‘Shada’ (TV)

 shada 2017 dvd


Please feel free to comment on my review.

‘The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey’ with the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9

And here we are on the sixth and final story of Season 17 of ‘Doctor Who’! A six-part adventure by Douglas Adams called ‘Shada’. Like I said in my ‘Horns of Nimon’ review, this was meant to be the finale in Season 17. Sadly, due to strike action, ‘Shada’ was cancelled and never saw the light of day.

It’s sad how the circumstances of ‘Shada’ being cancelled in 1979 came about, as the cast and crew enjoyed making the story and it was hoped to be another winner by Douglas Adams. Thankfully, through the passage of time, ‘Shada’ has had this legacy, since it has been remade plenty of times. 🙂

For the sake of argument, I’m reviewing ‘Shada’ with Tom Baker, Lalla Ward and K-9 based on the 2021 ‘definitive version’ in the Season 17 Blu-ray box set. I’m combining both my reviews on the 1992 VHS release and the 2017 DVD/Blu-ray release as I go along in terms of reviewing this classic. 🙂

By doing this, I hope to give comparisons on what’s different between the 1992 VHS version, the 2017 DVD/Blu-ray version, the 2003 Big Finish audio adaptation and the Gareth Roberts novelization. It’ll identify what makes each version different to each other and what’s good and bad.

The story of ‘Shada’ goes like this. The Doctor and Romana visit Cambridge in 1979 in order to see an old friend of the Doctor’s – a retired Time Lord named Professor Chronotis. He’s misplaced an ancient Gallifreyan artefact that is a book. It’s called ‘The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey’. 😐

As the Doctor and Romana help Chronotis to find the book, the crazed scientist called Skagra seeks the book for himself, as he wants to unlock the Time Lords’ prison planet called Shada. With the help of K-9, Chris Parsons and Clare Keightley, can the Doctor and Romana defeat the pretty evil Skagra? 😐

The original ‘Shada’ was directed by Pennant Roberts, who previously directed ‘Doctor Who’ stories like ‘The Face of Evil’, ‘The Sun Makers’ and ‘The Pirate Planet’. He would go on to direct ‘Warriors of the Deep’ and ‘Timelash’. A pity that Pennant Roberts didn’t get to finish directing this classic story. 😦

The first time I came across ‘Shada’ as a ‘Doctor Who’ story was when I purchased the 2003 audio adaptation by Big Finish, featuring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, Lalla Ward as Romana and K-9, voiced by John Leeson. I enjoyed it greatly, and I listened to it more than once in 2011 and 2012. 🙂

There’s also a flash animation webcast version of the 2003 version of ‘Shada’ with Paul McGann, which was available on the BBC website for a time. After checking out the 2003 version of ‘Shada’, I went to check out what was left of the 1979 version presented in the 1992 VHS release on YouTube.

I was fascinated about the original 1979 version when I watched the 1992 VHS release on YouTube for fun. It didn’t have the best video quality via YouTube, as it was taken from the 1992 VHS release, but I was very pleased to see what was left of ‘Shada’ from 1979. It was a pretty joyful experience. 🙂

I was able to make comparisons between the Tom Baker version of the story and the Paul McGann version of the story. With the Tom Baker version of the story, I thought the only way I was going to see it was on YouTube. I didn’t think it would ever get released on DVD. How wrong I was about this!

A year later, the 1992 VHS release of ‘Shada’ was re-released on a 2-disc DVD in ‘The Legacy Collection’ DVD box set, along with ‘More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS’. I must admit, I was pretty surprised by ‘The Legacy Collection’ DVD box set in 2013 and what it contained in terms of the items.

Of course, I was delighted that what was left of the original ‘Shada’ from 1979 in the 1992 VHS release was coming out on DVD at last in 2013. I also enjoyed the ‘More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS’ documentary in the collection. A shame ‘Dimensions In Time’ wasn’t included in the DVD set.

The 1992 VHS release of ‘Shada’ was on Disc 1 of the 2013 DVD release with special features on Disc 2. Again, I didn’t think that ‘Shada’ in its 1992 form would get a DVD release, hence why I watched the 1992 VHS release on YouTube first. It goes to show how very naïve I was about things back then.

I was pleased when I watched the 1992 VHS version on DVD, although I wished more was done to make the story better and have it not be a transfer of the 1992 VHS version to DVD. This was before I knew anything about the 2017 version being made and it would have brand-new scenes and effects.

With the 1992 VHS release on DVD, I was disappointed the DVD makers didn’t replace the original Keff McCulloch incidental music with something by Dudley Simpson. I found the Keff McCulloch music awful, but at least the video quality was better, especially for the location and studio scenes. 🙂

A couple of scenes from the original ‘Shada’ are featured in ‘The Five Doctors’. One scene I recognised was the punting scene on the River Cam with the Doctor and Romana. There’s also the scene where Romana in the TARDIS rescues the Doctor from the sphere at the start of ‘Part Three’. 🙂

These scenes were included in ‘The Five Doctors’ to fill in Tom Baker’s absence when he refused to take part during the 20th anniversary special of ‘Doctor Who’. As I saw the Cam punting scene first in ‘The Five Doctors’, I knew what to expect and what the lines were when I watched the ‘Shada’ story.

It was nice to see that scene; where it originally came from and how it fitted into the rest of what would have been ‘Shada’. Behind-the-scenes, it’s funny when Tom Baker seemed confident about punting on the Cam, when in actual fact he couldn’t do it and was scoffed by the onlookers nearby. 🙂

‘Shada’ was also novelized by Gareth Roberts in 2012. I enjoyed the bumper-sized ‘Shada’ novelization very much and it has an audiobook reading to go with it, provided by Lalla Ward. There are many embellishments of the ‘Shada’ adventure featured in the novelization by Gareth Roberts. 🙂

Many years later in 2017, a brand-new version of ‘Shada’ was released and it was a hybrid of the original ‘Shada’ footage and animation in the style of what’s seen in ‘The Power of the Daleks’ animation. The 2017 version of ‘Shada’ was also presented as a movie as opposed to a six-part story.

My parents and I watched the movie version of ‘Shada’ in one go on Christmas Day in 2017. I greatly enjoyed the movie version of the story. I’m pretty sure I saw the 2017 version of ‘Shada’ after seeing ‘Twice Upon A Time’ on TV where Peter Capaldi’s Doctor regenerated into Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor.

I was amazed and thrilled in hearing the news of the 2017 version of ‘Shada’ being released on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time, with remastered original footage and brand-new animation sequences featuring the original cast. Then I thought; have enough versions of ‘Shada’ been produced already?

I mean, with all these various versions of ‘Shada’ made over the years, I wouldn’t be surprised if the BBC decided to do a comic book adaptation of ‘Shada’ at some point. For all I know, a junior Target novelization version of ‘Shada’ could get made to accompany ‘The Pirate Planet’ and ‘City of Death’.

I didn’t know what to expect when the 2017 version of ‘Shada’ was released on DVD/Blu-ray. The 2017 version was released on a 2-disc DVD with the story on Disc 1 and special features on Disc 2. I expected it to be a brand-new six part story for me and my parents to enjoy over Christmas in 2017.

Imagine my surprise when it turned out the 2017 version was a single movie-like feature running at 138 minutes. There weren’t any episode breaks. This felt like having to watch a film for over 2 hours. Not that’s a bad thing, since it made it extra special, but I wished it had been a six-part story instead.

The new animation sequences featured in the 2017 version also gave it its own unique identity. There are also some new filmed sequences to make the 2017 version intriguing, including shots of K-9 fighting with a Krarg, as well as a new TARDIS scene at the story’s conclusion. I’ll get into this more later.

And of course, ‘Shada’ has been re-released again in the Season 17 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’ and is called ‘the definitive version’. It’s presented as a six-part story, as it should be, with an optional introduction by Tom Baker from the 1992 release and containing the 2017 hybrid version. 🙂

In the optional introduction by Tom Baker from the 1992 VHS release, Tom arrives at a museum containing a variety of ‘Doctor Who’ monsters. The museum was the Museum of the Moving Image in London. Sadly, since Tom Baker did ‘Shada’s 1992 VHS introduction, the museum closed in 2002. 😦

Tom explores the museum for a bit, seeming to be in awe of all the monsters on display. He’s beaten them all! They include the Giant Robot from ‘Robot’, Cybermen, Daleks, Davros, a Yeti, the Gundan Robot from ‘Warriors’ Gate’, a Vervoid, a Sea Devil from ‘Warriors of the Deep’, and an Ice Warrior.

At this point, I wonder if Tom Baker is playing the Curator as opposed to the Doctor in the 1992 VHS introduction. It would match to how Tom Baker seemed to appear in the final TARDIS scene featured in the 2017 and 2021 versions of the story. Again, I will readdress this when it comes to that scene. 🙂

In his exploration of the museum, Tom soon stumbles upon a Krarg. A Krarg! This triggers a memory for the Doctor! “SHADA!!!” he bellows before hushing himself as he gets excited. He remembers! The untransmitted story! I really like how Tom introduces us to ‘Shada’ in the 1992 VHS introduction.

In the introduction, Tom Baker adlibbed a lot of his lines, as it sets up the whole thing with ‘Shada’ in terms of what we’re about to see in the story that was never completed. Even with the story completed in its 2017/2021 form, I’m glad Tom Baker’s VHS introduction is provided for us to enjoy.

In the 1992 VHS version of the story, Tom provided the linking narration to fill in all of the gaps of scenes that weren’t filmed for the TV story back in 1979. I enjoyed Tom providing the linking narration for the lost TV story, since it became an intriguing, joyful and unusual viewing experience. 🙂

People have preferences in terms of what version of a certain product, whether it’d be TV, film or radio, they like. It’s certainly the case when comparing different versions of say ‘Dad’s Army’ episodes in TV and radio and also whether the ‘Batman Forever’ novelization is better than the film.

As established in the case of ‘Shada’, there are more versions of the story than one. Some prefer the 1992 VHS version; some prefer the 2017 DVD/Blu-ray version, some prefer the Gareth Roberts novelization; some prefer the 2003 Big Finish audio; some prefer the 2003 animation webcast, etc. 🙂

Personally, I prefer the 2003 Big Finish audio adaptation with Paul McGann, as I first got into the world of ‘Shada’ through the 2003 Big Finish audio. For a while, I believed the 2003 audio drama was the ‘correct’ version of the story. Since then, I’ve been open about many versions of other stories. 🙂

These include various versions of Mary Shelley meeting the Doctor in ‘The Company of Friends: Mary’s Story’ and ‘The Haunting of Villa Diodati’. There are two versions of ‘Human Nature’ featuring the Seventh and Tenth Doctors, and there are various endings for the Eighth Doctor in ‘Doctor Who’.

There’s one in ‘Doctor Who and the Time War’ by Russell T. Davies and one in ‘The Night of the Doctor’ by Steven Moffat. Sophie Aldred’s ‘At Childhood’s End’ opened possibilities about the Seventh Doctor’s timeline. And I’ve questioned Nyssa’s post-Doctor stories from ‘Farewell, Sarah Jane’.

I still love the 2003 audio adaptation of ‘Shada’ with Paul McGann and regard it highly. But I’m not sure whether the possibility of two versions of the same story with Tom Baker and Paul McGann coexisting in the same universe is plausible. One of the stories could exist in an alternative reality. 😐

Seeing the 2017/2021 version of ‘Shada’ is extraordinary. Since I’d seen the original ‘Shada’ footage from the 1992 VHS release on YouTube and DVD, I was pretty familiar with what to expect concerning the live-action footage that had been made for ‘Shada’ before it got cancelled in 1979. 🙂

Of course, with the new animation sequences featured in the 2017/2021 version, I wondered whether they would blend well with the live-action scenes. Thankfully, they did. The jumping between live-action to animation didn’t spoil my enjoyment. In fact, it was intriguingly entertaining.

I was pleased a brand-new musical score was given to the 2017/2021 version of ‘Shada’ to replace the original Keff MuCulloch musical score from the 1992 VHS release. The new score is by Mark Ayres. He’s made the music for 2017/2021’s ‘Shada’ sound really Dudley Simpson-like, which is great.

I’ve also noticed how the remastered footage of ‘Shada’ is given new takes from the surviving footage of the story. Some of the lines said by the Doctor, Romana, Chronotis, Skagra, Chris and Clare sound better with alternative takes of the lines compared to what was in the 1992 VHS release.

Some of the live-action sequences work well with new edited additions to allow us fans to see more of ‘Shada’ than what was seen in the 1992 VHS release. It also helps with blending into the animation sequences in order to give us time to appreciate the live-action without too much rushing.

As with the 1992 VHS version of ‘Shada’ on DVD, I like how the Cambridge locations look lush in the 2017/2021 version. I don’t think much has changed in terms of the video quality from the 2013 DVD to 2017/2021 version. It looks stunning, as a part of me wants to visit Cambridge for a family holiday.

I enjoyed the scenes in Professor Chronotis’ room. I’m happy they were recorded in the studio’s first block, as they’re my favourite scenes. I love Chronotis! He’s played brilliantly by Denis Carey. It’s so sad the scenes in Chris Parson’s science lab, aboard Skagra’s ship and on Shada itself weren’t filmed.

