The episode begins with a narration describing the significance of Magrathea, a planet that long long ago manufactured custom-designed planets for the galaxy's megarich. Due to its immense success, Magrathea became the richest planet in the galaxy and the galactic economy collapsed. Ford and Zaphod argue about the accuracy of this legend, Ford believing that it is nonsense, Zaphod believing he has found the long-lost planet.
As the ship orbits the planet, it triggers an automated recorded message, from the Commercial Council of Magrathea, that notes that Magrathea is currently closed for business, and to leave. A follow-up message announces that nuclear missiles will be launched against the ship.
The missiles are detected, and the crew struggle to get the Heart of Gold to escape the missiles. Disaster is averted when Arthur activates the Infinite Improbability Drive and the missiles are turned into a bowl of petunias and a very surprised-looking sperm whale. Trillian notes that her white mice (that she had taken with her from the Earth) have escaped.
The ship lands, and Ford, Arthur, Zaphod, Trillian and Marvin go onto the surface. (The episode, as released on CD, is edited here to avoid possible musical copyright concerns. ) They split up, and Zaphod, Trillian and Ford explore a tunnel, noting that they seem to be following the mice, whilst Arthur and Marvin are left on the surface as a lookout. Eventually, Slartibartfast comes to meet Arthur, and takes him into the interior of the planet, leaving Marvin behind. Inside Magrathea, he shows Arthur a planet that they are working on at the moment. Arthur recognises it as the Earth. Slartibartfast explains that the original Earth had been destroyed five minutes too early, and they are constructing a replacement. The original Earth had apparently been commissioned by some mice in order to find the "Ultimate Question."
Cast and Characters
- The Book and Narrator - Peter Jones
- Arthur Dent - Simon Jones
- Ford Prefect - Geoffrey McGivern
- Zaphod Beeblebrox - Mark Wing-Davey
- Eddie the Computer - David Tate
- Trillian - Susan Sheridan
- Recorded Voice and Slartibartfast - Richard Vernon
- Whale (uncredited) and Marvin the Paranoid Android - Stephen Moore
- Announcer (uncredited) - John Marsh
Music featured in the fit includes:
- "Kotakomben" from Einsteig by Gruppe Between
- "Space Theme" from Yamashta by Stomu Yamashta
- "Oxygène" by Jean Michel Jarre
- "That's Entertainment"
- "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd*
- "Rock and Roll Music" by The Beatles*
- "Wind On Water" from Evening Star by Fripp and Eno
- "Over Fire Island" from Another Green World by Fripp and Eno
(* denotes music from the portion of the episode removed from CD releases)