The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy / Original BBC radio series on vinyl

First time on vinyl • Luxury presentation • Signed sets sold out

The original six episodes of Douglas Adams’ classic BBC radio series The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy will be available on vinyl for first time ever, in August.

The comedy science fiction series was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978 and over the years was adapted into other formats, notably novels, a TV series, and a feature film. This new vinyl set is released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original broadcasts.

This first volume (others are planned over the next year), known as Primary Phase, is presented on triple 180g RED vinyl and housed in a 12″ x 12″ hardcover book, which features newly commissioned sleeve notes and an essay from author Neil Gaiman.

Gorgeous looking design. Click image to enlarge

As well as actors like Peter Jones (as The Book), Simon Jones (as Arthur Dent) and Geoffrey McGivern (as Ford Prefect) the guest cast included Jim Broadbent, David Jason, Richard Vernon and Roy Hudd and the sound effects were by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

The book boasts some stunning design (see images above and below) and also includes a ‘making of’ essay by Jem Roberts, author of The Frood: The Authorised and Very Official History of Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

This Primary Phase first volume will be released on 24 August by Demon Records. The limited edition version with a print signed by author Neil Gaiman has now sold out.

Compare prices and pre-order

Douglas Adams

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy - 3LP red vinyl standard edition

Shop Price gbp Stock
Amazon jp   9669.00
JPC de   99.99

Vinyl Record 1
Side A: Episode One – Fit The First
Side B: Episode Two – Fit The Second

Vinyl Record 2
Side A: Episode Three – Fit The Third
Side B: Episode Four – Fit The Fourth

Vinyl Record 3
Side A: Episode Five – Fit The Fifth
Side B: Episode Six – Fit The Sixth

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Jim Galvin

I have both sets Amazon UK have released, we never heard these recordings in the U.S. so it’s a real treat. I’ve read there are Four more phases which I’m hoping will get the same treatment.


As a six-episode boxset I’d possibly go for it, but at these individual prices hell-no — £400+?!

Also, that sleeve is just lame — what a contrast to the beautiful ORA vinyls. In this regard, it’s interesting that no-one has questioned the analogue/digital provenance of these releases — they are almost certain to be digital (unlike the ORAs) and thus of no utility on vinyl over the already-released (and much-cheaper) CD versions.

Cash-grab, and not on behalf of DA…


If you go to the link Kevin posted below for Demon, there are signed versions still available from Amazon and cheaper than the standard version when I checked about an hour ago


Just a heads up to anyone who wanted the Limited Edition, which includes the print signed by Neil Gaiman, it appears to be available again. I was looking at my pre-orders, and noticed that it is available for purchase on AmazonUK . I’m assuming some buyers have cancelled their orders. Also, the price is only approximately £4 more than the Collector’s Edition, which does not include the signed print.

Pete Muscutt

I wonder if the ‘phases’ to be released in future will have signed editions as well? It’d be cool to see some of the original cast sign them – Mark Wing-Davey, Simon Jones etc. Very much looking forward to this when it’s released.


If they’re going to release all six series at the same UK price each that’ll come to a vast, huge, mind-bogglingly big (though appropriate) £420.


Current plans are only for the first five series – presumably at about 3 month intervals over the next year – and “each will have 500 limited edition signed artwork print editions by its own guest sleeve note author”.
There’s a brief animated video here … https://www.demonmusicgroup.co.uk/the-hitchhikers-guide-to-the-galaxy-primary-phase-vinyl/


Tony if you are referencing Matthew”s post that there are now 42 comments, it’s a great comment if you are a HGTTG fan.

Throughout the whole show there is a running theme of “What is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything ?” It’s 42. So what does 42 mean ?

Back to this release. If thought I have no means of playing vinyl, would have to go my dad”s as a HGTTG this is a must buy as a collective. One of the most gorgeous looking SDE releases I have seen. Have multiple releases of the show on CD and digital already.

Kevin M

Why would anyone want to go back to listening to spoken word or drama on vinyl?
Plus, everybody knows 30 minutes is too long for an LP side, if that’s what they are. Is it IIRC 23 minutes then the sound unavoidably suffers?

Auntie Sabrina

Most of the sound is spoken word, sound effects and a small amount of music. I think it would be wrong to edit the show and it wouldn’t go down too well with the target audience having 23 minutes per side…


Because the radio show was very very good.
Brilliantly clever.

