THHGTTG Logo 'The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy'
(Fit the Sixth)

by Douglas Adams
THHGTTG Cast

ANNOUNCER:

’The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, by Douglas Adams. Starring Peter Jones as ‘The Book’.

[Theme Tune]

NARRATOR:
The history of every major galactic civilisation has passed through three distinct and recognisable phases: those of survival, inquiry, and sophistication. Otherwise known as the ‘How’, ‘Why’, and ‘Where’ phases. For instance, the first phase is characterised by the question: “How can we eat?” The second by the question: “Why do we eat?” And the third by the question: “Where should we have lunch?” The history of warfare is similarly subdivided though here the phases are retribution, anticipation, and diplomacy. Thus, retribution: “I’m going to kill you because you killed my brother.” Anticipation: “I’m going to kill you because I killed your brother.” And diplomacy: “I’m going to kill my brother and then kill you on the pretext that your brother did it.” Meanwhile, the Earthman Arthur Dent, to whom all this can be of only academic interest, as his only brother was long ago nibbled to death by an okapi, is about to be plunged into a real intergalactic war. This is largely because the spaceship that he and his companions have inadvertently stolen from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe has now returned itself on autopilot to its rightful time and place. Its rightful time is immediately prior to a massive invasion of an entire alien galaxy, and its rightful place is at the head of a fleet of one-hundred thousand black battle cruisers. This is why:


Scene 1. Int. Spaceship

ARTHUR:
You mean this ship we’ve stolen is the Admiral’s flagship?

FORD:
That’s the way it’s looking. Perhaps we should just ask them if they want it back. You know, if we were reasonably polite about it -

ZAPHOD:
They might just let us off with being lightly killed.

FORD:
Yeah, well, at least it’s better than, ooh, than er…

ZAPHOD:
It isn’t better than anything at all, is it?!

FORD:
Er, no.

TRILLIAN:
Hey that visiscreen is beginning to flicker!

ZAPHOD:
Hey, it must be some guy wanting orders. Aww! Fetched photons!

FORD:
Well, now, now just order him to go away. Y- you’ll just have to bluff it out, Zaphod.

ZAPHOD:
I’ll just have to “bluff it out”?!

FORD:
Yeah! Now sit down, and do something

ARTHUR:
Say something!

TRILLIAN:
Anything!

FORD:
Now don’t worry, we’ll be right behind you, hiding.

[The visiscreen activates]

ZAPHOD:
Ford, this is your idea isn’t it?

FORD:
Yeah. Now sit down there and be a star.

ZAPHOD:
Hey when I’m a star I’ll hire a better ideas man.

HAGGUNENNON UNDER FLEET COMMANDER:
Haggunenon Under Fleet Commander reporting from Vice Flagship

ZAPHOD:
Oh, uh hi, uh Under Fleet Commandant Adadida, I um…

HAGGUNENNON UNDER FLEET COMMANDER:
Good Evening Admiral.

ZAPHOD:
Hi. What?

HAGGUNENNON UNDER FLEET COMMANDER:
I trust you had a pleasant meal?

ZAPHOD:
Uh, wha-what? Ohhhh, er, er, yeah, yeah. Mmm, it was fine, er, thanks.

HAGGUNENNON UNDER FLEET COMMANDER:
Delighted to hear that sir. We are now in battle readiness state and all deployed to your rear in line of stride, seven minutes from target galaxy, and awaiting your orders.

ZAPHOD:
Great, great! Er, Fine. Well, er, er, you know, er, keep in touch, um, Under, er, First Commandant.

HAGGUNENNON UNDER FLEET COMMANDER:
Thank you sir. Oh and sir?

ZAPHOD:
Uh, yes?

HAGGUNENNON UNDER FLEET COMMANDER:
I like your outfit sir.

ZAPHOD:
Oh, uh, …

[Screen shuts off]

ZAPHOD:
Yeah, hmm, fine.

TRILLIAN:
Wow, that’s amazing Zaphod.

ZAPHOD:
Hey that is just too weird.

ARTHUR:
He actually thought you were the admiral!

TRILLIAN:
You did it!

FORD:
Cool, Really Cool Zaphod! Actually pretending to be the admiral!

ZAPHOD:
Yeah, yeah terrific. Now listen you dumb space cookie, I wasn’t pretending to be the admiral for some weird reason he just assumed I was!

ARTHUR:
Well perhaps you look like him or something.

ZAPHOD:
Yeah, well not if he looks like anything like his second-in-command, monkey man!

TRILLIAN:
Well what did he look like?

FORD:
Well, how

ARTHUR:
What was he?

ZAPHOD:
Well he was, he was a big leopard, okay? You know: with, with, y’know, the er, the, er, sunglasses, the in-flight casual spacesuit split to the navel… brown beach loafers… you know the whole bit!

ARTHUR:
How could he think you were the admiral?

