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Douglas Adams at the BBC (Radio Collection) Audio CD – Audiobook, 6 Sep 2004
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Simon Jones, who played Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy, presents a look back at the life and work of a writer who has captivated the imagination of millions When Douglas Adams created The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy for BBC Radio 4, it was the genesis of a science fiction comedy legend. Yet his career at the BBC had begun in Light Entertainment, with contributions to The Burkiss Way, Week Ending and other sketch shows of the time. He went on to script edit a series of Doctor Who, and to write a series of Hitchhiker and Dirk Gently books. In this triple-CD programme, Simon Jones takes an A-Z look at Douglas Adams s career, taking in extracts from the many radio and TV programmes he contributed to. These include personal appearances on Wogan, Tomorrow s World and Desert Island Discs, his own radio programmes such as Last Chance to See (about the search for endangered species) and The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Future (a look at impending technology), and even a lost segment of The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy which Adams wrote specially for Radio 4 s Steafel Plus in 1982.Also included are some of the many tributes paid to Adams following his untimely death in May 2001. This is a fascinating and in-depth audio biography of a man whose brilliant work has inspired, enraptured and entertained millions of people worldwide.
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Running very nearly four hours, this three disc set covers many "Douglasy" items that were run either on radio or television, covering a timespan between 1974 and 2001. The programme spanning the three discs is narrated and bridged by Simon Jones, and the entire thing is laid out in an "A to Z" format.
Excerpted are such programs as "The Burkiss Way," with 2 clips from 1977, Last Chance to See (the radio series), with 4 clips from 1989, many many clips from the Omnibus tribute to Douglas Adams from the 4th of August 2001 (which I believe is on the US edition of the H2G2 DVDs, in its entirety), 4 clips from his very last radio project (while alive) "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Future", from late 2000, and a couple of clips from his first Doctor Who story, "The Pirate Planet" (as well as a radio interview about Doctor Who that also appears on "Doctor Who at the BBC, Vol. 1").
While a lot of clips from/about H2G2 itself are conspicuous by their absense, Simon Jones himself says on disc 2 that so much has been said and written about the series already, that further statements would be redundant. But there's still quite a wealth of material here, and lots of it has NOT been released in recorded form before (with the two exceptions noted above).
Overall, I give it a fairly high score, 4 out of 5, as it's nice to finally be able to hear a lot of the material that IS referred to within the various biographies (again, as noted above). Although I have to admit I like the version of the Kamikaze sketch that has its script printed in "Don't Panic" over the recorded version here (although, granted, that one is written for a visual presentation, and the other is an audio adaptation).
Unfortunately, none of it is rivetting or essential. Some of the "Footlights" sketches are good but unfortunately it isn't an inspiring collection.
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