Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Quintessential Phase (Vinyl)


Starring: William Franklyn, Simon Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Bill Paterson and Jane Horrocks
Publisher: Demon Records
Release Date: 28 June 2019

“Anything that happens, happens.”

Demon Records releases The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Quintessential Phase on 2 LP pink-coloured vinyl and Deluxe Set. The Exclusive Edition is limited to 500 copies and incorporates a signed print from Simon Jones, who plays Arthur Dent. There are also sleeve notes by Jones and an overview by Douglas Adams's biographer, Jem Roberts. There is also a CD version of this release available. This radio full-cast dramatisation covers the events of Douglas Adams’s fifth and last book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, Mostly Harmless – but with a difference…

Arthur Dent is looking for his lost love, Fenchurch. He returns to the original coordinates of Earth, but finds only an Earth-like planet. From here he manages to get to Lamuella, home of the Perfectly Normal Beast. He is surprised to meet Trillian and her daughter, Random, who turns out to be his own offspring through artificial means. The Guide has been playing-up of late, but he is entrusted with a new MKII model for Ford. Meanwhile, unaware of each other’s presence, Zaphod and Ford Prefect manage to sneak into the new HQ of The Hitchhiker’s Guide in an attempt to see Zarniwoop. There is an alternative universe inside the building, and Zarniwoop and Vaan Harl are revealed to be the same individual. Not only that, but he is finally uncovered as a Vogon. Our heroes eventually get to meet up, but just as the Earth is about to be destroyed.

There is a short epilogue which leaves all the main characters with a happy ending. Many fans of the books were not best pleased with a twee finale, as Mostly Harmless left certain events ‘up in the air’ and Adams was basically telling his fanbase that life isn’t always like that. Nevertheless, Adams was reportedly displeased in hindsight at its overly dark conclusion. Audio maestro Dirk Maggs had gathered together as much of the original cast as was possible, also paying tribute to those who have passed. Some big names were also added to the voice cast: Susan Sheridan, Jonathan Pryce, Miriam Margolyes, Griff Rhys Jones, Rula Lenska and Roy Hudd; a part is even found for the late great Douglas Adams as Agragag. Bearing in mind Adams’s later feelings, and this being a last hurrah for the gang, it is only fitting that the characters find solace – particularly Arthur Dent, who travelled more than anyone would want to in their dressing gown.

Dirk Maggs, who adapted, directed and co-produced this dramatisation should be given much credit for maintaining his high standards in what must have been the most difficult of the five books to adapt. There is a lot of running around, and the multi-universe plot structure makes it difficult to understand what this is all about, both in terms of the character’s motives and the greater scheme of things. After, all it has all been about the Earth when the planet has repeatedly been described as insignificant. The main moral here seems to be ‘think carefully before you speak or act, because what you do creates history for both you and those around you’. The Tricia McMillan and Trillian character/s prove that multiple universes can hinge on whether or not you go back for your handbag.

For me, the highlights of this are the moments of quirky brilliance straight from the pen of Douglas Adams. “Nothing travels faster than the speed of light… except, perhaps, bad news.” A space drive was developed based on this theory, but no one was pleased to see them when they arrived.

This may be the end but, to quote Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, “…there is another.”


Ty Power

Review image

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.