Douglas Adams: The Lost Interview

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From the online SF mag Darker Matter comes a little-seen interview with Douglas Adams from 1979, complete with vintage audio samples. It conjures up visions of an Edenic counter-Earth on which the Graham Chapman-Douglas Adams-scripted Ringo Starr TV special actually saw the light of day. (Or maybe it’s a nightmare alternate reality that we barely escaped?) The interview also opens up a window on the weird, happenstance way that great pop culture actually gets produced:

“We made it [meaning the first Hitchhiker’s Guide episode], and then that more or less coincided with the summer period at the BBC, where, in order for anything to get approved, you have to wait for people to come back from whichever beach they’re lying on. So that took a long time. While I was kicking my heels, I sent in my pilot episode to the then script editor of Doctor Who, Robert Holmes, who said ‘Yes, yes. Like this. Come round and see us.’ So we discussed ideas for a bit, and I eventually got commissioned to write four Dr Who episodes. It took a long time to reach that decision, and then, after all this period of nothing happening, I was suddenly commissioned to write four Dr Whos and the next five Hitchhikers all at once.”

I actually met Adams once. I had just started out as a fledgling journalist, after dropping out of grad school, and he was doing press for the Starship Titanic video game. He was very tall and very nice. I’m pretty sure—no, I’m very sure—that I forced on the poor man a copy of my first novel; I was a fledgling journalist and didn’t realize how horribly unprofessional that was. Every time I remember this fact my brain suffers a shame-crash and I blissfully forget it again.

Update: Part 2 of the same interview.