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Towel Day: 10 Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy References You May Have Missed in Doctor Who
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Given it’s cultural impact and being written by Douglas Adams, who offered his many skills to Doctor Who both as a writer and script-editor during the 1970s, it’s understandable that there are references to his great work, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, littered throughout Doctor Who history.

From books in libraries to an actual appearance from Zaphod Beeblebrox and Arthur Dent, the similarities and references are endless…. or there’s at’s least ten of them anyway!

In The Pirate Planet alone, there are reused lines from Adam’s other work and the familiar “don’t panic” motto makes an appearance, by Destiny of the Daleks, the Fourth Doctor is reading a book that features in Hitchhikers!

So do they take place in the same universe? Eoin Colfer’s And Another Thing…, the sixth book in the Hitchhiker’s series, refers to Doctor Who explicitly as a television series… but there’s the question of whether the book is indeed canon and there is strong evidence Arthur Dent does indeed exist in the Whoniverse… so we’ll let you, the reader, decide.

1: The Tenth Doctor Met Arthur Dent?

The Tenth Doctor compares himself to Arthur Dent in The Christmas Invasion after saving the world in a dressing gown, claiming that he was a “nice man.” In another Tennant Christmas special, Voyage of the Dammed, the Doctor enters “42” as a guess at the security protocol for the the Host.


2: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Exists in River Song’s Library

According to the BBC, there is a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the Library that features in Steven Moffat’s Silence in the Library.


3: Professor Chronotis Exists In Two Adams Universes

While it’s not Hitchhikers, it’s too big not to mention… Lovable old professor or Gallifreyan criminal, which-ever you prefer – Professor Chronotis appears both in Shada and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.


4: Destiny of the Daleks Directly References Hitchhikers Characters

Oolon Coluphid and Betelgeuse both get referenced in Destiny of the Daleks, where it’s revealed the Fourth Doctor owns a copy of Colupgid’s famous work The Origins of the Universe.


5: The Seventh Doctor Quotes Douglas Adams in Ghost Light

In Ghost Light, the Seventh Doctor asked himself who said “Earthmen rarely invite their ancestors to dinner?” It was of course Douglas Adams in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy


6: Skagra Drives a Ford Prefect

In the Big Finish adaptation of Shada, the car that Skagra steals is, what else, a Ford Prefect.


7: The Doctor’s Wife References A Hitchhikers Book

Rory Williams refers to the junkyard in The Doctor’s Wife as “the junkyard at the end of the universe,” a reference to The Restaurant at the End of the UniverseThe Doctor’s Wife was written by Neil Gaiman, who also wrote Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion.


8: The Hooloovoo Are Namechecked in The Rings of Akhaten

In The Rings of Akhaten the alien race the Hooloovoo are name-checked by the Eleventh Doctor to Clara at the Festival of Offerings. The Hooloovoo are a species named in Hitchhikers.


9: Shada Appears in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy movie.

This one’s the other way round… When Arthur Dent is taken on a tour of Magrathea in the film version of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, in the background while moving through the “show room” a number of planets being built can be seen. Among these planets is Shada.


10: Zaphod Beeblebrox and Arthur Dent Appear in Big Finish’s Shada

Talking of Shada, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Arthur Dent are two of the prisoners in the infamous Time Lord prison as seen in Big Finish’s webcast version of the “lost” serial.


So what do you think? do Doctor Who and Hitchhikers co-inhabit the same universe? let us know!

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About The Author
Michael East
Michael East is the founder of Doctor Who Worldwide. Best selling author, great statesmen, Ambassador to the Netherlands… Michael is none of these things. He was however named TIME Person of the Year in 2006 and 2011, is an award winning web designer and a comedy Marxist. He enjoys beards, retrogaming and classic TV. He is not a hipster.