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Doctor Who: Shada (1992)

A compilation of footage from this then unfinished story (from the television series Doctor Who (1963)) was released on BBC Video, introduced by and with to camera linking material from Tom... See full summary »

Director:

Pennant Roberts

Writer:

Douglas Adams (by)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Tom Baker ... Doctor Who / Narrator
Lalla Ward ... Romana
Christopher Neame ... Skagra
Denis Carey Denis Carey ... Professor Chronotis
Daniel Hill ... Chris Parsons
Victoria Burgoyne ... Clare Keightley
David Brierly ... K9 / Computer (voice) (as David Brierley)
Gerald Campion Gerald Campion ... Porter (Wilkins)
Shirley Dixon ... Voice of Skagra's Ship
Derek Pollitt Derek Pollitt ... Professor Caldera (episode 4)
John Hallet John Hallet ... Police Constable (episode 6)
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Storyline

A compilation of footage from this then unfinished story (from the television series Doctor Who (1963)) was released on BBC Video, introduced by and with to camera 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 July 1992 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(video)

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Baker named this as one of his favourite Doctor Who stories, he had fond memories of the location shoot in Cambridge and he was disappointed not to finish it in the studio. 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

Skagra: Professor Chronotis.
Professor Chronotis: Who are you?
Skagra: I have come for the book.
Professor Chronotis: Book? What book?
Skagra: You know what book.
Professor Chronotis: [indignant] I don't know what you're talking about. I haven't got any books.
[an out-and-out lie as, where there aren't doorways, the room's walls are covered in bookshelves filled with books]
Professor Chronotis: That's to say, I have lots of books. What book would you like?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Footage from this episode showing The Doctor and Romana in a boat, and later of them entering the TARDIS, was used in Doctor Who: The Five Doctors (1983) (TV). See more »

Connections

Featured in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

S17: Shada: Decent enough, although flattered by the mystique it carries due to not being finished
26 December 2017 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Unfinished and unbroadcast due to a writers' strike, this 6-part serial was later put together as one release, using some new material, the material originally shot, and Tom Baker's narration covering the scenes never filmed. The result is that we get to see a serial that is better than the one that actually closed out season 17, but has many of the issues associated with the show throughout this season.

The title references a prison used by the Time Lords, but forgotten by them all; it is the subject sought by Skagra, by way of a book held by a Cambridge Professor (and Time Lord). The Doctor comes to him just in time to try to intervene in Skagra's plan to find the prison and use his mind extraction device to take the knowledge and being of all the criminals there, thus making him immensely powerful (although it is a shame he never extracted anything from someone who knows how to dress). In the background are monsters, in the foreground there is humor, and the plot is decent enough.

This version benefits from being shorter due to the unfilmed scenes, because 6 full episodes does feel a lot for this material. The ideas are decent enough, and it does have some good cliff hangers, but it is stretched a bit too thin for what it does, and doesn't maximize on many of the ideas. The monsters of the piece look cool as a piece in the museum where the narration is set, however in their brief appearance in the filmed scenes, they come over as another lumbering man in a suit. Likewise the orb is all a bit silly as a threat. The production is mostly set in the Professor's flat, and on location around Cambridge - it is a shame that the remainder wasn't shot, but to be fair, given the production standards in this season, it looks better described by Baker rather than seen.

The cast are solid and enjoyable through. Adams' writing is a bit messy in the way it mixes in silly jokes that don't work that well, interesting dialogue scenes and characters, but is not as smart as I hoped. Probably Shada's reputation benefits from it being unfinished and unbroadcast; while it is better than the actual season finale (Horns), it still fits into the standard of season 17 even if it is decent enough.


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