This is the famous "unfinished story" by Douglas Adams, that was never completed owing to industrial action. Scenes from this were used in "The Five Doctors" to create a presence for Tom Baker's Doctor when he refused to appear in it. 


I own two versions of this. One is a VHS tape which contains as much of the story as was completed, with linking narration by Tom Baker.  This is interesting in an academic sense if you're a hard-care Who fanboy, which I suppose I qualify as.  It's difficult to get a fair sense of what the completed story would of been like, though I suspect it might not have gone down in history as Douglas Adams' greatest work. Some characters suffer more than others from the incompletion. Poor Victoria Burgoyne - her role as Clare was meant to be her first TV job, but it never got finished, and she's hardly in what was done. Christopher Neame's Skagra isn't in it much either, but that's probably just as well, given what little we do see of his performance.  The Krargs aren't in it much, either - just as well, they're kind of lame - sort of like what the Pyroviles might of looked like done on a 70's Who budget.


The second version is an audio adaptation featuring Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor. It's rationalized that Borusa's interference with the Time Scoop during "The Five Doctors" left the events of "Shada" undone, so the Doctor gooes to Gallifrey to pick up Romana (she's the President of the High Council by this point) and K-9 Mark Two and drags them off to Cambridge to have the adventure they should of had. Ward reprises her role as Romana and Leeson returns as K-9, replacing Brierley, who was in the original.  McGann, Ward and Leeson work well together, I would'n't've minded hearing more with this team.  I found this version more enjoyable - it's basically the same story as before, but complete, with a few adaptations - for example, for a scene in which Skagra probes the Doctor's mind, we hear clips from previous audio stories featuring the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors. Also, the audio format removes the visual lameness of the the effects - the Krarg, for example, sound alot more effective than they looked in the TV version of the story.



  • Part One: The Krarg says all is ready!
  • Part Two: The sphere closes in on the Doctor!
  • Part Three: The ship cuts off the oxygen supply!
  • Part Four:  The Krarg attacks!
  • Part Five: The prisoners advance on the Doctor!
  • Part Six:  The Doctor and Romana take off, leaving their friends to get hauled off to the stationhouse!



An interesting glimpse at what might have been.  I'm glad to have had the chance to see the fragments of the TV version, but I did find the audio version amor eentertaining experience.


[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

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Christopher Neame turned up in 2 of my favorite movies over the years.

He's a British agent sent after Timothy Dalton in LICENSE TO KILL (1989).

Also, he's Johnny Alucard in DRACULA A.D. 1972 !

Just finished Doctor Who: Shada - The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams, by Gareth Roberts. Roberts has written several episodes od the new series. What he's done here is not so much novelize the TV story as to work various scripts and notes that Adams left behind to try to re-create the story as he feels Adams would have like to have told it, had he been free from the limitations imposed upon 1970's Doctor Who.  I am often leery of these attempts to work up stories from dead men's notes, but for me, Roberts does a fairly good job. He doesn't try to be Adams, so much as tries to write in the spirit of Adams. I found it to be an enjoyable, entertaining read.

Listened to the McGann audio adaptation of this recently.   I'd forgotten that the role of Skagra was played by the late Andrew Sachs. I only recently learned that Sachs  put his name in to play the Seventh Doctor.. That would have been interesting.

In your personal continuity, which Doctor participated in this story? Four? Eight? Both?

That's a tough one.  I did like the conceit that Borusa using the Time-Scoop prevented the Fourth Doctor from doing what he originally intended to do.

That's kind of the way I look at it, too: Shada "happened" to the Fourth Doctor, but those events were not part of the "web of time." When Borusa snatched him out of the time stream, they no longer happened to the Fourth, but they eventually cycled back to the Eighth.

BBC America is airing Shada this Thursday evening (7/19/18).  

Watched this on dvd very recently. 


Oh - piece of right to the very end.!

Doctor Hmmm? said:

BBC America is airing Shada this Thursday evening (7/19/18).  

I am at a natural break point in Gallifrey, so I thought I’d listen to the audio of Shada for the first time in many years, the second time ever. I just re-read this discussion and see that we’ve already discussed the audio to some extent, but I’m going to go ahead and add a few additional comments anyway.

Romana fisrt appeared (on audio) in “The Apocalypse Element” (which I recently listened to for the first time) with Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor. The she appeared alongside Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor in Neverland and Zagreus before being teamed with the Eighth Doctor again in the audio version of Shada. After that she was the central character in Gallifrey, a series which continues to this day. Shada was not only the first Eighth Doctor story I every listened to, not only was it among the first audio stories I listened to, it was one of the first Doctor Who stories I listened to or watched ever. I doubt I had ever even seen Romana on a TV episode at the time I listened to Shada, and I know I hadn’t the DVD release. I got a lot more out of it this time, believe me.

As discussed above, Shada was a partially filmed Fourth Doctor story. Certain footage was repurposed for The Five Doctors. In the audio version, the Eighth Doctor and Romana remember only what happened to them in The Five Doctors. (This was well before the surviving footage was compiled on DVD.) The Doctor suspects more happened to them than that, though, so they return to Cambridge and essentially relive the events that already had happened to his fourth incarnation.

The Doctor seems a little off character in the audio, but that’s because he’s reciting lines originally written for the madcap Fourth Doctor. For all that, though, Mc Gann does a really good job with the material.

Afcter I finished listening to the "Shada" audio on firday I watched the video over the weekend. The filmed scenes are linked by Tom Baker strolling through a Doctor Who museum. ("I love museums," he opines.) Oddly, when he refers to the Doctor's actions he says "I" and "me." It fun to pretend that this is not Tom Baker or the Doctor, but rather the Currator from "Day of the Doctor."

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