Culture

Doctor Who: Tom Baker finishes abandoned 1979 Shada serial

In 1979, Shada was set to be the celebratory end to the seventeenth series of Doctor Who.

"Shada", a legendary unfinished Doctor Who serial abandoned in 1979 due to a BBC strike, will be available to watch in its entirety soon. Acclaimed writer Douglas Adams had completed the script, Tom Baker's Doctor was at the height of his popularity, and the series had bigger audiences than ever before.

Nearly four decades later it is to be released on BBC Worldwide as the original footage is combined with a brand new colour animation to complete the story.

Baker, 83, and Lalla Ward, 66, have reprised their roles as the Time Lord and Romana respectively for the animations as well as other members of the original cast.

Footage from Shada was used in the Doctor Who 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors, which re-united the Time Lord's past incarnations. I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in studio.

With a script by Douglas Adams, "Shada" is the story of a retired Time Lord at Cambridge who hides a risky artifact that is stolen by an evil alien who seeks to gain access to the secrets of an infamous prison planet called Shada.

This new version fills in the missing scenes with animation - and if the visual style looks a little familiar, that's because it's been produced by the same team who worked on a reconstructed version of The Power Of The Daleks, released November previous year. This new teaser for the animated version gives you a very short but intriguing look at the finished product, which will combine remastered versions of the original scenes with animated recreations of the unfilmed scenes.

A video was released in 1992, with Tom Baker providing linking material to camera for the missing scenes, re-released as a DVD in 2013.

The team were granted access to almost seven hours of raw footage from the original 1979 shoot.

Paul Hembury, Executive Producer, BBC Worldwide says, "Fans loved The Power of the Daleks, so we're delighted to be able to complete and bring them another lost Doctor Who classic".

Fans will be able to get their hands on "Shada" when the complete adventure is released via digital download on November 24, and on Blu-ray and DVD on December 4.



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