A Short History of Shada

Want to win tickets to see Shada in cinemas? Enter our competition here.

A classic Doctor Who story is coming to the big screen, and boy is it a special one. Shada is unlike any other Doctor Who story ever made, because they never properly finished making it. Originally slated as the final story of Season 17 and scripted by the soon-to-be-famous Douglas Adams, the production was ultimately abandoned due to industrial action.

Now, 38 years after its conception, the BBC is completing the six-part epic by complementing the original studio and location scenes with animated sequences featuring voices from the original cast. But this certainly isn’t the first time that someone has tried to ‘complete’ the legendary incomplete story; in fact, Shada has managed to pop up in a whole bunch of different places over the years. Here’s a quick guide to them all:

1983

Fans first caught a glimpse of Shada during the 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors. Originally scripted to include all five incarnations of the Doctor (including a recast First Doctor with the permission of William Hartnell’s widow), plans changed when Tom Baker declined to return to the role that had made him a household name, citing the fact that he had only relatively recently left. Producer John Nathan-Turner still wanted the Fourth Doctor to be a part of the special, and so arranged to include two short scenes originally shot for Shada. The Fourth Doctor’s absence was explained as being trapped in a time vortex as a result of a botched kidnapping, and his role in the plot was largely taken by the Fifth Doctor. 1983 also saw the screening of an unofficial reconstruction at a fan convention.

1987

Douglas Adams was never one to let a good idea die, and incorporated a few elements from Shada into his novel, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. The novel, which featured an electric monk, a satire of the fledgling computer industry and a time-travelling visit to a 19th century poet, subsequently spawned a sequel (1988’s The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul) as well as a radio adaptation, a comic series and two television adaptations, the latter starring Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood.

1989

The appetite to experience a complete version of Shada led one fan to take extraordinary measures:  working in collaboration with fellow fan Jon Preddle, New Zealander Paul Scoones wrote an unofficial novelisation that saw publication in the same year that the classic series came to an end. The novel was one of a series of non-profit books published by the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club that adapted television stories that, for one reason or another, had not been tackled by the official publisher, Target Books. A second edition of the fan novelisation was published in 1991, and a third in 2001, each with a different cover.

1992

The first official, full-length release of Shada came in the form of a special VHS release uniting all the original footage with new linking material that had Tom Baker summarising the unfilmed scenes. As the original story never entered post-production, a new score was composed by Keff McCulloch in the style common to many late ‘70s Doctor Who episodes. A number of new special effects shots were also created for the release, and K-9 voice actor David Brierly even recorded his outstanding dialogue. The VHS release was also bundled with a book of the original script.

2003

The first full dramatisation of Shada came in the year of Doctor Who’s 40th anniversary. Big Finish Productions, the producers of many Doctor Who audio dramas, set out to create an audio adaptation. Their efforts caught the attention of BBCi, who partnered with Big Finish to create limited, Flash-based animations to accompany the audio production. Whilst Tom Baker was initially approached, he declined, and the story was reworked to star Paul McGann as the then-current Eighth Doctor. This had the fortunate side-effect of reconciling the story with The Five Doctors, with the Eighth Doctor catching up with Romana and wanting to attend to their ‘unfinished business’ from years ago. Lalla Ward returned to the role of Romana, but the cast was otherwise completely different to the 1979 version, including Sean Biggerstaff of the Harry Potter films and original K-9 voice actor John Leeson replacing David Brierly. The episodes were released as a webcast – a kind of pre-Netflix, pre-YouTube model of digitally streaming drama – over the course of six weeks and an expanded, audio-only version was released on CD later in the year.

2012

Whilst the return of Doctor Who to our screens in 2005 was the start of many good things, it was also the end of the adventures of past Doctors in print, with the BBC’s Past Doctor Adventures line ceasing publication. The release of an official novelisation of Shada (along with an audiobook read by Lalla Ward and John Leeson) broke the drought and was followed in subsequent years with original novels featuring past Doctors, as well as numerous short stories.  Novelisations are set to make a comeback in 2018, with new books based on the television adventures of the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors.

