Sunday, 23 February 2020

531 Shada: Part Six

EPISODE: Shada: Part Six
TRANSMITTED: Unbroadcast (planned for 23rd February 1980)
WRITER: Douglas Adams
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: Unbroadcast
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Shada

"We will return to the carrier ship. From there a fleet of small craft will take each one of you to selected centres of population, and then the great mind revolution shall begin!"

K-9 fires at the Prisoners, driving them back but he is thrown aside by a Krarg. The Doctor, Romana & Clare grab K-9 and flee to the Professor's Tardis. Romana reminds the Doctor that his mind is inside Skagra's machine too. Skagra returns to the Tardis and tells the former prisoners that they will return to the carrier ship and be distributed through the universe to further his revolution. The Doctor follows his Tardis in the Professors, capturing it in a force field, and has himself placed into the Time vortex. The Doctor begins crossing to his Tardis, but his journey appears in vain when an accident occurs in the Professor's Tardis deactivating the forcefield, throwing the Doctor into the vortex. The Doctor finds himself in a room in his Tardis and starts building a helmet shaped device. The Professor's Tardis arrives on the carrier ship, as the Doctor reveals himself and struggles for control of the joint mind. Romana deactivates the Krarg generating equipment, tipping the gas contained within out and using it to destroy the Krargs. Skagra flees to his ship, but is taken prisoner by his ship's computer who has now decided to serve the Doctor. The Doctor promises to return the prisoners to Shada and summon the Time Lords. The Doctor returns both his and the Professor's Tardis to Earth, confusing the college Porter who returns with a policeman to find the room now back in it's usual place and the Professor taking tea with his guests.

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As a dramatic production very little original 1979 material exists from episode 6, just the scenes in the Professor's room/Tardis, Skagra's ship's brig and the brief college exterior. The climatic battle in Shada itself is completely absent and without it on the VHS version you're relying on the narration which works better here than at any other point in the story. So the animators for the 2017 DVD version have had to do a lot of work here. They've had a bit of fun too: the shelves in the Tardis store room are loaded with goodies from previous stories and other shows: I can spot the time disturbance detector from The Time Monster, a Laserson Probe from Robots of Death, Polyphasavatron from Pirate Planet, a Movellan gun & Dalek bomb from Destiny of the Daleks, Blue Crystals from Metebelis 3, Erato's communication device from Creature from the Pit and the Trilogic Game from The Celestial Toymaker on one set of shelves while on the top of the others is Orac from Blake's 7!

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I do have to question the choice the animators made of where Skagra materialised on his ship: he's in a set that looks just like the ship's brig and it's easy to think he is in the cell when you first see it:

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Why go to the trouble, and money, of animating this and confusing people when they could have just used the ship's bridge seen in earlier episodes?

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Their Tardis is nice, evocative of the era, but a little too dark on the walls and bright on the roundels. I would have dearly loved the original Tardis scenes to be filmed, they might have pushed what remained into a much more coherent narrative flow.

The 2017 version does have a special little treat for us right at the end with a present day Tom Baker appearing in costume as The Doctor in a brief console room scene!

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One of the choices made for the 2017 version is to present is as a Movie length version, I suspect to conceal the uneven episode lengths! As such we don't get to see the end titles until the very end of the DVD. I found them difficult to look at: after the actors have appeared normally as captions which replace each other the rest of the credits are presented as upwards scrolling text over a background which is scrolling in. The resulting movement contrast did bad things to my head!

The material filmed in 1979 throws up a nice little deviation from the script by Tom: a "space time mystic in the Qualactin Zone" becomes a "space time mystic in the Quantocks", producing a nod towards Planet of Spiders' Buddhist community headed by an elderly Time Lord.

We also get to see one new actor this episode: John Hallet John Hallet plays the Police Constable that the Porter Wilkin calls to investigate the disappearance of Professor Chronotis' room. Hallet had previously appeared in Survivors playing Barney in Starvation, Spoil of War & Law and Order.

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I am led to wonder why the production took him on location for one brief scene? Surely it would have been easier to book him for the studio and set all his scenes in the corridor outside Chronotis' room!

