Lately, I’ve been doing a few posts here and there talking about the connections between Doctor Who and other properties–namely where the different programs have shared actors or production personnel. I’ve been curious to look into The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with this lens.
(Daily Doctor Who #209)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a the title of a whole range of related media, many of whom are alternate versions of the same core story, adapted to different platforms. It all started as a radio series in 1978 (which has had numerous sequel series), and then became a series of successful novels, a television series, a record album (two, actually), a text-based interactive computer game, a comic book adaptation, and a feature film. And probably other stuff as well.
The whole thing is the brainchild of Douglas Adams, which is where the Doctor Who connections get their start: around the same time he was coming up Hitchhiker’s, he also wrote a story from Doctor Who: namely, The Pirate Planet, with Tom Baker as the Doctor.
He then got a job as the Script Editor for Season Seventeen for the series, and is the author most frequently associated with its best regarded story, City of Death (although it was credited to the fictional David Agnew, and written by Adams and producer Graham Williams in a rush when a storyline by David Fisher needed help). He also wrote the story Shada for later in that season, although that story was never finished becuase of a strike (it has since then been “completed” via different mechanisms at least three times).
But, Douglas Adams isn’t where the Hitchhiker’s–Doctor Who connections end, not by a long shot. There are, especially, many actor crossovers. Let’s have a look:
Simon Jones, who played Arthur Dent, the lead character of Hitchhiker’s in most adaptations (and a cameo in the 2005 movie), never appeared on Doctor Who on television. But he was in the 1974 stage play, Doctor Who and the Daleks in the Seven Keys to Doomsday, where he played the “Master of Karn.” I was disappointed they didn’t get him back to play the part in the Big Finish audio adaptation from a while ago.
Stephen Moore was best known as the voice of Marvin, but also voiced numerous other Hitchhiker’s characters on radio, record and TV. He appeared in Doctor Who in 2010 in the episode Cold Blood, as a Silurian.
Valentine Dyall appears on Hitchhiker’s both on the radio and on TV, most notably as the TV version of the computer Deep Thought. On Doctor Who, he was the Black Guardian, first in The Armageddon Factor with Tom Baker, and then in three stories in the show’s 20th seasons with Peter Davison.
David Gooderson played the Barman in the opening episode of the original radio show, and also appeared on Doctor Who in 1979 as Davros in Destiny of the Daleks.
James Broadbent voiced a philosopher and overzealous police officer in the first series of the Hitchhiker’s radio show, and appeared again in the sixth series. He actually played an incarnation of the Doctor in the 1999 Comic Relief special, The Curse of Fatal Death.
Jonathan Pryce appeared in one episode of the second Hitchhiker’s radio series, and more significantly in the fifth series. He also played the Master in the same 1999 Comic Relief special mentioned above, The Curse of Fatal Death.
Joanna Lumley also appeared in one episode of the Hitchhiker’s radio series, in the third series. She was also in The Curse of Fatal Death, as a later incarnation of the Doctor.
Peter Hawkins played a hyper-intelligent mouse in Hitchhiker’s. He is known to Doctor Who fans as the voice of the Daleks all through the 1960’s, including from their first appearance. He also voiced the Cybermen in some of their earlier appearances.
Bill Paterson played “Arcturan Number One” in an episode of the second Hitchhiker’s radio series,and also showed up as another character in the fourth series–he played Bracewell in Victory of the Daleks (and again in The Pandorica Opens), both in 2010 on Doctor Who.
Toby Longworth appeared in the third Hitchhiker’s radio series, and was also in the animated web story The Infinite Quest.
June Whitfield had a small part in the fourth radio series of Hitchhiker’s. She was in both parts of The End of Time, the Tenth Doctor’s last story.
Rula Lenska plays Lintilla for a few episodes of the second Hitchhiker’s radio series, and also made appearances in the fourth series, and throughout the fifth. She was Styles in the 1984 Doctor Who serial Resurrection of the Daleks.
Simon Greenall had a small part in the fourth radio series of Hitchhiker’s. He was in Love and Monsters as one of the members of LINDA.
Stephen Fry made an appearance in one episode of the fourth series of the Hitchhiker’s radio show, and also took the major role as the Voice of the Book in the 2005 Hitchhiker’s film–he also made an appearance in Spyfall part 1, which kicked off the 2020 season of Doctor Who.
