Doctor Who Shada – some other bits and bobs from the press screening

I was lucky enough to be at the press screening for Shada yesterday. There was a Q&A afterwards where a lot of the press quotes you may have seen came from, including in the piece in the Guardian. I felt really happy to be invited, and here’s some of the more fan-nerdy stuff I learned and thought that didn’t make the paper.

First off, we nearly didn’t see it at all. The digital projection system didn’t like the file format, there was a long delay, and BBC Worldwide were literally in the middle of apologising that they couldn’t show it when the news came to him that it was fixed. Shada nearly scuppered yet again!

Daniel Hill played Chris Parsons in the story, and his enthusiasm for the project while on the Q&A afterwards was absolutely infectious

Producer/director/animator Charles Norton says they picked Shada because BBC Worldwide wanted to commission something for Xmas release and it seemed more achievable than the others in the timescale. He also had, on the off-chance, spent the time last Christmas after Power of the Daleks was released doing camera scripts for Shada so they could hit the ground running if it did get commissioned. I got the impression they will do another lost story animation, but if I was a betting man I would say that we might not get it until 2019.

Mark Ayres spoke a bit about how the news of Dudley Simpson’s death came just a couple of days before/after (my notes are vague on this point) the music was completed. He had approached Dudley to co-compose the new soundtrack earlier in the year but Dudley said he was firmly retired, and Mark implied he was probably too ill at that point in any case

There’s a sequence in the animation that Charles said he has put in as a bit of a “[REDACTED] you!” to all the people who complained about the walking in Power of the Daleks, where we see the character Chris on his bike cycling and it’s combined with a sweeping pan shot ;-)

I thought the dialogue for the new bits worked well. I sometimes feel with the Big Finish 4th Doctor audios that you can really hear Tom isn’t the same age he used to be, but maybe the combination with the visuals helped.

I still personally think the story is stretched a bit thin to be a six-parter. Not unusual for Doctor Who at that time – I feel the same about the previous season’s concluding episode “The Armageddon Factor”, and “The Invasion of Time” the season before that. While understanding wanting to use all the existing footage as much as possible, we saw the first 40 minutes of Shada, and I reckon it could have happily lost a chunk with a much tighter edit of the original material. Of course, I’m sure fans would have moaned about that too.

The dialogue in Professor Chronotis’ study is brilliant Douglas Admas and shows Tom Baker and Lalla Ward at the height of their powers as the Doctor and Romana II.

Charles explained that because they couldn’t sadly use David Brierley to record new dialogue for the laryngitis-afflicted voice K-9 had during Season 17, they used generic additional dialogue dubs of Brierley’s K-9 from old tapes, and for the bits where that wonderful robot dog I loved so much as a kid had significant dialogue in the animation, they had to work around it via re-scripting.

It’s still got some other fun surprises in it for you!