the bit I forgot to mention in the original post) I DO remember seeing a large illuminated '42' at the top of the building after dark. IIRC Nat West sold it off to whoever it is that decided to try making it a landmark restaurant/bar place, they must have opened for business not long before 2001. FWIW I think the green or blue pastel blur at the top of some of the shots is actually the sign.

                  So, Google fails fo

                  • Yes, I did wonder if that was a green blur I saw in some of those photos. Thanks. (This question has been weighing on my mind for years.)

    • Re:42 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dodald ( 195775 ) * on Saturday September 11, 2004 @11:57PM (#10224710) Homepage
      Ok, I don't see it written anywhere, but the trailer is 4:20 long...
  • by xX_sticky_Xx ( 526967 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:19PM (#10223719) Homepage Journal
    I can't wait to see it.
  • I heard that there were some previous recordings of Douglas Adams that will be used. He actually has a role in this one. Anyone know more?

  • by Fireflymantis ( 670938 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:28PM (#10223768) Homepage
    excellent, I cannot wait to hear that sad, somber, and slightly funny moment where poor sweet Marvin goes to the cliff, and fragment by fragment discovers that he and god think the same way. And then, shortly after seeing that great last message that god left to his creation. passing on in what dignity he could muster, considering that every piece of machinery in him had been replaced several times over... (with the exception of that damn set of diodes on his left side :) )
    • The Beeb's microsite suggests they have not one - not even two - but three whole new series of shows. I make that another nine hours. Sounds good so far judging by the trailer...
  • Sounds great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Azureflare ( 645778 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:33PM (#10223793)
    Sounds like it is sticking very close to the spirit of the old Hitchhiker's Guide radio series, but adding a bit of flavor that wasn't there before (i.e. improving it). It'll be worth a listen!

    I can't wait. The more I listen to his stuff, the more I wish Mr. Adams had not prematurely left this world.

    By the way, was it just me or did the voice of Agrajag sound suspiciously like Douglas Adams himself?

    I've listend to a number of his books on tape that he read himself, and it sounds very much like Mr. Adams.

  • Is that American for GMT?
    • And "UK summertime" is American for BST.
    • Re:UTC? (Score:5, Informative)

      by pHDNgell ( 410691 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @10:04PM (#10224235)
      Is that American for GMT?

      I assume this is a joke, but for anyone actually interested in time standards (or for those of you who think GMT and UTC mean the same thing), there was a really good discussion in the gnu arch mailing list about this recently. It's a pretty long thread, but very insightful.

      s/GMT/UTC/ [].

      Short answer: UTC is based on an atomic clock while GMT is based on the speed of earth rotation (which apparently varies). UTC adds and omits leap seconds to stay within about 0.9 seconds of GMT.
      • No, it really was the first time I'd encountered the term. Thanks for the link, it's interesting reading.
      • Re:UTC? (Score:5, Informative)

        by mbone ( 558574 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @12:22AM (#10224811)
        UTC stands for Universal Time Coordinated, and is the modern version of GMT. It has leap seconds to stay within 0.75 seconds of UT1, which is the (solar) time "kept" by the Earth. IAT (International Atomic Time) is the actual time kept by Atomic clocks. Since the Earth's rotation does indeed vary (because of weather changes and motions in the Earth's core, mostly), UT1 (and thus UTC) is slowly drifting off from IAT.

        The politics of international time are dominated by the French, and they took advantage of the changes required by more accurate clocks and also more accurate means of measuring Earth rotation to get "Greenwich" out of the name. Technically, a time system implies a longitude system, and the zero point of longitude implied by IAT/UTC is about 100 meters to the East of the zero longitude strip at Greenwich.
  • I really liked him as Ford in the '81 miniseries, but looks like he won't be in this one. :(

  • by MsGeek ( 162936 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:35PM (#10223804) Homepage Journal
    We poor deprived souls Stateside want to hear everything.
  • Is this a new trailer or is this the one I listened to several months ago? (and i think it was from a previous slashdot article)
    • I probably should have listening to it first.. the beginning sounds the same but its not.. the original one i heard wasnt really a trailer, it was clips and then them talking about it.. this was a real trailer.. sorry
    • Is this a new trailer or is this the one I listened to several months ago? (and i think it was from a previous slashdot article)

      I've just listened to it now and it sounds exactly the same to me. It's essentially a collection of miscellaneous clips spliced together.