2013

The 50th anniversary year of the programme saw two new iterations of Shada – a remastered edition of the 1992 VHS release (along with a slew of new bonus features and the 1993 documentary More Than Thirty Years in the TARDIS) was bundled in a DVD boxset titled The Legacy Collection, and an unofficial fan version that completed the missing scenes through full-motion animation. Whilst several cast members reprised their original roles, Tom Baker was notably absent – the role of the Fourth Doctor instead being played by a soundalike.

2017 & BEYOND

Fast-forward to today, where the cinema release of the official animation is imminent. Made by the same people behind last year’s animation of The Power of the Daleks, the latest version of Shada completes the story using full colour animation with newly recorded dialogue featuring members of the original cast including, crucially, Tom Baker. Rather than merely fill in the blanks of the 1992 version, the 2017 version goes back to the source material for a brand new edit and music score. All the original footage has been newly remastered, with location scenes in HD for the first time and studio scenes originally shot in SD upscaled for the big screen. As the first full dramatisation of Shada to star Tom Baker, this version looks to be the most faithful rendition of the story yet. Shada opens in cinemas on 24 November (the day after Doctor Who’s 54th anniversary!) and a release on DVD and Blu-Ray – including brand new extras – will follow early next year.

And there you have it! With so many permutations of Shada out there, it is no wonder that it has acquired mythic status among so many Doctor Who fans. In fact, Shada has spawned so many different versions, it is enough to rival that other thing Douglas Adams is known for: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

For your chance to experience Shada on the big screen, enter our competition to win a double pass here.

Teaser clip for Twice Upon a Time

As part of Children in Need in the UK, a special clip from this year’s Christmas special, Twice Upon a Time, has aired.

Check it out below.

As previously reported, this year’s Christmas special will be on the big screen at selected cinemas, ABC’s iview as soon as it has finished airing in the UK, and on the ABC itself at 7:30pm on Boxing Day night. Once it’s finished, switch over to ABC Comedy (previously ABC2) to watch the Christmas special of Whovians!

RIP Paddy Russell

The DWCA is sad to report on the passing of Paddy Russell.

Paddy was the first female director to work on the show and worked with the first, third and fourth Doctors.

Paddy was first involved with Doctor Who directing the William Hartnell story, The Massacre of St Bartholmew’s Eve.

It was eight years later she directed the six part Jon Pertwee story, Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

She was involved twice more with the series directing Tom Baker stories Pyramids of Mars and Horror of Fang Rock.

Paddy was 89.

RIP Dudley Simpson

It is with sorrow that we report on the passing of Dudley Simpson.

Dudley worked on over 290 episodes of Doctor Who, writing the score to over sixty stories. His music provided the soundtrack to the majority of adventures of the first four Doctors. He also wrote title music for Blake’s 7 and The Tomorrow People.

Dudley was born in Australia on the 4th of October, 1922. He studied orchestration and composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. His entry into Television was meeting a BBC executive at a party. From there, it was his work on drama Moonstrike that bought him to the attention of Mervyn Pinfeld who recruited him to write music for the First Doctor Story – Planet of  Giants. He wrote scores to such memorable stories such as Fury from the Deep, Seeds of Death, Terror of the Autons, Genesis of the Daleks, and many many more.

In addition to being behind the scenes, he appeared on camera as the Conductor in episode 4 of The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

Dudley also appeared at Whovention 2013, where he was able to regale attendees with stories from his time working on the show.

Dudley passed away in Australia, he was 95

Opinion – A Female Doctor: It’s Time!

Back in 2014, Dale Watts submitted an article to Data Extract magazine in which he weighed in on the debate surrounding a female Doctor. With Jodie Whittaker’s tenure in the TARDIS growing ever nearer, we thought it would be interesting to revisit Dale’s article. We now reproduce it here for the first time since its debut in DE#226, abridged for the online format.