FORD:
Well maybe leopards just have a lousy memory for faces.

ZAPHOD:
Hilarious.

TRILLIAN:
No, it must be simpler than that; there’s obviously something wrong with the visiscreen. I’ll have a look at it.

ZAPHOD:
You heard what the big cat said, he said he liked my outfit - so he must have seen me.

FORD:
Ah, maybe you just didn’t have any taste.

TRILLIAN:
Hey! The screen’s coming on again!

[The visiscreen activates]

FORD:
Zaphod! Get, get back in that seat. Tri-Trillian! Trillian

TRILLIAN:
Too late! Get back all of you!

HAGGUNENNON UNDER FLEET COMMANDER:
Under Fleet Commandant reporting

TRILLIAN:
Hello.

HAGGUNENNON UNDER FLEET COMMANDER:
Battle state reset and six minutes from target galaxy. Oh, and er, Admiral?

TRILLIAN:
Y- yes?

HAGGUNENNON UNDER FLEET COMMANDER:
I really like the gear - even better than last time.

TRILLIAN:
Ohh! Thanks.

[The visiscreen deactivates]

ZAPHOD:
Wowee! Weirder and weirder!

TRILLIAN:
Good god!

ARTHUR:
What is it Trillian?

TRILLIAN:
Did you see that? I thought you said he was a leopard!

ARTHUR:
He sounded different.

FORD:
Did he look different?

TRILLIAN:
Well he wasn’t so much a leopard, more of a sort of, er, sort of…

ARTHUR:
What?

TRILLIAN:
You know. Shoebox.

ARTHUR:
A shoebox?!

TRILLIAN:
Full of, well, size-nine chukka boots.

ARTHUR:
A shoebox full of size-nine chukka boots!?

ZAPHOD:
Alright chimp-man, whadda ya think this is? Dictation?

ARTHUR:
I just wondered how she knew they were size-nine!

FORD:
Trillian, are you seriously telling us you’ve been talking to a box of shoes?

TRILLIAN:
Yes.

FORD:
And he -

ZAPHOD:
She.

ARTHUR:
It.

TRILLIAN:
They.

FORD:
…thought that you also were the admiral?

TRILLIAN:
Well you heard it.

ZAPHOD:
What are they? Clinically thick?

FORD:
I think they’re very clever, they’re trying to confuse us to death.

MARVIN:
I don’t think they’re very clever. There’s only one person as intelligent as me within thirteen parsecs of here and that’s me.

ZAPHOD:
Okay Marvin, is there anything that you can tell us?

MARVIN:
Yes, I’ve got this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.

ARTHUR:
What was the name the second in command said? Haggunennon? Why don’t we look it up in the Book?

TRILLIAN:
What book?

ARTHUR:
’The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’.

ZAPHOD:
Oh that hack rag.

[The Book activates]

THE BOOK:
The Haggunennons of Azizatus Three have the most impatient chromosomes of any life-forms in the galaxy. Where as most races are content to evolve slowly and carefully over thousands of generations - discarding a prehensile toe here, nervously hazarding another nostril there, the Haggunennons would do for Charles Darwin what a squadron of Arcturan Stunt-Apples would have done for Sir Isaac Newton. Their genetic structure, based on the quadruple-striated octo-helix, is so chronically unstable, that far from passing their basic shape onto their children, they will quite frequently evolve several times over lunch. But they do this with such reckless abandon that if, sitting at table, they are unable to reach a coffee spoon, they are liable without a moments consideration to mutate into something with far longer arms - but which is probably quite incapable of drinking the coffee. This, not unnaturally, produces a terrible sense of personal insecurity and a jealous resentment of all stable life-forms, or “filthy rotten stinking samelings” as they call them. They justify this by claiming that as they have personally experienced what it is like to be virtually everybody else they can think of, they are in a very good position to appreciate all their worst points. This appreciation is usually military in nature and is carried out with unmitigated savagery from the gunrooms of their horribly beweaponed, chameleoid death flotilla. Experience has shown that the most effective way of dealing with any Haggunennon you may meet is to run away… terribly fast.


Scene 2. Int. Spaceship

FORD:
Great!

ARTHUR:
Terrific!

TRILLIAN:
Thanks a million, Zaphod.

ZAPHOD:
Well, hey don’t look at me. I mean -

TRILLIAN:
What do we do?

FORD:
The Book says run away.

ZAPHOD:
Uhh, how do we get the automatic pilot on our side.? Box of choccies and some sweet talk? Any ideas, Marvin?

MARVIN:
If I were you I’d be very depressed.

ZAPHOD:
Earthman?

ARTHUR:
I go a long with Marvin.

ZAPHOD:
Ford?

FORD:
Well, I always find that the prospect of death contracts the mind wonderfully.

TRILLIAN:
Ya know, I’ve just thought: there is a chance.

