‘Shada’ (TV)

shada 2017 dvd

‘SHADA’ (2017)

Please feel free to comment on my review.

More of ‘The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey’

My parents and I watched this entire version ‘Shada’ in one go on Christmas Day 2017!

When I heard the news that a new version of ‘Shada’ was going to be released on DVD with brand-new animation sequences featuring the original cast and re-mastered original footage, I was pretty amazed and thrilled by this. Then I thought, have’t they made enough versions of ‘Shada’ already?! 😀

‘Shada‘ as many of you know is a classic ‘Doctor Who’ story that was never completed nor saw the light of day on TV. Some of it was made in 1979 and was originally a six-part adventure by Douglas Adams, starring Tom Baker and Lalla Ward. Its incompleteness has spawned a legacy over the years.

shada 2017a

My first encounter with ‘Shada’ was the Big Finish audio with Paul McGann. Then it was the novelization by Gareth Roberts; then the original 1992 VHS version on DVD in The Legacy Collection’ DVD box set. I would not be surprised if they did a comic book adaptation for ‘Shada’ at some point.

I didn’t know what to expect when ‘Shada’ was re-released on DVD in its new form. ‘Shada’ was released on a 2-disc DVD with the story on Disc 1 and the special features on Disc 2. I expected this to be a brand-new six part adventure for me and my parents to enjoy whilst watching it for Christmas.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered this turned out to be a single movie-like feature running at 138 minutes. There were no episode breaks and this felt like having to watch a film for over 2 hours. Not that’s a bad thing, as it makes it extra special. But I wish this had been a six-part story instead.


Another thing about this version of ‘Shada’ is the new animation sequences that give it its own unique identity. It’s a similar style of animation to ‘The Power of the Daleks’ DVD release that I received for Christmas in 2016. There are also new filmed sequences to make this version different.

Because of this, I’m going to treat this 2017 version of ‘Shada’ as completely different to the 1992 VHS version that was released on DVD in 2013. Hence why I’m reviewing it separately from the 1992 version and I hope to give a comparison on what’s different and what makes it good and compelling.

Seeing the new 2017 version of ‘Shada’ was extraordinary. I had seen the original ‘Shada’ footage from the 1992 VHS release version on YouTube as well as on DVD. So I was familiar with what to expect with the surviving live-action footage that ‘Shada’ had before the production was cancelled in 1979.


Of course with the new animation sequences featured in this version, it made me wonder whether they would blend in well with the live-action scenes. And I’m happy to say, they did. The jumping from live-action to animation didn’t spoil my enjoyment. In fact, it was interesting and entertaining.

I was so pleased with how they gave a brand-new musical score to this version of ‘Shada’ to replace the original Keff MuCulloch musical score from the 1992 VHS version. The new score is provided by Mark Ayres, who does make the new music for ‘Shada’ sound so like Dudley Simpson’s style of music.

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


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

Like with the 1992 VHS version of ‘Shada’, I like how they’ve made the Cambridge locations look lush and gorgeous. I’m not sure if they’ve changed much in terms of the video quality, but it looks absolutely stunning. Part of me wants to visit Cambridge for a family holiday sometime in the future.

There is no linking narration given in this version of ‘Shada’, as Tom Baker gave it in the 1992 version. The animation sequences featured in this version helped to fill in the gaps and some scenes were necessary to add on to the plot of the story. I just wonder if it did all match to the original TV scripts.


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

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 provided for the characters. It gives it a style and it doesn’t distract with how the live-action scenes of 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 needed 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 they did the exterior of Professor Chronotis’ study in the animation sequences. It appears as simply a door. I was expecting more of a box of the Professor’s room than just the door. But it works well, since it’s the Professor’s TARDIS and it’s bigger on the inside anyway.

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

The only one who hasn’t reprised 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 new version of ‘Shada’ in the 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 spoken by Denis Carey when he played ‘The Keeper of Traken’ in ‘Doctor Who’. But it suited the scene well and I like how Professor Chronotis didn’t announce himself openly as Salyavin before Skagra on Shada as he seemed to through the 2003 audio version.