***

A female Doctor: a great idea or not? It certainly seemed to be the topic on everyone’s lips at the recent Lords of Time convention. With the Master having been regenerated into a woman in the Series 8 finale, and Steven Moffat having been quoted as saying he’d like Peter Capaldi’s successor to be female, it’s certainly something which is seeming increasingly likely as time goes on. And yet, as far as I could tell, most people at the convention seemed to be against the idea. This surprised and saddened me. Surprised, because I’d always just assumed that the Doctor could regenerate into a woman anyway, and simply hadn’t done so yet. Saddened, because it often seemed to be women against the idea.

Much as many are unwilling to admit it, Doctor Who sure as hell needs more female voices. It is a sad fact that only a handful of women have ever written or directed for the program. The recently-announced episode for Series 9 to be penned by Catherine Tregenna will be only the fifth Doctor Who story ever to have been written solely by a women – Tregenna follows in the footsteps of just three other women, Barbara Clegg, Rona Munro, and Helen Raynor. Another five stories were written by women as part of a writing partnership – four stories in the late ‘80s by Pip and Jane Baker, and a single one from Paul Erickson and Lesley Scott in the ‘60s. Even then, it’s disputed that Ms Scott ever actually wrote a word on the story she is credited on – The Ark. And that’s avoiding the issue of the pseudonymous ‘Paula Moore’, who wrote Attack of the Cybermen, and who was probably actually script editor Eric Saward.

Directors fare little better. Since 1963 there have been only ten female directors – Fiona Cumming, Paddy Russell, Julia Smith, Sheree Folkson, Sarah Hellings, Hettie MacDonald, Mary Ridge, Catherine Morshead, Rachel Talalay, and Alice Troughton, and only one story, Enlightenment, which just happens to be one of the greatest ever, from both a script and a production point of view, that has been both written and directed by women. Five of them have worked on the program in the last six years, which suggests that things are looking up, but the question remains: why such a small list at all? Are there simply not as many women interested in working on Doctor Who as there are men? Are the producers past and present sexist? Verity Lambert hired no women writers or directors, but I doubt anyone would accuse her of sexism. This is the woman who did most of the heavy lifting to get Doctor Who off the ground, and who in the process created two vibrant female characters in the form of Barbara Wright and Vicki Pallister.

Yet later producers, most of whom were male, did drop the ball a fair bit. It’s hard to argue otherwise, when so many actresses – among them, Louise Jameson, Janet Fielding and Nicola Bryant – recount that they were told they were there “for the dads”, which in itself raises the question of why a program that was ostensibly for children felt the need to include sexualised content for adult men. Leela may have been a strong, positive female character, but as Louise Jameson herself has pointed out, the character’s costume left little to the imagination. To give another example, Peri’s reputation as a character seems to be mostly based around her breasts, with Planet of Fire’s lingering shots of a bikini-clad Nicola Bryant.

What’s interesting about that example, though, is that it’s directed by a female director (Fiona Cumming) who was working for a gay male producer (John Nathan-Turner). This shows that sexism in Doctor Who is less the result of the producers being horrible people who deliberately set out to mock and sexualise women, and more the result of a societal expectation that women are there to be sexually attractive objects. And for every negative example of sexism in the program, there are positive female role models scattered throughout the program’s history. Barbara Wright, Liz Shaw, Sarah Jane Smith, Donna Noble, Clara Oswald – I don’t think any of these companions qualify as pretty, vacuous, monster-bait. Despite the cliche, there are only three occasions that I can recall where a companion tripped and sprained their ankle. And one of those was Adric!

So, Doctor Who has had its good moment and its not-so-good moments when it comes to its depiction of women. And frankly, its record of hiring female writers and directors is atrocious. So right now would definitely be the perfect time to try and increase the number of female voices in the program. And surely hiring a female lead actor would be a great step in that direction. Perhaps having a female lead character would help to attract more female directors and writers to the program! We know the Doctor can become a woman. It’s been implied since the Sarah Jane Adventures story The Death of the Doctor, in which Clyde asks the Doctor if he can be black, to which the Doctor replies, “I can be anything I want.” Note that he doesn’t add “except a woman”. There’s been further hints dropped since then – the most significant coming in The Doctor’s Wife, in which we’re told that the Doctor’s old friend, the Corsair, has had both male and female regenerations. Then, of course, there’s the Master’s recent regeneration into a woman, which seems to have split opinion.

