Friday, 10 September 2010


The Doctor and Romana visit Cambridge and end up as stock footage in a later story.

Shada was never completed so we are left with a collection of disjointed sequences and some narration put together to join them up. We don't even have telesnaps to help us out. This makes it very difficult to review.

Shada seems to be regarded by fans as a great undmade classic. It is thought of as the story that would have redeemed the tragically silly Season 17. This assumption seems to be dependant on giving the missing scenes the benefit of the doubt.

Looking at what survives of Shada, I can't help thinking that it looks like a load of rubbish. The scene with the Doctor and Romana punting is quite lovely and Ward puts in a great performance in her surviving scenes. The revelation that the Professor's room is a TARDIS is well conceived, but other than this I see nothing to make this story stand out from the other stories of Season 17 or that makes it approach the quality of City of Death.

Like other Season 17 stories, Shada looks cheap. The Kraags look like typical Season 17 silly monsters. Skagra wears a hideous silver outfit that looks camp in a really bad way. The spaceship does not look terribly impressive either (of course on the outside it is invisible to save costs).

The script is deeply unimpressive when compared to Adams' other efforts, City of Death and Pirate Planet. A lot of the jokes are just not that funny. Professor Chronotis is yet another cliched bumbling scientist type. Hardly interesting as a Time Lord. The revelation that he is a wanted criminal mastermind not seem to add much to the story. We have seen enough renegade Time Lords to be interested in him. As for Christ and Claire, they are really boring supporting characters.

Tom Baker's linking narration on the BBC Video is really irritating. He plays it in character, which comes across as patronising. He is not dressed like the Doctor and has visibly aged. He is not the Doctor any more!

Maybe my judgement on what is left of Shada is harsh. Perhaps if only fragments were left of City of Death I might not be kind to that story either. I just don't feel like giving Shada the benefit of the doubt, especially given the rest of Season 17.

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