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Cambridge, UK (ResponseSource) 07 May - Rediscovered tapes of a long-lost interview with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams reveal that he didn’t even like listening to most of the episodes of his original six-part radio series.

While the rest of the world was slowly waking up to his extraordinary talent, Adams himself was less than happy with his work.

“There are only two of the shows I ever listen to – numbers 2 and 3,” he told the startled interviewer.

“I just liked those two. All the others worried me, for one reason or another.”

Douglas Adams’ doubts are aired, rather belatedly, in the May issue of Darker Matter (, a new online science fiction magazine.

Darker Matter has gained exclusive access to over three hours of interview tapes, recorded in the summer of 1979, which had since been lost for 28 years. Adams, who was overdrawn and working for a salary as a temporary script editor for Dr Who, was still far from famous when he agreed to do the long interview with freelance journalist Ian Shircore.

“I remember mentioning how pleased I was to be talking to him before he became a household name,” says Shircore. “It was the wrong thing to say. He looked at me as if I was mad, and the interview nearly stuttered to a halt.

“On the strength of two hearings of the first BBC series, I was completely certain that he was a major literary talent. At the same time, he was working in the Dr Who office all day, sweating over the first book and the second radio series at night and struggling to pay his bills. You could see how it looked different from his perspective.”

The two shows from the first radio series the hyper-critical perfectionist Douglas Adams did enjoy certainly contained some of his best jokes and finest comic creations.

Episode 2 introduced the slick-talking, two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox, Marvin the Paranoid Android (“Let’s build robots with Genuine People Personalities, they said. So they tried it out with me. I’m a personality prototype. You can tell, can’t you?”) and some infuriatingly smug automated doors (“It is our pleasure to open for you and our satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done”).

Episode 3 went further, with the custom planet-makers of Magrathea who designed the Earth (“Norway. That was one of mine. It won an award, you know. Lovely crinkly edges”), the planet inhabited by all of humanity’s lost biros, and the crucial revelations about the relative intelligence of Man, mice and dolphins (who left Earth “by their own means” immediately before its demolition, leaving the famous note that said “So long, and thanks for all the fish”).

Yet every one of the six episodes was crammed with inventive, hilarious, unexpected and downright weird ideas, as a worldwide audience of millions was soon to appreciate. The author’s fertile brain drove his creation onward and upward as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy went from the radio to the bestseller charts, to TV and finally, in 2005, onto the silver screen.

Douglas Adams died in 2001, but the appetite for his work shows no sign of fading. His fans are hugely passionate about him and the two previous parts of Darker Matter’s three-part interview attracted vast attention – on one day in April, when news of the interview tapes hit Digg, Darker Matter saw 31,000 visitors in 24 hours. The lost tapes may reveal an interesting element of self-doubt in the last great SF writer of the 20th century, but history proves he had no need to worry.

For further information, contact Ian Shircore on 0784 1776296, or visit

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