Stan Laurel

English comic actor, writer and film director Stan Laurel was born 16 June 1890 he is most famous for his role in the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy alongside his comedy partner Oliver Hardy with whom he appeared in 107 short films, feature films and cameo roles. Laurel began his career in the British music hall, from where he took a number of his standard comic devices: the bowler hat, the deep comic gravity, and the nonsensical understatement. His performances polished his skills at pantomime and music hall sketches. Laurel was a member of “Fred Karno’s Army,” where he was Charlie Chaplin’s understudy.The two arrived in the US on the same ship from Britain with the Karno troupe. Laurel went into films in the US, with his acting career stretching between 1917 and 1951, and from “silents” to “talkies.” It included a starring role in the film The Music Box (1932).

Laurel signed with the Hal Roach studio, where he began directing films, including a 1926 production called Yes, Yes, Nanette. He intended to work primarily as a writer and director, but fate stepped in. In 1927, Oliver Hardy, another member of the Hal Roach Studios Comedy All Star players, was injured in a kitchen mishap, and Laurel was asked to return to acting. Laurel and Hardy began sharing the screen in Slipping Wives, Duck Soup (1927) and With Love and Hisses. The two became friends and their comic chemistry soon became obvious. Roach Studios’ supervising director Leo McCarey noticed the audience reaction to them and began teaming them, leading to the creation of the Laurel and Hardy series later that year.

Together, the two men began producing a huge body of short films, including The Battle of the Century, Should Married Men Go Home?, Two Tars, Be Big!, Big Business, and many others. Laurel and Hardy successfully made the transition to talking films with the short Unaccustomed As We Are in 1929. They also appeared in their first feature in one of the revue sequences of The Hollywood Revue of 1929, and the following year they appeared as the comic relief in a lavish all-colour (in Technicolor) musical feature, The Rogue Song. In 1931, their first starring feature, Pardon Us was released. They continued to make both features and shorts until 1935, including their 1932 three-reeler The Music Box, which won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject.

In 1941, Laurel and Hardy signed a contract at 20th Century Fox to make ten films over five months. During the war years, their work became more standardised and less successful, though The Bullfighters, and Jitterbugs did receive some praise. Laurel discovered he had diabetes, so he encouraged Hardy to make two films without him. In 1946, he divorced Virginia Ruth Rogers and married Ida Kitaeva Raphael. In 1947, Laurel returned to England when he and Hardy went on a six-week tour of the United Kingdom, and the duo were mobbed wherever they went. Laurel’s homecoming to Ulverston took place in May, and the duo were greeted by thousands of fans outside the Coronation Hall.

The tour included a Royal Command Performance for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in London and they spent the next seven years touring the UK and Europe. In 1950, Laurel and Hardy were invited to France to make a feature film. The film, a Franco-Italian co-production titled Atoll K, was a disaster. (The film was titled Utopia in the US and Robinson Crusoeland in the UK.) Both stars were noticeably ill during the filming. Upon returning to the US they spent most of their time recovering. In 1952, Laurel and Hardy toured Europe successfully, and they returned in 1953 for another tour of the continent. During this tour, Laurel fell ill and was unable to perform for several weeks. In May 1954, Hardy had a heart attack and cancelled the tour. In 1955, they were planning to do a television series, Laurel and Hardy’s Fabulous Fables, based on children’s stories. The plans were delayed after Laurel suffered a stroke on 25 April, from which he recovered. But as he was planning to get back to work, his partner Hardy had a massive stroke on 14 September 1956, which resulted in his being unable to return to acting.

In 1961, Stan Laurel was given a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his pioneering work in comedy. He had achieved his lifelong dream as a comedian and had been involved in nearly 190 films. He lived his final years in a small flat in the Oceana Apartments in Santa Monica, California. Jerry Lewis was among the numerous comedians to visit Laurel, who offered suggestions for Lewis’s production of The Bellboy (1960). Lewis paid tribute to Laurel by naming his main character Stanley in the film, and having Bill Richmond play a version of Laurel as well.Dick Van Dyke told a similar story. When he was just starting his career, he looked up Laurel’s phone number, called him, and then visited him at his home. Van Dyke played Laurel on “The Sam Pomerantz Scandals” episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Laurel was a heavy smoker until suddenly quitting around 1960. In January 1965, he underwent a series of x-rays for an infection on the roof of his mouth.He died on 23 February 1965, aged 74, four days after suffering a heart attack on 19 February Just minutes away from death, Laurel told his nurse he would not mind going skiing right at that very moment. Somewhat taken aback, the nurse replied that she was not aware that he was a skier. “I’m not,” said Laurel, “I’d rather be doing that than this!” A few minutes later the nurse looked in on him again and found that he had died quietly in his armchair. Silent screen comedian Buster Keaton also died of lung cancer one year later in February 1966. Dick Van Dyke, friend, protege and occasional impressionist of Laurel during his later years, gave the eulogy, reading A Prayer for Clowns. Laurel was cremated, and his ashes were interred in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery.