We return to Douglas Adams' fifth novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. Set in St Cedd's College Cambridge it features a Professor Chronotis who has been living in the same rooms in Cambridge for 300+ years which also double as his time machine. He's got problems with his memory and likes to tease visitors with how many lumps of milk he'd like in their tea. I think we can see where Douglas sourced that from! And, as we pointed out during City of Death, the backbone of the plot involves an alien race who's spaceship tries to take off on prehistoric Earth kickstarting the process of life leaving one of their number to try to reverse the situation. Essentially Dirk Gently's is a "Cut & Shut" job on two of Douglas Adams Doctor Who stories, albeit one with a considerable amount of work done on the detail. I re-read it in the run up to doing these particular stories and was astounded at the similarities but I also found it one of the best of his novels, right up there (for me) with So Long, and Thanks For All The Fish.

So what do we make of Shada? From what I can gather from the script & remaining video it's not quite up to Adams' previous works for the series, Pirate Planet & City of Death, both of which are personal favourites. Doing Shada for the blog has given me a better feel for the story but even then it does rather vanish at crucial points. The first two episodes on the VHS version feel like proper Doctor Who episodes but after that it feels more like a jumble of bits..... which is essentially what it is! The script book, which I'd never read before my previous viewing, did help to fill in the gaps and you can hear Tom speaking some of the dialogue which would have added a sparkle to something that, in all honesty, seemed a little flat especially compared to the two Douglas Adams stories that went before it. It's only really come alive for me as a complete story with the 2017 DVD edition. The gaps are filled in adequately. This is probably the best animation since The Invasion and in both cases they're animating something for which no known photos exist which helps avoid comparisons to surviving photos and telesnaps. As I said previously, using Tom Baker & Lalla Ward to provide the voices for The Doctor & Romana adds a lot to this production and for me makes the 2017 DVD the definitive version of Shada and now I can see it as a full length story I think it probably would have made a fitting climax to the season that otherwise runs some six episodes short of the usual length.

This is the last episode of Doctor Who written or script edited by Douglas Adams. As Season 17 had progressed so the success of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy had grown. A second radio series was in the works, a record was on the horizon as was a TV series. Plus the novel of Hitch-hikers had sold by the bucketload..... Douglas Adams went on to write 4 more Hitch-hiker's books, 2 Dirk Gently novels and several other works. He emigrated to America, where he died of a heart attack on May 11th 2001.

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This is also the last episode of Doctor Who produced by Graham Williams. He left the BBC in the 1980s going on to produce television shows for ITV including Supergran. In 1985 he had submitted a story to the then production team entitled The Nightmare Fare, and featuring the Celestial Toymaker, which was in pre-production at the point the series was "put on hiatus" for 18 months by the BBC. In the late 1980s he left the television industry to run a hotel in Tiverton, Devon, which was where he was killed in a shooting accident on 17th August 1990.

Regular Doctor Who composer Dudley Simpson was scheduled to write and record the music for this episode but in the event he performed no work on the story. Along with many other long term creative personnel his services were dispensed with by incoming producer John Nathan-Turner and he didn't work on the program again. The music for the VHS version provided for the VHS version by Keff McCulloch wasn't similar to the style used on the series at the time and has been widely criticised over the years so the 2017 version features a new score by Mark Ayres in the style of Dudley Simpson and owing a debt to some of Simpson's contemporary work on the show, notably City of Death. Simpson himself died in 2017 and a caption tribute to him appears on the 2017 DVD:

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Of all the directors who worked on Doctor Who before John Nathan-Turner became producer, this story's director Pennant Roberts is the only one to return to the show in later years taking charge of 1984's Warriors of the Deep and 1985's Timelash.

Two days after this episode was planned to be broadcast the Blake's 7 episode Rumours Of Death was shown.

