Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Win a bronze Vogon statue!


Save the Rhino has put up for auction a handcrafted model of Commander Kwaltz by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Standing 18cm tall and weighing over 6kg, it's a real beauty (if such thing can be said about vogons). It was the same statue that Save The Rhino tried to sell during the last douglas adams' lecture but the starting price (2000 pounds) was too high for biders even if it's really worth its estimated price of £5,000).

The is 500 tickets to buy at a ticket price of £10. You can buy several if you want.

Here is the link for the raffle : https://rogavi.com/prize/15/

(thanks to DaveH for the news)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bad news. Dirk Maggs won't make "the salmon of doubt" radio series

Dirk Maggs who succesfully adapted and directed the three new phases of the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy radio series, the two Dirk Gently books, has decided he won't write and direct the last Dirk Gently radio series which was going to be based on the unfinished "salmon of doubt".

Dirk Maggs finally decided to cancel his contact with Above The Tittle which produced the new Hitchhiker's radio series and the Dirk Gently radio series for BBC 4.

It is of course awfully bad news. The last Dirk Gently radio series was scheduled for a broadcast next year and is probably going to be cancelled as I don't think an other director could do Dirk Magg's writing and directing job.

Here is the letter he sent to our friends of the DAC (douglas adams continuum) :

"Dear DAC

I have found it necessary to terminate my contract with Above The Title Productions, to write and direct Dirk Gently Series 3.

I am very relieved to move on, though sad not to realise the conclusion I was working towards for Douglas's unfinished trilogy.

I'd like to say particular thanks to members of the Continuum for their warmth, humour and honest criticism in the past, it has been much appreciated and great fun.

I'm happily moving on to lots of new ventures in various media, including BBC radio comedy and drama through Perfectly Normal Productions.

All best wishes for the future - and thanks again, froods.

yours ever Dirk"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Last chance to see is back (too)! (EDIT : with official webiste)

After the Hitchhiker's Guide to the galaxy, we learn that there will be a new Last chance to see book. This sequel will be written by Douglas' friend Stephen Fry and zoologist Mark Carwardine. At the time, Douglas and Mark also made a radio series. But this time there will be also a TV series. The illustrated book, Last Chance to See: The Return, will be published in hardback in October 2009 priced £20. The programme will be broadcast on BBC2 at the same time.

So in October 2009, we'll get a new H2G2 book, a new LTCS book, and a new LTCS TV series. There sould be too the third Dirk Gently's adaptation on Radio 4 at the same time!

And Douglas is not even here to miss all these deadlines. Sad!

For more infos about the new LTCS book and TV series :

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/67361-hc-buys-tie-in-to-new-stephen-fry-show.html

In october 08, the BBC has launched a new mini website about the series with some nice extras (interviews, pictures and extracts from the original radio series) http://www.bbc.co.uk/lastchancetosee/

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Eoin Colfer on the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

It is interesting to read this text written by Eoin Coffer, the writer of the sixth installment of the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy :

"From Penguin Press:

I first read the Hitchhiker’s Guide in my late teens when Ted Roche, a libertine friend of mine, pressed it into my sweaty palms and hissed at me with fanatical intensity that I must read it or be ridiculed forever by the school literati. Relax, dude, I remember saying with eighties’ insouciance. Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.

But I was scared. Petrified in fact. If one was not a sportsman, the only other circle to belong to was the readers’ circle. Places were limited and expulsions were swift and ruthless. If one had not read the livre du jour then one would not be offered book swapsies on Friday. If this happened, then a person might be forced to turn to his own siblings for conversation.

So, in this spirit of quasi-persecution I scuttled home after double chemistry and found a quiet bathroom where I could settle down and read what I was certain would be a thinly veiled version of Star Wars. Vogons destroy the Earth and a single hero survives. Please. I could almost write the rest myself.

Never have I been so happy to be proven wrong.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was like nothing I had read before, or since for that matter. If you have read it then you know exactly what I am talking about. If you haven’t then read it now, moron. The problem is the hyperbole puts people off. If it’s so popular then it must be middle of the road, brimming with clich├ęs and easily digested on the sands of Ibiza.

