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80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unreservedly brilliant
This radio series changed my life. The shocking report of Adams' death at the weekend served only to highlight the debt so many of us owe to the man. He changed our radio listening habits, if nothing else.
The series was broadcast as six half-hour episodes on Radio 4 in the spring of 1978. I missed them entirely, not being a Radio 4 listener at the time. I...
Published on 14 May 2001 by Gavin Wilson

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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Demand the original
I am a "Hitchhiker" fan from TV first, then the books, then, finally, the radio series. And I think the original radio series is the best of the lot.

Here's the story of this unfortunate CD version of what is now called "The Primary Phase": "now with Philip Pope's version of the familiar theme tune and specially re-recorded announcements by John Marsh."...
Published on 17 Dec 2010 by Christopher Twelvetrees


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80 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unreservedly brilliant, 14 May 2001
By 
Gavin Wilson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (BBC Audiobooks) (Audio CD)
This radio series changed my life. The shocking report of Adams' death at the weekend served only to highlight the debt so many of us owe to the man. He changed our radio listening habits, if nothing else.
The series was broadcast as six half-hour episodes on Radio 4 in the spring of 1978. I missed them entirely, not being a Radio 4 listener at the time. I discovered them during one of my visits to friends at Cambridge that summer, where I was played a tape of a tape of a recording of the episodes from end to end. (There was no audio or video merchandising to speak of then; if you missed the original broadcast, you simply had to wait until the BBC deigned to repeat the transmission.)
The humour was outstanding -- here were hundreds of lines which we could recite back to one another, to replace the Pythonisms that were beginning to pall. Here were some wonderful characters -- the cool but callous Zaphod Beeblebrox, the embarrassed Slarti Blartfast, the unionised philosophers, and the psychologically unbalanced space cops, for example. Besides the affectionate view of science fiction, perhaps what endeared Adams most to the student population was the limitless possibilities presented by Hitchhiker. Ther density of ideas was often amazing. Christianity, for example, gets summed up simply as a man getting nailed to a tree about 2000 years ago for suggesting the wouldn't it be great if everyone were nice to each other for a change. A fearsome battlefleet attacks Earth only to be swallowed by a small dog, due to a terrible mistake over scale.
Geoffrey Perkins, producer of most of the episodes, has said elsewhere that it was only with episodes three and four when he realised quite how magical a thing the Hitchhiker was to be. Suddenly a space romp turns into a philosophical search for the ultimate question with a planet used as an organic computer.
The whole thing is unreservedly brilliant, and deserves at least seven stars. For me, the Hitchhiker is best enjoyed as the radio series -- not as the book, and certainly not as the TV series.
This is Adams' masterpiece. That is the saddest aspect of his life -- that he never regained the pinnacle that he achieved with his first significant creation. The second series, by comparison, is mostly drivel, reflecting an obsession with shoe shops that few had noticed or subsequently cared about.
After many false starts, it seems that Adams had completed the film script for Disney days before he died. We can only hope that it does justice to the Hitchhiker concept. But for me, these radio programmes, and nothing else, are true Hitchhiker.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still one of the most entertaining radio plays of all time, 4 Feb 2005
This review is from: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (BBC Audiobooks) (Audio CD)
This is the true way to experience the Hitchhikers guide. It is perhaps one of the most entertaining and hilarious radio plays of all time. It is wonderful to be able to get hold of the radio plays that I had not managed to hear when they first came out and it gave me a whole new opportunity to fall back in love with Marvin, Arthur and Ford.
In the same way as the books allow the readers imagination to run away with themselves so the radio plays continue to enhance this. For people who do not like reading this is one of the best ways to get into Douglas Adams' classic......and for those that do like reading - well this is like welcoming an old friend home
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Genius, 21 Mar 2002
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This review is from: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (BBC Audiobooks) (Audio CD)
Two Words. 'Mostly Genius'
I have read, watched, listened, played and laughed to all the different forms of the guide that I can find, And every time it has been a fantastic journey across the Galaxy with Arthur, Ford, Zaphod and Trillian. It has been said before that the radio series is the best and most pure version of the guide, and this I will not dissagree with. If you like Sci-Fi, Comedy, or Breathing, you should love this series.
****** It should be 6 stars!...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pass me my Babel Fish, 1 Mar 2006
By 
Tealady2000 (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (BBC Audiobooks) (Audio CD)
I was absolutely captivated by the original radio version of HHGTTG as a young teenager in the late 70's and I was delighted to rediscover the pan-galactic magic with these CDs. Douglas Adams was quite simply a genius. I took my sons (9 & 12) to see the movie a few months ago and after that they were keen to hear the radio originals. We keep the CDs in our car and they are absolutely brilliant for long journeys - you really can listen to them again and again, which is ideal if your vehicle does not have an Infinite Improbability Drive. And don't forget to listen out for the little joke at the end of the credits after each episode.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how the Cult started., 18 April 2001
By A Customer
The primary phase is a recording of the first 6 episodes of the legendary Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy radio series that spawned a cult. Made about 20 years after Radio went out of fashion for anything but music and inflicting personal opinions on the public, it was an enormous hit. 5 Best Selling Novels emerged from it (buy them as well - they follow a similar storyline, but are quite different).
Far and away the best Science Fiction Comedy Radio Serial of contemorary times, beating out hot competition from, um, well there must have been something somewhere.
Quite simply it makes me laugh a lot so I consider it a must have. If you've read and enjoyed the books, you may not be aware that this is how it all started. If you're in that category, don't hesitate, buy The Primary Phase.
An absolute classic, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Make sure you buy "The Secondary Phase" as well. It covers episodes 7 - 12, and is just as good.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The original and best...but incomplete!, 4 Sep 2004
By 
R. A. Caton "Arcaton" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (BBC Audiobooks) (Audio CD)
I first heard the Guide when it was broadcast back in the late 70's, and bought the LPs from Original Records when they were released, but looked forward to getting the original broadcasts on CD when the BBC got round to issuing them.
So! when they came out, I bought!. There is an edit....confirmable by checking against the remains of an off-air cassette recording, and the scripts (not the novels!) as published by Pan Books.
When they arrive on Magrathea in Fit the Third, the background music is recognisable to all Pink Floyd fans...in the show, but not on these CDs, Arthur says "Do you know this robot can hum like Pink Floyd?" and asks if Marvin can do anything else, whereupon Marvin bursts into "Rock and Roll music" by the Beatles....
A small point but one for which I deduct a star....
Douglas Adams remarked in the script book that he was convinced there wouldn't be a second radio series, with the resulting end of this first series....but there was. He then deliberately left the second series open for a third to continue the story....and there wasn't. We can only regret that, since the TV series and the books took such a different course to the radio show, and never took up the challenge of the second radio series....
Buy these CDs, and the second series CDs, and listen to the continuation that should be on BBC R4 soon....
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost, but not quite, the original version, 29 May 2007
By 
This review is from: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (BBC Audiobooks) (Audio CD)
As with previous releases on vinyl etc, this is NOT the original radio show. Episodes 1-4 sound like they have been re-recorded, from the voices and the technical sound I'm guessing this was done at the time of the third series. The script, the sound effects and music all contain differences - I've compared it to my original (very old) cassette recordings off the radio and the CD version is definitely different - cleaner maybe but somehow rather "flat".