In 2017 M'learned colleague Mr Richard Bignell listed the running times for the material recorded in 1979 for each episode of Shada, including title sequences, for Roobarb's DVD Forum and came to the conclusion that

"approximately 56% of Shada was completed back in 1979"
I've been noting the proximate points at which each episode has finished on the 2017 version and the comparison is interesting. Note that on the 2017 version only the first episode has the opening titles, only the last episode has the closing title and the first episode includes a bonus BBC globe. Effectively you could add another minute onto the first and last episode and two minutes onto the middle four episodes to make them into a broadcast episode with titles on the start and finish:


Again, from Mr Bignell:

"If you take the ideal BBC-specified episode length of 24' 30" as the norm, the total running time for a six-parter would be around 147 minutes."
The 2017 DVD times in at just over 2h17m, which is 137 minutes.

As we have previously said during episode 5, Shada was finally novelised in 2011 by Gareth Roberts. The recorded sections were released on video in 1993. The Doctor Who Legacy DVD boxset uses the VHS version along with new bonus material and pairs the story with the 1993 documentary 30 Years In The Tardis and was released on 7th January 2103. In 2017 the BBC announced a new version marrying the existing footage to new animation with the voices provided by the original cast where possible. This was released on DVD on 4th Decemeber 2017, but unfortunately the DVD version contains a framing error where the new material is pillarboxed in 16:9 rather than being in the original 4:3. The same day a Blu-Ray of the same title was released alongside a limited edition steelbook Blu Ray containing both the new 2017 release and the previous 2013 version.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

530 Shada: Part Five

EPISODE: Shada: Part Five
TRANSMITTED: Unbroadcast (planned for 16th February 1980)
WRITER: Douglas Adams
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: Unbroadcast
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Shada

"My purpose will fulfil the natural evolutionary goal of all life. With the aid of these spheres, I shall make the whole of creation merge into one single mind, one god-like entity. The universe, Doctor, shall not, as you so crudely put it, be mine. The universe shall be me!"

The Krarg strikes the machinery in the think tank, creating a vast amount of smoke which enables the Doctor, K-9 & Chris to escape back to Skagra's ship, leaving just as the Think Tank station explodes. The Ship is persuaded to take the Doctor to Skagra's home. While trying to repair the Professor's ship Clare asks about who Salyavin is. The Professor places the knowledge that Clare needs to repair the Tardis in her head telepathically. Skagra's ship takes the Doctor's ship to the Krarg carrier ship. They are captured and Skagra reveals his plan to take over the universe telepathically, merging them into one mind: his. The Doctor stages an escape with Chris & K-9 but Romana is dragged back to the Tardis by Skagra. Fleeing down the corridors of the ship the Doctor & co find an out of place old wooden door and go through it, discovering themselves to be in Professor Chronotis' rooms/Tardis. The Professor knows that with the book & Tardis that Skagra can travel to Shada, which is exactly what he does. Skagra searches Shada's records for the location of Salyavin, the Time Lord criminal with huge mental powers. The Professor's Tardis arrives and he, K-9 & The Doctor follow Shada with the Professor guiding them. Skagra starts reviving the prisoners as the Doctor arrives but when they open Salyavin's cell they find it empty. The Professor admits he is Salyavin: he escaped centuries ago and used his powers to make the Time Lords forget about Shada. The Sphere attacks the Professor but is destroyed by K-9. However it reforms into several smaller spheres, one of which attaches itself to the Professor and he sinks to the floor. The spheres attach themselves to the revived prisoners, bringing them under Skagra's control. Chris & Clare arrive, but Chris too is brought under the control of a sphere. He and the prisoners advance on the Doctor.

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Once again Tom Baker's narration on the VHS version doesn't do what's happening justice. Not Tom's fault at all, more the John Nathan-Turner penned script which draws attention to the wrong elements. Certain bits, notably finding the door to the Professor's rooms on the Krarg carrier ship and the revelation that Chronotis is Salyavin came to life, really don't work in the VHS version and it needs either the scriptbook or the 2017 version to bring them to life!

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The idea that Time Lords have mental powers has been hinted at before: Susan was telepathic and both the Doctor & The Master have been shown to easily hypnotise people. In Salyavin we have someone who has taken those abilities to a whole new level.

