Stay in for Towel Day 2020

Stand Up for Towel Day and Save the Rhino International invite you to a raucous evening of fun and merriment to celebrate all things ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’.


What is Towel Day?

Towel Day is an annual celebration as a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams (1952-2001), author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Save the Rhino International founding patron. In ‘H2G2’ Douglas wrote. ‘A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value…’’ On 25 May each year, fans carry a towel in Douglas’ honour.


A change of plan

Since 2017 Stand Up for Towel Day has provided a place to gather after a long day of towel carrying for stand-up comedy, slam poetry, sketches, improv and more in homage to H2G2.

This year, we’ve teamed up with Stand up for Towel Day curator Rachel Wheeley to bring you 2020’s edition of the event. Due to the UK’s COVID-19 lock down, we now ask you to grab your towel and join us for ‘Stay in for Towel Day’ from the warmth and comfort of your own sofa.


This year’s programme, adapted for live streaming, is varied and exciting. It includes:

Master of Ceremonies Rachel Wheeley

Your MC for the evening, Rachel Wheeley launched Stand Up for Towel day in the basement of Waterstones bookshop in Tottenham Court Road in 2017. She had been horrified the year before to discover that there was nowhere to buy a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster on Towel Day, this side of the Galaxy. Since then, Stand Up for Towel Day has graced the stages of London and Cambridge pubs and for the first time ever in 2020, the entire thing will be online. Rach is panic-buying Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster ingredients in order to experience the effects of her brains being smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large, gold brick with you all, live on the night. @rachelwheeley

Chaotic Adequate podcast – A Lockdown Interlude – Rachel Wheeley Escapes from Hitchhiker’s Hell

Professional comedians, actors and a horror scholar star in an adult fantasy podcast set in a DnD world. In this special episode, Stand Up for Towel Day founder Rachel Wheeley must escape from a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy inspired “hell”. @ChaoticAdequate

H2g2 Text Game Play Through with David Hill

Save the Rhino Event Manager and Hitchhiker’s newbie, David, will play the text based Hitchhiker’s Guide computer game.

The Rhino who climbed Kilimanjaro

The documentary of the 1994 ‘Rhino walk’, The first know ascent of Kilimanjaro for sea to summit. The documentary follows the journey which stated in Mombasa, Kenya and went to the summit of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. The team stop off at Mkomazi rhino sanctuary with the famous Tony Fitzjon. It features Save the Rhino founders Dave Stirling, Johnny Roberts and Douglas Adams. The party took turns in the rhino costume all the way to the summit.

Douglas Adam’s virtual tour with David Haddock 

David Haddock is an ex-President of ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, the Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Appreciation Society. He is an active Adamsologist who writes for the club magazine and takes fans on Douglas Adams tours of Islington and Cambridge. @aeglefinus

The book that changed my life – Arvind Ethan David

Arvind Ethan David is a writer and producer of TV (DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY), film (THE INFIDEL), comics (DIRK GENTLY, DARKNESS VISIBLE), and theatre (JAGGED LITTLE PILL on Broadway). His career started when his favourite author, Douglas Adams, came to see a student production of Dirk Gently 25 years ago. @ArvD

The Quiz at the End of the Universe – Nell Thomas

Nell is a theatre maker and producer. She attended the first Stand Up for Towel Day in 2017 as a fan, then in 2018 as a bowl of petunias. She now helps Rachel by sending annoying emails full of technical questions to all the acts. She has been preparing for this quiz by forcing her friends to play her self-penned versions of Pointless , Mastermind, and Richard Osman’s House of Games on Zoom. @nelle_macbeth

‘Investigative journalism’ by Science Showoff’s Steve X Cross

Comedian Steve Cross has read Hitch-Hiker’s more closely than any of you. In this award-winning performance he will prove it by using the book for a deep scientific analysis of the truth about Douglas Adams and the source of his ideas. @steve_x

‘Entries from the Guide’ by Angus Dunican

Angus is a comedian, actor and writer who lives and works in London. He has a massive dog and an annoyingly chipper attitude under the circumstances. He will be presenting an entry of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (in the style of Peter Jones) on the subject of ‘other people’. @AngusDunican

