The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, episode five

Longtime readers may know that this blog’s longest running and most exasperating inside joke is my disbelief over our son’s inability to recognize actors in different roles. Well, in the afternoons, we’ve been dusting off a few films and TV shows that we’ve watched together again. Space always being at a premium, I’ve decided that some movies that I bought specifically to show him for the blog, but will probably never, ever watch again myself, are going into a plastic “time capsule” bin for him to potentially enjoy sometime down the road. Or he can sell Battle Beyond the Stars and the like for the quarter apiece that DVDs will go for in the far-flung future of 2040, whatever, at least he’ll have the option.

So Adam Adamant Lives! isn’t going in the bin, because I really enjoy it, but we gave a couple of episodes another outing last week. He was honestly less taken with them than he was the first time around, which surprised me somewhat, but I made sure to draw his attention to Jack May, who played Simms, and told him that he’d be seeing him again when Hitchhiker’s got to Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. And not only did he identify Jack May tonight, he noticed Peter Davison’s name in the opening credits. “Yeah, but you won’t recognize him,” I said. That’s Davison on the right in the photo above as the Dish of the Day. I enjoyed pausing the episode during the end credits so the kid could read who he played.

While I’m talking of actors, the great Colin Jeavons plays the compere and comedian who performs at Milliways, and he is magnificent. I just bet that among the thousands of frustrating fights they had making this show, somebody at the BBC was really pushing to have a known comedian from the day like Eric Morecambe or Ronnie Corbett play the role for the publicity and the ratings. Using a supporting character actor like Jeavons instead of a standup works really well and I just love how he throws himself into it.

When Marie read our son the first two books, I gave him a quick lesson in tax exiles, specifically how the UK’s mega-rich like David Bowie or Elton John or Roger Moore would move to Switzerland to avoid the taxman. I probably should have mentioned David Gilmour, because the band Disaster Area was meant as a specific lampoon of Pink Floyd. One of the spaceships that they consider stealing from the Milliways car park before settling on Disaster Area’s produced our son’s favorite line from the first two books: it “steers like a cow.” He laughed really hard when the actors got to that line.

He did, however, protest that he really preferred the way that Adams got our heroes out from the cliffhanger at the end of part four in the novel rather than the series. We pointed out that one of the neat things about Hitchhiker’s is the way that Douglas Adams kept evolving it from medium to medium. I pulled my increasingly fragile copy of the radio scripts off the shelf to show him that the time travel explosion was there in the original, and it took Adams a few years to figure out a better way to get from one scene to the next.

One thought on “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, episode five

  1. You know, I’d forgotten that Jeavons was actually the villain in an Adam Adamant Lives!. Maybe that should’ve been one of the two we watched last week…

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