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Many years ago when I was given for my Birthday a copy of the Doctor Who Programme Guide my interest in this story was peaked by the description that the prisoners would include "A Dalek, a Cyberleader and a Zygon".

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This really got me interested reading it because, apart from the Daleks earlier this season and the Sontarans nearly a year and a half previous, we hadn't seen any of the more famous Doctor Who monsters for a long time!

Obviously since the scenes on Shada weren't filmed we see none of this, and when I read the script book there's no reference there to who or what the prisoners are. So, fearing this detail had been made up, I asked on Roobarb's Doctor Who forum and m'learned colleague Mr David Brunt recalled thus:

If memory serves, it's something listed in the costume designer's notes for the story.

Might even be in the recording scripts which post-date the ones used for the script book.

There's certainly paperwork listing extras Steve Ismay, Ridgewell Hawks and Les Shannon as "Space Monsters". Ismay was certainly tall enough to get into a Cyberman suit.

Sadly it looks as if the animators for the 2017 DVD have just used generic humanoid aliens.

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Steve Ismay, the suspected Cyberman here, had been a BBC3 TV Crewmember in The Dæmons, a Guerilla & Stills Cameraman in Day of the Daleks, Sea Devil in The Sea Devils, Varan's Bodyguard in The Mutants a Presidential Guard in Frontier in Space and a Security Guard in The Green Death. He's in every story in season 10 playing a UNIT Soldier in The Time Warrior, an Army Soldier in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, an Exxilon & Exxilon Zombie in Death to the Daleks, a Guard in The Monster of Peladon and a Metebelis 3 Guard in Planet of the Spiders. He then plays a Guard in The Deadly Assassin, a Leviathan Guard in Ribos Operation and a Gracht Guard & one of Zadek's Guards in The Androids of Tara. He returns to plays a Citizen in Full Circle, a Cyberman in Earthshock and a Security Guard in Time Flight. He had been a Man in the Doomwatch episode The Islanders & Flood, and then appears in The Sweeney as a Policeman in Cover Story, a Driver in Golden Boy and a Villain in Stoppo Driver. In Porridge he played a Prison Warden in A Night In and a Gardener in Happy Release while in The Tomorrow People he was in a Vesh Rebel in Worlds Away and an SIS Sergeant in The Dirtiest Business. In Blake's 7 he plays a Scavenger in Deliverance, a Guard in Dawn of the Gods, a Convict in Moloch and a Hommik in Power.

Ridgewell Hawkes had been a Mute in Armageddon Factor and a Bearer in Creature from the Pit. He returns as a Pangol Doctor in The Leisure Hive, a Security Guard in Timeflight, a Seabase Guard in Warriors of the Deep and a Gastropod in Twin Dilemma. In Blake's 7 he's a Rebel in Pressure Point, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Goth Guard in The Keeper, a Guard in Dawn of the Gods, a Menial in Ultraworld and a Hommik in Power. In The Professionals he's a Policeman in The Purging of Ci5.

Les Shannon had been a Citizen of Millenius in The Keys of Marinus, a Council Member in The Massacre, a Settler in The Gunfighters, a Passenger/Plague Victim/Passersby/Ambulance Man/Policeman in The Silurians and one of Collinson’s Men & and a Cameraman in Ambassadors of Death. In Blake's 7 he's a Federation Trooper in The Way Back and a Kairos Guard in The Harvest of Kairos. Earlier he was in Moonbase 3 as a Technician in View of a Dead Planet, Out of the Unknown as the Coroner in The Sons and Daughters of Tomorrow and The Andromeda Breakthrough as a Crowd Extra in Gale Warning.

The DWAS Production File reveals another disappointment with the Generic Human Prisoners that were animated: they were intended to be real life villains!

Lucrezia Borgia would have been played by Ann Lee who Returns as a Kinda in Kinda. In Doomwatch she was a Secretary in Friday's Child, a Woman in Spectre at the Feast, a Woman in Train and De-Train, a Woman in You Killed Toby Wren, a Woman in Flight Into Yesterday, a Nursing Sister in The Web of Fear, a Woman in The Inquest and a Laboratory Assistant in Cause of Death. I think it's likely that she's the Ann Garry Lee that I can't find on IMDB but the DWAS production file shows her appearing as a Passenger in Nightmare of Eden and a Lazar in Terminus.

