I remember how excited I was back in 1992 when Shada was first released on home video featuring Tom Baker providing accompanying narration to the unfinished serial which was aborted from Season 17 due to a BBC strike. Previously, the only glimpse we had into this "lost" Douglas Adams story was the scene with the Doctor and Romana II punting down the river at Cambridge that was used in the 20th Anniversary special Doctor Who: The Five Doctors (Story 130).
I had surmised that the excruciatingly long delay to release Shada on DVD was because the Doctor Who Restoration Team had plans to do a complete reconstruction of the unfilmed serial using animation like Cosgrove Hall had fabulously done for Patrick Troughton's two missing episodes of Doctor Who: The Invasion (Story 46). Unfortunately what we have been given here is the same "storybook" reading by Tom Baker that we were given back in 1992 and it's very disappointing considering that Tom Baker, almost 80, is still alive and probably more than happy and willing to record new audio performances for accompanying animation sequences having recently lent his vocal talents to several Big Finish audio adventures of his fourth Doctor. Even if Lalla Ward had declined to participate for personal reasons due to her prior relationship with Tom Baker which ended in divorce, they still could have edited her dialogue that she recorded for the 8th Doctor Big Finish audio reconstruction of Doctor Who: Shada, though it would have been an historic opportunity for Tom and Lalla to be reunited in the recording studio as The Doctor and Romana II for the completion of their forgotten adventure proper after all of these years.
Whatever the "official" reasons are, the fact remains that Shada is still, and probably will always remain, the uncompleted "lost" serial from the Tom Baker era. I am still happy to have what we have in my collection, and the "More Than 30 Years In The Tardis" documentary does offer some recompense for the hastily patched together serial, but for the extravagant price I think there was a real missed opportunity here to finally complete Douglas Adam's work with an animated reconstruction and finally do it justice.
Time, I suppose, will tell.
59 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?