The Doctor Who episode “Shada” is legendary…unlike other incomplete episodes, which were due to the BBC purging the film archives of some of the original masters, Shada was never completed. The final episode of the 17th season, starring Tom Baker and written by Douglas Adams, had production canceled part way through due to a strike at the BBC. When the strike ended, the schedule had slipped too far into the holiday programming production time and ultimately it was never resumed. Douglas Adams was reportedly fine with the episode remaining in the annals of legend, unhappy with the script in the end.
Since then, the episode was released in its incomplete form with some narration to fill in the missing parts, and also retooled as an audio drama for the Eighth Doctor.
Now the original is getting the BBC’s latest method of filling in lost episodes – by animating them! Last year, they restored Patrick Troughton’s debut episode, ”The Power Of The Daleks”, by reconstructing the missing parts with animation. As an added bonus, not only does Tom Baker lend his voice to the animated segments, but also filmed a new segment with an appearance by K-9!
The episode follows the Doctor and Romana as they are called to Cambridge by Dr. Chronotis, a “retired” Time Lord who holds the key to the location of Shada, the prison planet of the Time Lords. A alien genius, Skagra, wants the location to be able to harness the collective intellect of the most notorious criminals in the universe so that he may take over, well, everything.
The new release is available today on iTunes (at least in the UK – I don’t see it in the iTunes store in the US), and a DVD release in the UK on December 4th and the US on January 8th.