Boedicia would have been played by Joan Harsant who had been a Technician in The Silurians and a Technician in Inferno. In Quatermass and the Pit she was part of the Crowd at Museum in The Enchanted and in The Black Adder she was a Nun in The Archbishop. She had a recurring role as the Cleaning Lady in The Paradise Club: you'll be seeing both of the stars of that show in Doctor Who over the next few years.

Salome would have been played by Julie La Rousse. She can be seen in Douglas Camfield & Robert Holmes' The Nightmare Man as the Hotel Receptionist in the third episode and in The Professionals as a Woman Walking Across Street in The Madness of Mickey Hamilton. There's a few comedy roles on her CV including The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin where she's a Woman in Audience in The Speech to the British Fruit Association, Are You Being Served? as a Shopper in The Club, Fawlty Towers as the Bearded Guest's Redheaded Companion in The Kipper and the Corpse and she later to find a recurring role as Julie the Barmaid in Only Fools and Horses

Nero, who previously appeared in the Doctor Who story The Romans played by Derek Francis, is portrayed here by Barry Summerford He had been in Invasion of the Dinosaurs as an Operation Golden Age Man, The Ark in Space as a Body in Pallet, Genesis of the Daleks as a Elite Guard, Revenge of the Cybermen as a Vogan, Terror of the Zygons as a Private Thurston, The Seeds of Doom as a UNIT Soldier, The Hand of Fear as a Security Guard, The Sun Makers as an IR Guard in Exchange Hall, The Ribos Operation as a Shrieve, The Armageddon Factor as a Guard and The Creature from the Pit as a Guard. He returns in The Keeper of Traken as a Foster. He was in the Doomwatchepisode Tomorrow, the Rat as a Man, Moonbase 3 as a Technician in Castor and Pollux & View of a Dead Planet and in Blake's 7 he plays a Federation Trooper in The Way Back, a Rebel in Pressure Point, a Rebel in Voice from the Past, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Federation Commando in Volcano, a Monster in Dawn of the Gods and Tando in Blake, making him one of four actors to appear in the first and last episode of the series. He can also be seen in the Douglas Camfield adaption of Beau Geste as a Legionnaire.

Grigori Rasputin, a risky role surely as the show's star had once famously portrayed it, would have been played by Derek Moss while the fictional Lady Macbeth would have been played by Shirley Conrad. Both have no other Doctor Who roles.

Then there's a couple of more generic characters:

The Executioner is played by John Cannon. He'd been a Miner in Monster of Peladon, Elgin in Hand of Fear, a Passerby in Talons of Weng Chiang, a member of the Audience/Stagehands/Doorman (Fred) in Talons of Weng Chiang, a Trog in Underworld, a Technician in the Pirate Planet, a Guard in The Armageddon Factor, a Guard in Creature from the Pit, and would have been the Executioner in Shada. He returns as the Police Sergeant in Mawdryn Undead, the Shadow Helmsman in Enlightenment and a Retainer in King's Demons. In Blake's 7 he's a Federation Trooper in Project Avalon, Cevedic's Heavy in Gambit, a Labourer in The Harvest of Kairos and a Federation Trooper in Children of Auron. In Moonbase 3 he's a Technician in Castor and Pollux and in I, Claudius he's the Cake Ship slave in - A Touch of Murder. He's in Porridge twice: he's a Prisoner in A Night In and No Way Out. In The Sweeney he's in Supersnout as a Constable and Thou Shalt Not Kill as a Policeman while in The Professionals he's Huey in It's Only a Beautiful Picture. In The Empire Strikes Back he's a Holographic Imperial Officer while in Beau Geste he played a Legionnaire.

