Doctor Who: Shada – Novel


Doctor Who: Shada

Written by Gareth Roberts

Published by BBC Books

When ‘And another thing…’, Eoin Colfer’s authorised sixth book in the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, was published, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Problem was, I couldn’t finish it. It wasn’t Douglas Adams, the attempts to mimic his style fell flat, and the story suffered as a result.

Fast forward a few years, and we have Shada, Gareth Roberts’ novel based on Douglas Adams’ aborted Doctor Who adventure from 1979. My anticipation was as keen as before, and my disappointment equally painful.

This is not to say Shada is a disaster. I did make it to the end, and for large chunks of the book I was amused and entertained. But for some of its length, particularly in the later chapters, I felt bored.

Shada was conceived as a six part serial. The problem with most of Who’s six parters is that at least two episodes are effectively filler between the main plot points. You can perhaps get away with that if Tom Baker is applying the filler with his inimitable trowel, but I’m afraid on the page it is as dull as cement.

Douglas Adams was reportedly never happy with Shada. When he came to write his first Dirk Gently novel, he took some of the key characters and ditched all the tedious jetting around in the space time vortex. He was never afraid to reframe and restate his creations to suit the various mediums he worked in.

It’s a shame Roberts hasn’t taken the same approach with this novel. By sticking so reverentially to the various scripts (shooting, rehearsal) available, he has failed to capture the essence of Shada, which was never conceived, let’s remember as a book. That’s not to say there aren’t pleasures within – Skagra’s sentient ship is a pure delight – but the novel would have improved with the loss of at least two dozen of its micro chapters.

I returned to Eoin Colfer’s novel after a year, away from the hype and anticipation, and enjoyed it for what it was. What it wasn’t, and never will be, was a new Douglas Adams novel. There can be no more of those.

Perhaps one day I will reread Shada and reevaulate it as a well written Doctor Who novel. As the Doctor himself might say, time will tell…

Topical T Shirt of the Week so Don’t Panic

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Congratulations to Cafepress for getting the T Shirt of the Week.

Taken from Douglas Adams’? Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, who would have been 60 years old yesterday.

For those of you who don’t know who Douglas Adams is, shame on you. Please see the brief introduction to his life below (thanks to wikipedia) then start digesting his writings, thanks to amazon.

Douglas Noel Adams (11 March 1952 ? 11 May 2001) was an English writer and dramatist. He is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which started life in 1978 as a BBC radio comedy before developing into a “trilogy” of five books that sold over 15?million copies in his lifetime, a television series, several stage plays, comics, a computer game, and in 2005 a feature film. Adams’s contribution to UK radio is commemorated in The Radio Academy‘s Hall of Fame.[1]

Adams also wrote Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987) and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (1988), and co-wrote The Meaning of Liff (1983), Last Chance to See (1990), and three stories for the television series Doctor Who. A posthumous collection of his work, including an unfinished novel, was published as The Salmon of Doubt in 2002.

Adams became known as an advocate for environmental and conservation causes, and also as a lover of fast cars, cameras, and the Apple Macintosh. He was a staunch atheist, famously imagining a sentient puddle who wakes up one morning and thinks, “This is an interesting world I find myself in?an interesting hole I find myself in?fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!”[2] Biologist Richard Dawkins dedicated his book, The God Delusion (2006), to Adams, writing on his death that, “Science has lost a friend, literature has lost a luminary, the mountain gorilla and the black rhino have lost a gallant defender.”

The LOST Doctor Who Story Told

Doctor Who: Shada by Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts

Thirty-three years ago, the BBC started filming Douglas Adams? six-part Doctor Who serial, Shada. But industrial action halted recording, and the story was left unfinished? until now. This March, AudioGO are thrilled to be releasing an unabridged reading of this long-lost adventure ? at the same time as the BBC Books hardback. Written by acclaimed Doctor Who novelist and screenwriter Gareth Roberts, it is based on Douglas Adams? original scripts and read by Lalla Ward (who played the Doctor?s companion Romana). John Leeson, the original K9, returns as the voice of the Doctor?s faithful robot dog. The reading is enhanced with music and sound design.

