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Doctor Who: Shada (1992)

Video  |   |  Adventure, Sci-Fi  |  6 July 1992 (UK)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 220 users  
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This unfinished story from the television series Doctor Who (1963) was released on video with linking material from Tom Baker. When a dangerous artifact goes missing from the study of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Doctor Who / Narrator
...
...
Denis Carey ...
...
Victoria Burgoyne ...
David Brierly ...
K9 / Computer Voice (voice) (as David Brierley)
Gerald Campion ...
Porter (Wilkins)
Shirley Dixon ...
Voice of Skagra's Ship
...
Voice of Krargs
Derek Pollitt ...
John Hallet ...
Police Constable (episode 6)
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Storyline

This unfinished story from the television series Doctor Who (1963) was released on video with linking material from Tom Baker. When a dangerous artifact goes missing from the study of retired Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, he calls on the help of the Doctor and Romana. Also looking for the artifact is Skagra, who is armed with a mind-draining sphere. Written by Stephen Smith <eroticroger@hotmail.com>

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Adventure | Sci-Fi

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6 July 1992 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 2003, Shada was remade by Big Finish Productions as an audio book/Flash animation for BBC Interactive. The remade version starred Paul McGann as The Doctor, with Lalla Ward reprising her role as Romana and John Leeson as K-9. See more »

Goofs

During the scene where Skagra attaches the sphere to Professor Chronotis' head, the professor's eyeglasses are off his head during a close-up, then on again after a couple of camera shot changes that return to a close-up, all while his hands are empty and his arms are flailing about. See more »

Quotes

Professor Chronotis: I am, I was, I will be Professor Chronotis. Oh dear, we Gallifreyans have never managed to come up with a satisfactory form of grammar to cover these situations.
See more »

Connections

Remade as Doctor Who: Shada (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An (Unfortuantly) Lost "Doctor Who" Adventure
14 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Shada has one of the most complicated behind the stories of all time. Originally conceived as the finale episode of the 1979-1980 season of Doctor Who by Douglas Adams (then script editor and future creator of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy) and was extensively set at Cambridge University. Now all of the location filming at Cambridge had been completed and some of the studio work done before an actors strike halted the production. Then the decision was made not to finish all of the filming. Now in 1983 two brief scenes from the Cambridge filming was used in the Five Doctors. Adams also used elements in his novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. And then in 1992, the BBC finally decided to take the recorded footage from 1979 and use Tom Baker to help tie those sequences that were never filmed with narration. This is the result.

To say the least this is one of the most impressive Doctor Who adventures. Adams script is taught, tense, and even fun at times. The story is complicated to say the least and is virtually impossible to quickly summarize. Yet despite this (or rather because of it) the story keeps your riveted to the screen and waiting for the next scene right up until the very end. This is definitely the best Adams Doctor Who story and it is a shame that it was destined never to be finished. If it had this could have been perhaps the greatest adventure of the series.

The performances by the actors are good and amongst the better ones of the series. Tom Baker is at his height as the Doctor, at least in his time frame in the role. He plays everything so well that it is hard to find a problem with it. Lalla Ward is well as Romana and this is one of her better episodes as well. Beyond them is a strong supporting cast in the form of Denis Carey as Professor Chronotis, the retired Time Lord who is not what he seems. Christopher Neame is a very menacing Skagra, despite having one of the worst looking costumes of the series (white outfit, complete with silver cloak and hat) and the addition of the mind draining sphere helps immensely. Add on Daniel Hill and Victoria Burgoyne as two humans caught up in the events and the result is one of the finest casts ever assembled for Doctor Who.

The story was never fully filmed and is tied together by clips of narration featuring Tom Baker. This is actually a pro rather then a con. Baker brilliantly reprises his role of the Doctor and narrates the story's missing parts expertly. Baker gives in his narration (and in some sample special effects shots) and inkling of what Shada could have and should have been. It is a testament to his power as an actor that the story works as well as it does in an uncompleted form.

The one big minus of the story is in the special effects. The special effects are up to par with those of the series at the time. Yet there are some special effects featuring spacecrafts that don't work at all. The time tunnel chase sequence for example is a case where these special effects can only give an inkling of what was intended. But they are meant as exactly that and one can judge them for oneself.

Shada is the sum of its parts. With the combination of a fine script, fine performances, great humor, some terrific location filming, and some brilliant narration by Tom Baker, Shada is more then just a lost story from a classic series. It is an inkling of what could have and should become a Doctor Who classic. While it is isn't as good as seeing a full-fledged story (something that can never be of course) this is still an amazing sci-fi epic.


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