Sunday, 30 July 2017
Lost Doctor Who Classic Shada to be BBC Worldwide’s Next Animation Project
As fans will know, Shada was set to be the final story in the Fourth Doctor’s sixth season in early 1980, but was abandoned partway through recording due to strike action in the TV studio. With only the exteriors and one of three studio sessions completed, the story was only around 50% finished, and a number of attempts to remount the final studio sessions failed.
One of the reasons Shada is still held in such high regard is that it was then-script editor Douglas Adams’ final work on the series. As a six-part story, it would also have been his longest Doctor Who serial.
Shada has since appeared on VHS and DVD in an incomplete version, and as a novel, an audiobook, an online animation (with the Doctor recast as Paul McGann), and in an unofficial animated version from Ian Levine, completing the story utilising animated segments and voice recordings from most of the extant cast but – significantly – a voice artist’s impression of Tom Baker rather than an appearance from the actor himself. Levine’s version was offered to BBC Worldwide some years ago but declined.
All that could be about to change, with BBC Worldwide set to release their latest version this November.
According to actor Daniel Hill’s Spotlight account, he is credited with an appearance in “Doctor Who – Shada” for “television”, under the joint directorship of Pennant Roberts (the serial’s original television director) and Charles Norton – the director in charge of Worldwide’s Power of the Daleks project. The reference to “television” might be an indication of another North American TV broadcast for the serial.
Indeed, Hill himself tweeted on June 27th of this year: “fantastic time recording for SHADA 2017”, following this up on July 3rd with “v exciting ready in November apparently”. Hill was, of course, cast as the character Chris Parsons in the original production.
All of which pretty much confirms this as the follow-up to The Power of the Daleks. And although fans of the missing 1960s episodes will no doubt be disappointed at the news, the audio track for this new version will effectively comprise brand new “old” Doctor Who, whereas the soundtrack recordings for the missing black and white serials have already been released often several times over. With Tom Baker’s involvement an almost certainty since he’s finally become one of the “Big Finish Doctors”, the key question that now remains is, will this be a full animation of the entire story (perhaps the most likely option if a broadcast is indeed the intention), or a part animation of only the missing segments? Time, as they say, will tell.