ARTHUR:
What a chance? As far as I can see you might as well lower haystacks off the boat deck of The Lusitania!

TRILLIAN:
No, no, think about it. The second-in-command assumed that the admiral, Zaphod, and I were the same person not because we looked similar, but because we looked completely different!

FORD:
Hey! Y- yes!

TRILLIAN:
So if…

FORD:
Right! Right! I’m with you. If the second-in-command can be a shoebox, the admiral can be anything. A- a paraffin stove, a- a water bison, an anaconda…

ZAPHOD:
Terrr-rific! I’ll root around for the water bison. Trillian you see if you can find the jar the admiral keeps his anacondas in.

FORD:
Look, can it Zaphod! It could quite easily be something mundane: er, a screwdriver, that cord of wire, the chair itself!

ZAPHOD:
Yeah. Hey, you know that’s a really neat chair - could’ve been made for me. It’s got the two headrests, dig?

FORD:
What tho- those two great furry things?

ZAPHOD:
Yeah.

FORD:
Oh, they look ridiculous.

TRILLIAN:
It was very uncomfortable. I prefer something with far longer arms.

ARTHUR:
But which is probably quite incapable of drinking coffee!

ZAPHOD:
Hey, errrr, what did you say, Earthman?

TRILLIAN:
Did you say headrests Zaphod? They look a lot like eyebrows to me.

ZAPHOD:
That chair is scratching its leg.

TRILLIAN:
It’s just been asleep all this time.

FORD:
Arthur! For god’s sake get back here quick!

ZAPHOD:
Yeah stand up when you sit on the admiral, primate!

TRILLIAN:
It’s moving! Look, it’s starting to evolve!

[A loud roar]

ZAPHOD:
[Screams]

FORD:
Eat your heart out Galapagos Islands.

ZAPHOD:
G-force you know what that is?

TRILLIAN:
Let me guess, terrible! Am I wrong?

[Another loud roar]

ZAPHOD:
It’s a carbon copy of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal - or I’m a Vogon’s Grandmother!

ARTHUR:
The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal! Is it safe?

[Sound of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal salivating]

FORD:
Oh Yes! It’s perfectly safe - it’s just us who are in trouble. If that’s the admiral and he still wants his coffee it ain’t sponge fingers he’s gonna dunk in it.

[A loud roar]

ZAPHOD:
Wuuahhhhhhhh!

TRILLIAN:
Ford! Throw some furniture at it!

FORD:
What do I do?! Pick up this table by the ears?

ARTHUR:
[Shouts]Oh god, the whole place is coming alive!

[We hear the contents of the spaceship slowly waking up…]

ZAPHOD:
Yeah, and we’re coming dead!

TRILLIAN:
These ashtrays! Just turned into a jar full of anacondas!

ZAPHOD:
Just- just tell it we’ll let them know!

TRILLIAN:
Ah! Urgh!

FORD:
Get off me you filthy sofa!

ARTHUR:
God! And I thought Time’s Furnishing was a riffing!

ZAPHOD:
[Shouts]
FORD:
Arthur and I’ll take this one! Zaphod you and the others take the left-hand one!

ZAPHOD:
Right!

[Over the roaring we hear the escape capsule opening]

FORD:
Press the go start Arthur.

[The escape capsule leaves the ship]


Scene 3. Int. Escape Capsule

ARTHUR:
Phew! Safe. Oh! Oh! Hey, Ford, look! The other capsule’s missing! The chute’s empty! Someone else must’ve used that capsule! The others are trapped!

FORD:
Well it’s too late Arthur we can’t help them. This capsule won’t turn back.

ARTHUR:
What happens if I press this button here?

FORD:
Don’t!

[Noise of Phargilor Kangaroo Relocation Drive engaging]

FORD:
Fortunately for Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent, their capsule was fitted with latest in instant space travel: the Phargilor Kangaroo Relocation Drive - by which a ship may be ejected suddenly through the fabric of the space-time continuum and come to rest far from its starting point. This is, however, an emergency device and there is rarely time to plot where the ship will land. Meanwhile, this is what happened to Zaphod, Trillian, and Marvin:


Scene 4. Int. Spaceship

[Ferocious roaring]

TRILLIAN:
[Yells]

ZAPHOD:
Oh! No. No! Get off!

TRILLIAN:
Look out!

[More ferocious roaring]

MARVIN:
Ouch.

TRILLIAN:
[Screams]

[Even more ferocious roaring]

ZAPHOD:
Keep off! Ugh! Uhhh!

MARVIN:
Oh no. Dear, dear, dear, my arm’s come off.

TRILLIAN:
[Puffing with exertion] He’s got us! Urgh!

[The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal begins advancing on them]

TRILLIAN:
If ever I survive this [Pant] I’ll get a job as Moby Dick’s dentist

ZAPHOD:
Urgh! Wh! Ge-

[More eating]

ZAPHOD:
Can it Trillian, I’m trying to die with dignit-eeeeee!