All false assumptions. The Guide is a slice of satirical genius. A marvel of quantum tomfoolery. A dissection of the absurdities of our human condition. A space odyssey that forces us to face ourselves and collapse in hysterics. Imagine if Messrs. Hawking and Fry were locked in a room with the entire cast of Monty Python and forced to write a book which would subsequently be edited by Pink Floyd, then the result would need a lot of work before it could be cut from Douglas Adams’ first draft.

For the next couple of decades I followed the exploits of Arthur Dent and his intergalactic troupe as they stumbled through space and time befuddled and bereft, drinking tea in the face of impossible odds and generally failing to find enlightenment at every turn. It’s like a quest for the holy grail where the grail is neither holy nor grail-shaped. I travelled with Arthur Dent as he lost his planet, learned to fly, found love, made sandwiches, got to know his daughter, found his planet again briefly and finally got blown to atoms.

Blown to atoms! Surely not, but no need to panic, Douglas Adams would surely reassemble Arthur somehow in the next book.

But as we all know, the next book never came and the legions of Hitchhiker fans were left with their hearts beating a little too quickly for all eternity.

It became a whimsy of mine to finish the story, just for my own peace of mind. I often wondered how Douglas Adams would have resurrected his beloved characters. And now, almost quarter of a century after first reading Hitchhiker, I have been given the incredible opportunity of writing the next chapter in the saga myself. In an actual book rather than in my head.

My first reaction was semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series. But on reflection I realised that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding onto the spirit of Douglas Adams and not laying a single finger on his five books.

Once again I am terrified by a Hitchhiker book and this time it is my own. I feel more pressure to perform now than I ever have with my own books, and that is why I am bloody determined that this will be the best thing I have ever written. And if it isn’t then I will make sure that the cover is extremely pretty.

For the first time in decades I feel the uncertainty that I last felt in my teenage years. There are people out there that really want to like this book. Ted Roche is one. I will track him down in eight months time, with a proof copy in my sweaty grip, press it into his hands and tell him with fanatical intensity that he really has to read this book. Then I will sit on the corner of his sofa until he is finished and await the verdict.

©Eoin Colfer Wexford, September 2008"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

H2G2 part 6 : a new book will be published in october 2009 !

I was of course quite taken aback when I learnt the news. British publiser Penguin has commissionned Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series, to write a sixth instalment of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy series.

According to The Press Association, the irish writer said he was "terrified" by the prospect of creating a new Hitchhiker book almost a quarter of a century after being introduced to what he described as a "slice of satirical genius" in his late teens.

He said: "My first reaction was semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series. But on reflection I realised that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding on to the spirit of Douglas Adams".

He added: "I feel more pressure to perform now than I ever have with my own books, and that is why I am bloody determined that this will be the best thing I have ever written. Being given the chance to write this book is like suddenly being offered the superpower of your choice. For years I have been finishing this incredible story in my head and now I have the opportunity to do it in the real world. It is a gift from the gods."

More news on the BBC : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7619828.stm

You can also listen to the anouncement on Penguin's website (it's a sound clip where Simon Jones plays Arthur Dent) : http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/0/today/index.html

It's an incredible news and I won't say I'm very pleased by the news. But, hell, nobody asked.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Stephen Fry : "I miss Douglas both as friend and technology guru"

Saturday 6th September, Stephen Fry wrote a column in the Guardian and on his forum, about a new media player. And of course, as he explains, "It is rare for me to contemplate new gadgetry without a pang of regret for the early passing of Douglas Adams." He adds : "Some Christians have What Would Jesus Do? as a motto; I have What Would Douglas Think?"

You can read his column on his website here.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Geoffrey Perkins died in a car accident

It's a very sad news for all hitchhiker's fans and british comedy fans alike. The great Geoffrey Perkins has died from a car accident friday 29th August. According to the Daily Telegraph, Geoffrey Perkins was hit by a truck on Marylebone High Street in London. He was just 55 years old.

Geoffrey Perkins began his career on Radio 4 and then BBC Radio Light Entertainment where he produced The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy original radio series from the second episode (Fit the Second) in remplacement of Simon Brett.

