When the fourth Doctor (TOM BAKER), the second Romana (LALLA WARD), and K-9 are called to Earth to do a favour for a old Time Lord friend of the Doctor, a Professor at a Cambridge College in England on Earth, it seems to be the best thing for them to do after their recent adventures. Just to return a book to Gallifrey. But nothing from Gallifrey is ever what it seems.
When they land they find themselves immediately in trouble as the Professor has accidentally let the book be borrowed by a student, who has discovered the book's strange powers.
Also the book is wanted by a strange alien called Skagra who has an incredible and highly deadly way of getting someone to give him the information or whatever he seeks - a sphere with the ability to drain a person's or being's mind of all knowledge whilst almost killing a person in the process.
It is clear that the Doctor, Romana and K-9 have fallen across something big. The book is a key to some strange power and Skagra needs it to fulfill all his plans. But what are they? Who is Skagra? Who/Where/What is Shada? The three Time Lords must team up with the two Earth Students to help fight Skagra. But how can you fight an enemy without knowing anything about him.....
And not everybody is who they appear........
"Shada" was to be the final story of Season Seventeen (1979-1980) and was to be the usual 6-parter. The script was written by Douglas Adams (who was also Season 17's script-editor) and was Graham Williams's last story before stepping down as Doctor Who's Producer and give the task to John Nathan-Turner who was to produce the programme through the 1980s.
The recording dates for the story was to be from Mid-October to Early-December 1979 for a transmission date of Mid-January 1980. The location filming was completed where the story was set - in Cambridge (Douglas Adams studied there in his youth and hence was the natural place to set the story.)
Recording a programme like this was done in three basic steps - Location, Rehearsal and Recording. This means that the filming for all the scenes on Location was done first, mainly to trim down travelling money and recording by filming all of the location footage first. This would allow the production team to save on money and time and the cast and crew wouldn't have to travel from London to Cambridge for each episode to be recorded.
Next comes the Rehearsal for the studio scenes and then finally recording the serial in the studio in certain "blocks" - that is all the scenes in certain places are recorded to save the BBC from keeping setting up and taking down sets all of the time.
The location filming for Shada was completed on time and the three studio blocks was for scenes set in:
The new Producer, John Nathan Turner, tried to trim it down for a Christmas 1980 showing but it was impossible as some of the actors was already engaged in other projects and so the story was again shelved. (Also JNT thought that it was the opposite of the stories he was currently making - the more serious Season Eighteen - and didn't want viewers to be reminded of the silliness of Season Seventeen.) But a recording of all shot footage was bootlegged out of the BBC and was available for several years.
In 1992 John Nathan-Turner decided to release on Home Video the completed (so far) work of SHADA (the first recording block and the location filming) with a script book so that buyers could read what was due to happen. This book, however, was only made for UK buyers and wasn't sold with the NTSC version of SHADA in the USA for example.
Therefore, since this is the Missing Script Page and some of Shada was completed, I thought that I should have a go at trying to complete it. All the transmitted stuff on the video is here and copies of the unmade scenes. Tom Baker's links from the Home Video are there (but in certain places I have trimmed the link down so that it doesn't spoil your reading.)
I would like to thank Steven K Manfred at Steven.K.Manfred@uwrf.edu for allowing me to use some of his "book" version of SHADA for helping me describe some of the unmade scenes of Shada and to David Herrick, Bruce Robinson, and personally to Leslie Styles and my girlfriend Rebecca Moody for keeping me at it.
Finally I would also like to say a big "Thank You" to my uncle Frank Dicker who sadly died while I wrote these scripts. He was a great fan of the work on the missing episodes and of the reconstruction. It was his idea that I do SHADA so I hope that you enjoy it whever you are Uncle. Rest In Peace.
I hope you enjoy it. I had great fun making it.
Lee Horton - 25/9/1997 (LeeH@tcp.co.uk)
The following colour scheme is used in the scripts: