Adams, Douglas Noël (1952-2001) writer

Identity area

Type of entity


Authorized form of name

Adams, Douglas Noël (1952-2001) writer

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence



Douglas Noël Adams was born in Cambridge on 11 March 1952, first child of another Johnian, Christopher Douglas Adams (BA 1951), and Janet Dora Sydney (née Donovan).

He was awarded an exhibition to read English at St John's College, Cambridge, obtaining his BA in 1974. While at Cambridge, Adams occupied himself chiefly in writing, performing in, and producing comedy sketches and revues, establishing connections that were to be integral to his future work.

His career took off with 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', a six-part comic science-fiction radio series commissioned by the BBC in 1977 and broadcast in 1978. Novelisation and a second series were followed by further books in what became billed as 'the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy'. The 'Hitchhiker's Guide' series has taken many forms, including audio recordings; stage adaptations; a television series; a computer game; publication of the original radio scripts; radio adaptations of the remaining novels, and a film.

Adams's other creative work included writing and script-editing for BBC Television's 'Doctor Who', novels featuring the private detective Dirk Gently, and collaboration with John Lloyd on a humorous dictionary, 'The Meaning of Liff'. A collaboration of a very different sort saw him embark upon a series of expeditions with zoologist Mark Carwardine in search of endangered species. The resulting radio documentary series, 'Last Chance to See', was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1989.

An enthusiastic technophile, Adams became a popular speaker on the subject. He was a co-founder in 1994 of the digital media and communications company The Digital Village (TDV), which produced the CD-ROM adventure game 'Starship Titanic' and created the website h2g2.

Adams married Jane Elizabeth Belson, a barrister, in November 1991; their daughter, Polly Jane Rocket Adams, was born in June 1994. Douglas Adams died suddenly on 11 May 2001 in Santa Barbara, California.

Further reading:

'Don't Panic: Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', by Neil Gaiman (3rd rev. edn., London: Titan, 2002); 'Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams', by MJ Simpson (1st edn., London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2003); 'Wish You Were Here: The Official Biography of Douglas Adams', by Nick Webb (1st edn., London: Headline, 2003), who also wrote the entry for Adams in the 'Oxford Dictionary of National Bibliography'; and 'The Frood: The Authorised and Very Official History of Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy', by Jem Roberts (London: Preface, 2014).


Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Access points area

Subject access points

Place access points


Control area

Authority record identifier

GB 275 003923

Institution identifier

GB 275

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion




Maintenance notes

  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC

Related subjects

Related places