TRILLIAN:
Urghh!

MARVIN:
I’m just trying to die.

TRILLIAN:
Urgh-huh-huh!

ZAPHOD:
[Yells]

[The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal begins eating them]

ZAPHOD:
No problem! Pas de problème!

MARVIN:
Ah... the ennui is overpowering.

[The Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal swallows and burps]

NARRATOR:
And this is what happened to Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect:


Scene 5. Int. Escape Capsule

[Noise of Phargilor Kangaroo Relocation Drive disengaging]

ARTHUR:
Are we in normal space?

FORD:
No. I think we’ve materialised inside another spaceship.

ARTHUR:
More problems.

FORD:
Well, we’ll see.

[Sound of scanners checking]

FORD:
Atmosphere’s ok. Le-Let’s get out and have a look.

[Hatch opens]

ARTHUR:
Ford?

FORD:
Yeah?

ARTHUR:
What about the others?

FORD:
Arthur, you’ll have to learn it’s a convention in all space-travelling species that if have to ditch someone, you know - a friend, and there’s nothing you can do, you just let it be. You don’t talk about them, Okay?

ARTHUR:
What, really?

FORD:
And then we get blind drunk about them later.

ARTHUR:
I think there must be something terribly wrong with the universe you know.

FORD:
I think there must be something terribly wrong with this ship!

ARTHUR:
Yes, it looks like a mausoleum.

FORD:
That’s it! Yes you’re right! The place is full of sarcophagi as far as the eye can see! Wild!

ARTHUR:
What’s so great about dead people?

FORD:
Well I don’t know. Let’s have a look. Here! Here. There’s a plaque on this one.

ARTHUR:
What does it say?

FORD:
”Golgafrincham Ark Fleet. Ship B. Hold Seven: Telephone Sanitizers, Second Class.” And a serial number!

ARTHUR:
”Telephone Sanitizer”? A dead telephone sanitizer?

FORD:
Best kind.

ARTHUR:
Well what’s he doing here?

FORD:
Not a lot.

ARTHUR:
No! - but I mean why? Good god! This one’s a dead hairdresser.

FORD:
And this one here’s an advertising account executive.

ARTHUR:
Are these really coffins? They’re terribly cold.

NUMBER TWO:
Alright! Hold it right there!

ARTHUR:
Why isn’t anyone ever pleased to see us?


Scene 6. Int. B Ark. Bridge

CAPTAIN:
[Humming]

NUMBER ONE:
Ummm. Er, Captain.?

CAPTAIN:
Oh. Yes, Number One?

NUMBER ONE:
I- I just had a sort of umm, report-thing from Number Two.

CAPTAIN:
Oh dear.

NUMBER ONE:
He was shouting something or other about having found some prisoners.

CAPTAIN:
Oh well! Perhaps that’ll keep ‘im happy for a bit. Heh, he’s always wanted some.

NUMBER ONE:
Oh, oh….

[Door opens]

NUMBER TWO:
Captain sir.

CAPTAIN:
Ah! Hel-lo Number Two. Having a nice day?

NUMBER TWO:
I brought you the prisoners I located in Freezer Bay Seven sir.

FORD:
Hello.

ARTHUR:
Er, Hello.

CAPTAIN:
Oh Hello! Excuse me not getting up - just having a quick bath. Well! Um, gin-and-tonics all round then. Uh, look in the fridge will you Number One?

NUMBER ONE:
Certainly, certainly sir.

NUMBER TWO:
Don’t you want to interrogate the prisoners, sir?

CAPTAIN:
Dear oh dear, why on Earth should I want to do that?

NUMBER TWO:
Well to get information out of them sir. They are my prisoners, can’t I just interrogate them - a little bit?

CAPTAIN:
Oh, all right, if you must. Ask them what they want to drink.

NUMBER TWO:
Oh thank you sir. [Shouts] All right! You scum! You vermin!

CAPTAIN:
I say, steady on Number Two.

NUMBER TWO:
Oh very good sir. Whaddya you want to drink?!

FORD:
Well, uh, the gin-and-tonic sounds very nice to me. Arthur?

ARTHUR:
What? Oh yes..

NUMBER TWO:
With ice or without?

FORD:
Oh, with please.

NUMBER TWO:
Lemon?

FORD:
Er, yes please. And do you have any of those little biscuits? You know the cheesy ones?

NUMBER TWO:
I’m asking the questions!

CAPTAIN:
Ye-ah… Number Two… Number Two.

NUMBER TWO:
Sir?

CAPTAIN:
Push off would you, there’s a good chap. I’m trying to have a relaxing bath.

NUMBER TWO:
Sir. May I remind you that you have now been in that bath for over three years?

CAPTAIN:
Yes. Well, you need to relax a lot in a job like mine.

ARTHUR:
What on Earth’s going on?

FORD:
Could I actually ask you, er, what your job is, in fact?

NUMBER ONE:
Er, er, your drinks.

FORD:
Oh, thanks

ARTHUR:
Thanks.

FORD:
I mean couldn’t help noticing, you know, the bodies.

CAPTAIN:
Bodies?

FORD:
All those dead telephone sanitizers and account executives, you know, in, in the hold.

CAPTAIN:
Oh! They’re not dead! Good Lord, No, no. They’re just frozen - they’re going to be revived.

ARTHUR:
You really mean you’ve got a hold full of frozen hairdressers?

CAPTAIN:
Oh yes. Millions of them! Hairdressers, tired T.V. producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers…

NUMBER TWO:
Security guards…

NUMBER ONE:
Management consultants…

CAPTAIN:
Yes, well, you name it and we’ve got it!

NUMBER ONE:
We certainly have yes!

NUMBER TWO:
[Laughs]

CAPTAIN:
We’re going to colonise another planet!

ARTHUR:
What!?

NUMBER TWO:
Oh, yes, yes, yes.

CAPTAIN:
It’s exciting, isn’t, eh?

ARTHUR:
What, with that lot?

CAPTAIN:
Yeah - oh don’t misunderstand me, we’re just one of the ships in the Ark Fleet. You see We’re the B Ark, you see. Uh, sorry, could I just ask you two to run a bit more hot water for me?

[The taps run water]

CAPTAIN:
Ah yes. Do help yourself to more drinks would you?

FORD:
Oh, thanks.

ARTHUR:
What’s a “B Ark”?

CAPTAIN:
What? Oh, well! What happened you see, was our planet was doomed.

ARTHUR:
Doomed?

CAPTAIN:
Oh yes. So what everyone thought was, well let’s pack the whole population in some sort of giant spaceship, you see, and go and settle on another planet!

ARTHUR:
You mean a less-doomed one?

CAPTAIN:
Oh precisely yes. So it was decided to build three ships, three Arks in space, anyway…where’s the soap? Ah! Thank you. Ah! So the idea was that into the first ship, the A Ship, would go all the brilliant leaders…

NUMBER ONE:
The scientists…

CAPTAIN:
Yes, the great artists, you know, all the achievers. And then, into the third ship, the C Ship, would go all the people who did the actual work; who made things and did things you see. And then in the B Ship -

NUMBER ONE:
That’s us.

CAPTAIN:
Yes. Would go everyone else, the middlemen you see. And so we were sent off first.

ARTHUR:
But what was wrong with your planet?

CAPTAIN:
Well it was doomed - as I said. Apparently it was going to crash into the sun. Or was it the moon that was going to crash into us?

NUMBER ONE:
No, no, I thought it was that the planet was more or less bound to be invaded by a gigantic swarm of twelve-foot piranha bees.

NUMBER TWO:
No, no, no. That’s not what I was told! My commanding officer swore blind that the entire planet was in emanate danger of being eaten by an enormous mutant star goat.

FORD:
Oh really, really?

NUMBER TWO:
Yes, but he was just hoping that the ship he was going in would be ready in time.

ARTHUR:
But they made sure that they sent all you lot off first anyway?

CAPTAIN:
Oh yes, everyone said, and very nicely I think -

NUMBER ONE:
Oh yes sir. Absolutely charming.

CAPTAIN:
That it was very important for moral to feel that they would be arriving on a planet where they could be sure of a good haircut and where the phones were clean.

FORD:
Oh yes! Well I- I can see that would be very important.

ARTHUR:
Can you?!

FORD:
[Now trying very hard not to laugh]Sh-shh Arthur. And er, the, the other ships followed on after you did they?

CAPTAIN:
Ah! Well, it’s funny you should mention that…

NUMBER TWO:
Yes, yes isn’t it?

NUMBER ONE:
Yes.

CAPTAIN:
Because curiously enough, we haven’t actually heard a peep out of them since we left

NUMBER ONE:
No.

CAPTAIN:
But they must be behind us somewhere.

FORD:
Unless, of course, they were eaten by the goat.

CAPTAIN:
Ah! Yes… the goat… Hmm, it’s a funny thing you know. Now that I’ve actually come to tell the story to someone else, I mean - doesn’t it strike you as odd Number One?

NUMBER ONE:
Well sir, er…

CAPTAIN:
Huh?

NUMBER ONE:
Ah…

CAPTAIN:
Ah…

NUMBER ONE:
Mmmh…

CAPTAIN:
Mmmh…

NUMBER ONE:
Oh…

CAPTAIN:
Oh…

FORD:
Well, I can see that you’ve got a lot of things you’re gonna want to talk about, so thanks for the drinks and if you could sort of drop us off and the nearest, convenient planet..?