Tony Orwell

I do not have a single clue as to what any of you are talking about but I love the enthusiasm and detailed knoweledge and know you will all enjoy what appears to be a stunning item


Dive in! The water’s warm and the anoraks are comfy.
Start with the original Pan paperback. Left-justified version of course…

phil Burford

Babel Fish required


Hey, there are 42 comments! Cup of tea required.
Oh no, hold on this makes 43.


Ordered mine this morning. Very Mattressy.

John morris

Hmmm have they put back in all the edited parts? If they have then I’ll buy it. If not them it’s not the original broadcast versions and as I have the cd versions already I don’t need it.
I already have the re-recorded albums and the original radio broadcasts on tape and mp3 and the very first show with the original mouse voices.
I wish they would clarify which versions it’s gonna be

Auntie Sabrina

Is there still an issue regarding the “Journey Of The Sorcerer” theme due to licensing then too..?

CJ Feeney

Probably. The Eagles original was used for radio broadcasts but the original LPs, TV show and CD releases used a BBC recording. I suspect these records will use the BBC version.

It would be nice to be proved wrong, though.


sold out !

Nemo Thorx

Have you seen this analysis of differences between the original broadcast and subsequent edits? I ask because if there is a possibility your tape version is earlier than any he’s used, it would be good to see. – jwhitham.org.uk/magrathea/

Also, if you’re unaware, the Floyd/Beatles clips are included in contemporary radio broadcasts of the series – including the versions available worldwide on iplayer (the Beeb is currently doing just that, though ep3 has expired on the current play-through).

This would be the same audio as the CD releases though – there has been no hint that the BBC has gone to any effort to obtain the relevant rights to re-sell those clips.

John Kenneth Bishton

I can confirm that these are the edited versions just like all previous CDs and cassettes, so no Pink Floyd or Beatles (or Richard Strauss) in Fit The Third. I got this info from a direct enquiry to BBC Group Media Centre although no one is mentioning this in any of the advance promos.

Steve W

Apologies if I’ve missed something but why is Neil Gaiman signing copies?

Steve W

Ah, I see. Sorry I missed that when I skim read it before. (I was actually aware Douglas Adams was dead…)

Martyn Alner

And he did write a fantastic book about Hitch-hiker back in the late 80s – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_Panic:_The_Official_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy_Companion – I still have my original UK edition – which has a great cover.


He also wrote an indifferent book about Duran Duran in 1984!

CJ Feeney

Adams and Gaiman have also both written Doctor Who episodes.

Was the DD book the one that was shelved? Or was that Bros. Gaiman swore after working on it that he wouldn’t ever again work on something that he didn’t love or feel passionate about. The philosophy being that, even if the work was shelved, he at least would have the satisfaction of creating something HE thought was worthwhile.


Which I want him to sign too-for the fans…


Incredible artwork, but no CD, no sale!


It has been available on cd for years


I’m going to wait til it comes out on towel.

Rich H

Being a masochist, I’m waiting for the flannel edition

CJ Feeney

If you were a real masochist you’d be in for the Vogon verse translation.

michel bendichou

One of the few things I would consider there be no point in owning on vinyl. The “original” would have been heard on ropey transistor radios. So fidelity….

CJ Feeney

*Pedant alert*

The first six episodes were re-recorded for vinyl release as a 2 LP set (Hitchkikers Guide….) with eps 1 to 4 and 1LP (Restaurant at the…) was eps 5 and 6.

They did this to remove all problematic copyrighted material, such as the aforementioned Beatles and Floyd samples.

If this edition edits the show and removes the samples then this new edition will be neither the first time the series is on vinyl nor the first time the series “as broadcast” is on vinyl.

It will however continue Douglas Adams own proud tradition of no two versions of the oroginal story being exactly the same.

Ivor Canning

I too am waiting for the re-recorded LP material to come out on CD. For the record (ho ho!), the BBC CD releases to date have also had the ‘problematic’ music and references edited out (“Did you know your robot can hum Pink Floyd ?”) I presume this release is no different … ?


Another vote for the LP’s to get a reissue. There were some differences from the radio shows other than the music, and the “floyd quote” is there.

Nemo Thorx

*double-pedant alert*

The re-recordings weren’t done because they needed to remove the problematic copyright material. It was done because the BBC weren’t interested in a commercial release of the series at the time (and by the time they were, vinyl was considered dead). Douglas thought there was commercial value, and so the LP version was recorded (with some script and cast changes)

Whilst your point about this version being not exactly as broadcast, it is nonetheless a subset of what was broadcast, and the broadcast recordings have never previously been on vinyl, so I think the description is reasonable :)

Rich H

There’s just a little something that bugs me on the quote for disc 2. It should actually be “late, as in the late Dentarthurdent”.

Stuart Ansell

True, plus it’s ‘why stop now, just when I’m hating it?’. Two incorrect quotes on a ‘luxury’ package isn’t great….


The Slartibardfast quote is a big mistake, as it loses the whole point of the joke (the different meanings of “late”).
However, the third quote is from the B Ark Captain in Fit the Sixth and is correct … “It’s probably time I got out of the bath in fact. Oh I don’t know though, why stop just when I’m enjoying it?”


That’s good news, Paul … the thought of cancelling my pre-order had even begun to speculate about the possibility of crossing my mind. :)


Paul – clearly you are a frood who really knows where his towel is! ;-}

Richard Overall

I have the entire original radio series on CD (bought in the mid 90s) and the original 2LP adaptation with the single LP of Restaurant At The End Of The Universe (bought in mid 80s).
For what it’s worth, I prefer listening to those abridged LP versions.
They were able to spend more time with effects, performance etc (The Vogon poetry being a great example), and the whole story is snappier, being shorter.
So for serious fans, they are worth hunting down as well.
I still miss Douglas Adams…


Agreed. I used to have those LP’s. Fantastic, simple, eyecatching artwork. If you saw them now you’d think they were Underworld albums.
I liked the Restaurant LP the best – listened to it loads as a teen.
Now, I think I’ll go and have a bath……


Wow, that really is special looking, preordered, thanks as always for the heads up Paul.

Happy Towel Day, one and all.



ORDERED! Yep, this I didn’t even THINK about getting. Saw your post, Paul, and went for it immediately – obviously, the signed edition. But if there hadn’t been one…I would have gone for it just the same :-) I’ll get subsequent volumes, too – and yes, I do hope a CD version comes out, too.


You could argue, if you think about it, that Home Taping did kill Music.


Still hve my signed Dirk Gently and hitchhickers books by Doug Adams. Hope a CD version follows


Me too, met Mr Adams at the Royal Exchange in Manchester when he was promoting Last Chance To See.

Seemed a thoroughly nice bloke, gone far too soon :-(


Wasn’t there a record produced for the US market that had a different “mix” of the programme? I vaguely remember seeing it on sale in a shop on York many years ago…


I would guarantee that neither the Floyd nor the Beatles on Magrathea are part of this release.


This is one of those times when staying up late is really worth it. Thank you so much for this notification that has allowed me to snatch one of the limited editions. I introduced my daughter to THHGTTG at a very young age and now it is something very special between us. Although we both know it word for word, I am quite emotional just at the thought of sitting down together to listen all over again – and on red vinyl in beautiful packaging too!


First time on LP but there was a previous LP “adaptation “

Christopher Merritt

Wow – thanks Paul – pre-ordered. Predicting these will go faster than Slartibartifast.

David Rubin

Just ordered this. Always wanted this and now on vinyl I could not refuse. Loved the film from a few years ago.
Thanks for the updates and all your hard work.


Pushing the vinyl a bit — each Fit is 30 minutes long. I wonder if they’ve restored the Pink Floyd sample on Fit the Third?

Don Cooper

They probably consulted Todd Rundgren on fitting his comparable-length ‘Initiation’ onto vinyl in the Mid-Seventies.Bearsville label hinted that you could cassette-record the album to hear louder.
“Home-taping is killing music!” Anyone?

Julian Hancock

Perhaps they don’t expect many people to actually play the records.


Bought! Thanks Paul.

Can’t believe I went for it so fast. I recently got rid of my cassette version and my PC game.

Would 42 pounds be a more appropriate price for this though?

Sean Rowley

Does anyone know where I can buy the high-quality CD or downloadable versions of the 2018 remasters? The ones on Audible/Amazon are billed as the remasters, but the customer reviews say they aren’t. Some of them are in mono even!