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TME > Video > Commercial Releases

Site Easter Egg #2...: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"Jeez, you guys are so unhip it's a wonder your bums don't fall off."
                                                                                  -- Zaphod, Part Five



It is the most remarkable, certainly the most successful, book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor. More popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty Three Things to Do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters - Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway? So that whingeing Earthling Arthur Dent should be very grateful he had a copy!
For after Earth is destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Arthur Dent is let loose in the furthest recesses of the Galaxy armed only with the aforementioned mysterious but indispensable Guide. Follow Dent's cosmic adventures as he is joined by his pretty weird companions: Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford Prefect, Trillian-the-Astrophysicist-he-met-at-a-party-in-Islington and Marvin the manically depressed Android. You never know, they may even find the answer to Life, The Universe and Everything!
   
-- from the doublepack VHS release, 1993


The DVD release of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy featured input from several members of the Doctor Who Restoration Team (Steve Roberts, Paul Vanezis, Mark Ayres and Richard Molesworth, not to mention Thirty Years In The TARDIS's Kevin Davies), and shared many of the same audience members.

Episode timings on DVD:
32'50", 34'51", 31'00", 32'18", 32'49", 35'42"


 

VHS releases


 
??/??/1992: UK - BBC Enterprises - BBCV4751/BBCV4752
??/??/1992: Aus/NZ - PolyGram - BBC47512/BBC47522 [not pictured]
08/03/1993: UK 'Making of' - BBC Enterprises - BBCV4895
20/09/1993: UK Doublepack - BBC Enterprises - BBCV5135
??/??/1993: US 'Making of' - Unknown details

The video releases were taken from masters prepared during the 80s for an initially-aborted double-laserdisc release, that would finally see release in the US in the late 80s (see right). They were edited into two 'movie-length' segments, extra material was added to Episodes 4 and 6, and original sound supervisor Mike McCarthy remixed the original mono audio track into (a rather harsh) stereo. The mono compatibility was iffy at best, with mono TVs often missing out on the book's narration.

DVD releases

 

28/02/2002: UK - BBC Worldwide
30/04/2002: US - BBC Video
??/??/2002: Aus - Roadshow
[All cat numbers unknown]

An early version of the DVD cover (right) included a Milky Way graphic and omitted Douglas Adams' credit (and included the rather hopeful certificate 'PG').

Mark Ayres remastered the previous stereo track (as well as an alternative mono track) and extended it to cover the cliffhanger sequences not present in the 'movies' while Paul Vanezis supervised the insertion of the extra sequences in 4 and 6. A further extra scene was also located, which is presented in isolation on the bonus disc.

DVD Bonus features

Soundtrack Selection
Either the original mono or, by default, the stereo mix originally prepared for video.

The Making of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy (58'32")
Kevin Davies' straight-to-video documentary, presented here in full.

Don't Panic (26'02")
The original edit of 'The Making of' ran to around 90 minutes. This section shows most of the trimmed sequences to bring it down to its hour-long runtime.

Introduction by Peter Jones (8'27")*
When originally screened at the NFT, the audience were treated to a special video introduction by Peter Jones, a copy of which is presented here.

Communicate! (10'26")*
Clips from a BBC Education programme looking behind-the-scenes at the making of the radio show.

Original Trailers (2'32")
The full original trailer for the series, followed by a collection of continuity announcements.

Deleted Scene (2'10")*
A short scene from Episode Two.

Behind-The-Scenes (7'17")
The final minutes of recording on 8th November 1980, as the cast and crew struggle to complete a scene before the BBC-enforced shutdown time of 22:15.

Tomorrow's World (2'26")*
The 12th February 1980 edition, looking at Zaphod's second head.

Pebble Mill at One (6'34")*
Clips from the 23rd January 1981 edition, featuring an interview with Rod Lord and Alan JW Bell.

Out-takes (9'14")*
Fluffed lines and so on.

Photo Gallery
42 colour and b/w photos.

On Screen Production Notes
Compiled by Kevin Davies.



*clips from these sequences feature in 'The Making of...'

Easter Eggs...

False start
Episode 1 begins with a heavily distorted picture, before a 'Don't Panic' disclaimer appears and the disc returns to the main menu.This is a random Egg. Just select 'play all' and keep your fingers crossed. Also, on some players this never appears and on some the correct version never appears.

Earth destruction/Gargleblaster ad (0'42", 0'39")
The original film sequence of the Earth's destruction, followed by a still screen advertising Pan Galactic Garglebasters. From the main menu on disc 1, highlight 'setup' and go left. From this new screen, enter the code '1146' (the time of the Earth's demise).

Original version of opening titles (0'38")
An early version of the Episode 1 credits, with elements of the 70s Doctor Who credits used. Ensuring the subtitles are switched off, highlight 'Communicate' and then click right to highlight a planet. Click on this to see the film.

Heart of Gold readouts (3'26")
The original film of the computer readouts onboard the Heart of Gold, showing the analysis of Magrathea. Ensuring subtitles are switched on, select 'The Inner Planets' and then move left to highlight a 'Dont Panic' logo, which needs to be clicked.


 

Classifications

01/04/1992 - Passed as 'PG' by the BBFC for the UK
26/03/1992 - Passed as 'G' by the OFLC for Aus/NZ
17/03/1993 - 'Making of' passed as 'M' (for 'Low Level Course Language') by the OFLC for Aus/NZ
16/12/1993 - 'Making of' passed as '15' by the BBFC for the UK
12/12/2001 - 8'00" of bonuses passed as 'U' by the BBFC. Oddly, their records show no further passes for any other bonuses, despite the edit being substantially different, though the OSNS granted the DVD set a 'PG'.
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