Shada? Deja vu

“When you see familiar faces
But you don’t remember where they’re from
Could you be wrong?

When you’ve been particular places
That you know you’ve never been before
Can you be sure?

‘Cause you know this has happened before
And you know that this moment in time is for real
And you know when you feel deja vu

Feel like I’ve been here before…”

Deja Vu by Iron Maiden from the album Somewhere in Time.


The Eighth Doctor is back on BBC7, starting today.

You’ll be able to hear episodes 1 and 2 of Shada on BBC7 from midnight tonight. (These were on earlier today too – BBC7 will broadcast the Eighth Doctor twice a day.) If you miss an episode on the radio, there is always the internet for BBC7’s Listen Again option (link) up until one week after the radio broadcast.

This is the beginning of a re-run of previously transmitted Eight Doctor audios, which will be broadcast Monday to Friday.  The radio listings (without mention of the midnight repeats) for BBC7 Doctor Who are here (link.)

Shada has a very strange history.  Originally intended to be broadcast on the TV, starring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, as the sixth story in (1979-1980) Season 17 of Doctor Who, industrial action at the BBC meant it was never completed or broadcast.

Footage was used from the unbroadcast story to explain the Fourth Doctor’s absence from the 1983 story The Five Doctors.

In 1992 a VHS video of the incomplete Shada was released by the BBC, with linking narration from Tom Baker.

In 2003, Shada then became an animated webcast (link) featuring the Eighth Doctor.

This version was then expanded for audio CD release (which is the version on BBC7.)

But it doesn’t stop there!  Oh no.

Douglas Adams, the writer of Shada (and script editor for Season 17) had recycled (fair enough – at that point Shada the story was not released in any format) the character of Professor Chronotis for his 1987 novel Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (link).  This is an fantastic book which I urge you to read.

Or, you could listen the BBC Radio 4 version (link) of this Dirk Gently book in October 2007!


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