Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952)
life cycle 124875 (2)
11 May 2001 = 2017
continue the life cycle
Adams attended Primrose Hill Primary School in Brentwood. At nine, he passed the entrance exam for Brentwood School, an independent school whose alumni include Robin Day, Jack Straw, Noel Edmonds, and David Irving. Griff Rhys Jones was a year below him, and he was in the same class as Stuckist artist Charles Thomson. He attended the prep school from 1959 to 1964, then the main school until December 1970.
Adams played the guitar left-handed and had a collection of twenty-four left-handed guitars when he died (having received his first guitar in 1964).
A poem entitled “A Dissertation on the task of writing a poem on a candle and an account of some of the difficulties thereto pertaining” written by Adams in January 1970, at the age of 17, was discovered in a cupboard at the school in early 2014 Adams was author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which originated in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a “trilogy” of five books that sold more than 15 million copies in his lifetime and generated a television series, several stage plays, comics, a computer game, and in 2005 a feature film. Adams’s contribution to UK radio is commemorated in The Radio Academy’s Hall of Fame
Adams sent the script for the HHGG pilot radio programme to the Doctor Who production office in 1978, and was commissioned to write The Pirate Planet (see below). He had also previously attempted to submit a potential movie script, called “Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen”, which later became his novel Life, the Universe and Everything (which in turn became the third Hitchhiker’s Guide radio series).
Adams was born on 11 March 1952 to Janet (née Donovan; 1927–2016) and Christopher Douglas Adams (1927–1985) in Cambridge, England.
Between Adams’s first trip to Madagascar with Mark Carwardine in 1985, and their series of travels that formed the basis for the radio series and non-fiction book Last Chance to See
The Deeper Meaning of Liff (1990)
Last Chance to See (1990)
In 1990, Adams wrote and presented a television documentary programme Hyperland which featured Tom Baker as a “software agent” (similar to the assistant pictured in Apple’s Knowledge Navigator video of future concepts from 1987), and interviews with Ted Nelson, the co-inventor of hypertext and the person who coined the term. Adams was an early adopter and advocate of hypertext.
Adams moved to Upper Street, Islington, in 1981 and to Duncan Terrace, a few minutes’ walk away, in the late 1980s.
In the early 1980s Adams had an affair with novelist Sally Emerson, who was separated from her husband at that time. Adams later dedicated his book Life, the Universe and Everything to Emerson. In 1981 Emerson returned to her husband, Peter Stothard, a contemporary of Adams’s at Brentwood School, and later editor of The Times. Adams was soon introduced by friends to Jane Belson, with whom he later became romantically involved. Belson was the “lady barrister” mentioned in the jacket-flap biography printed in his books during the mid-1980s (“He [Adams] lives in Islington with a lady barrister and an Apple Macintosh”). The two lived in Los Angeles together during 1983 while Adams worked on an early screenplay adaptation of Hitchhiker’s. When the deal fell through, they moved back to London, and after several separations (“He is currently not certain where he lives, or with whom”) and a broken engagement, they married on 25 November 1991.
Adams and Belson had one daughter together, Polly Jane Rocket Adams, born on 22 June 1994, shortly after Adams turned 42.
Polly Jane Rocket Adams, born on 22 June 1994 life cycle 6 3
author of life cycles – Igor Galyona born on 22 June 1976 life cycle 6 3
now I’m 42 years old…
Radio producer Dirk Maggs had consulted with Adams, first in 1993, and later in 1997 and 2000 about creating a third radio series, based on the third novel in the Hitchhiker’s series
The episodes authored by Adams are some of the few that were not novelised as Adams would not allow anyone else to write them, and asked for a higher price than the publishers were willing to pay.”Shada” was later adapted as a novel by Gareth Roberts in 2012 and “City of Death” and “The Pirate Planet” by James Goss in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
Elements of Shada and City of Death were reused in Adams’s later novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, in particular the character of Professor Chronotis. Big Finish Productions eventually remade Shada as an audio play starring Paul McGann as the Doctor. Accompanied by partially animated illustrations, it was webcast on the BBC website in 2003, and subsequently released as a two-CD set later that year. An omnibus edition of this version was broadcast on the digital radio station BBC7 on 10 December 2005.
In the Doctor Who 2012 Christmas episode The Snowmen, writer Steven Moffat was inspired by a storyline that Adams pitched called The Doctor Retires
In 2005, the asteroid 25924 Douglasadams was named in his memory
Other events after Adams’s death included a webcast production of Shada, allowing the complete story to be told, radio dramatisations of the final three books in the Hitchhiker’s series, and the completion of the film adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The film, released in 2005, posthumously credits Adams as a producer, and several design elements – including a head-shaped planet seen near the end of the film – incorporated Adams’s features.
Adams’s official biography shares its name with the song “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. Adams was friends with Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour and, on Adams’s 42nd birthday, he was invited to make a guest appearance at Pink Floyd’s concert of 28 October 1994 ( 28.10.1994 = 2032 ) at Earls Court in London, playing guitar on the songs “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse”. Adams chose the name for Pink Floyd’s 1994 album, The Division Bell, by picking the words from the lyrics to one of its tracks, “High Hopes”. Gilmour also performed at Adams’s memorial service in 2001, and what would have been Adams’s 60th birthday party in 2012.