Maybe the BBC lost the original recordings as they did with so many other radio and TV shows? Maybe the quality was thought to not be good enough? Maybe they thought they could improve the original sound effects with newer technology? Whatever the reason, claiming this as the original is not quite true. BBC, if you have the originals you should include them as an "extra", or release them seperately.

From episode 5 this sounds like it is the original in every respect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a whole new generation to enter this mad world, 5 Dec 2009
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This review is from: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (BBC Audiobooks) (Audio CD)
What can I say? What can anyone say except "bravo"...I do have one small quibble which is pretty childish - the cassette tapes that I owned twenty five years ago had one or two different actors, and I wanted the EXACT same experience...but my children didn't know those actors, and they love it...my 9-year old gets the whole thing and laughs her head off - loves the whole improbability thing - but the two younger ones couldn't understand how nuclear missiles turned into a bowl of petunias ("what's petunias?") and a sperm whale...anyway it's a howling success, and will transport you to Magrathea and beyond, educate you on the niceties of Vogon poetry and is the perfect bed-time treat (whether or not you have the excuse of children to listen to it)!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Near Flawless, 9 July 2008
By 
Magic Lemur (Somewhere in Madagascar) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (BBC Audiobooks) (Audio CD)
Fantastic - a true muse of fire, crammed with so many ideas and such comedic brilliance that it is practically bursting at the seams.
All the others seem lame in comparison (which they aren't), like Charlie Chaplin's WW1 films - an ariadne's thread for all his other ideas.

If you haven't listened to the Primary Phase, don't just watch the film or read the book - it is essential that you try it on CD, as it was ground breaking in its time, and still flawless in the present.

All in all, this is an essential audio book, which has had profound effects on popular culture and is a Bible for anyone seeking to make headway (while avoiding cliche) in sci-fi, comedy or any pop culture field. Listen and be enriched!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy: Primary Phase - Perhaps this is a Tuesday? I never could get the hang of Tuesdays, 22 Dec 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (BBC Audiobooks) (Audio CD)
There's no way to review this really. It's such a unique piece of radio that there is no where to begin, and nothing to liken it to! These 6 half hour full cast radio episodes were the beginning of a mighty saga crossing space/time/radio/book/TV/film/dimensions and other weird things currently unknown to science. With a sense of anarchic weirdness and fun it tries to tell the story of the most wholly remarkable book in the universe, the Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by telling the stories of some of those associated with it. The original aim is soon lost as we get lost in the mayhem of the adventures of Arthur Dent the last remaining earthman, Ford Prefect his friend from somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and not Guilford after all, Zaphod Beeblebrox galactic president and most wanted criminal and Marvin the paranoid android. Through an unlikely series of events they are plunged across space and time in a search for the ultimate question to the ultimate answer. It's weird, it's funny, it's fun.

This CD release from the BBC is excellent, with a great sound quality far superior to my old somewhat muddy copy. Two episodes per disc on 3 discs, held in a double jewel case. It's a classic, and has been given the decent release it deserves. 5 stars.
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