back to article Grab a towel and pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster because The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is 42

The weekend marked the 42nd anniversary of the first broadcast of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the hugely influential BBC radio show. 42 is a significant number for fans of the innovative series by Douglas Adams so (carefully) pour yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, wrap yourself in a towel and join The Register …

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    1. AdamT

      Re: May the towel be with you!

      Actually I do still have my original Hitch Hiker towel. It's a decent sized bath/beach towel, not a tea-towel or something like that. It has the "towel bit" from the book on it...

      1. AdamT

        Re: May the towel be with you!

        like this one: https://images.app.goo.gl/z4Qv17G9wPBCMMgz9

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: May the towel be with you!

          Oh hell, I need one of those

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: May the towel be with you!

            Only one? The correct number (and answer) is 42!

        2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: May the towel be with you!

          I am so jealous my teeth are revolving.

      2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: May the towel be with you!

        @AdamT - I lost mine...

        1. AdamT

          Re: May the towel be with you!

          Wow - that's so irresponsible it's almost worth a downvote!

          But you seem contrite and have clearly learned your lesson so I shall upvote in sympathy!

      3. stuartnz

        Re: May the towel be with you!

        I got my towel around 1985 when my teenage self decided that joining ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha from the other side of the galaxy (NZ) was a hoopy idea. £25 plus intergalactic P&P when the exchange rate was $3NZ= 1£ meant that the effect on my budget was not unlike have my head smashed in by a slice of lemon, wrapped around a large gold brick. Still totally worth it, if only to be able to say with conviction that I always know where my towel is.

        1. Dapprman

          Re: May the towel be with you!

          I only joined ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha to buy the towel, though by then it was the Don't Panic one. Still use it as my travel towel.

      4. Duffy Moon

        Re: May the towel be with you!

        "Actually I do still have my original Hitch Hiker towel"

        I remember seeing one of those in the window of the old Forbidden Planet shop in Denmark Street. I couldn't afford it at the time (I bought the theme tune single instead), so I am quite jealous. I wonder if someone makes a reproduction...

        1. Mooseman Silver badge

          Re: May the towel be with you!

          A friend and I bought ours from Forbidden Planet in Brum, a tenner each around 1983 I think. I still have it, although my youngest child insists on taking it on school trips with him.

  1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Philistine

    I think I'm a philistine. I enjoyed the first book (& TV series and film) but I found the later books dull and boring.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Philistine

      What?

      The opening of the third book is brilliant.

      The bit about Arthur, alone on the prehistoric forests of Islington for five years suddenly meets up with Ford again. He's so glad to have human company again he could almost cry.

      Unfortunately, Ford is an immediately annoying person.

      Then there's the eddies in space time.

      'Eddies in the space time continuum'

      'Then please tell him to come and pick up his sofa'

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Fred Dibnah Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Philistine

      In that case I'm the Philistine's Philistine, because I didn't like the books and I hated the TV series (with a different Ford and Zaphod's rubbish rubber head #2). Film? Nah, the audio's all I need.

      Mine's the one with a set of CDs of original Fits 1-13 in the pocket.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Philistine

        Radio 4 Extra seem to be repeating them again and from what I've seen on the programme's site they have at least the 1st couple of series in the pipeline (plus currently also doing the Hexagonal Phase)

  2. g00ner

    Anyone seen my towel?

    1. JonP

      You mean you don't know where it is?!?!!

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        That frood is not hoopy.

        1. Franco Silver badge

          Indeed, I am glad that I don't sass him. He's probably a fan of Vogon poetry.

          1. kventin

            and who isn't?

            (in alphabetical order, please. ask bowerick when he'll do you)

        2. dajames Silver badge
          Headmaster

          That frood is not hoopy.

          ITYM "That frood is not a hoopy".

          It's quite clear from the book that "hoopy" is intended to be a noun, meaning "really together guy":

          ... a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

          — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

          Cf. "Hey, you sass that bloke Ford Prefect, there's a frood who really knows where his towel is".

      2. AdamT

        I do. It's in my towel cupboard. And it's probably getting on for 30 years old now. Or more. Can't quite remember when they were produced.

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Anyone seen my towel?

      42 ;)

    3. Celeste Reinard

      That depends. If it was white, I used it as a shroud for the cat of neighbour, Bernice. The blue one I ate (the bit with the maggots), I burned the rest to warm my cold hands and heart, and the green one I fed to the cat (which happened to become -- comatic, somehow... and to make sure, I smothered the poor fellow with a red one). The black one I used as a veil when I was getting married on Postal (Planet Postal, where scientients from all over the galaxy go to get get married for ... what passes for a posh yet highly illegal marriage, but explains a lot about 'Going Postal'. Otherwise I have no further information. Unless it was the brownish one, which had developped into something quite violent, and had to be put down (I clubbed it to death with the femur a smaller dinosaur)(I guess, it could also be the leg of a flying bedroom table) (That was before I got married to it (the table) (hence the veil).