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Gene Wilder

The late, great American stage and screen comic actor, screenwriter, film director, and author Gene Wilder was born June 11 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, He adopted “Gene Wilder” for his professional name at the age of 26, later explaining, “I had always liked Gene because of Thomas Wolfe’s character Eugene Gant in Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River. And I was always a great admirer of Thornton Wilder.”

Wilder first became interested in acting at age 8, when his mother was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and the doctor told him to “try and make her laugh.”At the age of 11, he saw his sister, who was studying acting, performing onstage, and he was enthralled by the experience. He asked her teacher if he could become his student, The day after Wilder turned 13, he called the teacher, who accepted him; Wilder studied with him for two years. His mother Jeanne Silberman sent him to Black-Foxe, a military institute in Hollywood, where he was bullied and sexually assaulted, After an unsuccessful short stay at Black-Foxe, Wilder returned home and became increasingly involved with the local theatre community. At age 15, he performed for the first time in front of a paying audience, as Balthasar (Romeo’s manservant) in a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Gene Wilder graduated from Washington High School in Milwaukee in 1951. Wilder then studied Communication and Theatre Arts at the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.

Following his 1955 graduation from Iowa, he was accepted at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England. After six months of studying fencing, Wilder became the first freshman to win the All-School Fencing Championship. he returned to the U.S., living with his sister and her family in Queens. Wilder enrolled at the HB Studiolm Wilder was drafted into the Army on September 10, 1956. At the end of recruit training, he was assigned to the medical corps and sent to Fort Sam Houston for training. wanting to stay near New York City to attend acting classes at the HB Studio, he chose to serve as paramedic in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at Valley Forge Army Hospital, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Sadly In November 1957, his mother died from ovarian cancer.

He was discharged from the army a year later and returned to New York and obtained A scholarship to the HB Studio. Wilder’s first professional acting job was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he played the Second Officer in Herbert Berghof’s production of Twelfth Night. He also served as a fencing choreographer. After three years of study with Berghof and Uta Hagen at the HB Studio, Charles Grodin told Wilder about Lee Strasberg’s method acting. Grodin persuaded him to leave the studio and begin studying with Strasberg in his private class.NSeveral months later, Wilder was accepted into the Actors Studio. After joining the Actors Studio, he slowly began to be noticed in the off-Broadway scene, thanks to performances in Sir Arnold Wesker’s Roots and in Graham Greene’s The Complaisant Lover, for which Wilder received the Clarence Derwent Award for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Nonfeatured Role.”

Wilder made his screen debut in the TV series Armstrong Circle Theatre in 1962. Although his first film role was portraying a hostage in the 1967 motion picture Bonnie and Clyde, Wilder’s first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. This was the first in a series of collaborations with writer/director Mel Brooks, including 1974’s Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, which Wilder co-wrote, garnering the pair an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Wilder is known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and for his four films with Richard Pryor: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991). Wilder directed and wrote several of his own films, including The Woman in Red (1984).

His third wife was actress Gilda Radner, with whom he starred in three films. Her death from ovarian cancer led to his active involvement in promoting cancer awareness and treatment, helping found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and co-founding Gilda’s Club. After 2003 Wilder turned his attention to writing. He produced a memoir in 2005, Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art; a collection of stories, What Is This Thing Called Love? (2010); and the novels My French Whore (2007), The Woman Who Wouldn’t (2008) and Something to Remember You By (2013). Gene wilder tragically passed away 26 August 2016 however he has left behind some memorable performances in many fantastic films.

