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The first radio series of six episodes (called "Fits" after the names of the sections of Lewis Carroll's nonsense poem "The Hunting of the Snark") was broadcast in 1978 on BBC Radio 4. Despite a low-key launch of the series (the first episode was broadcast at 10:30 pm on Wednesday, 8 March 1978), it received generally good reviews and a tremendous audience reaction for radio. A one-off episode (a "Christmas special") was broadcast later in the year. The BBC had a practice at the time of commissioning "Christmas Special" episodes for popular radio series, and while an early draft of this episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide had a Christmas-related plotline, it was decided to be "in slightly poor taste" and the episode as transmitted served as a bridge between the two series. This episode was released as part of the second radio series and, later, The Secondary Phase on cassettes and CDs. The Primary and Secondary Phases were aired, in a slightly edited version, in the United States on NPR Playhouse.