So, to my mind, it’s not a question of whether the Doctor can become a woman, but whether he should. And I’m yet to hear a convincing argument for why he shouldn’t.

Many people seem to take the attitude of “it hasn’t been done before so it shouldn’t be done at all.” Leaving aside the fact that I hold the opposite opinion, imagine if this view had been adhered to by earlier production teams. The casting of Peter Davison was controversial at the time, as it was thought he was too young to play the role. But is anyone going to deny how great Davison, not to mention the other young Doctors (McGann, Tennant, Smith) were in the role? Not all great actors are old, white men, and if Doctor Who’s producers don’t take risks in their casting from time to time, Doctor Who can never change and improve itself.

Another flawed counter-argument to the question of a female Doctor is that having the Doctor become a woman “doesn’t make sense.” Considering we’re discussing a fictional television program about a time/space machine that’s bigger on the inside than the outside, piloted by an alien being that can change his entire physical appearance, I feel as though any questions of ‘sense’ went out the window long ago. I imagine there were viewers in 1966 who thought the changeover from Hartnell to Troughton didn’t make sense either, especially as Troughton didn’t put on a white wig and do a Hartnell impersonation. But 50 years later, we can look back on that event and see it for what it was – a brave move on the part of a desperate production team, which ensured their program’s long-term success to the present day. Hiring a female actor as the Doctor could definitely fall into the same bracket as that early ‘nonsensical’ decision.

By far the most distressing comments I heard, though – made more so because they were being made by women – were things like ‘women need men to rescue them’, or ‘women can’t be heroes’. If anyone genuinely believes that then I urge them to pick up any newspaper, or simply look around them, because strong, heroic women, who serve as positive role models for all of us, are everywhere. As an example, look at Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani activist who was shot in the head and survived, for daring to stand up to the Taliban and demand that girls in her country be allowed an education. In fact, given that historically women have often been oppressed (and in many parts of the world still are), and that the Doctor always fights for the rights of the oppressed, it makes a kind of karmic sense that the Doctor should one day be a woman. It just feels right.

A female Doctor could be the most wonderful thing ever. I wouldn’t want a token female Doctor, chosen simply to be there and be female. Rather, I want to see the casting for the Doctor opened up to anyone and everyone, regardless of gender, age, or race. If a man is cast, then I’m sure he’ll do a great job, just as the past actors to play the role have done. But if a woman is cast, then equally great. I’d presume she was the best person for the job, and I’d hope that she would simply be the first of many, many more female Doctors. Whether she be an elderly Margaret Rutherford type, or a young, sexy Emma Stone type, there’s no reason in the world to suspect that a female Doctor couldn’t be as wonderful, as brave, as funny, and as heroic as any of her male predecessors.

***

The full version of the article can be read in DE#226, which is available for purchase from the DWCA Shop. Other content in the issue includes interviews with Lords of Time 3 guests Katy Manning, Matthew Waterhouse, Terrance Dicks and Geoffrey Beevers, plus a special edition of A Little Perspective featuring discussion between three female fans.

First director of series eleven announced

Jamie Childs has been confirmed as a director working on the first production block of series eleven. Childs was responsible for directing the 13th Doctor reveal of Jodie Whittaker.

At this time, it hasn’t been confirmed which episodes will be shot during this production block.

Childs has been involved in shooting commercials which won a number of awards. He has also been involved in directing Stan Lee’s Lucky Man. He has also previously worked as a second unit director for series one of Poldark.

Shada confirmed Cinema release

As previously posted by the DWCA, Shada is being re-released with fresh animation. For more information on the history of Shada, please refer to the original post, here.

