By Douglas Adams, edited by Kevin Jon Davies

A publishing event: hundreds of artefacts from Douglas Adams' archive, printed for the first time

Friday, 19 November 2021

Ah...! What happened? it thought.

- An update from Kevin Jon Davies -

Sorry for the seeming radio silence, but now the autumnal/fall season has arrived in the UK, I thought I’d better give a progress report on the book.

A lot of time I would have otherwise spent by now in Douglas Adams’ archives has been lost due to Covid restrictions. The special collections library where they are kept at St. John’s Cambridge has been closed all summer to everyone except their live-in students. As a part-time lecturer on a film course at another University, I’ve seen what COVID restrictions have meant to young people, so although disappointed I understood completely. I was hotly anticipating getting stuck in, when I was taken ill myself, so I’ve been somewhat further delayed.

However, I’ve spent the last few months fully researching the material I gathered on my previous visits in 2016 and 2018. Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing some titbits from the archive to further whet your appetite.

This beautiful illustration of the Hitchhiker’s Guide in the leaves was taken about this time last year by photographer Andy Hollingworth. He had wanted to visit some of Douglas’ Islington haunts for his own project and this photo was taken in the street outside Douglas’ former home! The prop depicted is an exact duplicate of, and was struck from the same mould as, the one in the TV series. It was a present made for me and was used in my 1993 BBC documentary “The Making of The Hitchhiker’s Guide…” (originally a stand-alone VHS release and now an extra on the DVDs and Blu-Ray).

The next picture shows me lining up a visual effects shot with a very patient Simon Jones as Arthur Dent and Mike Cule as the Vogon Guard.

For comparison, here’s a shot (by Stephen Mansfield) of the actual original BBC prop, with its “Don’t Panic” sleeve, on display at “Slartibartday” which was a fan convention I co-organised in 1981 (I’ve been at this Hitchhiker lark for a very long while!).

More goodies soon…!

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Alicia Jean Demetropolis
 Alicia Jean Demetropolis says:

Thanks for the update. Keep on keepin' on, Sir Davies.

posted 19th November 2021

Lauren Denney
 Lauren Denney says:

Great update and photos, but when’s the book going to be out? I bought it for a birthday in the spring - last spring! Expected publishing at the time was May 21

posted 19th November 2021

G Lofts clark
 G Lofts clark says:


Was wondering the same as Laura Denney, I ordered this as a gift too and would be nice to have some vague idea of when it might be ready please?

Obviously Covid 19 restrictions made things more difficult, and am sorry to learn that St John's have closed their archives, following the pattern of so many other interesting research places.

Hope you manage to complete your project at some point in the future. I found a suitable replacement for the gift by the way.

posted 19th November 2021

John Erikson
 John Erikson says:

Thanks for the update, I love the photos and the article you shared. Thank you so much! Really pleased to hear that you're safe and sound.

posted 20th November 2021

Michail Drakomathioulakis
 Michail Drakomathioulakis says:

So, any actual update on the book???

posted 20th November 2021

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