The Hitchhiker's TV series was first transmitted in 1981. Directed and produced by Alan Bell, with Associate Production from John Lloyd, it was a lavish production, with cutting-edge special effects. It brought Hitchhiker's to an even wider audience than the books and the radio series.
The plot is similar to the first radio series, except that the Haggunenon sequences are replaced by a nasty mishap in Disaster Area's stunt ship, and escape in a faulty teleport machine.
The beautiful computer graphics by Rod Lord and Pearce Studios used to render the book sequences have become rightly famous. However, they aren't computer generated at all - they were made by animating reversed-out line drawings on acetate, using lighting gels for the colours.
Time hasn't been too kind to some aspects of the show. Althought the writing and acting are as fresh as ever, Zaphod Beeblebrox's extra head looks... well, not terribly good. It was a highly advanced piece of animatronics that cost more than Mark Wing-Davey, but spent much of its time lolling around looking stuffed.
You can see frames from the graphics designed by Rod Lord (and kindly provided by him!) in our gallery. The series is currently being remastered by Paul Vanezis for release on DVD.