Matt Sone (South Park, Team America)

Best known for being the co-creator of South Park along with his creative partner and best friend Trey Parker, the American actor, voice artist,animator, screenwriter, director, producer and musician, Matthew Richard “Matt” Stone was born May 26, 1972 in Houston, Texas, he attended Heritage High School and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder,becoming their first student to double major in film and mathematics. Matt Stone and and his friend Trey Parker launched their largely collaborative careers in 1992, making a holiday short titled Jesus vs. Frosty. Their first success came from Alferd Packer: The Musical, subsequently distributed as Cannibal! The Musical. From there he made another short entitled Jesus vs. Santa, leading him and college friend Parker to create South Park. He has four Emmy Awards for his role in South Park, winning for oth “Outstanding Programming More Than One Hour” and “Outstanding Programming Less Than One Hour”

In 1992, Stone and Parker created the short film Jesus vs. Frosty, which included four boys, two resembling Stan Marsh and Kyle Broflovski, one called Kenny who looked likeCartman, and a fourth unnamed boy who looked like Kenny. Both Jesus and Cannibal! The Musical were made while they were students at the University of Colorado film school, studying under both Stan Brakhage and Jerry Aronson. After the duo releasedCannibal! The Musical, they were asked to make another animated short. They came down to two ideas: one a sequel to Jesus vs. Frosty, and one about a character that would later be recurring in South Park, Mr. Hankey. They chose to write about the four boys, and Stone and Parker produced 13 episodes for season 1. The video landed in the hands of Comedy Central who thought it was hilarious and South Park is currently still under contract.

In 1999, Stone and Parker made South Park bigger, longer and uncut and the film’s music was nominated for an Academy Award.As of 2007, Parker is credited with directing and writing the vast majority of South Park episodes, and voicing most of the regular and guest characters, leading fans to question Stone’s involvement in the creative process. On September 25, 2013, South Park’s seventeenth season will premiere. In 1997, they also released Orgazmo and In 1998, they starred in (but did not write or direct) BASEketball, another feature film, while being renewed for a second season of South Park. In 2001, the duo announced they would do 39 shorts between the lengths of 2 and 5 minutes. Although originally thought to be South Park related, they decided they would do something different. The result was the shorts Princess. The content was so extreme that it was cancelled after two shows aired. In 2001, they also created That’s My Bush!, another television series, which was cancelled after one season. In 2004, they made a film, titled Team America: World Police.

Stone is also a member of the band DVDA with Parker, for which he plays bass and drums. DVDA’s songs have appeared in many of the duo’s productions, including Orgazmo, BASEketball, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, and Team America: World Police.On January 14, 2013, Stone and Parker announced that they would be starting a film production company called Important Studios. Inspired by the production work of Lucasfilm and DreamWorks,

Eurovision Song Contest

Netta Barzilai won the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 for Israel with the song “Toy”. The Eurovision took place at the Altice Arena, Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday 12 May. It was again hosted by Graham Norton. Previous Winners of the Eurovision Song Contest have included Lordi, Bucks Fizz, ABBA, Brotherhood of Man, Celine Dion and Dana International. Former champion Conchita Wurst and current finalist Saara Aalto (Finland) were also both there.

There was also controversy when SuRie’, representing the UNITED KINGDOM had a tense moment when a man invaded the stage during her performance and grabbed the mic to protest about “Nazis” and the “UK media”. The United Kingdom eventually came third last, despite SuRie’s best efforts to keep her composure during the stage invasion. Organizers Gave her the option of re performing the song.

The competition eventually seemed to be down to, Austria’s Cesár Sampson and Sweden’s Benjamin Ingrosso.  However Netta, representing Israel eventually won Eurovision with her bonkers rendition of the song “Toy”, a song which she said celebrated diversity and Positive outlook. However Netta’s outfit sparked more controversy  and not everyone was happy about the win with many citing”cultural appropriation” due to her wearing a Kimono and referencing many Japanese customs during the performance. Many were also displeased about the large amount of Miming to backing tracks which appeared to be going on during the contest.

From the ridiculous to the sublime….

