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 through Doctor Who history.
From books in libraries to references to characters in both franchises, from an actual appearance from Zaphod Beeblebrox and Arthur Dent to the use of the same language, the similarities are endless. In The Pirate Planet alone, there are reused lines and the familiar “don’t panic” motto and by Destiny of the Daleks, the Fourth Doctor is reading a book that features in Hitchhikers. And let’s be honest, a whole sort of general mish-mash (a metaphor created to help people better understand a part of the complex concepts presented by the complicated web of probabilities and possibilities) and wibbly wobbly timey-wimey stuff are just the same thing!
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 (a similarity with Doctor Who already!) so we’ll let you the reader decide…
1: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: In the Big Finish adaptation of Shada, the car that Skagra steals is, what else, a Ford Prefect.
7: 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 Universe. The Doctor’s Wife was written by Neil Gaiman, who also wrote Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion.
8: 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: 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: 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!