Saturday 5 May 2012

530 Shada Part Five

EPISODE: Shada Part Five
TRANSMITTED: Unaired (planned for 16th February 1980)
WRITER: Douglas Adams
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: Unbroadcast
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - Shada

The Krarg strikes the machinery in the think tank, creating a vast amount of smoke which enables the Doctor, K-9 & Chris to escape back to Skagra's ship, leaving just as the Think Tank station explodes. The Ship is persuaded to take the Doctor to Skagra's home. While trying to repair the Professor's ship Clare asks about who Salyavin is. The Professor places the knowledge that Clare needs to repair the Tardis in her head telepathically. Skagra's ship takes the Doctor's ship to the Krarg carrier ship. They are captured and Skagra reveals his plan to take over the universe telepathically, merging them into one mind: his. The Doctor stages an escape with Chris & K-9 but Romana is dragged back to the Tardis by Skagra. Fleeing down the corridors of the ship the Doctor & co find an out of place old wooden door and go through it, discovering themselves to be in Professor Chronotis' rooms/Tardis. The Professor knows that with the book & Tardis that Skagra can travel to Shada, which is exactly what he does. Skagra searches Shada's records for the location of Salyavin, the Time Lord criminal with huge mental powers. The Professor's Tardis arrives and he, K-9 & The Doctor follow Shada with the Professor guiding them. Skagra starts reviving the prisoners as the Doctor arrives but when they open Salyavin's cell they find it empty. The Professor admits he is Salyavin: he escaped centuries ago and used his powers to make the Time Lords forget about Shada. The Sphere attacks the Professor but is destroyed by K-9. However it reforms into several smaller spheres, one of which attaches itself to the Professor and he sinks to the floor. The spheres attach themselves to the revived prisoners, bringing them under Skagra's control. Chris & Clare arrive, but Chris too is brought under the control of a sphere. He and the prisoners advance on the Doctor.

Once again Tom Baker's narration doesn't do what's happening justice. Not Tom's fault at all, more the John Nathan-Turner penned script which draws attention to the wrong elements. Read the script book alongside it and certain bits, notably finding the door to the Professor's rooms on the Krarg carrier ship and the revelation that Chronotis is Salyavin come to life.

The idea that Time Lords have mental powers has been hinted at before: Susan was telepathic and both the Doctor & The Master have been shown to easily hypnotise people. In Salyavin we have someone who has taken those abilities to a whole new level.

Many years ago when I was given for my Birthday a copy of the Doctor Who Programme Guide my interest in this story was peaked by the description that the prisoners would include "A Dalek, a Cyberleader and a Zygon". Obviously since the scenes on Shada weren't filmed we see none of this, and reading the script book there's no reference there to who or what the prisoners are. So, fearing this detail had been made up, I asked on Roobarb's Doctor Who forum and m'learned colleague Mr David Brunt recalled thus:

If memory serves, it's something listed in the costume designer's notes for the story.

Might even be in the recording scripts which post-date the ones used for the script book.

There's certainly paperwork listing extras Steve Ismay, Ridgewell Hawks and Les Shannon as "Space Monsters". Ismay was certainly tall enough to get into a Cyberman suit.

The most natural home for Shada to be finished would, for many years, have been the Doctor Who Target Book range. There was one problem though: It was a Douglas Adams story and Douglas said only he was going to adapt his stories. Unfortunately by this point Douglas had become a best selling author and the advance he commanded was waaaaaay in excess of what Target could afford. So the Target book of Shada, along with those for Douglas' two previous tales The Pirate Planet & City of Death, went unmade. There's two other Doctor Who stories that weren't adapted as Target Books: Resurrection of th Daleks and Revelation of the Daleks but the reasons they weren't adapted are slightly different.

However in 1989 an unauthorised adaptation of the story was carried out by The New Zealand Doctor Who fan club. A version can be downloaded from here.

In 2011 BBC Books unexpectedly announced that they were publishing a novelization of the story which would be written by New series writer Gareth Roberts. Roberts made his name writing a series of Fourth Doctor Missing Adventures books for Virgin. Doctor Who: Shada was released on 17th March 2012. Roberts takes certain liberties with the plot, most notably the cliffhanger to this episode, but it's a decent attempt at adapting the story and worth a read.


  1. I'm pretty sure Aaronovitch did do Remembrance of the Daleks. I think it might have been Resurrection and Revelation that were unadapted.

  2. Andu is quite right and I cannot tell my Re* of the Daleks stories apart!