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Doctor Who: Shada (2017)

The story revolves around the planet Shada, on which the Time Lords have constructed a high security prison for some of the Universe's most dangerous criminals. Skagra, a flawed genius from... See full summary »


Charles Norton


Douglas Adams




Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Baker ... The Doctor
Lalla Ward ... Romana (voice)
Christopher Neame ... Skagra (voice)
Daniel Hill ... Chris Parsons (voice)
Denis Carey Denis Carey ... Professor Chronotis (archive footage)
Victoria Burgoyne ... Clare Keightley (voice)
David Brierly ... K9 (voice) (archive footage)
Gerald Campion Gerald Campion ... Wilkin (archive footage)
Shirley Dixon ... The Ship (voice)
Derek Pollitt Derek Pollitt ... Caldera (archive footage)
James Coombes ... The Krargs (voice)
John Hallet John Hallet ... Police Constable (as John Hallett)
David Strong David Strong ... Man in Car (archive footage)
James Muir James Muir ... Fisherman (archive footage)
Derek Suthern Derek Suthern ... Krarg


The story revolves around the planet Shada, on which the Time Lords have constructed a high security prison for some of the Universe's most dangerous criminals. Skagra, a flawed genius from the planet Dronoid, wishes to create a "Universal Mind" in which all the pooled knowledge of the universe's greatest criminals would be placed at his disposal and with which he intends to take control of the Universe. Skagra wants to go to Shada to extract the knowledge of the criminals who have been imprisoned there. Unfortunately for Skagra, knowledge of the location of Shada has been deliberately hidden by the Time Lords, but Skagra discovers that there is a Time Lord living on Earth in the twentieth century who may hold the key to its location. This Time Lord is masquerading as a professor at St. Cedd's College, Cambridge and calling himself Professor Chronotis. Sensing danger, Chronotis calls for the assistance of his old friend and protégé, the Doctor. The story climaxes in a battle for ... Written by Robert Gil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Cambridge, 1979. An invisible spaceship. A mind-eating sphere. A crazed scientist. A retired Time Lord. A lost Gallifreyan artefact. An ancient prison planet. A race across the universe... See more »


Animation | Sci-Fi


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Did You Know?


This is the first and only 'complete' version of Shada ever to be either commercially released by the BBC or broadcast. However, an earlier compilation video of completed material from the production was released by BBC Video in 1993. This VHS release (later re-released on DVD) saw Tom Baker delivering a series of to-camera links, covering parts of the story that had not yet been filmed. In 2003 a quasi remake/sequel production, based on Douglas Adams' scripts to Shada was produced by BBCi and Big Finish Productions for the BBC website. This production (taking place both some time after the events of the original and also in the same time-frame), substituted Paul McGann's 8th Doctor for Tom Baker's original 4th Doctor. The production was released both as an audio-only CD (later broadcast on BBC Radio) and also as a special illustrated webcast, using artwork from comic-book artist Lee Sullivan and minimal animation. It did not make use of any footage shot back in 1979 for the original production. In 2017, when the original production was finally completed all the surviving actors from the 1979 shoot all agreed to come back and voice their parts for the animated portions of the production using period appropriate audio equipment. In addition to the above, there is also a novelization of 'Shada' written by Gareth Roberts from of the original Douglas Adams scripts. This novel (later recorded as a talking book by Lalla Ward), added additional material to the story fix certain plot-holes in the original. See more »


When Romana is asking Professor Chronotis about the person who has the book, she asks, "Was he tall, short?" But she first lowers her hand when she says "tall" and raises it when she says "short". See more »


Chris Parsons: Where is this place?
The Doctor: How should I know?
Chris Parsons: Big, isn't it?
The Doctor: I wonder where everybody's got to?
Chris Parsons: I don't know.
The Doctor: Neither do I.
Chris Parsons: And I don't believe that we travelled hundreds of light years.
The Doctor: Why not?
Chris Parsons: You cannot travel faster than light. Einstein.
The Doctor: What? Do you understand Einstein?
See more »


Referenced in ITV Lunchtime News: Episode dated 24 November 2017 (2017) See more »

User Reviews

At last, Shada
10 February 2018 | by Prismark10See all my reviews

Douglas Adams Shada has arrived a little bit later than advertised. Actually 37 years later.

The uncompleted Tom Baker Doctor Who story has been lauded since it remained unfinished from 1980. Now the BBC has reconstructed it by animating the missing sequences, reuniting the living actors and including a new bonus scene at the end.

The production crew wanted something epic like the City of Death broadcast in early 1979. The story had extensive location shooting in Cambridge and Tom Baker was in his pomp.

Shada is a prison planet created by the Time Lords. The evil genius Skagra wants to create a universe with his mind controlling it. He needs to get there to release a notorious prisoner whose mind control functions he requires.

Meanwhile the Doctor and Romana visit an old professor friend at St. Cedd's College, Cambridge. Professor Chronotis has called out to the Doctor but cannot remember why. However a mislaid book creates danger, Skagra is after the book which contains coded Time Lord secrets.

First let me get the shallow stuff out of the way. Just how gorgeous was Victoria Burgoyne in this who plays Clare Keightley, the girlfriend of Chris Parsons.

I do feel that at six parts the story is overlong. I much preferred the shorter webcast that starred Paul McGann. Some of the Cambridge scenes were there just to show off the fact that they were filming in and around the university buildings. Christopher Neame is rather one note as Skagra. The special effects for the orb and the invisible spaceship were not wholly convincing. (It does not help that Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home, did a parked invisible space ship better in 1986 and my mind kept going back to that.)

However it is a joy to see Tom Baker again in a new story of Doctor Who. It just reminds me how much I loved his Doctor as a kid and he just makes it look so easy, never mind that in later years I read just how difficult he was to work with.

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Release Date:

19 July 2018 (USA) See more »

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Doctor Who: Shada See more »

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BBC Worldwide See more »
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