Episode 4 - Fit The Fourth
In Episode 4, Trillian's white mice buy dinner for the protagonists in order to make up for attacking them with a fantastic Dismodulating Anti Phase Stun Ray. Over dinner, they chat about the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything, and the difficulties posed by appearing on a 5D TV chat show when you have nothing of interest to say.
The voice treatment on the mice was changed. To do this, their dialogue was re-recorded by different actors. The script changed slightly along with the background noise for the scene.
The script shows where changes were made to the dialogue. Some of the lines originally given to one mouse were given to the other, and various small edits were made to the surrounding dialogue.
Because the actors playing the mice were changed (originally Jonathan Adams and Jeremy Brown, subsequently Peter Hawkins and David Tate), the episode credits also had to be re-recorded, thus:
The original directions for this scene say:
Not quite certain about the voice treatment here. Obviously it has to suggest mouse-likeness, but it shouldn't sound silly, as they are actually quite relaxed and sophisticated mice.
It's clear that Douglas Adams and producer Geoffrey Perkins were unhappy with the original effects used in this scene. Perkins wrote:
...we originally attempted to create the effect by having the actors speaking normally and then using the harmoniser to turn them into squeaky rodents, but the result was both too mechanical and also difficult to understand... For the re-make we got the actors to record the lines very slowly, doubled the speed and then harmonised them slightly down.
The differences described on this page are a result of this revision. The lines of the other actors were not re-recorded, and the mice effects are greatly improved.
Perkins also notes that some people wrote in to complain, saying that they preferred the original version. Part of the issue may be that the personalities of the mice also appear to change. Although greedy in both versions, the mice are not as unpleasant to Slarti in the revised version. Their personalities change yet again for the LP version. In that version, rather than simply ask Arthur and Trillian to "find the question", they attempt to buy Arthur Dent's brain from Zaphod, replacing it with a computer programmed to say "What?" and ask "Where's the tea?"
The background effects were also revised. In the original, the mice and protagonists appear to be eating in a busy restaurant; you can hear other voices in the background, including children. This seems rather out of place for a scene that's supposed to take place on a lost planet, even a legendary one. The revised version replaces this with a much quieter background with only an occasional clatter of plates or cutlery.
Episodes 5 through 11
I found no differences in the recordings for episodes 5 through 11; the commercial CD release is exactly the same as the off-air recording (although higher quality). The next set of changes are in episode 12.