Dorset

Hitchhiker's author Douglas Adams' memorabilia on show

Douglas Adams on the set of the TV series of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
Image caption Douglas Adams, seen here on the set of the TV series of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, died in 2001

The story of author Douglas Adams comes home to Dorset this weekend.

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy creator may have died in 2001, but the popularity of his work still remains along with his comic legacy.

Homage will be paid at the Sherborne Literary Festival to the man who, unbeknown to many, wrote the Hitchhiker series a short distance down the road in the village of Stalbridge.

Sitting at a desk in his mother's house, he penned the book which would make him a household name and give rise to comic characters including Arthur Dent.

'Scratched the surface'

The exhibition, in the year of what would have been his 60th birthday, has been described by sister Sue Adams as a "homecoming".

Image caption Douglas Adams' family have helped compile the exhibition

She said: "Myself and younger brother James have only really scratched the surface.

"We have tried to cover as many aspects of Douglas's life as we can and it began by digging through the archives at our mother's house more than a year ago.

"There's the desk he wrote at and a whole host of other things, going back to a fan letter he wrote to the comic book The Eagle in 1965."

Those prized pieces of memorabilia include many of his original scripts for the subsequent radio and television serialisations of Hitchhiker's, as well as work he penned for programmes including Doctor Who and Monty Python.

Ms Adams added: "We've put a lot of emphasis on Stalbridge as it's a side of him not many people are really aware of.

"A lot of the family still live in Dorset and have strong ties to the county, so it's been a real journey of discovery and a lovely trip down memory lane for us."

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy followed characters Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect as they travelled the universe following the destruction of Earth.

It was first aired as a BBC Radio 4 series in 1978 and later adapted to a stage show, "a trilogy" of five books and computer game.

A film version, starring Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent, was released in 2005.

Lasting legacy

Adams also wrote Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul and co-wrote The Meaning of Liff, Last Chance to See and three stories for Doctor Who.

Sue Adams admits the popularity of his work more than a decade after his death is "astounding".

Image caption David Dixon (Ford Prefect) and Simon Jones (Arthur Dent) starred in the BBC Hitchhiker's TV series

She added: "We're incredibly proud of the legacy he has created. My mum finds it hard to comprehend that so many people still have such an interest in Douglas.

"But, we still see children coming along to talks and events with their parents, who were fans of the books, and they become hooked on them as well.

"It's lovely for his daughter Polly to see as well, as Douglas died when she was quite young. She is gobsmacked by how much people still hold him in such high esteem."

Sherborne's Oliver Holt Gallery hosts the Douglas Adams Exhibition until Sunday.

Simon Brett, who produced the first episode of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, and John Lloyd, who worked on the some of the scripts, will also be talking at the Powell Theatre in Sherborne on Sunday.

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