Visuals? Who needs visuals? The original Hitchhiker’s Guide radio show was evocative enough in sound to evoke the bizarre otherworldly imagination of Douglas Adams: close your eyes, listen to the wizardry of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (the same team that worked on Doctor Who), and it was all there. For fans of the radio show, even Adams’ book version wasn’t quite as good; little wonder the show inspired listeners to become audio engineers.

If you haven’t heard the radio show, there’s still time — and the movie is ultimately different enough that it wouldn’t spoil much. Dave’s Imaginary Sound Space points to a bunch of links, including free streaming audio from KCRW of the original show. Radio 4 has a productivity-obliteratingly-huge website with interviews about Adams, the old show, and — of course — the new radio shows, which bring back most of the old cast. (Hell, there’s even information on the old Infocom Hitchhiker’s text adventure game — I told you you don’t need visuals.)

Douglas Adams was infamous for “raising procrastination to an art form.” (Favorite quote: “I love deadlines. I like the wooshing noise they make as they go past.”) So what are you waiting for? Procrastination as art takes practice! Have a listen! Of course, the best way to hear the show is via high-quality audio, not streaming. What’s a poor Yankee to do, now that the US version is out of print? Why, ditch and head straight for! (See link at left. I purchased this a few months ago, to catch up prior to the new radio program. This is NOT that lousy MP3 CD that recently shipped in the US; these are real audio CDs. You don’t have to be in the UK to order from Amazon UK.)

  • Guest

    the best way to hear the show is via high-quality audio

    True, but, the mp3-CD of the entire radio series that I bought from Amazon a few months ago actually had mp3s that were ripped from vinyl copies of the radio series that were apparently made shortly after the radio series completed. The mp3s are full of pops and clicks and hiss – which doesn't really take anything away from the experience, it just surprised me.
    here's a link to what I'm talking about: Hitchhiker's MP3 cds

    I have no idea if the audio on the CD version that's linked in the article is taken from the same source.

  • admin

    I had seen those MP3 CDs and avoided them; I'd heard similar complaints. (But vinyl copies?! BBC, what were you thinking?)

    The box set I'm linking to is a set of 8 actual audio CDs, probably from the same masters used in the old cassette version. They sound quite nice. In fact, I even tried them on simulated surround with pleasant results. 😉