The popularity of the radio series gave rise to a six-episode television series, directed and produced by Alan J. W. Bell, which first aired on BBC 2 in January and February 1981. It employed many of the actors from the radio series and was based mainly on the radio versions of Fits the First through Sixth. A second series was at one point planned, with a storyline, according to Alan Bell and Mark Wing-Davey that would have come from Adams's abandoned Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen project (instead of simply making a TV version of the second radio series). However, Adams got into disputes with the BBC (accounts differ: problems with budget, scripts, and having Alan Bell involved are all offered as causes), and the second series was never made. Elements of Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen were instead used in the third novel, Life, the Universe and Everything.
The main cast was the same as the original radio series, except for David Dixon as Ford Prefect instead of McGivern, and Sandra Dickinson as Trillian instead of Sheridan.
Other television appearances
Segments of several of the books were adapted as part of the BBC's The Big Read survey and programme, broadcast in late 2003. The film, directed by Deep Sehgal, starred Sanjeev Bhaskar as Arthur Dent, alongside Spencer Brown as Ford Prefect, Nigel Planer as the voice of Marvin, Stephen Hawking as the voice of Deep Thought, Patrick Moore as the voice of the Guide, Roger Lloyd-Pack as Slartibartfast, and Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish as Loonquawl and Phouchg.