Shada Animated on DVD

BBC Worldwide is to release the Douglas Adams Doctor Who story Shada, using animation to complete the story.

Shada was planned to be the celebratory end to the seventeenth series of Doctor Who. 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.

The story was also due to be the final story produced by Graham Williams, before handing over to new producer John Nathan Turner, who would introduce a new look to the series. But it was not to be. Strike action at the BBC in November 1979 meant the final studio recording sessions were cancelled, and the story was never completed.

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. A web version of the story was also produced for the official Doctor Who website to mark the programme’s 40th Anniversary in 2003. It used basic Flash animation alongside a new audio track produced by Big Finish and starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. In 2013 an unofficial fan version, directed by Ian Levine, was completed using animation to fill in the missing scenes. In this version, although a number of original cast members revoiced their parts, the Fourth Doctor was voiced by another actor.

Now, thirty-eight years on from the planned transmission, BBC Worldwide has announced that a new official version of Shada is to be completed, combining the original, remastered footage, with new colour animation. The animation will feature the newly-recorded voices of the original cast, including Tom Baker as the Doctor and Lalla Ward as Romana, performing the original script.

Tom Baker says
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 new feature-length production incorporates all of the live-action scenes from 1979, together with new animated material. Shada finds the Doctor in Cambridge working alongside companion Romana and retired Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, to defeat the evil alien Skagra who is attempting to steal the secrets to the prison planet, Shada.

Doctor Who: Shada is being produced by the team behind the highly successful and critically acclaimed animation of lost Doctor Who serial The Power of the Daleks and lost Dad’s Army episode A Stripe For Frazer . The team have had access to nearly seven hours of raw footage from the original 1979 Shada shoot from which they are editing the new production from scratch, with all the original location film negatives re-scanned in full HD and digitally remastered. It will not, however, be possible to create a full HD version of the new production, as the original studio video material is locked into its original SD format, and no higher resolution is possible.

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.
Shada will be released as a digital download on Friday 24th November, and on DVD and Bluray on Monday 4th December.

The release is avaiable to preorder as a Steelbook, DVD and Blu-ray.