  • by Jorkapp ( 684095 ) <> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:45PM (#10223852)
    HG2G Movie? Someone must have used the improbability engine for this to happen!
  • Does anyone know where the original series can be obtained?

  • Sorry... (Score:3, Funny)

    by comrade009 ( 797517 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:47PM (#10223867)
    42nd post! Alright!
  • Is something planned for those of us who really dont have the time to sit and listen in real time?

    Either free or pay...

    • I can guarantee you that within an hour of the episode ending, someone will have it up for download. This is the Internet we're talking about here. Hell, I use it like most people use TiVo if I miss something on the telly.
    • IIRC, it will be available as a stream from the BBC for a week after the original airdate. Load up a recorder and listen at your leisure.
    • If you look at this page [] you'll see that it's broadcast twice (Tuesday at 6.30pm and Thursday at 11pm, both times local to England (GMT+1)), and is then available from a link on that page for a whole week afterwards. Plenty of time for you to listenn to it, or for someone to grab the stream and put it up on the web somewhere.
  • by tobozo ( 794087 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @08:54PM (#10223914) Homepage
    will they play any vogon poetry ?
    • will they play any vogon poetry ?

      Not on the radio show, no. But when it is released on cd, it will come with a bonus cd with almost 59 full minutes of vogon poetry. To be played loud. :-D
  • Let's hope the Beeb's live streaming media setup can cope with the mother of all Slashdottings!"

    Has anyone thought to warn them? I'd like to get a chance to hear it without our taking out the beebs servers... it might be nice send them a noth warning them they ... might... have some heavy traffic that day...
    just a thought.
  • I'm about as excited about new work in his name as I am about everything that has been done in Jim Henson's name since he died.

    When a genius dies, his work lives on, but you will never resurrect him.
    • The BBC's website says, "As the original two series were dubbed the Primary and Secondary Phases by Douglas Adams, these new series form the Tertiary, Quadrenary and Quintessential Phases." No doubt had the cosmos not intervened, he would've re-released the originals with digital enhancements (imagine Zaphod not having stolen the Heart of Gold; it was, um, inherited or something), then gone on to uninspired apocryphal prequels.
  • Does anybody know where i can get a hold of the original radio recordings?
    • A quick search of the BBC Shop []?
    • Try searching Amazon etc. (you may have better luck with UK retailers like or, as they may not be officially released in the USA[1]) The BBC Radio Collection has released both series, although there are some edits (a Pink Floyd song is missing IIRC). You can't get the early 1980's LP re-recordings anymore, ironically while they were made because getting the rights to release the radio version was too hard, now they are the ones that can't be released.

      The MP3 CD is suppose to be crap,
  • by sparks ( 7204 ) <> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @09:31PM (#10224086) Homepage
    Having left old blighty a few years ago, I have to say that the one aspect of British culture that I really, really miss is Radio 4.

    Having a nationwide radio station that you can turn on at any time of the day or night with a 99% certainty of finding something intellectually stimulating and enjoyable can't be beat. (The other 1% is "The Archers")

    For those furriners who don't entirely grok what Radio 4 actually is, it's:

    • Talk Radio - but not in the "Howard Stern" sense.
    • Consistently very high quality programming.
    • Shamelessly aimed at smart people.
    • Influential politically and culturally.
    • Commercial free (naturally)
    • Able to make interesting programming out of frankly improbably subjects.
    • Very appealling to those of us (like most Slashdotters) who are generally curious about the world.

    For example, driving several hundred miles each week for a job, I found myself listening to a regular program on vegetables - specifically, the ones you eat. Now I am a geek of the burger+coke variety, and frankly I don't care about this subject one jot. However the program was compulsive listening - it went into depth about, for instance, how the brussels sprout came to be cultivated with lots of (genuinely) interesting historical context.

    Listening to radio 4 is rather like visiting a huge combined university, experimental theatre, and comedy club, and wandering blindfolded through the halls, randomly stopping to listen in various rooms.