As written in the Daily Telegraph orbituary, "Early in 1978 Perkins, at 25, took over from Simon Brett as producer of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the science-fiction based comedy being devised by Douglas Adams, a famously slow writer with a history of missed deadlines. Perkins had to chivvy Adams along, and while Adams's old Cambridge friend John Lloyd was drafted in to write large sections of the later episodes, it was Perkins who helped Adams finish the scripts. Drawing on the resources of the Radiophonic Workshop, Perkins also marshalled his sound sources into weird new forms, and devised a range of voice treatments for the actors playing aliens that broke new ground.

The result was one of the funniest and most original comedies of postwar radio, winning critical and popular acclaim and – by appealing to both high- and low-brow tastes – managing to alter entrenched public perceptions of Radio 4. "The intellectuals compared it to Swift," noted Perkins, "and the 14-year-olds enjoyed hearing depressed robots clanking around.""

Geoffrey Perkins then edited the original Radio scripts, played Arthur's producer in the quandary phase, and finally played the Narrator part during the 30th anniversary live performance of the second episode in London last march.

I had the pleasure to meet him during the 30th anniversary celebration and he kindly signed my original radio scripts book.

Apart from Hitchhikers, he was one of the most influencial comedy producer for twenty years. He was BBC head of comedy from 1995 to 2001. He produced such legendary shows as "Spitting image", "The fast show", "Father Ted", "The friday night live",...

On leaving the BBC (he was quite annoyed with BBC's bureaucracy), he joined Tiger Aspect productions. He recently procuded "Benidorm" (for ITV). His latest production for the BBC with Tiger Aspect, Harry and Paul, with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, starts next week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

By nbotti, Wednesday 21 May 2008 at 15:02 :: H2G2 general news Sunday 25th May is of course the Towel Day. So don't forget to bring your towel

Sunday 25th May is of course the Towel Day. So don't forget to bring your towel with you all the day. If you want to get more informations about towel day, here is the official website :

http://www.towelday.kojv.net/

The day before, Saturday 24th May, ZZ9 PLural Z Alpha, the officiel H2G2 fan club, organizes a guided visit in Cambridge : "Cambridge Slouch 13:00 meet at Cambridge Railway Station and we will decide what to do, as it depends on the weather. Recent Cambridge slouches have visited various Douglas Adams related locations in the city (his birthplace, his college, places where he performed in plays and revues), the Botanic Gardens to see the flowering of the Amorphophallus titanum, the Fitzwilliam Museum to see an Egyptian Book of the Dead, gone punting, and had the odd pint in various public houses.'

ZZ9 it's here!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Milliways: Infocom's Unreleased Sequel to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy !!

Andy Baio, an independent journalist and programmer living in Portland (USA), has just published on his website a detailed article about "Restaurant", the aborted sequel to the Infocom classic text adventure game "The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy".

He gives a lot of details and you can even play an unfinished version of Restaurant!

"From an anonymous source close to the company, I've found myself in possession of the "Infocom Drive" — a complete backup of Infocom's shared network drive from 1989. This is one of the most amazing archives I've ever seen, a treasure chest documenting the rise and fall of the legendary interactive fiction game company. Among the assets included: design documents, email archives, employee phone numbers, sales figures, internal meeting notes, corporate newsletters, and the source code and game files for every released and unreleased game Infocom made.

For obvious reasons, I can't share the whole Infocom Drive. But I have to share some of the best parts. It's just too good.

So let's start with the most notorious — Milliways: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the unreleased sequel to Infocom's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. For the first time, here's the full story: with never-before-seen design documents, internal emails, and two playable prototypes. Sit back, this might take a while."

The article has provoked a lot of reactions from the people involved in the game at the time (Steve Meretzky, Michael Bywater,...).

Andy Baio's Blog is here

Don't miss the article. It's history!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Douglas in BBC Comedy map of Britain the 17th May

According to Frank Halford, Douglas Adams' former teacher "I have just been told that the BBC programme to which I contributed a minute or so, will be shown on May 17th. It will be included in a series called, "The Comedy Map of Britain."... It merely shows me walking from the playground into the form-room where I taught Douglas". There will be probably other Douglas Adams related content in this episode of the BBC series.