As I said, I love Denis Carey as Professor Chronotis. He’s not James Fox as in the 2003 audio version, but he’s clearly ‘a nice old man’ and he played the part well with such eccentricity, believability and full of woolly-mindedness. It’s incredible Denis later played the Keeper in ‘The Keeper of Traken’. 😀

He also later played an old man in ‘Timelash’ with Colin Baker’s Doctor, albeit he only did a few scenes in that story. He also played Job Skulpit in the first two episodes of ‘The Barchester Chronicles’. It’s interesting how Chronotis got unravelled and he wasn’t who he seemed to be in this.

Professor Chronotis clearly loves having his cups of tea whenever he’s in his room at Cambridge. It was funny when he kept asking anyone who visited if they wanted tea. I teased my best mate Stephen with the “Milk?”, “Oh yes, please!”, “One lump or two?”, “Two please!”, “Sugar?” joke a lot.

I found Christopher Neame good as the villainous Skagra. Personally, I prefer Andrew Sachs’ Skagra in the 2003 audio version of ‘Shada’. Christopher Neame tended to be on the calmer and quieter side as opposed to how Andrew Sachs voiced him, especially when he doesn’t laugh out loud maniacally.

Mind you, Christopher Neame could have played Skagra in a way that Douglas Adams would have preferred him to play the character, especially with being serious and showing no nonsense in a humorous situation. Christopher Neame has been in ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ and ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’.

I enjoyed Daniel Hill as Chris Parsons. I found him believable and down-to-Earth when reacting to bizarre situations occurring in the story. He does get to spend a lot of time with Tom Baker’s Doctor when they’re trying to pursue Skagra, who has Romana in his custody and is trying to get to Shada. 🙂

Incidentally, Daniel Hill attended the ‘Dimensions 2013’ convention in Newcastle, October 2013 with his wife Olivia Bazalgette, who was one of the director’s assistants on ‘Shada’ at the time. Sadly, I didn’t get to meet Daniel and Olivia, but I’ve had a group photo featuring the two at the convention.

I found Victoria Burgoyne delightful as Clare Keightley. Beforehand, I saw Victoria in an episode of ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’ with Richard Briers. Victoria is lovely when she plays Clare. I enjoyed her reaction to the bizarre situation that she was in when inside Chronotis’ room that’s really his TARDIS.

In the VHS introduction by Tom Baker, he recalls Victoria Burgoyne crying a lot when being so unhappy that ‘Shada’ got cancelled. I’m sure that’s the case. It was interesting to see how Clare interacted with Chris in the story, as they could’ve been boyfriend and girlfriend throughout the tale.

I found Tom Baker and Lalla Ward really good as the Doctor and Romana throughout this adventure. I enjoyed the humorous lines of dialogue Tom’s Doctor made and Romana continues to be cool as ever, especially when interacting with Professor Chronotis. Tom and Lalla clearly enjoyed this story. 🙂

This especially comes from the witty and humorous dialogue provided for them by Douglas Adams. It was also fascinating how Tom and Lalla said their lines in the original version of ‘Shada’ compared to how Paul McGann and Lalla Ward said their lines of dialogue in the 2003 Big Finish audio adaptation.

I still prefer K-9 being voiced by John Leeson in ‘Doctor Who’. I’m not really happy with how K-9 is voiced by David Brierley in the adventure, both in the 1992 VHS release and the 2017/2022 version. I don’t blame David Brierley for trying, but he isn’t John Leeson when he voices K-9 in the adventure.

It’s also disconcerting whenever I hear K-9’s lines said by David Brierley that he sounds not at all like how K-9 would sound. K-9 must still be suffering from laryngitis, although I wonder if that’s really the case. The Season 17-era stories are inconsistent with K-9 voiced by John Leeson and David Brierley. 😦

In ‘The Creature From The Pit’, he’s voiced by David Brierley. Next with ‘The Romance of Crime’ and ‘The English Way of Death’, he’s voiced by John Leeson. Next with ‘Nightmare of Eden’, he’s voiced by David Brierley. Couldn’t the Season 17 TV stories have a John Leeson voiceover option on Blu-ray?

I thought a John Leeson voiceover option would’ve been provided to keep the consistency of the Season 17 era stories. In animation, there’s a David Brierley-like voice provided for K-9 to keep the continuity. Then again, it matches what the story would’ve been like had it been completed in 1979.

Like I said, there are some new live-action sequences of K-9 fighting a Krarg in 2017/2021 version. This was nice to see. It didn’t require any animation to fill in the blanks of what was going on in the story. I’m glad Mat Irvine operated the K-9 prop for those live-action scenes in the 2017/2021 ‘Shada’.

The cast also includes Gerald Campion as Wilkin the porter, who I enjoyed but found different compared to Melvyn Hayes in the 2003 audio. There’s also Derek Pollitt as Caldera, John Halett as the Police Constable and David Strong as David Taylor, the man who provides Skagra a lift in his car. 🙂

Skagra’s ship is voiced by Shirley Dixon in the adventure. There are also the Krargs, voiced by James Coombes and played by Derek Suthern and Barnaby Edwards in the 2017/2021 ‘Shada’. Tim Bentinck, who’s done plenty of Big Finishes, is the Doctor’s body double in the 2017/2021 ‘Shada’. 🙂

One of the things I like about the original ‘Shada’; and it’s something my Dad likes too, is when a group of St. John’s Choir boys are singing ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ from Glenn Miller. It’s funny when they were singing and the Doctor drove past them on his bicycle with that sphere chasing him.

No linking narration is provided in the 2017/2021 ‘Shada’, as Tom Baker provided it in the 1992 version. The animation sequences in the 2017/2021 version help to fill in the gaps. Some new scenes are necessary to add to the plot of the story. I wonder if everything matched to the original scripts. 🙂

I like how the animation was done for the 2017/2021 version of ‘Shada’. As well as new animation scenes featuring characters, there are some model effects sequences. This includes scenes for the Think Tank exteriors and Skagra’s Ship. Skagra’s command ship and the prison planet Shada are animated.

The character animation for Tom Baker’s Doctor, Lalla Ward’s Romana, Chronotis, Skagra; etc is well spot-on. I like how the animation blends well with the actors’ voices providing for the characters. It gives it a style and it doesn’t distract with how the live-action scenes for the characters are depicted.

The first half of ‘Shada’ features a lot of location scenes in Cambridge and less animation. This contrasts to the second half, which features more animation that’s required to be there with the outer-space sequences. The consistent live-action scenes are set inside Professor Chronotis’ study. 🙂

Speaking of which, I like how the exterior of Professor Chronotis’ study was done in the animation sequences. It appears simply as a door. I was expecting more a box with the Professor’s room. Not just the door. But it works well, since it’s the Professor’s TARDIS and it’s bigger on the inside anyway.

I’m very pleased that most of the original cast reprised their roles in ‘Shada’ for the 2017/2021 animation sequences. This included Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, Christopher Neame, Daniel Hill and Victoria Burgoyne. Their voices for the animation match exactly to how they sound in the live-action.