The Gladiator is played by Steve Kelly. He'd been a UNIT Soldier in the Invasion, a UNIT Soldier in the Ambassadors of Death, and an Ogron in Frontier in Space,. He returns as the Marshman leader in Full Circle and a Sea Devil in Warriors of the Deep. In Blake's 7 he's a a Scavenger in Deliverance, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Goth Guard in The Keeper, a Hommik Warrior in Power and a Plantation Bounty Hunter in Blake. In Doomwatch he was a Man in Re-Entry Forbidden, a Man in The Islanders and the Lieutenant in Flood. In Monty Python's Flying Circus he was a Viking in Spam and in Fawlty Towers a Lorry Driver in Gourmet Night and an Ambulance Driver in The Germans. He's also in The Young Ones episode Cash.

Genghis Khan would have been played by Dave Cooper who returns as a Guard/Bearer/Alphan/Huge Alphan/Linna in Trial of a Timelord: Mindwarp. In The Professionals he's a Thug in Dead Reckoning and a Man in Bar in When the Heat Cools Off.

There's a real jump in the depiction of Clare Keightley between episodes: having had her hair up in the first four episodes it's suddenly down here. It's obvious on the VHS version and caught my eye: did they intend a scene where she let it down?

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The production paperwork indicates that all the Krargs were in episode 4, which is where we covered them, but this is the first episode where it feels like they're out in force.

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By this point the animation is taking up far more of the episode in the 2017 version than the recorded material is. Generally it's working quite well for me: love the K9 blast effect in this episode!

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Am I allowed a little nitpick at the animation? The animators, knowing nothing was filmed on Skagra's Carrier have used their licence and designed their own dark red corridors, as you can see in this shot when the Professor's front door materialises in it:

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The only problem is once The Doctor, K-9, Romana & Chris charge through the door you can see the corridor through the open door, a typically late 70s yellow, brown and beige patterned flat, which doesn't match what the animators came up with at all!

The most natural home for Shada to be finished would, for many years, have been the Doctor Who Target Book range. There was one problem though: It was a Douglas Adams story and Douglas said only he was going to adapt his stories. Unfortunately by this point Douglas had become a best selling author and the advance he commanded was waaaaaay in excess of what Target could afford. So the Target book of Shada, along with those for Douglas' two previous tales The Pirate Planet & City of Death, went unmade. There's two other Doctor Who stories that weren't adapted as Target Books: Resurrection of the Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks but the reasons they weren't adapted are slightly different.

However in 1989 an unauthorised adaptation of the story was carried out by The New Zealand Doctor Who fan club. A version can be downloaded from here.

In 2011 BBC Books unexpectedly announced that they were publishing a novelization of the story which would be written by New series writer Gareth Roberts. Roberts made his name writing a series of Fourth Doctor Missing Adventures books for Virgin. Doctor Who: Shada was released on 17th March 2012. Roberts takes certain liberties with the plot, most notably the cliffhanger to this episode, but it's a decent attempt at adapting the story and worth a read.

Two days after this episode was planned to be broadcast the Blake's 7 episode Children Of Auron was shown.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

529 Shada: Part Four

EPISODE: Shada: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Unbroadcast (planned for 09th February 1980)
WRITER: Douglas Adams
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: Unbroadcast
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Shada

"I was, I am, I will be, Professor Chronotis. Oh dear. We Gallifreyans have never managed to come up with a satisfactory form of grammar to cover these situations!"

Chris & K-9 are transported out their cell and detecting them the ship re-activates it's oxygen supply. The Tardis arrives at the Krarg carrier ship and Romana sees the Krargs being grown. Another Krarg starts to form on Skagra's ship. The Doctor boosts the ships power to enabling it to cross the distances of space quickly. In Professor Chronotis' rooms Clare awakes and is startled by the appearance of the Professor, dressed in a night shirt. Skagra finds himself unable to translate the book using the Doctor's mind in the sphere. The Professor explains to Clare that his rooms are his Tardis and it interfered to save his life. The Professor decides they must find Skagra to save the book, which is the key to Shada, the Time Lord prison which has been forgotten about. The Doctor & Chris are attacked by a Krarg, but it is held off by K-9 allowing them to explore the Think Tank complex at which they have arrived. They find the ages bodies of Skagra's former colleagues. Skagra notices that turning the pages of the book influence the Tardis and realises turning the last page of the book will take him to Shada. He prepares to journey to Shada to find the Time Lord criminal Salyavin, who is crucial to his plans. The Doctor uses Chris' brain power to revive one of the scientists, the neurologist Caldera. He explains how Skagra set up Think Tank to pool the resources of the mind electronically but when they had completed the sphere he used it to steal their minds. Skagra now intends to use his mind to dominate the whole of humanity but need Salyavin to complete his plan. K-9 looses his fight against the Krarg and is driven into the Think Tank by the massive creature which now advances on the Doctor.....