Catherine Tate

English actress, writer and comedienne Catherine Tate was born 12th May in 1968. Tate began her television acting career with roles in serial dramas such as The Bill, and London’s Burning, and started stand-up comedy in 1996, she also appeared in comedy series such as The Harry Hill Show, Barking and That Peter Kay Thing and a role in Men Behaving Badly. She played the part of Kate in the unaired pilot episode of sitcom Not Going Out alongside Lee Mack and Tim Vine. In 1998 she wrote and starred in Barking, a late night sketch show broadcast on Channel 4 and featuring a host of stars such as David Walliams, Peter Kay and Mackenzie Crook. She then became involved with Lee Mack’s Perrier Comedy Award-nominated New Bits show at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2000. In 2001, she returned to the festival with her own sell-out one-woman show, which was followed by roles in Big Train, Attention Scum and TVGoHome. After being spotted at Edinburgh, she was given the role of Angela in the comedy, Wild West, with Dawn French, who commented “Catherine Tate is far too talented and she must be destroyed.” Tate has also performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and at the National Theatre.She played Smeraldina in a 2000 RSC production of A Servant to Two Masters, and had a role in The Way of the World at the National Theatre. Tate was approached at a post-show party at the Edinburgh Festival by the BBC controller of comedy , who encouraged Tate to develop her character ideas, especially to push the boundaries with teenager Lauren Cooper, after following this advice, Tate found the audience walking out of the show repeating the character’s catchphrase Am I bovvered?

Tate was given her own programme on BBC Two in 2004, which she co-wrote and starred in with Derren Litten, entitled The Catherine Tate Show, which ran for three series. Two of the show’s well-known characters are teenager Lauren Cooper and Joannie “Nan” Taylor, the cockney grandmother.Tate won a British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Newcomer for her work on the first series of The Catherine Tate Show, and with the first series becoming a success, in March 2005, Tate made a guest appearance during the BBC’s Comic Relief as the character of Lauren from The Catherine Tate Show. In November 2005, Tate appeared in another charity sketch as part of the BBC’s annual Children in Need telethon. The segment was a crossover between EastEnders and The Catherine Tate Show, featuring Eastenders characters Peggy Mitchell, Little Mo Mitchell and Stacey Slater, whilst Tate appeared as Lauren. , she was also a guest star at the 77th Royal Variety Performance and appeared again in the guise of Lauren Cooper. During the sketch, Tate looked up at the Royal Box and asked The Queen, “Is one bovvered? Is one’s face bovvered?”. Tate later won a British Comedy Award for Best British Comedy Actress for her work in the second series of The Catherine Tate Show. At the end of 2005, she appeared in the BBC television adaptation of Bleak House. The third series of The Catherine Tate Show aired in 2006, going on to win the National Television Award for most popular comedy as voted for by the public.

Following the success of The Catherine Tate Show, Tate played Donna Noble in the 2006 Christmas special of Doctor Who and later reprised her role, becoming the Doctor’s companion for the fourth series in 2008 after suddenly appearing in the TARDIS at the end of the episode “Doomsday”. The following episode, the Christmas special entitled “The Runaway Bride”, saw Tate’s character in a major role, and she became the Doctor’s companion until she met the Oood and decided she’d had enough (yeah I felt like that after I saw the Adipose🙄)

and has also appeared in may other programs including three film roles including, Starter for 10, Sixty Six, and Scenes of a Sexual Nature, as well as the films Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution, and Love and Other Disasters. she played the lead role and co-starred with Anne Reid In the 2007 television adaptation of the novel, The Bad Mother’s Handbook, and On 16 March 2007, Tate appeared for a second time on Comic Relief as some of her well-known characters from The Catherine Tate Show. She has also acted in sketches with David Tennant, Daniel Craig, Lenny Henry and the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, and also appeared as Joannie “Nan” Taylor in an episode of Deal or No Deal, hosted by Noel Edmonds. In 2011, she began a recurring role as Nellie Bertram on The Office. Tate has won numerous awards for her work on the sketch comedy series The Catherine Tate Show as well as being nominated for an International Emmy Award and seven BAFTA Awards. She is a Patron of the performing arts group Theatretrain.

Edward Lear

Renowned for humourous poetry, prose and limericks, the British artist, illustrator, author, and poet Edward Lear was born 12 May 1812 in the village of Holloway, and was raised by his eldest sister, 21 years his senior. Due to the family’s failing financial fortune, at age four he and his sister had to leave the family home and set up house together. Ann doted on Edward and continued to mother him until her death, when he was almost 50 years of age. Lear suffered from health problems. From the age of six he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, and bronchitis, asthma, and in later life, partial blindness. Lear experienced his first seizure at a fair near Highgate with his father this event scared and embarrassed him. Lear felt lifelong guilt and shame for his epileptic condition. His adult diaries indicate that he always sensed the onset of a seizure in time to remove himself from public view. How Lear was able to anticipate them is not known, but many people with epilepsy report a ringing in their ears (tinnitus) or an aura before the onset of a seizure. In Lear’s time epilepsy was believed to be associated with demonic possession, which contributed to his feelings of guilt and loneliness. When Lear was about seven he began to show signs of depression, possibly due to the constant instability of his childhood. He suffered from periods of severe depression which he referred to as “the Morbids.

