Friday, 4 May 2012

529 Shada Part Four

EPISODE: Shada Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Unaired (planned for 09th February 1980)
WRITER: Douglas Adams
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: Unbroadcast
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - Shada

Chris & K-9 are transported out their cell and detecting them the ship re-activates it's oxygen supply. The Tardis arrives at the Krarg carrier ship and Romana sees the Krargs being grown. Another Krarg starts to form on Skagra's ship. The Doctor boosts the ships power to enabling it to cross the distances of space quickly. In Professor Chronotis' rooms Clare awakes and is startled by the appearance of the Professor, dressed in a night shirt. Skagra finds himself unable to translate the book using the Doctor's mind in the sphere. The Professor explains to Clare that his rooms are his Tardis and it interfered to save his life. The Professor decides they must find Skagra to save the book, which is the key to Shada, the Time Lord prison which has been forgotten about. The Doctor & Chris are attacked by a Krarg, but it is held off by K-9 allowing them to explore the Think Tank complex at which they have arrived. They find the ages bodies of Skagra's former colleagues. Skagra notices that turning the pages of the book influence the Tardis and realises turning the last page of the book will take him to Shada. He prepares to journey to Shada to find the Time Lord criminal Salyavin, who is crucial to his plans. The Doctor uses Chris' brain power to revive one of the scientists, the neurologist Caldera. He explains how Skagra set up Think Tank to pool the resources of the mind electronically but when they had completed the sphere he used it to steal their minds. Skagra now intends to use his mind to dominate the whole of humanity but need Salyavin to complete his plan. K-9 looses his fight against the Krarg and is driven into the Think Tank by the massive creature which now advances on the Doctor.....

OK, is anyone able to explain to me just how & why Chris and K-9 are transported out of their cell? It appears to just happen for no reason at all. Chronotis' survival is rather brushed over, but seemingly accredited to his Tardis. I can get that Skagra notices that the book affects the Tardis, but turning the last page will cause the Tardis to travel to Shada? That's a bit of a leap. I think this episode could have done with another pass over it by the script editor.... except the script editor is in this case the author!

Playing the Think Tank scientist Caldera is Derek Pollitt who was Driver Evans in The Web of Fear and Private Wright in Doctor Who and the Silurians.

The first attempt at using the Shada footage was made by new Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner, but having secured funding for two extra episodes for the forthcoming season, to avoid having to make a new six parter, the BBC were reluctant to give him more money to finish Shada as well. With the departure of Lalla Ward and then Tom Baker from the show any possibility of finishing the story vanished.

In 1983 the footage that had been filmed was combined into a version of episodes 1 & 2 constructed by fans Ian Levine, Richard Landen, James Russell and Kevin Davies for the DWAS Panopticon 3 convention September 3rd and 4th. That same year the Shada footage provided the scenes of the Doctor & Romana punting from episode 1 and The Doctor being rescued from beneath a fence gate from episode 3 to give Tom Baker some presence in the 20th Anniversary story The Five Doctors.

Ideas for releasing Shada on video started circulating as early as 1984 but nothing came of it till the Doctor Who - Shada was released on VHS on July 6th 1992. Douglas Adams was reluctant for the material to be released and was only convinced by an offer to donate his royalties to Comic Relief. Tom Baker provides the narration to accompany the story whose single video is accompanied by a book reproducing the complete script for all six episode.

This is the BBC's first attempt at filling the gaps in a missing story: narration is also used later on the videos of The Invasion & The Crusade to cover for missing episodes. The Crusade, and later the Ice Warriors, also include CDs of the missing episodes (an option obviously not available here since the episodes were never finished). The Ice Warriors also includes an abridged Telesnap reconstruction of it's missing material: a full telesnap reconstruction married to the Soundtrack would be used in place of the missing Tenth Planet episode 4. When the Invasion was released on DVD, it's two missing episodes (for which no Telesnaps exist) were animated, a technique shortly due to be used on Reign of Terror. At some point Ian Levine started working on an animated version of Shada with the hope of getting the BBC to release it. If you want more detail Google Ian Levine Shada .....

The current BBC plan is for the material recorded for Shada to be released on DVD along with the documentary Thirty Years in the Tardis, or more likely it's expanded version More Than Thirty Years in the Tardis. A date for this DVD is yet to be announced and the final contents are yet to be known.

In 2003 a complete, alternate, audio version of the story was released by Big Finish on CD starring Paul McGann as The Doctor and featuring Lalla Ward as Romana.

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