CAPTAIN:
Ah well, that’s a little difficult you see because our trajectory- thingy, was preset before we left Golgafrincham.

FORD:
When are you gonna reach the planet you’re meant to be colonising?

CAPTAIN:
Oh, well we nearly there!… I think… yes. Any second now. Well it’s probably time I got out of the bath in fact. Ha ha. Oh… I don’t know though… why stop just when you’re enjoying it, you know I always say…

ARTHUR:
So we’re actually going to land in a minute?

CAPTAIN:
Well not, not, not so much land in fact, I think as far as I can remember we’re programmed to, er crash on it.

ARTHUR and FORD:
”Crash”?

CAPTAIN:
Yes. It’s all part of the plan. … I think. There was terribly good reason for it which I can’t… quite… remember at the moment.

FORD:
[Yells in exasperation] You’re a load of useless, bloody loonies!!

CAPTAIN:
Ah, yes, that was it, that was reason it was. Ha. Pass me the loofah will you?

[The ship crash lands]

NARRATOR:
’The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ has this to say about the planet of Golgafrincham: It is a planet with an ancient and mysterious history, in which the most mysterious figures of all are, without doubt, those of the Great Circling poets of Arium. These Circling Poets used to live in remote mountain passes where they would lie and wait for small bands of unwary travellers, circle round them, and throw rocks at them. And when the travellers cried out saying ‘why didn’t they go away and get on with writing some poems instead of pestering people with all this rock-throwing business,’ they would suddenly break off and sing them an incredibly long and beautiful song - in which they told of how there once went forth, from the City of Vassillian, a party of five sage princes with four horses. The first part of the song tells how these five sage princes - who are, of course, brave, noble, and wise - travel widely in distant lands, fight giant ogres, pursue exotic philosophies, take tea with weird gods, and rescue beautiful monsters from ravening princesses, before finally announcing that they have achieved enlightenment and that their wanderings are therefore accomplished. The second, and much longer part, tells of all their bickerings about which one of them is going to have to walk back. It was, of course, a descendent of these eccentric poets who invented this curious tale of impending doom which enabled the people of Golgafrincham to rid themselves of an entire useless third of their population. The other two-thirds, of course, stayed at home and lived full, rich, and happy lives until they were all suddenly wiped out by a virulent disease contracted from a dirty telephone. Meanwhile, Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and an Ark-load of frozen middle management men have crashed into the prehistoric dawn of a small, blue-green planet circling an unregarded yellow sun at the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral Arm of the Galaxy. After a year or so they convene a meeting to consider their position, which is not, on the whole, good…


Scene 7. Ext. Prehistoric Planet

FORD:
You don’t seem to understand…

MAN IN CROWD:
No, no, no I just -

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
It’s a simple matter! It’s a procedural matter! That’s the point!

CAPTAIN:
Alright, alright, alright, alright!

CHAIRMAN:
I’d like to call this meeting to some sort of order, if that is at all possible.

CROWD MEMBER:
Care for a light drink sir?

CHAIRMAN:
Uh, not now love…

FORD:
Look! C’mon please! I mean everybody! there is some important news: we’ve made a discovery.

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
Is it on the agenda?

FORD:
Oh don’t give me that!

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
Well I’m sorry, but speaking as a fully trained management consultant I must insist on the importance of observing the committee structure.

CROWD MEMBERS:
Yeah, yeah, yeah!.

FORD:
On a prehistoric planet!?

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
Address the chair.

CROWD MEMBERS:
Yes.

FORD:
There isn’t a chair! There’s only a rock!

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
Well, call it a chair.

FORD:
Why not call it a rock?

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
You - you obviously have no conception of modern business methods…

FORD:
And you have no conception of where the hell you are -

MARKETING GIRL:
Oh look shut up you two, just shut up! I want to table a motion. Guy: Boulder a motion you mean…

FORD:
Tha-Thank you I think I’ve made that point! Now listen! Someone: Order, Order!

FORD:
Oh God!

CHAIRMAN:
Listen! I would like to call to order the five-hundred-and-seventy-third meeting of the colonization committee of the planet of Fintlewoodlewix. And furthermore -

FORD:
Oh this is futile! Five-hundred-and-seventy-three committee meetings and you haven’t even discovered fire yet!

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
If you would care to look at the agenda sheet -

GUY:
Agenda rock, yes…

FORD:
Oh, go on back home or something will ya?

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
…you will see that we are about to have a report from the hairdressers fire development subcommittee today.

HAIRDRESSER:
That’s me.

FORD:
Yeah well you know what they’ve done don’t you? You gave them a couple of sticks and they’ve gone and developed them in to a pair of bloody scissors!

MARKETING GIRL:
When you have been in marketing as long as I have, you’ll know that before any new product can be developed, it has to be properly researched. I mean yes, yes we’ve got to find out what people want from fire, I mean how do they relate to it, the image -

FORD:
Oh, stick it up your nose.