Lear was already drawing by the time he was aged 16 and soon developed into a serious “ornithological draughtsman” employed by the Zoological Society and then from 1832 to 1836 by the Earl of Derby, who kept a private menagerie at his estate Knowsley Hall. Lear’s first publication, published when he was 19 years old, was Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in 1830.His paintings were well received and he was compared favourably with the naturalist John James Audubon.He was also widely travelled and visited Greece and Egypt during 1848–49, and toured India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) during 1873–75. While travelling he produced large quantities of coloured wash drawings in a distinctive style, which he converted later in his studio into oil and watercolour paintings, as well as prints for his books.His landscape style often shows views with strong sunlight, with intense contrasts of colour. Throughout his life he continued to paint seriously. He had a lifelong ambition to illustrate Tennyson’s poems; near the end of his life a volume with a small number of illustrations was published

In 1846 Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks that went through three editions and helped popularize the form. In 1865 The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple was published, and in 1867 his most famous piece of nonsense, The Owl and the Pussycat, which he wrote for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby. Many other works followed. Lear’s nonsense books were quite popular during his lifetime, but a rumor developed that “Edward Lear” was merely a pseudonym, and the books’ true author was the man to whom Lear had dedicated the works, his patron the Earl of Derby. Promoters of this rumour offered as evidence the facts that both men were named Edward, and that “Lear” is an anagram of “Earl.” Lear travelled widely throughout his life and eventually settled in Sanremo, on his beloved Mediterranean coast, in the 1870s, at a villa he named “Villa Tennyson.” The closest he came to marriage was two proposals, both to the same woman 46 years his junior, which were not accepted. For companions he relied instead on a circle of friends and correspondents, and especially, in later life, on his Albanian Souliote chef, Giorgis, a faithful friend and, as Lear complained, a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef. Another trusted companion in Sanremo was his cat, Foss, who died in 1886 and was buried with some ceremony in a garden at Villa Tennyson.

Lear’s most fervent and painful friendship involved Franklin Lushington. He met the young barrister in Malta in 1849 and then toured southern Greece with him. Lear developed an undoubtedly homosexual passion for him that Lushington did not reciprocate. Although they remained friends for almost forty years, until Lear’s death, the disparity of their feelings for one another constantly tormented Lear. Indeed, none of Lear’s attempts at male companionship were successful; the very intensity of Lear’s affections seemingly doomed the relationships. The closest he came to marriage with a woman was two proposals, both to the same person 46 years his junior, which were not accepted. For companions he relied instead on friends and correspondents, and especially, during later life, on his Albanian Souliote chef, Giorgis, a faithful friend and, as Lear complained, a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef. Another trusted companion in Sanremo was his cat, Foss, who died in 1886 and was buried with some ceremony in a garden at Villa Tennyson. Lear eventually settled in San Remo, on his beloved Mediterranean coast, in the 1870s, at a villa he named “Villa Tennyson.” Lear was known to introduce himself with a long pseudonym: “Mr Abebika kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto phashyph” or “Chakonoton the Cozovex Dossi Fossi Sini Tomentilla Coronilla Polentilla Battledore & Shuttlecock Derry down Derry Dumps” which he based on Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.

Sadly After a long decline in his health, Lear died at his villa on 29 January 1888, of heart disease. Lear’s funeral was said to be a sad, lonely affair by the wife of Dr. Hassall, Lear’s physician, with none of Lear’s many lifelong friends being able to attend. Lear is buried in the Cemetery Foce in San Remo. The centenary of his death was marked in Britain with a set of Royal Mail stamps in 1988 and an exhibition at the Royal Academy. Lear’s birthplace area is now marked with a plaque at Bowman’s Mews, Islington, in London.

So long and thanks for all the fish (Douglas Adams)

Best known as the author of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, English author Douglas Adams, sadly passed away on 11th May 2001. Born 11th March 1952 in Cambridge, England, he 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 also a year below him. He attended the prep school from 1959 to 1964, then the main school until December 1970. He became the only student ever to be awarded a ten out of ten by Halford for creative writing,Some of his earliest writing was published at the school, such as reports or spoof reviews in the school magazine Broadsheet He also designed the cover of one issue of the Broadsheet, and had a letter and short story published nationally in The Eagle, in 1965, he was awarded a place at St John’s College, Cambridge to read English, Which he attended from 1971, though the main reason he applied to Cambridge was to join the Footlights, an invitation-only student comedy club that has acted as a hothouse for some of the most notable comic talent in England.