    And I miss it. Thank goodness for web streaming.

    • 'Scuse my igorance, but is Radio 4 available on shortwave ?

      I often hajj out in the sticks here in the US of A w/ nothing but my jeep, tent, change o' drawers, and shortwave radio...and often keep company late nights with BBC Worldwide. Sure would be nice to have Arthur and Marvin to keep me company 'round the campfire.

      Any info much appreciated.

      • Nope, it's on 198 Long Wave, which is probably listenable from parts of continental Europe[1], but otherwise it's 92-94FM, and DAB Digital Radio, neither of which are very long range, or digital TV services. BBC World Service is on shortwave I think, although I don't think they specifically transmit shortwave to the US anymore. I don't know if they're going to broadcast it... You can listen to it online, but that's not going to be much use to you. [1] I can see the transmitter from my house, it's bloody
    • Couldn't agree more. I've been stateside for nearly four years and radio 4 is the only thing I miss. 'Listen Again' on the web site is great when I've stuck in a colo for days on end, but it's streamed like the live feed. This is one occasion I would bless some well thought out DRM solution so I could both time-shift programmes and listen to them in a car - nothing would make a drive from LA to SF shorter...
    • If you left the UK for the USA, then there is always NPR... I don't know what Radio 4 is like, but what you say sounds a lot like NPR programming. Go to and find your local NPR stations!
    • Well said, fellow expat.

      There a cultural humor depth in good old Blighty that the US culture lacks, and will never produce the way its going.

      The US has zero capability to develop the level of advanced humor technology displayed by the BBC, especially Radio 4.

      American humor is dying or dead of starvation and inbreeding. It has a "whelks chance in a supernova" of surviving the primitive US Sirious cybernetic corp wannabees. Humor here is increasingly tired sitcoms, tedious movie slapstick, or electio

    • It's a good thing. And an interesting one. With the ability to stream radio online, the tax dollars that are spent by the public of the UK potentially benefit more than just those in the UK.
      I listen to the BBC (not just radio 4) quite a bit off their website.

      • What tax dollars?

        They don't have dollars in the UK.

        The BBC doesn't receive any money from the government. It's funded by its license fees and commercial ventures.
      • It's a good thing. And an interesting one. With the ability to stream radio online, the tax dollars that are spent by the public of the UK potentially benefit more than just those in the UK. I listen to the BBC (not just radio 4) quite a bit off their website.

        I think those of us who do pay our license fee to the BBC are extremely happy to think that people in the rest of the world - and particularly the United States - have free access to a news service which is free of commercial bias and which strives

        • Well, remember Rupert Murdoch [] also controls media in the UK (as well as FOX news in the US and other US media). The problem isn't just an American one. The Beeb just happens to be exceptional. By exceptional, I mean it's interesting that a public station would be less biased than "private industry" media.

          And as far as I'm concerned, Brits who complain about the BBC make about as much sense to me as when they complain about the UK rail system. No doubt there are problems. But it's a beautiful system no
    • by paul_pick1 ( 540613 ) on Sunday September 12, 2004 @12:54AM (#10225058)
      Having left old blighty a few years ago, I have to say that the one aspect of British culture that I really, really miss is Radio 4.

      Douglas Adams said that there are two things that a Brit misses when living in California: oxygen and irony.

    • Why are you missing it? Just point your web browser at and select Radio 4, then 'Listen Now'. Also any programmes you miss are available for a week under 'Listen Again'. Unfortunately you won't be able to get it in your car lacking a fancy 3G cellphone setup.

      The alternative is you can move back to Britain, like I did after 7 years in the US. Not that I dislike living in the US (I enjoyed my time greatly and wouldn't miss it for anything), but the British Isles is my home, and there
    • Radio 4 also has Test Match Special [] Which is not available online.

      It broadcasts commentary of cricket test matches (between two countries). For furriners this is a game that last five days and is normally a draw. The commentary is excellent, apart from times when they talk about the cricket.

      Also the shipping forcast [] is like listening to poetry.