  3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Maida Vale Studios

    I used to live round the corner from these, and I'm pretty sure it's a converted roller-skating rink, not ice rink (unless the BBC occupies more than one converted rink in W9). Actually, I suppose a thawed-out ice rink is pretty much a roller-skating rink anyway.

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    If there is a Salmon of Doubt

    There should be a prawn of regret.

    In the seventies I was having too much of all kinds of fun to listen to the beeb, so I missed HHGTTG. Douglas Addans though not as prolific as the great Terry Pratchett has left a comparable legacy and I missed the start of it.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: If there is a Salmon of Doubt

      My first introduction to Terry Pratchett was watching him interview Douglas Adams at the Cheltenham literature festival.

      Or possibly my first introduction to Douglas Adams was watching him interview Terry Pratchett. It's been a while now, and my memory isn't what it was.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: If there is a Salmon of Doubt

        and my memory isn't what it was

        Whose is? Why, I remember when..

        What were we talking about again?

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: If there is a Salmon of Doubt

        It probably never was, what it isn't.

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: If there is a Salmon of Doubt

        My first introduction to Adams was Dr Snuggles - a kids cartoon. I was off work with Bronchitis and guzzling Hills Bronchial Balsam and this cartoon cam on the telly and it was absolutely brilliant. I put it down to the morphine acetate in the afore mentioned balsam and only later discovered the H2G2 and even later that he had written some of Dr Snuggles.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: If there is a Salmon of Doubt

      "In the seventies I was having too much of all kinds of fun to listen to the beeb, so I missed HHGTTG."

      You probably missed the adaption of Asimovs Foundation too then. At least nowadays, shows can often be accessed via streaming or be recorded off-air by a timer. (I'm assuming that Sky and Freeview PVRs can record radio as well TV, just like the Virgin Media one can. BBC R4 abd R4Extra still have good drama and comedy most weeks, 4Extra still do the Seventh Dimension (named from when they were Radio 7)

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: If there is a Salmon of Doubt

        If not then get_iplayer certainly can grab radio as well, with a suitable IP address...

  5. Red Ted
    Go

    The explosion at the end of the first episode...

    ...is something I have always wanted to play on a Wembley Stadium sized PA, with the amps wound up to 11.

  6. Kane Silver badge
    Alien

    Anybody fancy a game of...

    ...Krikkit?

    1. big_D Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

      Belgium! You actually went there!

      1. el_oscuro

        Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

        This post should be banned for abusive language.

    2. IareFlash

      Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

      I'd love to, then after can we flollop and vollue just for a lark?

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

      I prefer Brockian ultra cricket myself. Far more civilised.

      Ow! Who did that?

      1. Mooseman Silver badge

        Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

        "Ow! Who did that?"

        ……………………………………………………………………………..sorry!

    4. lybad

      Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

      Iirc, the Krikkit storyline was actually an unfinished Doctor Who story - and Dirk Gently was based on the infamous Doctor Who Shada story.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

        The Krikkit storyline was indeed a "Dr Who" story, but a fan-fic written when DNA was 14 IIRC, rather then when he was a script editor working on Dr Who. One of the greatest Dr Who stories was The Pirate Planet. It has so many Adamsesque gags in it... it's truly a work of art. Including the drone parrot that shits laser bolts. I kid you not.

        1. lybad

          Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

          And, depending on your take, Pirate Planet, Krikkit Men, Shada, etc have been novelised and published.

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

          Oooh. I forget the name of the episode.

          But another Adams Doctor Who script that actually got made, and was also reused for Dirk Gently was that Tom Baker episode with Lala Ward as Romana set in Paris..

          I just remember Lala Ward in that Parisian schoolgirl outfit the entire episode.

          It's probably eclipsed all else.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

            "But another Adams Doctor Who script that actually got made, and was also reused for Dirk Gently was that Tom Baker episode with Lala Ward as Romana set in Paris..

            I just remember Lala Ward in that Parisian schoolgirl outfit the entire episode."

            Oooh Lalla!

            1. Liam Proven

              Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

              > Oooh Lalla!

              That's Mrs Richard Dawkins to you, peasant.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

                The Hon. Sarah Ward has not been Mrs. Richard Dawkins for years, if indeed she ever used that title.

          2. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

            City of Death. Exquisite. Simply exquisite.

            1. Mooseman Silver badge

              Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

              "Exquisite. Simply exquisite"

              That's art for you.

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: Anybody fancy a game of...

                Yes, I see what you mean. Divorced from its function and seen purely as a piece of art, its structure of line and colour is curiously counterpointed by the redundant vestiges of its function. And since it has no call to be here, the art lies in the fact that it *IS* here.

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