He graduated from St. John’s in 1974 with a B.A. in English literature. After leaving university Adams moved back to London, determined to break into TV and radio as a writer. The Footlights Revue appeared on BBC2 television in 1974 and also performed live in London’s West End which led to Adams being discovered by Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. The two formed a brief writing partnership, earning Adams a writing credit in episode 45 of Monty Python for a sketch called “Patient Abuse”, which plays on the idea of mind-boggling paper work in an emergency, a joke later incorporated into the Vogons’ obsession with paperwork. Adams also contributed to a sketch on the album for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Adams also continued to write and submit other sketches, though few were accepted. In 1976 he wrote and performed, Unpleasantness at Brodie’s Close at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. Some of Adams’s early radio work included sketches for The Burkiss Way in 1977 and The News Huddlines. He also wrote the 20 February 1977 episode of the “Doctor on the Go” television comedy series, with Graham Chapman.

After writing the Doctor Who episode “The Pirate planet” Adams became the script editor for Doctor Who’s seventeenth season in 1979 and wrote three Doctor Who serials starring Tom Baker as the Doctor: The Pirate Planet, City of Death and Shada. Adams also allowed in-jokes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to appear in the Doctor Who stories he wrote and other stories on which he served as Script Editor. Elements of Shada and City of Death were also reused in Adams’s later novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Adams is also credited with introducing a fan and later friend of his, the evolutionaruy biologist Richard Dawkins, to Dawkins’s future wife, Lalla Ward, who had played the part of Romana in Doctor Who.Adams also sent the script for the HHGG pilot radio programme to the Doctor Who production office in 1978. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy started As a concept for a science-fiction comedy radio series pitched by Adams and radio producer Simon Brett to BBC Radio 4 in 1977.

Adams came up with an outline for a pilot episode, as well as a few other stories (reprinted in Neil Gaiman’s book Don’t Panic: The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion) that could potentially be used in the series. It started life in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy and a after the first radio series became successful, Adams was made a BBC radio producer, working on Week Ending and a pantomime called Black Cinderella Two Goes East. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was also developed into a series of five books that sold over 15 million copies in his lifetime, 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 also wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987) and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988), and co-wrote The Meaning of Liff (1983), Last Chance to See (1990), and three stories for the television series Doctor Who. A posthumous collection of his work, including an unfinished novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002. He submit a potential movie script, which later became his novel Life, the Universe and Everything (which in turn became the third Hitchhiker’s Guide radio series).

Adams also played the guitar and had a collection of twenty-four guitars when he died in 2001 and also studied piano in the 1960s with the same teacher as Paul Wickens, the pianist who plays in Paul McCartney’s band (and composed the music for the 2004–2005 editions of the Hitchhiker’s Guide radio series). The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Procol Harum all had important influence on Adams’s work.Adams included a direct reference to Pink Floyd in the original radio version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which he describes the main characters surveying the landscape of an alien planet while Marvin, their android companion, hums Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”. This was cut out of the CD version. Adams also compared the various noises that the kakapo makes to “Pink Floyd studio out-takes” in his nonfiction book on endangered species, Last Chance to See.

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 the occasion of Adams’s 42nd birthday (the number 42 having special significance, being the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything and also Adams’s age when his daughter Polly was born), he was invited to make a guest appearance at Pink Floyd’s 28 October 1994 concert 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, namely “High Hopes”. Gilmour also performed at Adams’s memorial service following his death in 2001, and what would have been Adams’ 60th birthday party in 2012.Douglas Adams was also a friend of Gary Brooker, the lead singer, pianist and songwriter of the progressive rock band Procol Harum. Adams is known to have invited Brooker to one of the many parties that Adams held at his house. On one such occasion Gary Brooker performed the full version of his hit song “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. Brooker also performed at Adams’s memorial service. Adams also appeared on stage with Brooker to perform “In Held Twas in I” at Redhill when the band’s lyricist Keith Reid was not available.Adams was also an advocate for environmental and conservation causes, and a lover of fast cars, cameras, and the Apple Macintosh, and was a staunch atheist. Biologist Richard Dawkins also dedicated his book, The God Delusion, to Adams, writing on his death that, “Science has lost a friend, literature has lost a luminary, the mountain gorilla and the black rhino have lost a gallant defender.