MARKETING GIRL:
Yes which is precisely the sort of thing we need to know, I mean do people want fire that can be fitted nasally.

CHAIRMAN:
Yes, and, and, and the wheel. What about this wheel thingy? Sounds a terribly interesting project to me.

MARKETING GIRL:
Er, yeah, well we’re having a little, er, difficulty here…

FORD:
Difficulty?! It’s the single simplest machine in the entire universe!

MARKETING GIRL:
Well alright mister wise guy, if you’re so clever you tell us what colour it should be!

FORD:
Oh Mighty Zarquon! Has no-one done anything?

MARKETING GIRL:
And of course Finlon the producer has rescued a camera from the wreckage of the ship and is making a fascinating documentary on the indigenous cavemen of the area.

FORD:
Oh yes, and they’re dying out, have you noticed that?

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
Yes we must make a note sir to stop selling them life insurance.

FORD:
But don’t you understand? Just since we’ve arrived they’ve started dying out.

MARKETING GIRL:
Yes! Yes! And this comes over terribly well in the film that he’s making. I gather that he wants to, eh, make a documentary about you next captain.

CAPTAIN:
What? Oh. Oh really? That’s awfully nice.

MARKETING GIRL:
Oh, he’s got a very strong angle on it: you know the burden of responsibility, the loneliness of command…

CAPTAIN:
Ah well I wouldn’t overstress that angle you know, I mean one’s never alone with a rubber duck…

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
Er, sir, er, skipper?

CAPTAIN:
Want a squeeze, eh?

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
Um listen, if we could, er, for a moment move on to the subject of fiscal policy -

FORD:
”Fiscal Policy”?!

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
Yes.

FORD:
How can you have money if none of you actually produce anything? It doesn’t grow on trees you know!

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
You know If you would allow me to continue!

CAPTAIN:
Yes let him to continue.

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
Since we decided a few weeks ago to adopt leaves as legal tender, we have, of course all become immensely rich.

FORD:
No really? Really?

CROWD MEMBERS:
Yes, very good move…

MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT:
But, we have also run into a small inflation problem on account of the high level of leaf availability. Which means that I gather the current going rate has something like three major deciduous forests buying one ship’s peanut. So, um, in order to obviate this problem and effectively revalue the leaf, we are about to embark on an extensive defoliation campaign, and um, burn down all the forests. I think that’s a sensible move don’t you?

MARKETING GIRL:
That makes economic sense.

[Murmurs of agreement from crowd]

FORD:
[Yells] You’re absolutely barmy! You’ve a bunch of raving nutters!

MARKETING GIRL:
Well is it - perhaps - in order to inquire what you have been doing all this time, huh?

CROWD MEMBERS:
Yes!

MARKETING GIRL:
Yes, you and that other interloper have been missing for months.

FORD:
Well, with respect love, we have been travelling around trying to find out about this planet.

MARKETING GIRL:
Well, that doesn’t sound very productive. I mean I’ve looked -

FORD:
Well I have got news, I have got news for you. It doesn’t matter a pair feted dingo’s kidneys what you all choose to do from now on. Burn down the forests, anything. It won’t make a scrap of difference. Two-million years you’ve got, and that’s it. At the end of that, your race will be dead, gone, and good-riddance to you. Remember that. Two. Million. Years.

CAPTAIN:
Ah. It’s time for another bath. Hmph. Pass me the sponge somebody will you?


Scene 8. Ext. Clearing on Prehistoric Planet

ARTHUR:
No. ‘Q’ scores ten you see? And it’s on a ‘Triple Word Score’, so -

CAVEMAN:
Ugh, Ugh, Ugh, Ugh!

ARTHUR:
I’m sorry, but I explained the rules!

CAVEMAN:
Ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh!

ARTHUR:
No! No! Look, please put down that jawbone!

CAVEMAN:
Ugh, mmh, mmh.

ARTHUR:
All right, we’ll start again. Now try to concentrate this time.

CAVEMAN:
Ugh.

FORD:
Oh what are you doing Arthur?

ARTHUR:
Trying to teach the caveman to play ‘Scrabble’. It’s uphill work. The only word they know is “grunt” and they can’t spell it.

FORD:
And would you please tell me what that is supposed to achieve?

ARTHUR:
We’ve got to encourage them to evolve Ford! Can you imagine what a world is going to be like that descends from those cretins over there?!

FORD:
We don’t have to imagine. Let’s face it, we already know what it’s like. We’ve seen it. There’s no escape.

ARTHUR:
Did you tell them what we discovered?

FORD:
Slartibartfast’s signature on the glacier? No. W- what’s the point? Why should they listen? What’s it to them that this place happens to be called the Earth?

ARTHUR:
And that it happens to be my original home!