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OK, is anyone able to explain to me just how & why Chris and K-9 are transported out of their cell? It appears to just happen for no reason at all! It had bothered me previously and neither the script book nor the 2017 version clear things up at all!. Chronotis' survival is rather brushed over, but seemingly accredited to his Tardis. I can get that Skagra notices that the book affects the Tardis, but turning the last page will cause the Tardis to travel to Shada? That's a bit of a leap. I think this episode could have done with another pass over it by the script editor.... except the script editor is in this case the author!

The computer on Skagra's ship is voiced by Shirley Dixon who'd been in the Doomwatch episode You Killed Toby Wren as Dr. Judith Lennox. You can also see her in The Professionals: You'll Be All Right as Mrs. Johnson and Inspector Morse: Last Bus to Woodstock as Margaret Crowther.

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Playing the Think Tank scientist Doctor A St John D Caldera is Derek Pollitt who was Driver Evans in The Web of Fear and Private Wright in Doctor Who and the Silurians. His brother was the actor Clyde Pollitt who appeared in The War Games as a Timelord and returned as the Chancellor in The Three Doctors.

The Older versions of the other Scientists - A S T Thira, G V Santori, L D Ia & I Akrotiri - are mainly played by familiar names but we don't know which is which!

Ernest Jennings was the 1st Man in Market in The Romans and a Highlander in jail in The Highlanders. He returns as a Peasant in Village Centre in State of Decay, and the aged rebel Fern in Trial of a Timelord Mindwarp.

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Johnny Clayton was a Planetarian in Mission to the Unknown: Delegate Detective think he was Celation. He returns as a Lazar in Terminus and a Guard/Bearer/Alphan/Huge Alphan/Linna in Trial of a Timelord Mindwarp. In Rentaghost he was William Shakespeare in the third episode of the second series, still unreleased on DVD! He was in the first episode of EastEnders as murder victim Reg Cox.

Max Mundy was in Blake's 7 as a Cabin Bounty Hunter & Federation Trooper in Blake while John Dolan has no other Doctor Who appearances to his name.

We finally get a decent look at a Krarg in his episode! The one that appears on screen was recorded as part of the first filming block and is played by Derek Suthern who first appeared as a Path Lab Technician in The Hand of Fear, followed by a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet, a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara and a Mute in The Armageddon Factor. He's in this season 3 times as a Guard in Creature from the Pit and a Mandrel in Nightmare of Eden before his appearance as a Guard in The Horns of Nimon. This would have made a fourth appearance if the story hadn't have been cancelled. That also deprives him of appearances in five consecutive Doctor Who stories as he then plays a Argolin Guide in The Leisure Hive, the first story of the next season. He returns at the end of that season as PC Davis in Logopolis part one followed by playing a Cricketer in Black Orchid and a Man in Market in Snakedance. In Blake's 7 he was a Federation Trooper in The Way Back, a Scavenger in Deliverance, a Federation Trooper in Trial & Countdown, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Hommik Warrior in Power and a Space Princess Guard / Passenger in Gold. He appears in the Roger Moore James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me as an Atlantis Guard and is in Fawlty Towers as a Hotel Guest in both The Germans and The Psychiatrist.

