This month’s selection isn’t a drama per say, but it is one of the most influential Geek Culture audios I could ever point you to on these pages. Douglas Adam’s amazing adventures of Arthur Dent started on the radio side of the BBC. The original series of episodes differs greatly from the books and yet the characters of Ford, Marvin, Zaphod, Arthur and “The Book” remain consistant throughout all of the various incarnations of the stories. In fact several of the radio actors went on to portray their characters on the televised 80’s BBC mini series. These voices for me are iconic and wonderful to hear every so often as the humor in this series can inspire me to write the most awful, almost Vogonlike in appearance, jokes on this blog.
In 2004, to celebrate the Chronicles of one Arthur Dent, and that big screen adaptation, BBC4 commissioned a new series of audios that would take the series from the original radio play’s cliffhanger through the other books like “Mostly Harmless”. The result of these new productions reimagined the story into multiple “Phases” of the Guide. Now in 5 distinct parts, the old series is merged with the new and as many of the old cast has returned to reprise their roles. And such classic scenes from the later books like the immortal being insulting everyone in the universe in alphabetical order or Marvin’s thrilling conversations with Zem and Zem [on the planet of mattresses] are brought to life with fantastic stereo effects and of course the Guide as the narrator of it all. This time around you get a nice wrap up to the series as a whole and there is even a surprise or two that joins the books continuity to the radio versions of the story as well. You might even hear Douglas himself in a role that seems fitting for the creator of these legendary tales. I’ll just say that Arthur has met him before but Arthur doesn’t know who he is at all. Even that spoiler should make you chuckle if you have your towel at the ready and you know your history of the Guide.. even if you have worn off the nice and friendly letters that say “Don’t Panic” on the holy remarkable book’s cover.
I could go on for hours about this but honestly if you haven’t ever heard the original series you are in for a real audio treat. And if you do remember the original series you will be thrilled to hear all your old friends in these newer adventures. Here are some links to find out more about both old and new series. And as the Dolphins say “So long and thanks for all the fish”.
Amazon sales page
BBC4 Page for parts 3 through 5