The only one who didn’t reprise his role in ‘Shada’ is sadly the late Denis Carey as Professor Chronotis. But does it mean he doesn’t have a line of dialogue in the 2017/2021 version of ‘Shada’ in animation? Of course not! He has one line of dialogue when with the Doctor and Romana on Shada.

And yes, I know it’s a line of dialogue said by Denis Carey when he played the Keeper of Traken in the titular story, but it suits the scene well and I like how Professor Chronotis didn’t openly announce himself as Salyavin before Skagra on Shada like he seemed to in the 2003 audio version. 🙂

Speaking of which, there’s not a lot changed from the original scripts transplanted in the 2007/2021 version of ‘Shada’ to resolve plot holes. It’s more or less what I expected to hear from the 2003 audio adaptation, since it wasn’t like what Gareth Roberts did when he novelized the story in 2012. 🙂

When Skagra opened the cryogenic chamber that contained Salyavin during the animation sequences, there wasn’t a rude note placed in the chamber, as depicted in the Gareth Roberts novelization. Skagra realises Chronotis is Salyavin once he sees his eyes glowing bright in the animation.

The 2017/2021 version of ‘Shada’ ends with a live-action sequence of Tom Baker’s Doctor in the TARDIS talking to Romana off-screen with K-9 in the console room. It was nice to see Tom Baker reprise his role as the Fourth Doctor in the 2017/2021 ‘Shada’. I’m sure that it pleased a lot of fans. 🙂

Mind you, I question why Tom Baker has white hair and looks older compared to how he looks in the original live-action material for ‘Shada’. I assumed that Tom Baker’s Doctor was on his way to becoming the Curator in ‘The Day of the Doctor’, but it doesn’t seem to the case as far as I’m aware. 😐

Did the explosion from the TARDIS console really cause the Doctor to age temporarily for a bit? Maybe that’s why he didn’t look his usual happy self during Season 18 of ‘Doctor Who’. Despite that, it’s a nice moment in the 2017/2021 version of ‘Shada’ and I’m glad Tom Baker was able to film for that.

When I purchased the 2017 version of ‘Shada’ on DVD, it was dedicated to the memory of music composer Dudley Simpson, who sadly died in November of that year. The dedication isn’t included in the 2021 ‘definitive version’ of the story. I thought it would’ve been provided in the Season 17 Blu-ray box set.

The original DVD special features were as follows. On the 2-disc 2013 DVD, as well as the 1992 VHS version of the story, there was the 2003 Big Finish/BBCi audio drama/webcast version of ‘Shada’ with Paul McGann, Lalla Ward and K-9, which you could access on a PC/Mac. I was pleased the Big Finish version of the audio story came out on DVD, as I got to watch it in its entirety on my laptop. There was also an info-text commentary option to enjoy, providing some really interesting and insightful details on how the original version of ‘Shada’ with Tom Baker was made back in 1979. A shame there wasn’t an audio commentary to enjoy on the 1992 VHS version of ‘Shada’ in the 2-disc 2013 DVD, as they could’ve got Lalla Ward on board for that. There was also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Reign of Terror’ with William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill and Carole Ann Ford.

There was a special behind-the-scenes making-of documentary called ‘Taken Out of Time – The Making and Breaking of ‘Shada’, featuring behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There was also the ‘Now & Then’ featurette, focusing on the Cambridge locations used in ‘Shada’, the ‘Strike, Strike, Strike’ documentary, the ‘Being a Girl’ documentary, and a photo gallery of the story.

On the 2-disc 2017 DVD/Blu-ray, there was an audio commentary with Christopher Neame, Daniel Hill, character artist Martin Geraghty and animator Anne Marie Walsh, moderated by Toby Hadoke. There were other audio options like a 5.1 surround sound audio mix option, a 2.0 stereo sound audio mix option, and a 1.0 mono sound audio option. There were also some ROM content featured on Disc 1 of the 2-disc 2017 DVD/Blu-ray which could be accessed via a PC/Mac. There were scripts for ‘Shada’, including the six 1979 rehearsal scripts, the six 1979 camera scripts, the four 1981 four-part version camera scripts, and the six 1992 VHS scripts. There were recording schedules, animation storyboards for the 2017 DVD/Blu-ray release, the 1979 ‘Doctor Who Annual’ (taken from ‘The Armageddon Factor’), a 1992 VHS cover, a BBC Enterprises knitting pattern for Tom Baker’s scarf, and promotional art for ‘Shada’.

The 2-disc 2017 DVD/Blu-ray also had the ‘Taken Out of Time’ making-of documentary as well as the ‘Now & Then’ featurette and the ‘Strike, Strike, Strike’ documentary. The new special features on the 2017 DVD/Blu-ray were studio sessions from 1979, dialogue sessions from 2017 and a studio shoot from 2017. There was also model filming from 2017, some deleted scenes from 2017, title sequence film, live-action reference footage, a 1979 photo gallery of the story and a 2017 photo gallery of the story.

On the 3-disc 2017 Blu-ray steelbook edition of ‘Shada’, the special features from the 2-disc 2017 DVD/Blu-ray were found on Discs 1 and 2. On Disc 3 of the 3-disc 2017 Blu-ray steelbook edition, there was the 1992 VHS version of ‘Shada’ with Tom Baker, Lalla Ward and K-9 and the 2003 Big Finish/BBCi audio drama/webcast version of ‘Shada’ with Paul McGann, Lalla Ward and K-9. Both were presented as single features on Disc 3 of the 3-disc 2017 Blu-ray steelbook edition, although both versions were divided into six episodes as opposed to one single movie feature like the 2017 movie version of ‘Shada’.

On Disc 6 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 17’ Blu-ray, as well as the 2021 ‘definitive version’ of ‘Shada’, there’s the optional introduction by Tom Baker from the 1992 VHS release. The ‘Taken Out of Time’ making-of documentary, the ‘Now & Then’ featurette and the ‘Strike, Strike, Strike’ documentary can be found on there. The info-text commentary option from the 2-disc 2013 DVD and the 1979 photo gallery of the story have been updated for 2021 on the Blu-ray. The title sequence film from the 2-disc 2017 DVD has been updated to include only the clean opening and closing titles used for ‘Shada’. The ‘Being a Girl’ documentary isn’t included in the Season 17 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’. It’s also a shame the 2003 Big Finish/BBCi audio drama/webcast version of ‘Shada’ isn’t included in the 2021 Blu-ray edition of the original story in the Season 17 Blu-ray box set. 😦

The new special features on Blu-ray include the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘Shada’ with Colin Baker (The Sixth Doctor) and Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) as well as Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Nicola Bryant (Peri) as well as visual effects designer Mat Irvine, costume designer June Hudson and director Graeme Harper. There’s the ‘Tom Talks’ interview with Tom Baker, a ‘What’s On Wogan’ item with K-9 and a ‘What’s On Wogan’ item with Lalla Ward. The audio options include the mono sound audio mix option and a 5.1 surround sound audio mix option.

On the PDF front, the scripts for ‘Shada’, including the six 1979 rehearsal scripts, the six 1979 camera scripts, the four 1981 four-part version camera scripts, and the six 1992 VHS scripts can be found on there. The 1992 VHS cover and the promotional art for ‘Shada’ can also be found on there. There are also production documents, studio floorplans, set design drawings, scripts for two 1992 VHS Tom Baker links, and documentation for the 1992 VHS version. There’s also production documentation for the 2017 animated version, which I believe includes the animation storyboards for the 2017 DVD/Blu-ray release. I’m not sure if the recording schedules are included. The BBC Enterprises knitting pattern for Tom Baker’s scarf is included on the ‘Destiny of the Daleks’ Blu-ray disc of the Season 17 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’. The 1979 ‘Doctor Who Annual’ doesn’t seem to be included in the Season 17 Blu-ray box set.

On Disc 7 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 17’ Blu-ray, there’s the 1992 VHS version of ‘Shada’ and there’s the 2017 movie version of ‘Shada’. The dialogue sessions from 2017, the model filming from 2017, the deleted scenes from 2017, the live-action reference footage and the 2017 photo gallery of the story can be found on there. The studio sessions from 1979 have been updated and extended to 2 hours and 30 minutes for 2021 on the Blu-ray. The studio shoot from 2017 doesn’t seem to be included in the Season 17 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’. 😐 The audio options for the 2017 movie version of ‘Shada’ including the 5.1 surround sound audio mix option, the 2.0 stereo sound audio mix option, the 1.0 mono sound audio mix option and the DVD/Blu-ray audio commentary can be found on there.

The new special features on Blu-ray include some new blue screen visual effects footage from 1979. There’s also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for Season 18 of ‘Doctor Who’ with Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, K-9, Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding (including ‘The Leisure Hive’, ‘Meglos’, ‘Full Circle’, ‘State of Decay’, ‘Warriors’ Gate’, ‘The Keeper of Traken’ and ‘Logopolis’, plus ‘K-9 & Company: A Girl’s Best Friend’ with Elisabeth Sladen and K-9). There’s also the ‘Nationwide’ interview with Tom Baker from the ‘Logopolis’ DVD.

‘Shada’ has had its legacy in being released on VHS, turned into a Big Finish audio drama and novelized by Gareth Roberts. To own ‘Shada’ with Tom Baker on DVD and Blu-ray completes the legacy. It does provide more insight into what ‘Shada’ might have been like had it been completed. 🙂

Owning ‘Shada’ on DVD and Blu-ray is great. Mind you, I still prefer Paul McGann’s version of ‘Shada’ compared to Tom Baker’s, as there’s more imagination in the audio drama compared to the hybrid visual version. I’m still pleased though that ‘Shada’ has had its legacy since it got cancelled in 1979. 🙂

I’m pleased I can own three versions of ‘Shada’ on DVD and Blu-ray. I can’t deny that the 2021 ‘definite version’ of the story is superior, since it’s divided into six episodes compared to the 2017 version which is a movie, although it felt very special to watch it over the Christmas period in 2017. 🙂

There have been many versions of ‘Shada’ and it’s hard to tell which one fits with the right continuity. I still prefer the Paul McGann audio version, but I’m glad the BBC completed the original version with new animation scenes and Tom Baker in it, both in 2017 and 2021 for DVD and Blu-ray.

I’ve become a big fan of ‘Shada’ these days and I’ve even chatted to Lalla Ward about how many versions of ‘Shada’ there are. I think it’s time to settle on the 2021 version, as we’ve had enough ‘Shada’s, haven’t we? Although I might be wrong again, as another ‘Shada’ could be in the making. 😀

Season 17 of ‘Doctor Who’ has been an enjoyable collection of ‘Doctor Who’ stories featuring Tom Baker’s Doctor, Lalla Ward’s Romana and K-9, voiced by David Brierley. It’s arguably not the best collection of ‘Doctor Who’ stories, but they’re very imaginative and creative in terms of their telling.

The fact that Douglas Adams was the script editor of the season accounts for something, especially with the witty dialogue, humorous content and clever concepts going on throughout the stories he worked on. It’s such a shame that some of these stories weren’t as excellent in production values. 😦

‘City of Death’ is definitely the best story out of Season 17 and my personal favourite. Whilst ‘Destiny of the Daleks’, ‘The Creature From The Pit’ and ‘Nightmare of Eden’ have merit in terms of story ideas, the overdose of humour can ruin some of those ideas before they can live to their full potential.

The same can be said for ‘The Horns of Nimon’, although I have a personal soft spot for that story. The Tom Baker version of ‘Shada’ is arguably another favourite from Season 17 and it’s such a shame the story was cancelled in terms of its production due to strike action happening at the time.

It’s also sad to think that producer Graham Williams’ era of ‘Doctor Who’ ended on a failure as opposed to going out on a high as it should’ve done. Regardless of this, I’m fond of Season 17 and it did inspire me in terms of writing my own Fifth Doctor stories with Douglas Adamsy-styled humour.

I’m glad I’ve been able to revisit Season 17 of ‘Doctor Who’ on Blu-ray lately. It’s certainly been nice to revisit the stories with the accompanying Blu-ray extras, especially the ‘Behind the Sofa’ items. I’m currently looking forward to revisiting the Season 22 Blu-ray box set with Colin Baker’s Doctor. 🙂

With Season 17 over as well as Graham Williams’ time as producer and Douglas Adams’ time as script editor over, it wasn’t over for Tom Baker’s Doctor, Lalla Ward’s Romana and K-9 as they ventured off for new adventures. However, it wouldn’t be so easy with the change of a new producer coming in.

The 1970s were gone and the 1980s had arrived. The new producer John Nathan-Turner, joined by executive producer Barry Letts and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead would ring in the changes and tone down the humour overdose that was prevalent in ‘Doctor Who’. Would Tom Baker survive this?

‘Shada’ rating – 8/10

shada novelization1 shada novelization2 shada novelization audiobook


Please feel free to comment on my review.

“Tea?”, “Oh thanks!”, “Milk?”, “Oh yes, please!”, “One lump or two?”, “Two please!”, “Sugar?”

WOW!!! ‘Doctor Who – Shada’ the novelization is big! Really, seriously! It’s one BIG book! 😀

I hadn’t expected it to be as big as that! I persuaded myself to purchase the book after I enjoyed listening to the Big Finish audio drama of ‘Shada’ with Paul McGann’s Doctor. I became fond and interested in ‘Shada’ instantly. When I became aware of the book’s existence, I said “Hey, why not?”

And why not indeed, since it’s a relishing story and I wanted to read more of it! When I got the book in the post, I was expecting it to be a thin spine book that wouldn’t be so much of a weight. Imagine my surprise when I opened the package and found what was inside. I think I nearly dropped the book! 😀

‘Doctor Who – Shada’ is a ginormous book! It felt like holding ‘The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey’ once I held it in my hands! It even felt and smelt like ‘The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey’ once I held it in my hands! I knew I was going to be in for a real treat with ‘Doctor Who – Shada’.

Gareth Roberts, who novelized Douglas Adams’ scripts for the book, has put in so much detail and information. All of that detail makes the world of ‘Shada’ and ‘Doctor Who’ come to life to make it so expansive and delectable. I could taste the words off the pages as I read and listened throughout the book!

This isn’t your typical Target novelization. This is actually a lot more detailed and informative than any other story I’ve encountered. More than the ‘Black Orchid’ novelization actually. 😀 I didn’t think I was going to have time to read this! Thankfully I did, as I enjoyed reading and listening to every page of this fine book!

Douglas Adams, who wrote the original TV scripts, didn’t novelize his ‘Doctor Who’ stories which included ‘Shada’ as well as ‘The Pirate Planet’ and ‘City of Death’. In fact, he wouldn’t allow anyone to novelize his TV stories for him. Even Mr. Terrance Dicks was kept well out of the picture on his stories. 😐

I’m sure Douglas would have liked to have novelized the stories he wrote into prose form, but he was working on other things such as ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ and the ‘Dirk Gently’ novels. He simply didn’t have time to novelize his ‘Doctor Who’ works, which is a shame as they’re great stories.

Many years later in 2012, Gareth Roberts, with kind permission from the Douglas Adams estate, novelized the lost story of ‘Shada’ in its fullness. Gareth is the perfect guy to write up the original TV scripts and turn them into a book, since he’s a really clever comedic writer when writing ‘Doctor Who’.

Gareth has written other Douglas Adamsy-styled stories for the ‘Missing Adventures’ book series in ‘Doctor Who’ during the 1990s. These included ‘The Romance of Crime’; ‘The English Way of Death’ and ‘The Well-Mannered War’. The books have now been adapted into audio dramas by Big Finish.

‘Shada’ was originally a TV story for Tom Baker’s Doctor and Lalla Ward’s Romana in 1979, but it was never completed due to strike action at the time. I think it’s clear and well-known that Douglas Adams wasn’t very happy with the ‘Shada’ scripts he wrote. Everyone, but him, was upset that ‘Shada’ never got completed.

Douglas was relieved, as he considered ‘Shada’ to be bad. And to be fair, he has a point. Sometimes the original 1979 story and the 2003 Big Finish audio drama have scenes in them that seem rushed and aren’t well-structured enough. Douglas didn’t even have enough time to perfect the story before it went into production.

It’s surprising to think that ‘Shada’ isn’t as good as many claim it to be. Perhaps it’s a blessing that ‘Shada’ never got made, as we wouldn’t be celebrating the legacy that it has now. The legacy of ‘Shada’ continues to have its mystique and intrigue as to what the story would have been like on TV.

But ‘Shada’ is a story that’s cherished and unignored by the ‘Doctor Who’ fans and by those who made it back in 1979. John Nathan-Turner even went to the trouble of getting ‘Shada’ released on VHS in 1992, much to Douglas Adams’ annoyance. ‘Shada’ has had more versions than other stories I know.

Since writing this review, there’s a 2017 movie version of ‘Shada’ on DVD and Blu-ray and a 2021 six-part version of the story on Blu-ray, featuring a combination of live-action footage and animation sequences. It’s amazing ‘Shada’ continues to interest people due to its legacy of being uncompleted.

What Gareth Roberts has done in the novelization is to re-create ‘Shada’ from scratch. He keeps to its groundwork and to its plot structure to make it familiar, but he cleans up some inconsistences that happened in the original story. He resolves plotholes and unanswered questions that occurred.

Gareth also provides more humour compared to what was in the original version of the story, making it more of a tickly-funny Douglas Adams story with plenty of delicious embellishments; wonderful dialogue and lovely humour. After reading the book, it does feel like a good cup of tea or a nice French meal. 😀

This, of course, is based on the original ‘Shada’ with Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, not Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. I prefer Paul McGann’s version of ‘Shada’, but it’s still nice to read and hear this novelization with Tom Baker’s Doctor in mind, since he was the original Doctor for this tale.

I’m sure everything that goes on in this novelization can be reapplied to Paul McGann’s version of the story. Someone else can novelise it to those standards. 😀 Perhaps I’ll novelise the Paul McGann version of ‘Shada’ someday, according to Gareth Roberts’ novelization with Tom Baker’s Doctor. Maybe? I don’t know.

I really like how ‘Shada’ the book is divided into six episodes with ‘Part One’, ‘Part Two’, ‘Part Three’, etc. The book is also divided into 75 chapters. Yes, 75 chapters! I know! As I said before, this book is ginormous….and BIG!!!!! 😀 It’s astonishing how much story can be covered by Gareth Roberts himself.

I read the ‘Shada’ novelization with the audiobook, read by Lalla Ward, who plays Romana in ‘Doctor Who’. She’s joined by John Leeson as the voice of K-9. Now if you think the ‘Shada’ book is ginormous, imagine how many CD discs there are to the audiobook. There are 10 CD discs! Not 4! 10! Unbelievable, isn’t it?!!

I don’t know how long it took Lalla to read the ‘Shada’ audiobook, but it must have been more than two days. Lalla provides a refreshing and an enjoyable reading of the story. I enjoyed the voices Lalla gave to the story’s guest characters, including Professor Chronotis, Chris Parsons, Skagra and the Ship.

I remember chatting to Lalla Ward about ‘Shada’ at the ‘Project Motor Mouth 2’ convention in Slough, August 2013. I amusingly stated that there are so many versions of ‘Shada’ that I don’t know which is the correct one. Lalla said they’re still very good, as all versions of ‘Shada’ are concerned. 😀

I’ve had the CD cover of the ‘Shada’ audiobook signed by Lalla Ward and John Leeson at the ‘London Film and Comic Con’ at the Olympia in July 2017. I’ve enjoyed sharing with Lalla and John how much I’ve enjoyed ‘Shada’ in all its forms. Lalla is very pleased that ‘Shada’ has had its legacy in all its forms.

It was lovely to hear K-9 in the audiobook and being voiced by John Leeson himself. John Leeson is K-9 perfection! It feels right that he occasionally slips in to voice K-9 whenever the cute robot dog has dialogue. It makes the story more reassuring and enjoyable to keep the reader and listener in check.