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

When Skagra opened the cryogenic chamber that Salyavin was supposed to be in during the animation sequences, there was no rude note inside as it was depicted in the Gareth Roberts’ novelization. Skagra realises Chronotis is Salyavin when seeing his eyes glow bright in the animation.

shada 2017j

One of the disappointing aspects I had about this version of ‘Shada’ was the usage of David Brierley’s voice as K-9. I would have thought they would have replaced his voice with John Leeson’s voice of K-9 instead. In the animation sequences, there is a David Brierley-like voice for K-9 to keep continuity.

But there are some brand-new live-action sequences of K-9 fighting a Kraag shot for this DVD. This was nice to watch and it didn’t require any animation to fill in the blanks of what was going in the story. It was great Mat Irvine utilised the K-9 prop to fill those live-action scenes for the new ‘Shada’.

The 2017 version of ‘Shada’ ends with a live-action sequence of Tom Baker’s Doctor in the TARDIS talking to Romana off-camera with K-9 in the console room. It was really nice to see Tom Baker reprise his role as the Fourth Doctor for this ‘Shada’ DVD release as I’m sure it will please many fans.


Although, I do question why Tom Baker has white hair and why he looks older compared to what he looked like in the live-action material for ‘Shada’. Perhaps Tom Baker’s Doctor was on his way to become the Curator in ‘The Day of the Doctor’ by this point. Who knows? It’s open to speculation.

This DVD of ‘Shada’ is dedicated to the memory of composer Dudley Simpson, who sadly died in 2017.


The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a commentary with Christopher Neame; Daniel Hill; character artist Martin Geraghty and animator Anne Marie Walsh, moderated by Toby Hadoke. There’s also some ROM Content featured on the first disc to be accessed via a PC or Mac. The ROM Content includes scripts of ‘Shada’ including the rehearsal scripts; the 1979 Camera Scripts; the 1981 Camera Scripts and the 1992 VHS Scripts. There’s also recording schedules; animation storyboards for the 2017 DVD release and the 1979 ‘Doctor Who’ Annual. There’s also a 1992 VHS cover; a knitting pattern for Tom Baker’s scarf and promotional art for ‘Shada’.

On Disc 2, there’s a special making-of documentary called ‘Taken Out of Time – The Making and Breaking of Shada’ with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There’s also ‘Now and Then’, which focuses on the Cambridge locations used in ‘Shada’. There’s also the ‘Strike, Strike, Strike’ featurette. There are also new special features on the 2017 version of ‘Shada’ including studio sessions from 1979; dialogue sessions from 2017; studio shooting from 2017 and model filming from 2017. There are also some deleted scenes; title sequence film; live action reference footage; a 1979 gallery of the story and a 2017 gallery of the story.


The 2017 version of ‘Shada’ has been an enjoyable Christmas present for me! I don’t want to replace the 1992 VHS version on DVD with this, but then again I can’t deny this is a superior version. I wish this was presented as a six-part adventure rather than a full-length adventure, but it did feel special.

It’s hard to tell what the definitive version of ‘Shada’ is, as there have been so many versions and one can’t be sure which one fits in the right continuity. I still prefer the Paul McGann audio version of ‘Shada’, but I’m glad the BBC has completed the original one with new animation scenes and Tom Baker in it.

I think that’s enough versions of ‘Shada’ to have, isn’t it? Although I could be mistaken! 😀

‘Shada’ (2017) rating – 9/10

shada dvd the legacy collection dvd

‘SHADA’ (1992)

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What’s Left of ‘Shada’

I must admit I was pretty surprised by ‘The Legacy Collection’ DVD box-set and what it contained.

Of course I was delighted that ‘Shada’, the original TV version (or what’s left of it), was coming out on DVD at last! We would also have the TV documentary ‘More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS’ added to the collection. It’s such a shame it wasn’t ‘Dimensions In Time’, as I would like to see that on DVD.

People have preferences on what version of a certain product they like. In the case of ‘Shada’, there are more versions of the story than one. Some prefer the original TV version; some prefer the novelisation; some prefer the audio drama; some prefer the webcast. I personally prefer the audio drama!


