This month's Doctor Who DVD from the BBC is Shada. Originally intended to be the season 17 finale, only about half of Shada was ever filmed, owing to a strike, and it remains the only unaired Doctor Who serial. Now, for the first time on DVD, Shada sees the light of day.
This release is a three-disc set. The first disc contains the six episodes that make up Shada. Because these episodes were never completed, in 1992, long after he'd given up his title as the Doctor (he was #4), Tom Baker filmed new footage, explaining the parts of the story never actually shot back in the 1970s when Shada was to have aired. The original footage and new bits were spliced together, and the result was released on VHS. Now BBC Home Video has released Shada for the first time on DVD.
Shada is an interesting serial. It is written by Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), and begins at Cambridge. The Doctor and Ramona (Lalla Ward) answer, quite a bit late, a message sent out by Professor Chronotis (Denis Carey), a retired Time Lord near the end of his life. Unfortunately, Skagra (Christopher Neame) has also come, seeking the location of the Time Lord prison planet Shada, where there is an inmate that can help him take over the galaxy.
The story told in Shada is a bit similar to other tales. There's a villain, the Doctor and his friends, which this time include Chris Parsons (Daniel Hill) and Clare Keightley (Victoria Burgoyne) from the university, investigate. They are captured, escape or are rescued, and fight off Skagra before his plans can be fully realized.
There are some great whimsical moments. Chronotis himself is a pleasant and amusing chap, who often gets verb tenses mixed up, and who has his priorities a bit skewed. His memory isn't all that reliable anymore, and his rooms at Cambridge, where he has lived for three hundred years, are a traveling TARDIS itself. Plus, any serial with K-9 (David Brierly) makes one smile.