Hitch-hiker's Guide Restoration Project

Pages: Introduction and Background - Finding the Differences - Fit the Third - Fit the Fourth - Fit the Twelfth - Restoring the Lost Material - Credits



Most of the cast of HHGTTG for Series 2. Douglas Adams is the left-most figure, followed by producer Geoffrey Perkins, Eddie, Ford, Zaphod, Arthur and Roosta. All of whom look quite different on radio. From here.

Naturally, the people involved in producing the Hitch-hiker's Guide radio series in the first place deserve the most credit for everything related to HHGTTG. You can read about these incredibly talented people here.

Most importantly, I must also thank my wife Jill who has supported me during my work on this project and all the other things I have done.

However, on this page, I would like to concentrate on the people who directly contributed to this restoration project. These begin with my Dad, Peter Whitham, who first introduced me to Hitch-hikers. (The show was broadcast before I was born.) The first off-air recording published on this web site - the missing Magrathea scene - came from one of his old tapes. Sadly the quality was quite poor; the Compact Cassette was never a high fidelity format. The copy of the scripts book used here (a first edition) also belongs to him.

Once that first scene was online, I started to get occasional emails from other HHGTTG fans who had found the web page, often asking for further information about other episodes, which I hope I have now been able to answer!

The first major contribution to the restoration project was from Andrew Rodland, who informed me that the scene could be found on a Pink Floyd bootleg known as "A Tree Full of Secrets", and was kind enough to send me an MP3. This was shorter than my original recording (missing some dialogue) but the quality was vastly improved. I was able to use it to improve the files I'd put on the web.

Files on the mysterious CD.

The second major contribution was a complete set of off-air recordings, sent to me by an anonymous person. Unfortunately I cannot thank him or her by name, as he or she specifically left no name due to fear of copyright infringement reprisals. (I avoid this worry by uploading only short samples of the episodes which are useless without the commercial CD release.)

The accompanying letter explained that the recordings had been stored on VHS tape for many years (the "hi-fi stereo" VHS audio track was commonly used for audio recording during the 1980s, as it came close to CD quality). The tape had recently been digitised and edited into twelve MP3 files. The anonymous source added:

I'm pretty sure that most of the episodes are from the original radio transmissions. (That's definitely true for the second series where the original tapes have continuity announcements with some dates.) There are a few that I missed first time round where I had to fill in the gaps...but most are originals.
At first I thought very little of this, since episode 3 and episode 4 are from the initial broadcast, and episodes 1 and 2 match another off-air recording from an entirely different source. But then, David James got in touch by email to point out additional differences in episode 2, in the scene following the news broadcast ("Has the Big Z finally flipped?" / "Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?") His email suggests that this scene might have been re-recorded between the initial broadcast and an early repeat, since I found no difference here.

I'd be very grateful to hear from anyone with more information about this (or any other) difference that is not already documented on these pages. Please consider getting in touch if you know of anything else I may be missing as I would rather be right than "definitively inaccurate".

I would also like to thank Gordon James and Mike Le Voi who wrote to me with additional information about the broadcasts, and the writers of the excellent non-linear sound editor Audacity, LAME and the SoX tools, which have been invaluable. Others have emailed over the years, too many to list.

I also thank the BBC for both producing the series in the first place and for restoring the missing scene from episode 3 in recent repeats.