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The Krargs who missed out having their material recorded are:

Reg Woods who had been a Palace Guard in Androids of Tara, and a Bearer in Creature from the Pit He then played a Pangol Body Part & Member of Pangol Army in The Leisure Hive and a Guard in State of Decay. He recorded his part as the Policeman at the Station i Black Orchid only to have it cut fro the final program! He then returned as a Security Guard in Timeflight and a Member of Striker's Crew in Enlightenment. In Blake's 7 he's a Scavenger in Deliverance, a Rebel in Voice from the Past, a Menial in Ultraworld, a Space Rat in Stardrive and a Space Princess Guard / Passenger in Gold. He's also in The Professionals episode Black Out in what IMDB describes as "Bit Part" and the Fawlty Towers episode The Kipper and the Corpse as a Hotel Guest.

Lionel Sansby was a UNIT Soldier in the Silurian, one of the Complex Personnel in Hand of Fear and a Passenger in Nightmare of Eden. He returns as a Cricketer in Black Orchid, a Passenger in Time Flight, one of the Men in the Cave Crowd in Snakedance, and as a Lazar in Terminus. In Blake's 7 he was a Federation Trooper in Seek-Locate-Destroy and in Doomwatch he was a Man in No Room for Error.

James Muir also should have played a Krarg in the studio: see episode 3 for his credits where he appears as the man fishing.

We've got a nice shot of the chamber used to create the Krargs courtesy of the photo gallery on the 2013 DVD so you can see what the animation team came up with is a close match:

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I rather like the effect of the Krarg forming in it:

4c 4d

It's also interesting comparing the effects used for the void behind Professor Chronotis' room:

4i 4j

The first attempt at using the Shada footage was made by new Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner, but having secured funding for two extra episodes for the forthcoming season, to avoid having to make a new six parter, the BBC were reluctant to give him more money to finish Shada as well. With the departure of Lalla Ward and then Tom Baker from the show any possibility of finishing the story vanished.

In 1983 the footage that had been filmed was combined into a version of episodes 1 & 2 constructed by fans Ian Levine, Richard Landen, James Russell and Kevin Davies for the DWAS Panopticon 3 convention September 3rd and 4th. That same year the Shada footage provided the scenes of the Doctor & Romana punting from episode 1 and The Doctor being rescued from beneath a fence gate from episode 3 to give Tom Baker some presence in the 20th Anniversary story The Five Doctors.

Ideas for releasing Shada on video started circulating as early as 1984 but nothing came of it till the Doctor Who - Shada was released on VHS on July 6th 1992. Douglas Adams was reluctant for the material to be released and was only convinced by an offer to donate his royalties to Comic Relief. Tom Baker provides the narration to accompany the story whose single video is accompanied by a book reproducing the complete script for all six episode. The VHS version of Shada was released on DVD along with the expanded version of the documentary Thirty Years in the Tardis.

Shada was the BBC's first attempt at filling the gaps in a missing story: narration was later on the videos of The Invasion & The Crusade to cover for missing episodes. The Crusade, and later the Ice Warriors, also include CDs of the missing episodes (an option obviously not available here since the episodes were never finished). The Ice Warriors also includes an abridged Telesnap reconstruction of it's missing material: a full telesnap reconstruction married to the Soundtrack would be used in place of the missing Tenth Planet episode 4. When the Invasion was released on DVD, it's two missing episodes (for which no Telesnaps exist) were animated, a technique shortly due to be used on Reign of Terror. At some point Ian Levine started working on an animated version of Shada with the hope of getting the BBC to release it. If you want more detail Google Ian Levine Shada .....

In 2003 a complete, alternate, audio version of the story was released by Big Finish on CD starring Paul McGann as The Doctor and featuring Lalla Ward as Romana. The BBC produced a version of this with Flash animation which can be seen on their website.

In 2017 the BBC announced a new version to be released on DVD, Blu-Ray and limited edition steelbook Blu Ray. This married the existing footage to new animation with the voices provided by the original cast where possible. Since this involves both Tom Baker & Lalla Ward to my mind this make it the definitive version of Shada.

Two days after this episode was planned to be broadcast the Blake's 7 episode City At The Edge Of World was shown.