Vogon poetry by Katie Overstall & The Story Beast

Katie is a writer and performer. In 2010 she co-founded The Underground Clown Club, a theatre company specialising in poetry and new writing, and has performed with them at venues and festivals across the country. The internet once said she was a genius, and as we know the internet never lies. She believes her greatest achievement to date is writing a poem rhyming 42 different words with ‘Slartibartfast’ for The Hitchhiker’s 42nd anniversary event at the British Library. Currently she is performing in Around the World with Nellie Bly , a one-woman adventure story for kids, created for Shedlight Stories. @katiebrain

‘One of the wonders of the Fringe.’ ★★★★★ Mirror ‘A thing of wonder.’ ★★★★ Fest ‘White hot brilliance’ ★★★★ Time Out. John Henry Falle is a poet and comedian perhaps best known as his immortal alter-ego, shaggy bard The Story Beast. In this guise he has been nominated for both an Edinburgh Comedy Award and The Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality reciting Beowulf in “Old English”, Die Hard as Lord Byron, and a seven-minute Rock Opera taking in the entire Geological History of Earth among many other strange and unnatural acts. He has gigged around the country doing adult comedy gigs and poetry for children and performed at the Tower Of London, Hadrian’s Wall and The British Library to name a few. For Stand Up For Towel Day he wrote the eulogy for so-called “worst poet in the universe” Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings and has begun work on a Vogon Epic (apologies in advance). In answer to your questions: yes, married, and Head & Shoulders. @thestorybeast

“Unfashionable End” Fan fiction following the adventures of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect by Declan Kennedy and Jonathan Hearn

Finalist in the 2019 Not So New Comedian of the Year Award, Declan Kennedy and his double act partner Jonathan Hearn, “Create and perform little speculative scenes recreating what Arthur and Ford might have done next, to try and recapture the fun, surreal and unexpected comedy and wit Douglas Adams brought to everything.” @jonathanhearn @_DeclanKennedy

Musical performance from Mitch Benn

Mitch Benn is a stand-up comedian, musician, author, writer and actor and is widely acknowledged as one of the best writer/performers of comedy songs in the UK. He is perhaps best known as the resident comic songwriter on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show from 1999 to 2016. In 2013 he took over the role of Zaphod Beeblebrox for the live stage show tour of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. @mitchbenn


What time does it start?

Programming starts at 13:30 BST (GMT+1)

13:30 – Rachel Wheeley Escapes from Hitchhiker’s Hell PART ONE

14:30 – H2g2 Text Game Play Through

16:00 – Rachel Wheeley Escapes from Hitchhiker’s Hell PART TWO

17:00 – The Rhino who climbed Kilimanjaro

18:00 – Virtual Douglas Adams tour of Islington

18:30 – Arvind Ethan David – The Book That Changed My Life – Q&A

19:00 – The Quiz at the End of the Universe

20:00 – Rachel Wheeley – Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster Mix-Along

20:10 – Steve Cross – Investigative Journalism

20:20 – Angus Dunican – Entry from the Guide ‘Other People’

20:30 – Katie Overstall & The Story Beast – Vogon Poetry

21:00 – Declan Kennedy & Jonathan Hearn – Fan Fiction

21:15 – Musical performance from Mitch Benn


Where can I watch?

You can watch the whole event from start to finish on Tiltify:


Douglas Adams and rhinos

Adams became interested in conservation in 1985 after the Observer Magazine sent him to investigate Madagascar’s endangered Aye-aye, accompanied by zoologist Mark Carwardine.

This resulted in a radio series for the BBC and a book, both entitled Last Chance to See, in which he and Mark visited rare species including the northern white rhinos of Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Douglas Adams became a founder patron of Save the Rhino in 1994. He climbed participated in a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro while wearing a rhino costume, and was a dedicated spokesperson for Save the Rhino right up until his death in 2001 at the age of 49.


Photo credits: Steve Cross, Idil Sukan, Save the Rhino International