The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction comedy series (created by Douglas Adams) that debuted as a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978. Since then it has been adapted to other formats, slowly becoming an international multi-media phenomenon over a span of several years. The title The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is often abbreviated as "HHG", "HHGG", "HHGTTG", or "H2G2". The series is also often referred to as "The Hitchhiker's Guide", "Hitchhiker's", or simply "[The] Guide." This title can refer to any of the various incarnations of the story, of which the books, having been translated into more than 30 languages by 2005. Although the various versions follow the same basic plot, they are in many places mutually contradictory, as Adams rewrote the story substantially for each new adaptation. In all versions, the series follows the adventures of Arthur Dent, a hapless Englishman who escapes the demolition of Earth by a bureaucratic alien race called the Vogons with his friend Ford Prefect, an alien from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and researcher for the eponymous guidebook. Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ford's semi-cousin and part-time Galactic President, unknowingly saves the pair from certain death. He brings them aboard his stolen spaceship, the Heart of Gold, whose crew rounds out the main cast of characters: Marvin the Paranoid Android, a severely depressed robot, and Trillian, formerly known as Tricia McMillan, a woman Arthur once met at a party who he soon realises is the only other survivor of Earth's destruction. After this, the characters embark on a quest to find the legendary planet of Magrathea and the Question to the Ultimate Answer.