Everything I love about ‘Shada’ is more or less here in the book. I’m pleased they’ve still got the “Tea?’, “Oh yes, please!”, “One lump or two?”, “Two please!”, “Sugar?” joke in the book. My best mate Stephen, who knows how obsessed I am about ‘Shada’, knows how much I love that joke. 😀

When Stephen discovered I had the book, he opened it and looked through the pages. He found the “Tea?” joke in an instant, which made me laugh, as it got him going “Oh no! Not again! I’ve heard that joke so many times!” He does think it’s a funny joke, but it’s when I often tell him the joke that it gets under his skin. 😀

There are highlights in the novelization that stand out for me. They’re ones that make the ‘Shada’ story work better. One of these highlights is the reveal of Salyavin. I don’t know about you, but I thought it was rather giving the game away, both in the original 1979 version and the 2003 Big Finish audio, where Chronotis said, “Here I am! I’m Salyavin!”

In the novelization, Gareth Roberts rectified this by building it up towards ‘Part Five’s cliff-hanger. We’re made to think that Salyavin’s escaped and Skagra is grovelling on the floor like a deranged child with the Doctor patting him on the back saying, “Never mind, Skagra! Never mind!” It was funny to read that bit.

Chris Parsons then enters and points out to Chronotis, saying, “It’s him! The Professor! He’s not the Professor! He’s Salyavin!” It feels more effective and dramatic to have that build-up and tension in the novelization rather than just giving oneself away, as Chronotis seemed to in the original 1979 story and the 2003 Big Finish audio.

This leads me onto talking about one of Gareth Roberts’ amusing and rude moments in the book. It’s when Skagra opens Salyavin’s cabinet on Shada and he finds he isn’t there. Instead of nothing in the cabinet, there’s a very rude message on a sheet of paper, pinned to where the body should have been.

The message has a really horrible V sign and a really, horribly rude swear word in old high Gallifreyan (the ancient language of the Time Lords). In the book, it’s translated ‘HA! HA! HA! ____ YOU! LOVE SALYAVIN! X’ I found this very funny, as Skagra becomes shocked and he falls to his hands and knees.

It’s a pretty rude moment and it’s done on how Gareth knows what Douglas would have written. It goes to extremes when Chris reveals Chronotis’ identity and the Doctor lets out a swear word and feeling annoyed. I won’t write the rude word ( 😀 ), but I can imagine the foul language that Tom Baker would use. 😀

I love what Gareth Roberts has done to develop the character relationship between Chris Parsons and Clare Keightley. It was clear these two are obviously in a relationship together, but it wasn’t fully explored in the original story meant for TV. Gareth Roberts takes it on and develops it further to a great extent.

He adds a new element in the relationship where Clare is annoyed about Chris not expressing his feelings to her and she’s on the verge of leaving Cambridge behind to go to America. Chris and Clare’s characters are greatly developed upon and I really like how they’re more fleshed out in the ‘Shada’ novelization.

I found it a very touching and heartwarming moment towards the end of ‘Shada’ where Chris declared his love to Clare. The scene is set on what I can describe as a beach planet, and Chris says out loud, “I love you! I love you, Clare Keightley!”. Clare is pretty relieved to hear Chris say that to her at last. 🙂

There are some new scenes that Gareth added into the story. I liked the moment where K-9 stopped the Doctor and Romana from sending a telepathic message to the Time Lords through a paper cube by using his nose laser to shoot it. K-9 and Chris also persuaded the Doctor and Romana to handle the Skagra crisis themselves.

I liked it when Chris took a bath in the TARDIS swimming pool from ‘The Invasion of Time’. I also liked it at the story’s end when the Doctor and Chris were with Chronotis on the beach planet that I mentioned earlier called Dronid. The Doctor answers all the unanswered questions in ‘Shada’ to Chris, whilst interrupting Chronotis. 😀

At the end of the book, there’s an afterword by Gareth Roberts, who provides an account on how he came to write the ‘Shada’ book and what the writing process was like with references to Douglas Adams. There are acknowledgements by Gareth Roberts to the people who helped him to write the ‘Shada’ book.

I’ve become a big fan of ‘Shada’, following reading and hearing this extraordinary big book. I still love the Big Finish audio with Paul McGann, but I’ve equally enjoyed this tremendous book that provides a lot more insight into the story, supported by Lalla Ward reading it and K-9 popping in during the audiobook.

Gareth Roberts has done himself proud in novelizing this story. I highly recommend reading the ‘Shada’ book. It’s not disappointing. It’s pretty long, but if you love a good and engaging story such as this, you can’t go wrong! ‘Shada’ the book is excellent and amazing! I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed it! 😀

‘Doctor Who – Shada’ rating – 10/10

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12 thoughts on “‘Shada’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    I really wish the BBC had got there act together & allowed completion of Shada as what i seen here made for interesting drama, i like the Eighth Doctor adaption but it’s such a shame Big Finish haven’t adapted this version as Tom & Lalla be great reimaging this story for audio.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Shada’. I love this story in all of its forms.

    Yeah it’s so sad that this story never got completed when it was being made back in 1979. It’s unfortunate that there was strike action happening at that time.

    I’ve heard that they’re now doing another version of ‘Shada’ (again!) which is an animation of the story and having Tom Baker and Lalla Ward reprise their roles for the story. Not sure how that’s going to work, but it’ll be interesting to find out.

    I’ve reviewed the Paul McGann version of ‘Shada’ on my blog already if you want to check it out, Simon.

    Thanks for your comments, Simon.

    Tim. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Timelord007

    Awesome review on the new Shada Tim, I agree the animation blends seamless with the live action footage & Toms appearance at the story’s conclusion brought a tear to my eye as I adore him & would love to meet him & thank him for making my childhood great with his brilliant portrayal of the Doctor.

    I love each review of the various Shada’s theres a lot of effort & detail within each review you pour your heart & soul into everything you write & in such a easy to follow style, your put my shambolic efforts to shame, I reviewed Static by the way it’s non a spoiler.

    I think the new version of Shada edges it for me as my favourite followed by Big Finish version.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Glad you enjoyed my review on the new ‘Shada’. I decided to add it to my other ‘Shada’ reviews with Tom Baker and have it on its own since it’s a completely different new version.

      Very pleased you enjoyed the animation blending with the live-action footage. Yeah I can’t deny seeing the new Tom Baker scene at the end was pretty awesome. I’m just wondering if it all leads to him being the curator at the end leading into ‘The Day of the Doctor’.

      I’m glad you enjoyed each review of ‘Shada’ by me and how I’ve compared the different versions on my blog. Don’t forget to check out my review on the 2003 version of ‘Shada’ with Paul McGann on my blog. I’ll be checking out your review on ‘Static’ very soon.

