Amidst over 50 years worth of episodes, there is perhaps none more eligable for the status of ‘legendary’ than 1979’s Shada. Despite being unfinished and unbroadcast, most fans of classic Who know about it.
Written by Douglas Adams, Shada finds the Doctor and Romana in Cambridge working with a retired Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, to defeat the evil alien Skagra who is attempting to steal the secrets to a prison planet called Shada.
Over the years the BBC has tried to present a complete version of the Douglas Adams penned episode in various forms. In 1992, it was released on VHS with linking narration from Tom Baker. In 2003 it was recreated as an animated webcast, with Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor taking the lead. And in 2012, Gareth Roberts turned the story into a novel.
However, the BBC are back with their most ambitious attempt yet. BBC Worldwide has announced a new version of Shada that will combine the original footage with brand new animated sequences to complete the story. Tom Baker and Lalla Ward reprise their roles of the Doctor and Romana, along with many other members of the original cast.
Baker himself is very pleased that the story is being finished off:
“‘Shada’ was one of my favourite Doctor Who stories. I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in studio.
I’m so glad that BBC Worldwide have found a way to bring fans a complete visual version.”
The episode will be released as a digital download on Friday 24th November, and on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 4th December.
There will also be a special screening at BFI Southbank, London on Saturday 2nd December. Further information will be available from bfi.org.uk from Monday 23rd October. Tickets for BFI will be available from Tuesday 14th November – or a week earlier if you are a member.
And finally, if you’re not already excited enough, here’s the trailer: