Episode 1 – Fit the First
Episode 2 – Fit the Second
Episode 3 – Fit the Third
Episode 4 – Fit the Fourth
Episode 5 – Zaphod
Episode 6 – Fit the Fifth
Episode 7 – Fit the Sixth
Episode 8 – Secondary Phase
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This week we’re capping off the Not Them Productions interpretation of Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy Primary Phase, the BBC’s Secondary Phase (and beyond), and some of Douglas Adams’ work with Doctor Who — including two interpretations of the unfinished episode “Shada”. All this and more after the jump!
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(I was going to take out a lot more of the ums and ahs (especially mine), but this episode is already nearly a day behind, and you guys deserve your fix! Without further ado…)
Usually I have an outline of what I want to talk about with the Not Them Productions crew, but the Doctor Who discussion took us completely by surprise. I hated that I didn’t know more about the subject, so I took the time to look it up! The stuff about Shada is especially cool, and even cooler that it’s available for free (and animated) on the BBC website!
Douglas Adams and Doctor Who:
Adams wrote two completed episodes (and one incomplete) of Doctor Who, and worked on the seventeenth season as script editor. He orginally approached the BBC with his Doctor Who and the Krittitmen script — which, as we mentioned in the netcast, was later adapted into the novel Life, The Universe, and Everything, and then into the Tertiary Phase of the Hitchhiker’s Guide. Instead of accepting his original script, they gave him a cushy job!
The Pirate Planet – Season 16 (second episode of the Key to Time story arc)
City of Death – Season 17 (as “David Agnew”) [Wikipedia]
Shada (Incomplete, see notes below)
Wikipedia notes that Adams re-used part of the plot for City of Death in his novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, something Colin keenly observed as we were recording the netcast! It also notes that the plot is eerily similar to the Star Trek: The Next Generation finale “All Good Things”, where Picard must jump around in time to save humanity, only to discover his efforts prevented the creation of life on Earth in a very similar way.
In my opinion, this is Douglas Adams’ best Doctor Who story, so it’s a shame it was felled by a technicians strike. Sound familiar?
Some of it was filmed, but many scenes are missing, and the effects were never completed. Because Tom Baker did not return for any new scenes in The Five Doctors, a few scenes were excised from the completed footage (namely the punting scene) in lieu of new material.
Shada was finally released as a BBC VHS video, narrated by a much older Tom Baker to fill in the unfilmed scenes. It was a very good story, and easily contends with those written for the new series. It certainly wasn’t as plodding as other stories of the time.
Even cooler, though, is the Big Finish Productions audio verison of the story, which was also adapted into a BBC animated Webcast, featuring Paul McGann in his incarnation as the Eighth Doctor. Much had happened in the world of Doctor Who during this time, and a new preude scene was written to explain the discrepancies. Ingeniously, the events of The Five Doctors were invoked as an interruption in the natural flow of the timestream, so the Doctor seeks out Romana (a female Gallefreyan companion from the Tom Baker days) — now President of the Council of Time Lords — and her particular copy of K-9 to come with him on this adventure. After that, the script is largely Douglas Adams’ work, adapted for radio, and with occasional references to this slightly modified backstory.
See all six animated episodes on the BBC Website (or listen to the radio version), and check out information about the originally-produced episode:
More info at Wikipedia.
SeanOrange – Host, Producer
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Arrangement of “Journey of the Sorcerer” provided by:
Episodes (and Show Notes):
Hitchhiker’s Guide POWETcast Episode 1 – Fit the First
Hitchhiker’s Guide POWETcast Episode 2 – Fit the Second
Hitchhiker’s Guide POWETcast Episode 3 – Fit the Third
Hitchhiker’s Guide POWETcast Episode 4 – Fit the Fourth
Hitchhiker’s Guide POWETcast Episode 5 – Zaphod
Hitchhiker’s Guide POWETcast Episode 6 – Fit the Fifth
Hitchhiker’s Guide POWETcast Episode 7 – Fit the Sixth
Hitchhiker’s Guide POWETcast Episode 8 – Secondary Phase