The show is currently being broadcasted on BBC Two each saturday at 9.40pm.

BBC Comedy map mini website

You can now watch the video here , in the "Norwich to Hastings" section.



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Exclusive interview with Frank Halford !

When I was at the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy 30th anniversary celebration, Robbie Stamp introduced me to Frank Halford, Douglas' famous teacher who gave him a ten out of of ten for an english essay when he was ten years old. This 77 years old retired teacher is a marvelous man, so I couldn't miss the opportunity to interview him for this website.

You can find the interview in the Douglas Adams section of this website (in the extras).

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

"Son of Rambow" reviews and interviews


"Son of Rambow", Hammer & Tong's second movie after "Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" is now in theaters in british cinemas since the 4th April.

Of course there are references to Hitchhiker's including this surprising statement from Garth :

"- Did the success of your previous film, Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, afford you better financial clout for this one? - Garth I thought it would have. I mean, it went to number one and I thought, great. If anything it made it harder though, it took over a year of going to see everyone in the UK and getting turned down repeatedly, it was almost impossible to get people to stop thinking about the sci-fi film and buy into this. That’s why the money came from France in the end." http://www.screenjabber.com/sonoframbow_feature

83% at the tomatometter

http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/son_of_rambow/

8,1/10 sur imdb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0845046/

EMPIRE ON LINE

A potentially disposable, tongue-in-cheek First Blood pisstake turns out to be a deeply effective, surprisingly touching tale of family and childhood friendship. If you only see one Rambo movie this year, make sure it’s this one.

Four stars out of five

http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/review.asp?FID=134768

You can also watch video interviews with Garth Jennings and Jessica Hynes on http://www.empireonline.com/interviews/

YAHOO.CO.UK

"Son Of Rambow is so loveable it could give heart-warming movies a good name... Son Of Rambow is delightful, nostalgic, but never schlocky - if you only watch one Stallone-related film this year, make it this one. Unlike John Rambo's misfiring latest, Son Of Rambow hits the bullseye."

Four stars out of five. http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/s/Son-Of-Rambow/review-3812516.html

BBC

"A joyous spirit of mischief is ever-present and Jennings has an eye for brilliant visual gags too... Crucially, their rapport feels totally authentic, so beyond the belly laughs and sunny 80s nostalgia, this is a portrait of friendship which is truly tender and moving."

Four stars out of five.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2008/03/31/son_of_rambow_2008_review.shtml

Video http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/bbci/new_bbci/?video5

INDIELONDON

"YOU’VE got to hand it to Garth Jennings for persevering with Son Of Rambow, a deeply personal labour-of-love that emerges as one of the feel-good British treats of the year." http://www.indielondon.co.uk/Film-Review/son-of-rambow-review

Interviews : http://www.indielondon.co.uk/Film-Review/son-of-rambow-garth-jennings-interview

Video Interview with Garth Jennings and Jessica Hynes (you can see some Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy toys behind Garth when he's talking) http://www.kewego.co.uk/video/iLyROoafYJvn.html

TIMEOUT

"Garth Jennings’s last film, ‘The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, had visual imagination to burn, but was less sure-footed when it came to plot and character. It’s a pleasure, then, to find that his follow-up shows just as much wit and verve in its production design, while also succeeding as storytelling: ‘Son of Rambow’ is a schoolboy yarn with a bracing emotional honesty that packs a real kick."

Four stars out of six http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/84083/Son_of_Rambow.html

Garth Jennings interview http://www.timeout.com/film/features/show-feature/1642/

EYE FOR FILM

"The script sizzles with humour, but more importantly, like Danny Boyle's Millions, it carries an emotional weight. Keeping the cast small means the characters of Will and Lee are well fleshed out and, though firmly rooted in British culture, their experiences are universal. Sure to be a box office smash."

Five out of five http://www.eyeforfilm.co.uk/reviews.php?film_id=12122

Interview http://www.eyeforfilm.co.uk/feature.php?id=510

TWITCHFILM

Interview http://twitchfilm.net/site/view/garth-jennings-talks-son-of-rambow/

Friday, March 21, 2008

"Son of Rambow" released in UK the 4th April, in US the 2nd May

The new Hammer & Tongs movie is going finally to hit theatres in UK and US very soon. "Son of Rambow" will be released in UK the 4th April and in US the 2nd May.

