Listen free for 30 days

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Primary Phase (Dramatised)

Length: 3 hrs and 56 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1,673 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

A dynamic remastering of the original BBC Radio 4 full-cast serial - Fit the First to Fit the Sixth - which spawned a phenomenal hitchhiking legend.

The original series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, remastered by Dirk Maggs (director of the Tertiary, Quandary and Quintessential Phases) to give a full, vibrant sound, now with Philip Pope’s version of the familiar theme tune and specially re-recorded announcements by John Marsh.

Join Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Trillian, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin the Paranoid Android in their first series of adventures as they witness the destruction of Earth to make way for a hyperspace bypass, stumble upon the ancient planet of Magrathea, dine at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and seek an answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe And Everything.

Peter Jones, Simon Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Mark Wing-Davey, Susan Sheridan, Stephen Moore and a full supporting cast star in these BBC Radio 4 episodes.

A special 55-minute bonus programme, Douglas Adams’s Guide to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, explores the genesis of the radio series and its incredible success, with contributions from the original cast and production team.  

©2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
What members say
Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,400
  • 4 Stars
    196
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    18
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,169
  • 4 Stars
    136
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    7
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,169
  • 4 Stars
    118
  • 3 Stars
    31
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    8

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

funny, adventurous and youthful

Much has been said about radio 4 in the reviews, which might actually discourage some people from buying this. I'm a teenager who doesn't listen to radio 4 and this is the greatest and funniest audiobook i've ever had the pleasure of listening to. This book was made for young people so if you are one I can't recommend it highly enough!

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Near Flawless

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 audiobook download, as it was ground breaking in its time, and still flawless in the present.

All in all, this is an essential audiobook, 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!

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Abridged version.

I was disappointed to find that this is an edited version of the recording. Some of what was in the original broadcast is not in this edition. I haven't performed a detailed analysis. I just found that one of my favourite bits was missing. In this version, Marvin no longer hums Pink Floyd in Episode 3. I did not realise that this was what was meant by it being a remastered version. I expected improved sound quality or some such.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Everyone should download this

I had the first two phases on CD so was glad of the opportunity to upgrade at a fair price, as a member of Audible. This audiobook is one of the best works the BBC has published, hilariously witty and amusing. I would recommend to anyone who listens to Radio 4.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Douglas Adams was such a great writer

I listened to the original when it was first broadcast on the radio, and have been pining for a repeat ever since - books, TV and film were only partly adequate replacements. As an added bonus, this 'special edition' recording contains not only the six broadcast episodes, also a fascinating hour-long documentary about how the first two radio series came about. I shall be downloading the Secondary Phase very soon.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Indispensable

This audiobook (well, original BBC comedy) is what I play at 3.00 am when I can't sleep, or when I am stuck in a traffic jam, have an enormous mound of washing up to do, or pretty much any time I really need a chuckle. Then I make up my own brand of Vogon style poetry and imagine that whoever or whatever has annoyed me is screaming in agony strapped to a Vogon poetry appreciation chair. It is a necessary part of my life. You need it too. Buy it.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The original and best

This is where it all began: a Radio 4 comedy show.

Everything else is a remake. The TV version looses some of the wordy humour, the book version looses some of the energy & the film version looses the point.

A wonderful cast, a humorous delight and a nice little documentary as a bonus.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic , but...........

This is one of the best comedy series you will ever hear. A game changer. Elements of it are now part of everyday life. writing is mindblowingly good . Performances are overall outstanding. Peter Jones is superb as The Book, although he freely admitted not understanding a word of it. As a series, and this is by far the best one, a must . ......

However Audibles version is very poor. The sound quality and over compression are unforgivable in this day and age. Why have the super cleaned up remastered version. Then provide a tinny sounding mono download. I think everyone who has bought this should be untitled to a fresh high quality download. it is a shame a series like this should be handled this way.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Dreadful download... Find the CD or tape

Any additional comments?

I've seen the play, listened to the radio series, got the tapes and the CDs but the quality of this download is beyond dire: compressed and in 'mono'. The original radio series, etc had stereophonics that were stunningly immersive. I'm just plain stunned by this... AVOID

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Terrific

Pretty uncontroversial, this. At least, if I dare say so, for anybody with an imagination and a sense of humour.

I'd seen the television series quite recently and, for a short time, my recollections of the television scripts were distracting me from the narrative in this audiobook - it was very similar, but not identical. However, before too long the memories were usurped, and I was entirely happy to go on the adventure all over again, as though it were the first time.

Yep. It's great.

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Thomas
  • Thomas
  • 19-08-12

Difficult to listen to in the car!

This review is specifically about the audio quality of the book. While the plethora of character voices were great, this is a radio program recording from a loooooong time ago and the quality of the audio shows. My wife and I both found it difficult to listen to in our cars because some of the voices are quiet and you have to turn it up, then all of a sudden you get a really loud high pitched space noise that blows your ears out. Constant volume knob adjustment is necessary if listening to in the car. I found listening to it at home on headphones much easier.

109 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-05-11

Do Not Get This Version

I bought the "non-special edition" a few years back, ripped it myself and it sounded great. I can't find my digital versions, so I bought the special edition, regardless of the other negative comments. DO NOT IGNORE THESE COMMENTS!!! This is a horrible version. The sound mix is bad. It really does sound like the guys were in different rooms.