  • Inspiration (Score:5, Interesting)

    by coastwalker ( 307620 ) <.acoastwalker. .at.> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @09:36PM (#10224105) Homepage
    HHGTTG was hugely inspirational back in the day here in the UK. Back at the end of the 70's the punk music fashion in music was violent and negative, allbeit exhuberant and youthfull. We were a decade away from the moon landings and were just entering the decade of the Yuppy, power dressing, padded shoulders and the triumph of the Golgafrinchams. But I digress, it was a time when science and the arts were at war and you had to be on one side or the other and HHGTTG was firmly on the side of the female astrophysicist who prefered a boyfriend who could take her on a tour of a black hole to Arthurs feeble small talk ( Notwithstanding the extra arm that said boyfriend "grew specially for you Trillian" )

    So to set the scene, HHGTTG was, and possibly still is, the most scientifically friendly work of humour to hit the big time in the last six thousand years. At the time most computers were adressed with punched cards and Adams intuitively understood that a decent computer would look like a WiFi tablet pc hooked to the internet. Something which he described as a book of all known knowledge of the universe with "dont panic" scribed in large friendly letters on the cover - QED.

    Even better Adams was of the radical (at that time) opinion that no one was going to tell him "the answer to life the universe and everything", it was patently clear that this was either too vague a question or that you had to figure out the answer step by step for yourself. His attitude was new because it anticeded a movement begun in the sixties to seek answers from gurus or to define oneself entirely in terms of opposition to the "establishment" - Adams rejected that and used humour to point out that it is your job (possibly your entire reason for existing) to figure out things for yourself.

    Twenty years after its first incarnation its not going to set the world on fire and probably wont punch the buttons of the future like it did first time around. After all, today we are, the brands we purchase, and watchers of three simultaneous tv channels, and what we are, is clearly defined by what we are not. (If I got that wrong then feel free to explain what is going on these days...). However I have high hopes for this new series of HHGTTG because it was written by a man who liked technology and respectfully took the proverbial micky out of fashion and accepted wisdom.

    Remarkably for those cynics amongst us who say that radical youth becomes conservative conservatives without changing a single idea over the passage of time, Adams mockeries still ring true to me in middle age. It is also sobering to realise that his entire lifes work is more or less defined by something like six months work in 1978, and whatever it was, 9 radio programs. This is probably the most important reason to get hold of the radio stream - as an experience the radio play is an order of magnitude more powerfull than the books.

    Let me be the first to welcome our new overlord radio transmissions....
  • by snowtigger ( 204757 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @09:56PM (#10224192) Homepage
    Not only is there a mp3 stream as mentioned, there is also a a 83 MB Quicktime video [], which I'm just downloaded at 360 KB/s.

    Come on slashdot, the server's still up, what are you waiting for ?
  • Was that Stephen Fry [] I heard, stating "Islington has that effect on people, even two million years ago"?


  • Mirror (Score:2, Informative)

    Here's a mirror, if the main site goes down .. maybe it wont, but .. you never know l;)
    • Re:Mirror (Score:3, Informative)

      We're talking about the BBC. They're not exactly a small organisation. Seeing as they run the most popular website in the UK (IIRC), I somehow think they can cope with a few thousand people downloading an MP3. :-)
  • Let's hope the Beeb's live streaming media setup can cope with the mother of all Slashdottings!

    Word is, someone over at the Beeb was overheard saying, "Bring 'em on!"
  • Now, call me selfish, nationalistic, arrogant and a bit of a twat, but as the corporation is contantly telling me, it's my BBC. Not Slashdot's.

    Therefore, on, erm, the behalf, of the BBC I'll be charging $5 per listen from their servers. After all, it's not much for what you're getting. Payment by cash in small brown envelopes, please.

    Also, to the American readers, I've got the Tower Bridge for sale for a very reasonable price. Email for more info. ;-)
  • I always thought the cricket commentary in the books was one of the funniest bits of the series! It is so accurate as only cricket fans (like myself) can probably appreciate.

    The first commentator you hear on that trailer is the legendary Henry Blofeld who has been around on BBC Radio 4 for around 500 years. The second voice is Fred Truman, who has been commentating on cricket for the BBC for only 300 years.

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