      Many thanks Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Donna

    I was just talking with a friend of mine who got to watch Shada recently (unfortunately I haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet, but soon I hope) and she was asking about the lumps and sugar line. She didn’t understand it as lumps are sugar cubes. I feel silly having to ask but can you please explain to us what the joke is? Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Donna.

      Thanks for dropping a line.

      I haven’t read the ‘Shada’ novelization/audiobook by Gareth Roberts in a long time. I have done some research though and I have found a thread that discusses the sugar joke in the story which you can find here – https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/one-lump-or-two-sugar.2534905/

      Use Google translator to translate the French to English posts on the thread.

      Apparently the joke’s supposed to go like this.

      Chronotis asks Chris if he wants “Milk?” in his tea.
      Chris says “Oh yes please”‘.
      Then Chronotis asks “One lump or two?” – Now apparently according to the thread, Chronotis could’ve been asking Chris if he wanted ‘one lump’ of MILK ‘or two’?
      Chris was assuming Chronotis meant one lump of ‘sugar’ or two, so he replied, “Two please.”
      Thus when Chronotis asked “Sugar?”, Chris got confused.
      Hence the joke.

      I admit, looking back, it’s not a particularly good joke and I think it would’ve worked better had Douglas Adams wrote it with some clarity in order to establish Chris’ confusion after Chronotis asked “Sugar?” when he asked “One lump or two!” Chronotis could have asked Chris whether he wants lumps of lemon or honey in his tea instead of milk or sugar. I never understood the joke properly until now having done some research, but I was enjoying the good humoured nature of the story when I was watching, listening and reading it back in 2012.

      Apparently Douglas Adams reused that joke for his first ‘Dirk Gently’ novel when he was reusing material from ‘Shada’ after it got cancelled. I don’t think the joke’s made clearer in that book either. Douglas Adams is clearly into his tea, so unless you knew more about the subject of tea and the significance behind the joke with milk, sugar and lumps, it would be a little tricky to understand fully. Clearly the Doctor knew the joke was coming when Chronotis asked whether he and Romana wanted milk and sugar with their tea and was able to outwit him with the punchline on that occassion, but it wasn’t made clear for the audience. Bear in mind though, Douglas Adams wrote the scripts within a small amount of time before the story went into production.

      I hope what I’ve said helps. Thanks for asking.

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Williams Fan 92

    Awesome review Tim!

    I’m amazed by how much detail you’ve managed to cram into your ‘Shada’ review, especially now that it’s been updated. I greatly enjoyed the story myself. I loved how the animation was cut together with the original film locations and studio footage. It was surreal seeing Denis Carey in the story, before ‘The Keeper of Traken’. He looks so different compared to when he played the Keeper. Chronitos was one of my favourite characters in the story. I was shocked when it was revealed that he was Salyavin all along, who I thought was called Sally Avin. 😀 I was glad that he survived in the end. Daniel Hill as Chris Parsons was my other favourite character. I liked Claire and Skagra as well. It was funny when Skagra had that meltdown in his final scene.

    When I start my ‘Shada’ review, I might do it initially based on the six-part version on the Season 17 Blu-Ray, and then extend the review to talk about how the story is different in the 2017 animation and 1992 VHS after watching them, since you’ve pointed out the differences in your review. I will applying the same method to ‘The Five Doctors’ when I review the 1995 special edition. And about the 2003 version starring Paul McGann, I expect they’re saving that for another Collection set.

    I haven’t been feeling well lately which has stressed me out a bit. I’m hoping to continue developing my ‘Fifth Doctor by Williams Fan 92’ stories, as well as my ‘States of Being’ series when I finish university for this term. I’m hoping I’ll be able to juggle that along with my reviews on my blog. I’m hoping I will have finished reviewing Season 21, including ‘The Twin Dilemma’ before the Collection Season 22 comes out.

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Shada’. Oh this was a challenge to put together, especially when updating the review based on the 2021 ‘definitive version’ on Blu-ray and combining my previous reviews on the 1992 and the 2017 versions together. I had fun updating the ‘Shada’ review and providing some new unique thoughts to it. 😀 Yes, I was amazed Denis Carey was in this story before he did ‘The Keeper of Traken’. Things would’ve been so much different had ‘Shada’ been transmitted on TV first before Denis Carey made his official debut in ‘Doctor Who’ on TV in ‘The Keeper of Traken’. 🙂 Daniel Hill is very good as Chris Parsons and I enjoyed Claire and Skagra as characters too. You’d definitely enjoy the 2003 ‘Shada’ audio version as well as the 2012 novelization/audiobook by Gareth Roberts, read by Lalla Ward.

      I look forward to your review on ‘Shada’. Yeah, I suppose the 2003 version of ‘Shada’ with Paul McGann will be re-released with ‘The Collection’ edition of ‘The TV Movie’ or something. Who knows? 😀 Sorry to hear you haven’t been well lately. I’ve been lagging behind, as I’ve had to have my computer repaired recently. Thankfully I’m back on track and hope to provide more reviews in the upcoming weeks. Looking forward to your Fifth Doctor series of stories as well as the ‘States of Being’ series. I look forward to the rest of your Season 21 reviews, including ‘The Twin Dilemma’. I’m looking forward to the Season 22 Blu-ray box set and hope to get the preview of it in the next issue of ‘Doctor Who Magazine’.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  6. scifimike70

    I bought the finally restored version of Shada on iTunes first for myself. Then I bought the DVD for my nephew. The BBCi/Big Finish version I had seen before that. In retrospect, Shada can make the fans fully appreciate the major shift that the classic Dr. Who endured when JNT took over after the departures of Graham Williams and Douglas Adams. Shada had nice comedy to help end 70s’ Who on a cheerful note. But the 80s’ Who would most considerably change the series for all the visually beefing up that it needed in the wakes of Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers In The 25th Century. So for Whovians who nostalgically favor the lightheartedness of Dr. Who in the late 70s, Shada can be a most fitting reward. Thank you, Tim, for your review.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi scifimike,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the 1979 version of ‘Shada’. Glad you enjoyed my review on it. I still enjoy revisiting ‘Shada’ in its 1979 restored form, the 2003 Big Finish audio drama/webcast, and the BBC book with the audiobook read by Lalla Ward. I’m pleased this story has had its legacy and it’s nice to know we can check out Season 17 in its entirety with ‘Shada’ as the season finale.

      Many thanks,

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. scifimike70

        You’re welcome. Always interesting how failed opportunities in the classic Dr. Who may finally find their successful fruition much later on.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Tim Bradley Post author

        Indeed it is. It’s especially the case for lost ‘Doctor Who’ TV stories that find their way to being adapted for audio by Big Finish like ‘The Nightmare Fair’ and ‘Mission to Magnus’. I’m still waiting for ‘Project: Zeta-Sigma’ to be adapted for audio though (if it ever happens at all). 😀

        Thanks scifimike,

        Tim 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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