BBC Radio 4 announced today (Monday 21 June) the return of the ground-breaking
radio classic The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
as part of its new summer/autumn schedule.
The first series, which begins in September, spearheads the new season.
Followers of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect's journey through time and
space will have brand new series to enjoy, based on the last three books
(Life, The Universe And Everything; So Long And Thanks For All The Fish
and Mostly Harmless) written by Douglas Adams.
Thanks to the wonders of digital technology, Douglas himself features
in the dramatisation.
He always intended to play the part of Agrajag and in fact recorded
the part a few years ago.
These further exploits of its bewildered hero Arthur Dent are being
brought to life in their original medium and with the (mainly) original
It stars Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, Geoffrey
McGivern as Ford Prefect, Susan Sheridan as
Trillian, Mark Wing-Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox and
Stephen Moore as Marvin The Paranoid Android.
The late Peter Jones's great friend William Franklyn
replaces him as The Voice Of The Book.
The programmes are adapted and directed by Douglas Adams' original
choice for the job, award-winning audio director Dirk Maggs.
Dirk has followed Douglas Adams' instructions and notes, which he
made in preparation for these productions.
The series, produced by Above The Title, starts its six-week run on
Tuesday 21 September at 6.30pm.
Visit bbc.co.uk/radio4 for more information, games and sneak previews.
Other comedy highlights include:
A comic tour-de-force by Johnny Vegas in Norman, a
play specially written for him;
Trevor's World Of Sport, written by Andy Hamilton and
starring Neil Pearson;
New comedy from Jo Caulfield and The Consultants.
Johnny Vegas stars in Norman, a monologue by Mike Stott, which reveals
the life and loves of Norman, a man who has learnt how to live on the
margins of society, without bitterness, pride or a single direct debit
(Afternoon Play, Monday 19 July, 2.15-3.00pm).
Stand-up comedian and So Graham Norton writer, Jo Caulfield, gets her
first series on Radio 4.
She turns her acerbic wit on the irritating things that get under her
skin (It's That Jo Caulfield Again, Thursdays from 7 October, 6.30pm).
The Consultants, that is Justin Edwards, Neil
Edmonds and James Rawlings, make a triumphant
return to Radio 4 (Tuesdays, starting 15 December, 6.30pm).
The factual programme highlights include:
Joan Bakewell with Seven Deadly Sins (Midsummer Sins,
Wednesdays from 14 July at 9.00am).
She'll be inviting listeners to nominate an eighth sin for modern times;
Anna Ford presents a major new series investigating
alternative and complementary medicine (The Other Medicine, Tuesdays,
from 21 September, 9.00pm);
Actor and writer Kwame Kwei-Armah travels round the
UK and America to find out what black churches are doing to combat black-on-black
gun crime (Drop The Gun, Thursday 19 August, 8.00pm);
1914 - The Diary Of George V, Robert Lacey has edited
the diaries for 1914 kept by the Queen's grandfather (Monday 26- Friday
30 July, 9.45am).
Drama's highlights include:
A new production of Homer's The Odyssey, starring Amanda Redman,
Tim McInnerny and Janet McTeer, dramatised
by Simon Armitage (Saturday 28 August, 2.30-4.00pm;
8.30-10.00pm and Sunday 29 August, 3.00-4.00);
The first-ever dramatisation of Alexander McCall Smith's
The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Fridays, from 10 September, 2.15pm).
Elsewhere on Radio 4 Clive Anderson looks at a system
where punishment fits the criminal not the crime; Murray Walker
takes on the lawn-mower racers; David Suchet stars
as Christopher Isherwood; Peter Cook's career is revealed
in his own words through the archives; John Wilson
considers if the 'left-liberal consensus' has dominated arts provision
and funding since the war and musician/comedian Bill Bailey
extols the virtues of the theremin.