The movie had some great reviews when he was shown at The Sundance Film Festival last year and at The London Film Festival last october.

Hammer & Tongs has also organized a competition to celebrate the release of their movie."Submit your own original short film about anything. Literally, anything! Be creative and have fun with it. The folks over at Hammer and Tongs will be judging the videos and the winning submission will have their short film placed in the Special Features section of the Son of Rambow DVD"

Visit the "Son of Rambow" website

Saturday, March 15, 2008

H2G2 radio series 30th anniversary : the review & some pictures!


The Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy 30th anniversary live performance was a great success. The historical event, which occured just after the Douglas Adams 6th Memorial lecture on wednesday 12th march at the Royal Geographical Society, was sold out.

First surprise of the evening : John Lloyd (who co-wrote with Douglas the episodes 5 and 6 of the original radio series - and later "the meaning of Liff") introduced the lecture.

The lecture by Steven Pinker ("The stuff of thought : language as a window into human nature) was smart and rather funny. I didn't understand everything because 1) I'm french and 2) i didn't have glasses and couldn't read what was on the screen.

James Thrift, Douglas' brother, made a wonderful job as the auctioneer during the fundraising auction for Save the Rhino and the Environnemental investigation agency. Sadly the rare handcrafted model Vogon wasn't sold. 2.000 pounds was however a worthy price for this masterpiece!

It was really very moving to hear "the journey of the sorcerer" and see most of the original cast performing the second episode of the Hitchhiker's radio series (sadly Mark Wing Davey - Zaphod - could not be here).

On stage we had Simon Jones (Arthur), Geoffrey Mc Givern (Ford), Susan Sheridan (Trillian), Stephen Moore (Marvin) from the original cast. Roger Gregg played Eddie (a role he already performed in the new H2G2 radio series). Philip Pope was Prostetnic Vogon jeltz. And we had two fine guests : Michael Cule who was the Vogon guard in the TV series and not least than Geoffrey Perkins (who directed the original radio series and became afterwards one of the biggest british TV producer) as the voice of the book.

All the cast made an excellent work and the result was really enjoyable. Dirk Maggs who directed the performance wanted it to be as close as possible as the original... and it was a success, a very moving event for all the fans of the original show. Thank you to Dirk (but also to James Thrift who co produced the live performance).

For those who have missed this event, I should add that the great Kevin Davies (auhtor of H2G2 TV making of and artistic director of the illustrated guide) has filmed the performance. So let's cross our fingers.

You can see exclusive pictures of the evening HERE.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Don't forget to be in London the 12th March!

I hope you already have bought your tickets. Please don't forget to be in London the 12th March for the annual DNA memorial lecture. You'll have the opportunity to :

- listen to a fascinationg lecture (Steven Pinker: “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature”)

- watch original radio cast members of Hitchhikers performing live extracts of the more fabulous radio series in the world

- buy an auction Item - A rare handcrafted model of Vogon Commander Kwaltz (see picture below)

- Have a nice meal in a great restaurant with other fans and celebrities (but you'll have to pay £35 for the meal)

You can book for the evening on Save the Rhino website

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

12th March = Incredible 6th Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture with the 30th anniversary of the first broadcast of H2G2 radio series

The Sixth Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture (Steven Pinker: “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature”) will be followed by an incredible event. To mark the 30th anniversary of the first broadcast of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" the original cast will be doing a very special 20 minute script reading following the lecture.

Among the original cast, here are the actors who should be here : Simon Jones (Arthur), Geoffrey McGivern (Ford), Mark Wing Davey (Zaphod), Susan Sheridan (Trillian), Roger Gregg (Eddie), Stephen Moore (Marvin).... and a very special guest as The Voice of the book (could it be Stephen Fry???).

The event will take place Wednesday 12 March 2008 at 7.30pm (doors open at 6.30pm), Royal Geographical Society, South Kensington, London

you can read more about the event and make reservations on Save the Rhino's website.

I don't know about you, but I won't miss this event for all the money in the world.