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Shada (TV story): Misc


Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 17
Story Number: 109
Doctor: Fourth Doctor
Companions: Romana II, K9 Mk2
Enemy: Skagra
The Krargs
Setting: Earth, Cambridge, St. Cedd's College, circa 1979
Writer: Douglas Adams
Director: Pennant Roberts
Broadcast: Not Broadcast
Format: 6 25-minute episodes
Previous Story: The Horns of Nimon
Following Story: The Leisure Hive



The story revolves around the lost planet Shada, on which the Time Lords built a prison for defeated would-be conquerors of the universe. Skagra, an up-and-coming would-be conqueror of the universe, needs the assistance of one of the prison's inmates, but finds that nobody knows where Shada is anymore except one aged Time Lord who has retired to Earth, where he is masquerading as a professor at St. Cedd's College, Cambridge. Luckily for the fate of the universe, Skagra's attempt to force the information out of Professor Chronotis coincides with a visit by the professor's old friend the Doctor.


to be added




  • The Doctor received an honorary degree from St. Cedd's College, Cambridge, in 1960. He visited Professor Chronotis in 1955, 1960 and 1964 in his fourth incarnation, and also in 1958 in a different incarnation.

Time Lords

  • All of the artefacts have 'stupendous power': although many of the meanings are lost, the power and the Gallifreyan rituals remain.
  • Chronotis is able to beat out a message with his hearts in Gallifreyan Morse code.


  • Chronotis recognises the Doctor's TARDIS as a Type 40 commenting "Came out when I was a boy: that shows you how old I am.".
  • The TARDIS medical kit is on the top shelf of a white cupboard opposite a door. From the control room, Romana gives the directions as first door on the left, down the corridor, second door on the right, down the corridor, third door on the left, down the corridor, fourth door on the right.
  • Chronotis and Claire find themselves 'jammed between two irrational time interfaces': his TARDIS has a conceptor geometry relay, with magranomic trigger, it also has a defunct field separator, but this isn't be needed if they can fix the interfacial resonator.
  • The Doctor goes vortex walking between Chronotis' and his own TARDIS.

Theories and Concepts

  • Chronotis' memories are extracted through Psychoactive extraction, "someone has stolen part of his mind".


  • Drornid is the location of Skagra's homeworld.


Story Notes

  • Shada was never completed due to "labour action" at the BBC, the footage that was shot was released on BBC Video in 1992 using linking material featuring Tom Baker to complete the story.
  • According to "A Matter of Time", a documentary on the Graham Williams era of Doctor Who included in the 2007 and 2009 DVD box sets of The Key to Time, the industrial action occurred due to conflict over which union had jurisdiction over the operation of an elaborate clock that was featured on a BBC children's programme.
  • Had it been broadcast, it would have marked the final use of the 1967 arrangement of the Doctor Who Theme by Delia Derbyshire, the tunnel opening sequence by Bernard Lodge and the diamond series logo introduced in The Time Warrior.
  • The story would eventually be remade in 2003 and released as Shada (webcast) and Shada (audio release), explaining that the meddling in the Fourth Doctor's timeline seen in The Five Doctors caused the events following his and Romana's arrival in Cambridge to not take place until the Eighth Doctor and Romana came back to complete them.
  • The story takes place in October 1979; coincidentally that is the same month Douglas Adams published his first The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novel.
  • Aliens expected to appear in the Shada Prison Cells would perhaps have been, a Dalek, a Cyberman and even a Zygon.
  • Recently, the BBC claimed that what really happened was that this story was sacrificed in order to send a warning to unions that their strikes had consequences.[1]
  • Douglas Adams later used elements from this story in his novel, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency


This story was not completed, therefore no ratings exist for the story (the later VHS restoration has never been broadcast).


to be added

Filming Locations

  • The Backs, River Cam, Cambridge
  • Clare Bridge, River Cam, Cambridge
  • Silver Street, Cambridge
  • Trumpington Street, Cambridge
  • Grantchester Meadows, Grantchester, Cambridgshire
  • Free School Lane, Cambridge
  • Bridge Street, Cambridge
  • Portugal Place, Cambridge
  • Trinity Lane, Cambridge
  • Botolph Lane, Cambridge
  • King's Parade, Cambridge
  • St Edward's Passage, Cambridge
  • High Street, Grantchester
  • Emmanuel College, St Andrew's Street, Cambridge
  • Blackmoor Head Yard, Cambridge
  • Garret Hostel Lane, Cambridge
  • Portugal Street, Cambridge
  • Ealing Television Film Studios (Stage 2), Ealing Green, Ealing
  • BBC Television Centre (Studio TC3), Shepherd's Bush, London

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Clare Keightley drops her books before running into the porter.
  • In part two, Romana calls Chris by his first name, despite having not heard it.


DVD, Video and Other Releases

VHS release

BBC Video released a version compiling existing footage broken down into the planned six episodes, with linking narration by Tom Baker. The UK release of the video included a booklet containing the full script of the original production; the North American release did not include the booklet. To date this release has only occurred in the VHS format, with no announced plans for a DVD release as of 2009 (although clips from Shada have been used on featurettes on other DVD releases).

Webcast version

Main article: Shada (webcast) The BBC commissioned Big Finish to write and record a new version as part of the 40th anniversary, it was animated with a limited Flash animation and released on the BBC's website. This version was revised to feature Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor, along with Lalla Ward and John Leeson voicing their original characters.

An extended audio version of the webcast was later released on CD by Big Finish.


  • No official novelisation of Shada was ever published by Target Books as they were unable to come to an agreement with Douglas Adams that would have allowed him, or another author, to adapt the story.
  • Douglas Adams reused some of the elements of Shada in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, notably the character of Professor Chronotis, his time-traveling apartment, and St. Cedd's college.
  • A fan novelised version (by the New Zealand Fan Club) is available online Doctor Who and Shada by Paul Scoones.

See also

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: Shada
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - Shada
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): Shada
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - Shada
Season 17
Destiny of the Daleks  • City of Death  • The Creature from the Pit  • Nightmare of Eden  • The Horns of NimonShada

This article uses material from the "Shada (TV story)" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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