The original TV version of ‘Shada’ was released on a 2-disc DVD. The story (what’s left of it) is on Disc 1 with the special features on Disc 2. I first got into the world of ‘Shada’ through the Big Finish audio of ‘Shada’, starring Paul McGann. I believed (and still do) that the audio drama was the ‘correct’ one.

But I was still fascinated by the original TV story and I watched it on YouTube for fun. It didn’t have the best video quality I’m afraid, as it was taken directly from the VHS version released in 1992. But I was watching ‘Shada’ in its original form from 1979. It was a fun and so joyful experience to watch it!

I made comparisons between the original TV version with Tom Baker and the Big Finish audio version with Paul McGann. With the original TV version of ‘Shada’, I thought the only way to see it was on YouTube, since I didn’t think it would ever get released on DVD. How wrong I was about that!


When I found out ‘Shada’ was going to be released on DVD, I was astounded then delighted. I was looking forward to seeing ‘Shada’ again and getting to own it on DVD. I was pleased when I watched it, though I wish they did some more to the story, since this was the original VHS version from 1992.

They could have altered it slightly with having Dudley Simpson’s music to replace the original Keff McCulloch music, which is pretty awful. But at least they improved on the video quality, making it look fresher, brighter, sharper and lush with all its Cambridge location scenes and the studio scenes.

I like how this VHS version of ‘Shada’ opens with Tom Baker arriving at a ‘Doctor Who’ museum, as he provides the linking narration for all the gaps of scenes that weren’t filmed for the TV story. First, Tom explores the museum, seemingly in awe of all of the monsters on display. He’s beaten them all!


Tom soon stumbles upon a Kraag. A Kraag! This triggers a memory for the Doctor! “SHADA!!!” he bellows, before hushing himself as he gets excited. He remembers! It comes back to him! The story they never finished and was never transmitted. I like how Tom introduces us to the story of ‘Shada’.

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 going to see in the remarkable story that never got made. With Tom providing the linking narration for this lost TV story, it was going to be an intriguing, joyful, viewing experience.

For the remaining footage of ‘Shada’ itself, I very much enjoyed what was left in that lost story. All the location scenes of Cambridge were in the story. Cambridge looks so lovely in its glossy form and lush brilliance in the springtime weather. It makes you want to go there and explore it on a day trip.


I enjoyed the scenes in Professor Chronotis’ room, which I’m happy they got recorded in the studio as they’re my favourite scenes. I love Chronotis, as he’s played brilliantly by Denis Carey. It’s so sad that they never got to film scenes in the science lab, on board Skagra’s ship and even on Shada itself.

One scene I recognised from ‘Shada’ was the punting scene on the Cam with the Doctor and Romana. This scene was included in ‘The Five Doctors’ to fill Tom Baker’s absence when he refused to take part during the 20th anniversary special. I had seen that scene and knew what the lines were.

It was nice to see that scene; where it originally came from and how it fitted in for the rest of the story in what would have been ‘Shada’. I found it funny when Tom Baker seemed confident about his punting on the Cam, when in actual fact he could not do it and was scoffed by the onlookers nearby.


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

Christopher Neame was good as Skagra, the villain. I prefer Andrew Sachs as Skagra in the audio version of ‘Shada’, since I found Neame’s performance lacklustre. But perhaps Neame played Skagra in a way Douglas Adams would have liked to play him with being serious and to show no-nonsense.

I enjoyed Daniel Hill as Chris Parsons. Daniel is believable and down-to-Earth as Chris, as he reacts to bizarre situations in the story. I saw Daniel attend the ‘Dimensions 2013’ convention in Newcastle, October 2013 with his wife Olivia Bazalgette, who was the production assistant on ‘Shada’ at the time. I sadly did not get to meet them, but I did have a group photo shot with the two of them in it (see above in photo gallery).