Now we can confirm that in addition to the home media release, Shada will also receive a limited cinema release from the 24th of November!
For more information and to find your closest cinema, please visit the below link to the cinema distributor, Sharmill Films.

http://www.sharmillfilms.com.au/allfilms/doctor-who-shada

2017 DWCA office bearers revealed

The DWCA is pleased to announce the election results from its recent Annual General Meeting, held on Sunday 13 August at Club Burwood, Sydney.

Only one person had nominated for each position, so the following were all elected unopposed:

  • President – Lauren Davis
  • Vice President – Jon Andersen
  • Secretary – Roger Reynolds
  • Treasurer – Brad Harrison

Each of these people also held the same position the previous year.

The DWCA would also like to announce a change to the non-office bearing position of Local Groups Manager, which has until now been held by Tai Wong. Tai recently indicated that he would be resigning from the committee, ending several years of service which have seen him previously act as the editor of Goods Gallery of Gallifrey for Data Extract magazine, as well as a general assistant to the team. We wish him well on his next endeavour.

Tai’s position on the team will be filled by Shania Everson, as appointed by the members of the committee. Like Tai before her, she will be the club’s contact for all things to do with local groups, offering advice on everything from event ideas to how to set up your own group from scratch. She can be contacted at local@doctorwhoaustralia.org.

LOOK WHO’S TALKING 2017: One weekend, two exciting DWCA events!

The DWCA is excited to announce the return of Look Who’s Talking, a two-part event giving Doctor Who fans the chance to meet celebrity guests in a fun, friendly and informal setting.

DWCA Book Club Presents: Jon and Kate Plus Blake

The weekend will kick off on the evening of Friday 6 October with a very special edition of the DWCA Book Club, as we will be joined by husband-and-wife writing team Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman.

 

Jon and Kate have been authoring fiction for the Whoniverse since the Wilderness Years, having written together and separately for the Virgin New Adventures, the Eighth Doctor Adventures, the Bernice Summerfield books, the Big Finish monthly audio adventures and more. More recently they expanded their horizons into cult sci-fi show Blake’s 7, devised by Dalek creator Terry Nation and long considered Doctor Who’s unofficial cousin.

Event attendees will have the chance to hear Jon and Kate talk in-depth about their work on the Blake’s 7 novel Mediasphere – the current set text for the club – as well as some of their other projects. Limited copies of Mediasphere and other Orman/Blum titles will be available for purchase from the DWCA Shop on the night.

Book Club tickets are completely free; however, online booking is essential as space is strictly limited. Attendees are also asked to purchase food or drink from the venue on the night.

When: Friday 6 October, 6:30pm-10pm
Where: Albion Place Hotel, 531 George St, Sydney
Tickets: http://dwca.org.au/ee-events/dwca-book-club-presents-jon-and-kate-plus-blake/

The Whovian World of Adam Richard

The fun will continue on Sunday 8 October, with a DWCA day event featuring comedian and actor Adam Richard.

Adam will be best known to Doctor Who fans as a regular panellist on ABC2’s Whovians, broadcast during Series 10, but this is far from his first foray into the realm of science-fiction. Adam previously co-created and starred in the six-part ABC comedy series Outland, which documented the adventures of a group of gay sci-fi fans, back in 2012. He also popped up in an episode of sci-fi/comedy audio series Night Terrace, created by his partner in crime on Outland, John Richards. We look forward to hearing from Adam about his work and life as one of Australia’s most beloved sci-fi geeks!

Admission for this event includes a small fee to cover the cost of the venue, although children under 13 are free with a paying adult. Each ticket includes a token for a complimentary autograph from Adam, as well as automatic entry into the club’s door prize competition. Book online to secure your ticket now and receive a second door prize entry absolutely free!

When: Sunday 8 October, 10am-5pm
Where: Club Burwood (2nd floor), 97 Burwood Rd, Burwood
Tickets: http://dwca.org.au/ee-events/the-whovian-world-of-adam-richard-dwca-sydney-day-event/