Douglas Adams

11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001





After two brief on-screen appearances in Monty Python's Flying Circus - and becoming the only independent writer credited in any of the series - Adams shifted his attention to radio. His early work included contributions to The Burkiss Way and The News Huddlines before penning his seminal work, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (HHGTTG). The programme rapidly gained cult-status and spawned numerous spin-offs including books, records, a TV adaptation, stage shows, a movie and further radio series.

Between the first and second series of HHGTTG, Adams held the position of BBC radio producer for around six months, during which time he worked on Week Ending and Black Cinderella II Goes East, featuring former members of the Cambridge Footlights Revue (effectively the cast of I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again plus guests). He left this radio post to become script editor for the BBC television series Dr Who, a programme that he had previously written for.

Further series of HHGTTG did not materialise until after Adams death, with the author making a posthumous cameo appearance thanks to an audio recording that he had made of the work. Although his self-confessed inability to meet deadlines meant that he was unable to finish the planned HHGTTG radio cycle, he did complete an environmental documentary series Last Chance To See which he co-presented with Mark Carwardine.

Continuing demand for Adams' work has also resulted in recent radio productions some of his other writing, including adaptations based on the Dirk Gently series of novels.

Adams' life was constantly overshadowed by HHGTTG and by attempts to expand and adopt it for other media. One ongoing incarnation was Adams' project to create a real version of the electronic Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy using the internet. More than a decade later, the BBC-hosted h2g2 site allows members of the public to contribute their own interpretations of life, the universe and everything; material relating to the Earth being notably longer than the entry, “Harmless”, described in the first radio series.

Audio

Douglas Adams – Compilation

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Links

h2g2 website – http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2