The Doctor?s old friend and fellow Time Lord Professor Chronotis has retired to Cambridge University ? where nobody will notice if he lives for centuries. But now he needs help from the Doctor, Romana and K-9. When he left Gallifrey he took with him a few little souvenirs ? most of them are harmless. But one of them is extremely dangerous.

The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey isn?t a book for Time Tots. It is one of the Artefacts,
dating from the dark days of Rassilon. It must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.
The sinister Skagra most definitely has the wrong hands. He wants the book. He wants to discover the truth behind Shada. And he wants the Doctor?s mind…

Published: 15th March 2012
Author: AudioGO
Reader: Lalla Ward

No. of CDs: 10
Playing time: 11 hrs 30 mins

CD RRP: ?19.35
CD ISBN: 978144586732

Download RRP: ?19.69
Download ISBN: 9781445867656

It couldn’t be easier to order an audiobook. Just go to the AudioGO website to see our wide selection of Doctor Who titles. If you’d like to see more, simply select a genre and browse the thousands of titles on-site, available to order at the click of a mouse – or by calling us on 0800 136919.

Gareth Roberts Signing Dr Who Shada

GARETH ROBERTS will be signing the Doctor Who novel, SHADA (BBC books) at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore on Wednesday 14th March from 6 ? 7pm.

Based on the scripts for the original television series by the legendary Douglas Adams, SHADA retells a Tom Baker era adventure of the Doctor that never made it to the screen in 1979, due to industrial action.

The Doctor’s old friend and fellow Time Lord Professor Chronotis has retired to Cambridge University – where nobody will notice if he lives for centuries. But now he needs help from the Doctor, Romana and K-9. When he left Gallifrey he took with him a few little souvenirs – most of them are harmless. But one of them is extremely dangerous.

Gareth Roberts has written a huge number of Doctor Who spin off titles and has also written scripts for the TV Series and The Sarah Jane Adventures.

Dirk Gently Back On Telly As Series

Dirk Gently will return to BBC Four for a 3×60 minute series in 2012.

Written by BAFTA-winning Howard Overman (Misfits, Merlin), the drama is based on Douglas Adams’ cult novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

The series commission comes on the back of the hugely popular one-hour instalment in December last year, which attracted 1.1m viewers (3.9% share) on BBC Four, over three times the channel’s slot average. This will be the first drama series commission for BBC Four.

Howard Overman says: “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to write more episodes of Dirk and look forward to seeing where his unique detective methodology and perspective on life takes me.”

Anti-hero Dirk Gently operates his eponymous detective agency based on the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. Perpetually broke, hopelessly chaotic and utterly infuriating, most people suspect Dirk is nothing more than a cheap conman. And they might be right ? but nevertheless his methods, though unusual, do often produce surprising results.

Science fiction On the BBC this Christmas

I looked to the BBC’s festive season highlights to see what Science Fiction is in store for us lucky Brits this Christmas.

I very nearly said “Just Doctor Who” but it suddenly became clear that there are some slim pickings for genre fun.

Doctor Who Christmas Special

Topping an amazing line-up of quality drama, Matt Smith spends his first Christmas as The Doctor in Doctor Who ? A Christmas Carol, starring alongside veteran actor Michael Gambon and, in her first acting role, opera diva Katherine Jenkins.

John Hurt stars in Whistle And I’ll Come To You, a modern adaptation of MR James‘s Edwardian ghost story.

Christmas Movies

Genre movies this Christmas include: Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, Wall-E, Shrek The Third, Cars, Bee Movie, Enchanted and Chronicles Of Narnia 2 ? Prince Caspian

And Hidden on BBC 4

Stephen Mangan stars as eccentric detective Dirk Gently in an adaptation of Douglas Adams‘s cult novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Did I miss anything? Post a comment and let me know