Please, I beg you, do not get this one. If you can find the "non-special edition" get that one. Or, buy the CDs and rip it yourself.

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Walter
  • Walter
  • 04-10-13

Possibly the best thing written in my lifetime

OK - those are strong words, and there really has been a lot of great writing in the last 50 years (I did say "possibly"). But the combination of imaginative genius, over-the-top humor and just enough philosophical thought makes H2G2 a true standout. The radio plays predated the published books, and were my first exposure to Douglas Adams in the early 1980s - they remain the best way to experience The Hitchhiker's Guide.

There are only a few audio books that I return to and listen a second time. H2G2 is an audio book that I am moved to listen to at least every two years. Basically, I'd be lost without the Guide... If I could give it six stars, I would.

P.S. Years after I fell in love with the books, I learned that Adams had been a script writer and editor for the BBC's Doctor Who, and that he was a friend of Richard Dawkins - he introduced Lalla Ward (who played Romana on Doctor Who) to Dawkins, they subsequently married. Lalla Ward co-narrates Dawkins' audio books, which I also recommend. That serves to illustrate "the interconnectedness of all all things" (which is something you'll come upon in another of Adams' books - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Peter
  • Peter
  • 14-08-09

Classic Comedic Genius

If you are a fan of science fiction, or just comedy in general , this is a worthwhile listen. The form of humor in this series of radio shows has a very Monty Python feel, bizarre and perhaps a little random at times; however unlike python's sketch comedy and more akin to their feature films the comedy is tied together into a clever and original story arc. Whether it is proving that there is no life in the universe or finding the meaning of life in the universe, you'll find an interesting and comedic explanation to all your questions.
For those who may have seen the movie the story arc is longer and differs in some large ways, the radio show is also funnier (this is not an opinion it is a fact).
The only thing keeping this audio production from a 5 out of 5 is production quality. The production quality is over all pretty good, especially when one keeps in mind when it was produced. There are, however, a few spots in the recording where I had trouble understand what was being said due to effects placed on vocals.
All in all I would recommend this audio show to anyone who enjoys chuckling at the bizarre.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for earonesty
  • earonesty
  • 02-10-13

Terrible audio quality

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

It's just not converted to digital format well. Whispering and loud bangs, the levels are terribly normalized. Maybe if you use noice cancelling headset, and a volume knob... but not suitable for an ipod!

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for riki
  • riki
  • 31-05-18

Great story... Flawed by terrible volume balance!

Love the writing... Love the performances... Hate the sound balance, or whatever you want to call it.
The narrator is LOUD... Ford is normal, while Arthur is quiet.
Very annoying, makes it hard to listen to.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joseph Norton
  • Joseph Norton
  • 06-12-08

A Must for Hitchhiker fans

On Wednesday, March 8th, 1978, listeners to BBC Radio 4 first learned about what is perhaps the most remarkable, certainly the most successful book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the galaxy. Now, at long last, it's available through Audible! Hear how it all started. This came before the books, before the TV series and before the movie. Get it now! Don't think twice! Don't miss any of the adventures of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and the other characters as they take you with them on a romp through the galaxy you'll never forget! If you think you know it all because you read the books, think again. And, most of all, Don't Panic!

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ilana
  • Ilana
  • 22-10-11

Zillions of Times Better than the Book

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was the first radio comedy show to be recorded in stereophonic sound and it was acted out by a full cast of professional actors, but what really sets this show apart is the sound effects which were completely innovative at the time. "One of Adams's stated goals was to be experimental in the use of sound. Being a fan of Pink Floyd and The Beatles (and especially the experimental concept albums both bands produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s), Adams wanted the programme to have the feel of a "rock album...to convey the idea that you actually were on a spaceship or an alien planet — that sense of a huge aural landscape". (From Wikipedia)

Of course today, there is a quaint quality to those sound effects, but that only adds to the overall charm of the experience. I first discovered this show in the late 80s when a local radio station aired the series, and must say that more than 20 years later, a reading of the book (which not surprisingly seemed awfully flat) it felt just as fresh, off the wall and yes, innovative as it did the first time around.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David
  • David
  • 13-05-09

Brilliant

Always preferred the radio series. Superb. Takes me right back !! What great memories. What a great production. If your a hitchhiker fan and dont have the radio series, buy them - you wont be disappointed.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dubi
  • Dubi
  • 10-05-15

Mostly Harmless

I first thumbed a ride into Douglas Adams's end of the universe when the first novelization was published back around 1980. I read all five parts of his trilogy as well as the sixth entry by Eoin Colfer, I watched the BBC TV version with relish when it was first shown in the US on PBS, and (like other Adams fans) I struggled through the misguided film adaptation.

But I never heard the original radio show before. This remastered edition is sonically difficult to listen to, as other reviewers have stated, but the material is as fresh as ever. My one caveat, having started with the novels, is that there is so much more in print than there ever was on the radio, especially the hilarious excerpts from the Guide. Of course the novels are 25 hours long in total (not including Colfer) so there is so much more room for all of that.

Still, good stuff for HG2G aficionados, despite the poor sound quality, with a bonus radio doc about the making of the primary phase of the radio series. Hitchhiker's Guide newbies -- I'd recommend the novel as the best entry point but this would not be a bad place to start either.

2 people found this helpful