FORD:
Yeah but you won’t even be born for nearly two-million years! So they’re likely to feel that it’s not a lot of your business. I mean, face up to it Arthur, those zeebs over there are your ancestors, not these cavemen. Put the ‘Scrabble’ away, it won’t save the Human race, because Mr. Ugh here is not destined to be the human race. The human race is currently sitting ‘round that rock over there, making documentaries about themselves.

ARTHUR:
But there must be something we can do!

FORD:
No! Nothing. Really, nothing! Because it’s all been done. I mean listen, we’ve been backwards and forwards through time and ended up here: two-million years behind where we started. But that doesn’t change the future, because we’ve seen it! I mean wise up kid, there’s nothing you can do to change it because it’s already happened.

ARTHUR:
And all because we arrived here with the Golgafrinchams in their B Ark?

FORD:
Yes.

CAVEMAN:
Ugh-um

ARTHUR:
Poor bloody caveman. It’s all been a bit of a waste of time for you, hasn’t it?

CAVEMAN:
Ugh.

ARTHUR:
You’ve been out-evolved by a telephone sanitizer.

CAVEMAN:
Abh, Ugh, uh, ugh, umph.

FORD:
He’s pointing to the ‘Scrabble’ board.

ARTHUR:
Pointing to the ‘Scrabble’ board… Well he’s probably spelled “library” with one “R” again, poor bastard.

FORD:
No he hasn’t!

ARTHUR:
Hey, no, look! It says “forty-two”. The experiment! It’s something to do with the computer program to find the Ultimate Question!!

FORD:
Hey! You know what this means, don’t you?

ARTHUR:
What?

FORD:
It must’ve gone wrong! If the computer matrix was set of to follow the evolution of the human race through from the cavemen, and then we’ve arrived and caused them to die out…

ARTHUR:
And actually replaced them…

FORD:
…then the whole thing is cocked up.

ARTHUR:
So whatever it was that Marvin spotted in my brainwave patterns is, in fact, the wrong question!

FORD:
Yeah! Well, it might be right, but it’s probably wrong. Ah, if only we could find out what it is…!

ARTHUR:
Look, if it’s printed in my brainwave patterns but I don’t know how to reach it - suppose we introduce some random element which can be shaped by that pattern!

FORD:
Like?

ARTHUR:
Pulling out letters from the ‘Scrabble’ bag!

FORD:
Brilliant! That’s bloody brilliant!

ARTHUR:
Right.

FORD:
Right.

ARTHUR:
First four letters…

FORD:
”W. H. A. T.” What.

ARTHUR:
Go on…

FORD:
”D. O.” Do. It’s working! Hey this is terrific! It’s really coming! “You get”… what do you get…

ARTHUR:
More here!

FORD:
…”if…you…mul- multiply” - oh, I’m beginning to get sinking feelings about this…”if you multiply six by, by… by nine”. By Nine? Is that it?!

ARTHUR:
That’s it. Six by nine…forty-two! I always said there was something fundamentally wrong about the universe!

FORD:
Hmmm.

ARTHUR:
So what do we do now?

FORD:
I guess we just swallow our pride and go and join the human race.

ARTHUR:
Yes.

CAVEMAN:
[Grunts]

FORD:
Right.

CAVEMAN:
[Grunts]

ARTHUR:
It’s sad though, just at the moment it’s a very beautiful planet.

FORD:
It is. It is indeed. The rich primal greens… the river snaking off into the distance… the burning trees…

ARTHUR:
And in two million years: bang! It gets destroyed by the Vogons. What a life for a young planet to look forward to!

FORD:
Well - better than some. I read of one planet off in the seventh dimension that got used as a ball in a game of Intergalactic Bar Billards. Got putted straight into a black hole, killed ten-billion people.

ARTHUR:
Hmm. Total madness.

FORD:
Yeah! Only scored thirty points too.

ARTHUR:
Where did you read that?

FORD:
Hmm, a book.

ARTHUR:
Which book was that?

FORD:
’The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’

ARTHUR:
Oh that thing….

[Music: ‘What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong]

ANNOUNCER:
In the last episode of ’The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, Peter Jones was The Book. Simon Jones played Arthur Dent, and Geoffrey McGivern, Ford Prefect. Mark Wing-Davey was Zaphod Beeblebrox; Susan Sheridan, Trillian; Stephen Moore, Marvin; Beth Porter, Marketing Girl; Jonathan Cecil, Number One and Management Consultant; David Jason, Captain and Caveman; and Aubrey Woods, Number Two and the Hairdresser. The program was written by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd, and produced by Geoffrey Perkins, with the technical assistance of Alick Hale Munro and Paul Hoyden, and Harry Parker and Dick Mills of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

TX:
BBC Radio 4:
12th April 1978

Notes:

*Featuring Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trisha 'Trillian' McMillan and Marvin