Victoria Burgoyne was a delight as Clare Keightley. I’d seen Victoria before in an episode of ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’ with Richard Briers. Victoria is lovely when playing Clare. I sympathise for Victoria when Tom recalled how she had cried a lot after being so unhappy that ‘Shada’ never got completed.

Tom Baker and Lalla Ward are really good as the Doctor and Romana. I liked the side-lines and humorous remarks Tom’s Doctor made and how cool Romana is when interacting with Professor Chronotis. They clearly enjoyed this story and the witty Adams dialogue and humour given to them.

I prefer John Leeson as K-9 really. I’m not happy with David Brierley as the voice in K-9 in this. It’s not against David Brierley’s performance. It’s just that he’s not John Leeson and I find it disconcerting whenever I hear him say lines that are unnaturally not K-9. He must still be suffering from laryngitis.

One of the things I liked about this version of ‘Shada’, which is something my Dad would like, is a group of St. John’s Choir Boys singing ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ from Glenn Miller. It was funny when they were singing and the Doctor drove past them on his bicycle with the sphere chasing him.


The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s the Big Finish/BBCi audio drama/webcast production of ‘Shada’ starring Paul McGann, which you can access on a PC/Mac. I was delighted that this Big Finish version of this story came out on DVD, as I got to watch it in its entirely on my laptop. There’s also an info-text commentary option to enjoy. This provided some really interesting and insightful detail on how the original version of ‘Shada’ was made back in 1979 with Tom Baker. It’s a shame there’s no audio commentary to enjoy on ‘Shada’, as they could have got Lalla Ward on here.

On Disc 2, there’s a special behind-the-scenes making-of documentary called ‘Taken Out Of Time – The Making and Breaking of ‘Shada’ with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There’s also ‘Now and Then’, which focuses on the Cambridge locations used in ‘Shada’. There’s also the ‘Strike, Strike, Strike’ featurette; the ‘Being a Girl’ featurette and there’s also a photo gallery of the story. There is also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Reign of Terror’ with William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill and Carole Ann Ford.


To have the original version of ‘Shada’ on DVD is really nice, although the Tom Baker version lacks the imagination of the Paul McGann version. Also the story on DVD feels incomplete, despite Tom Baker’s linking narration throughout. But I’m pleased ‘Shada’ has had its legacy since it got cancelled.

‘Shada’ was released on video in 1992 by John Nathan-Turner, turned into a Big Finish audio drama with Paul McGann and was novelized by Gareth Roberts. Having this DVD of the original ‘Shada’ completes the legacy, giving more insight into what the story might have been like had if completed.

I’m a big fan of ‘Shada’ nowadays and I’ve chatted to Lalla Ward about how many versions there are.

‘Shada’ (1992) rating – 7/10

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 novelisation 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 it in the post, I was expecting it to be a thin spine book that wouldn’t be so much 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 was like holding ‘The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey’ itself when I purchased it! It even felt and smelt like ‘The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey’ itself when I purchased it! I knew I was going to be in for a treat with ‘Doctor Who – Shada’.

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

This isn’t your typical Target novelization. This is actually a lot more detailed and informative than any other story I have 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/listening to every page of this fine book!

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

I’m sure Douglas would have liked to have novelized the stories he did into prose form. But he was working on other things including ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ and the ‘Dirk Gently’ novels that he didn’t have time to novelize his ‘Doctor Who’ work, 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’ altogether. Gareth is the perfect guy to write up the original TV scripts and turn them into a novel, as he is a really clever comedic writer when writing ‘Doctor Who’.

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

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

Douglas was relieved, as he considered ‘Shada’ so bad. And to be fair, he has got a point. Sometimes the TV story and the Big Finish audio drama have scenes 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 un-ignored by the ‘Doctor Who’ fans and 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.

So what Gareth Roberts has done here is re-create a new version of ‘Shada’ from scratch. He keeps to its groundwork and plot structure to make it compatible, but clears some inconsistences that were going on in the story. He also resolves plot holes and unanswered questions that occurred in it.