Paddy Kingsland did incidental music for the Hitchhiker’s second radio series and TV show, and did the same for several Doctor Who serials with the Fourth and Fifth Doctors in the 1980’s.
Sir Patrick Moore shows up as himself in an episode of the fourth series of the Hitchhiker’s radio series, and as himself in The Eleventh Hour, the first 11th Doctor episode of Doctor Who.
John Challis appears in the fifth Hitchhiker’s radio series. He was Scorby, one of the major guest stars in The Seeds of Doom, a fourth Doctor Doctor Who story.
Lorelei King played several different roles in the fifth Hitchhiker’s radio series. In Doctor Who, she was the uncredited narrator in A Town Called Mercy.
Jon Culshaw was in the sixth and last radio series of Hitchhiker‘s. He never appeared in Doctor Who proper, but he’s a well known impersonator of, at least, Tom Baker and Nicholas Courtney in Doctor Who-related media.
Lenny Henry was in the sixth and last radio series of Hitchhiker’s, and appeared as a villain in both parts of Spyfall, the opening adventure for the 2020 series of Doctor Who.
Dave Prowse, in addition to playing Darth Vader, was the bodyguard of Hotblack Desiato in an episode of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series. In Doctor Who, he was the Minotaur in a couple episodes of The Time Monster with the Third Doctor.
David Rowlands played the Hairdresser in the last episode of the Hitchhiker’s TV series. He was in the Doctor Who story, The Sunmakers with the Fourth Doctor.
Geoffrey Beevers was also in the Hitchhiker’s TV series, as “Number Three”–the Third Officer of the Golgarinchan space ark. He played the Master in Doctor Who, in Keeper of Traken with the Fourth Doctor. He was also a UNIT private in one episode of Ambassadors of Death with the Third Doctor.
Jack May played the head waiter at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe in the Hitchhiker’s TV show. He was also in the Doctor Who story The Space Pirates with the Second Doctor.
Antony Carrick played the computer programmer Lunkwill in the Hitchhiker’s TV show. He guest starred in the Doctor Who story The Masque of Mandragora with the Fourth Doctor.
Colin Jeavons played Max Quordlepleen, the MC at Millways in the Hitchhiker’s TV show. In Doctor Who, he was in the Second Doctor story The Underwater Menace.
Warwick Davis was the body of Marvin in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 2005 movie. In Doctor Who, he played Porridge in the 11th Doctor story Nightmare in Silver.
Bill Bailey was the voice of the Whale in the Hitchhiker’s movie, and appeared in the 11th Doctor Christmas special, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe.
Bill Nighy was Slartibartfast in the Hitchhiker’s movie, and had a memorable cameo as an expert on Vincent van Gogh in the 11th Doctor story, Vincent and the Doctor.
Steve Pemberton was Mr. Prosser in the Hitchhiker’s film, and had a major guest role in the 10th Doctor story Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead.
Ian McNiece played a Vogon bureaucrat in the Hitchhiker’s movie, and made several appearances as Winston Churchill over a few 11th Doctor episodes of Doctor Who, during the 5th and 6th seasons.
Nigel Plaskitt was a creature performer in the Hitchhiker’s movie. He played Unstoffe, a con-man in the Fourth Doctor storyThe Ribos Operation.
Spencer Wilding played a Vogon in the Hitchhiker’s movie, and played a variety of creatures in Doctor Who for the 11th and 13th Doctors–The God Complex, Orphan-55, Cold War and The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe.
Reece Shearsmith was uncredited for his work in the Hitchhiker’s movie as Additional Vogon Voices (or rather, was credited as “The League of Gentlemen” for whatever reason). In Doctor Who, he was in the 12th Doctor story Sleep No More.
Mark Gatiss is also credited only as “The League of Gentleman” for playing Additional Vogan Voices in the Hitchhiker’s movie. In Doctor Who he is one of the most prolific writers in the revived series, penning episodes like The Unquiet Dead, The Idiot’s Lantern, Victory of the Daleks, and Empress of Mars. He also acted in Doctor Who in a number of episodes, including memorably in The Lazarus Experiment and Twice Upon a Time.
And last but not least…
Peter Davison played the Main Dish of the Day in the Hitchhiker’s TV show, alongside his then-wife Sandra Dickinson (Trillian). He of course played the Fifth Doctor in Doctor Who, for three seasons in the 1980’s.
That’s a fair amount of Doctor Who‘s history represented there!