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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Tertiary Phase

Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Tertiary Phase
Written by: Douglas Adams
Produced by: British Broadcasting Corporation
Year: 2004

Those of you fluent in Swedish will know that I love the primary and secondary phases of the most remarkable radio series of all time: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, both earning the highest grade possible. Therefore, it is frankly rather weird that I have not listened to the rest of the series until now, even though there is a quite logical gap between the second and tertiary phases. Let me tell you a little bit about the radio series.

It was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978 and later spawned what Douglas Adams called “a trilogy in five parts”. It is therefore the books that are based on the radio version and not the other way around, at least for the first two phases and novels. Roughly twenty five years later, another three phases were produced (tertiary, quandary and quintessential phases), going the other way around, i.e. adapting the last three novels to radio.

There are several differences between listening to the tertiary phase compared to the two earlier ones. Firstly, it lacks originality. Douglas Adams never meant two versions of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to be the same, and even if there are shallow differences between the third novel and the tertiary phase of the radio play, they are not interesting enough. Secondly, Peter Jones, who narrated the first two phases, died in 2000, passing his role on to William Franklyn. Sadly, there is a huge difference between the two in that I really loved Peter Jones narration and that I only get annoyed by William Franklyn’s voice.

I still think the first two phases are among the pest pieces of entertainment ever produced in any medium and some of the positive aspects yet remain (brilliant actors, especially for Ford and Arthur, for instance). However, the third phase does not have the same spark of brilliance, even though I still like the content. In this case, though, I do prefer the novel before the radio series.

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