Gareth also provides more humour than there originally was in the actual TV 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 Doctor, not Paul McGann. I prefer Paul McGann’s version of ‘Shada’, since it fits in with the continuity of ‘Doctor Who’. But it’s still nice to read and to listen to this novel with Tom Baker in mind as the original Doctor for this tale.

I’m sure everything that goes on in this novel can apply to the Paul McGann version of this story and someone else can novelise it to those standards. Perhaps I might novelise the Paul McGann version someday, according to Gareth Roberts’ version with Tom Baker’s Doctor. Maybe? I just don’t know.

I do 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 this book with the audiobook! ‘Shada’ is read by Lalla Ward, who played Romana in ‘Doctor Who’ with John Leeson as the voice of K9. Now if you think ‘Shada’ the book is ginormous, imagine how many CDs there are to the audiobook. There are 10 CDs. Not 4 CDs! 10! Unbelievable, isn’t it?!!

I don’t know how long it took for Lalla to read the audiobook of ‘Shada’, but it must have been more than two days. Lalla provides a refreshing and an enjoyable narration of the story. I like the voices Lalla gave for the 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 one is correct. But Lalla said they’re still very good, as all versions of ‘Shada’ are concerned. 😀

I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Doctor Who – Shada’ signed by Lalla Ward and John Leeson at the ‘London Film and Comic Con’, Olympia, 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 all its legacy in all its forms.

It was lovely to hear K9 in this audiobook, voiced by John Leeson himself. John Leeson is K9 perfection and it feels right that he occasionally slips in to voice K9 whenever that cute robot dog has dialogue. It makes the story more reassuring and enjoyable to keep the reader/listener in check.

Everything I love about ‘Shada’ is more or less here in this 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 was about ‘Shada’, knows how much I love that joke. 😀

When Stephen discovered I had the book, he opened it and looked through the page. He found the joke instantly, which made me laugh and got him going “Oh no! Not again! I’ve heard that joke so many times!” He thinks it’s funny, but it’s when I often keep telling that joke that gets under his skin. 😀

There are highlights in the novelization that stand out to make the story of ‘Shada’ work. 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 TV and the Big Finish audio, where Chronotis said, “Here I am! I’m Salyavin!”

Gareth Roberts rectifies this by building it up towards ‘Part Five’s cliff-hanger in the novel. We’re made to think Salyavin has escaped and Skagra’s grovelling on the floor like a deranged child and the Doctor pats him on the back saying, “Never mind Skagra! Never mind!” It was funny reading that bit.

Then Chris enters and points at 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 novel rather than just giving oneself away, as Chronotis seemed to in the original TV story/Big Finish audio.

This leads me on to talk 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’s not there. Instead of nothing being there, there’s a very rude message on a sheet of paper, pinned 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 when Skagra gets shocked and he falls on 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, annoyed. I won’t write the rude word down, but I imagine the foul language Tom Baker would use.

I love what Gareth Roberts has done in developing the relationship between Chris Parsons and Clare Keightley. It was clear these two were obviously in a relationship together, but it had never been fully explored in the story on TV. Gareth Roberts takes it on and develops it further to greater effect.

He adds a new element in the relationship where Clare’s annoyed with Chris for not expressing his feelings to her and she’s on the verge of leaving Cambridge forever to go to America. The characters of Chris and Clare are greatly developed upon and I do love how they’re more fleshed out in ‘Shada’.

I found it a very touching and heart-warming moment towards the end of ‘Shada’ where Chris declares 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 so relieved to hear Chris say that to her at last.

There are some new scenes that Gareth has added into the story. I liked the moment when K-9 stops 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 persuade them to handle their crisis themselves.

I liked it when Chris takes a bath in the TARDIS swimming pool from ‘The Invasion of Time’. I also liked it at the end when the Doctor and Chris are with Chronotis on the beach planet that I mentioned 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 book and what the writing process was like with reference to Douglas Adams. There are acknowledgements by Gareth Roberts to the people who had helped him write the book.

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

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

‘Doctor Who – Shada’ rating – 10/10

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6 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 1 person

  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. 🙂


  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 briught 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 1 person

    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. 🙂


  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 1 person

    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 mateiral 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. 🙂



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