Doctor Who: Shada Hardcover – 15 Mar 2012
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"A delight" (SFX Magazine)
"There are moments of glorious Adamsian whimsy here" (Sunday Times)
"Surprising, page-turning, fulfilling, satisfying and faithful to the spirit of that wonderfully gifted author who left us far too young" (Doctor Who Magazine)
"Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor is brought fabulously to life, scarf flapping, eyes and teeth flashing as he clowns around making flippant remarks while saving the universe" (Sun)
"Something of a Holy Grail for a Doctor Who fan" (Belfast Telegraph)
From the unique mind of Douglas Adams, the legendary 'lost' Doctor Who story completed at last!See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It's difficult to know how much information to give in a review of Shada, the latest in the BBC's line of Doctor Who prestige hardbacks, because it's aimed at at least three different, though overlapping, audiences - Doctor Who fans, Douglas Adams fans, and people who would, when in a bookshop, be interested in a book about Doctor Who if it's got the name of someone they recognise on the cover but wouldn't otherwise consider themselves a fan. I am, of course, a member of both the first two groups.
In the late 1970s, Douglas Adams (who almost everyone reading this will know was to become the best-selling author of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy and Dirk Gently series before dying too young) wrote three scripts for Doctor Who, as well as script-editing the TV series for a year. The first of these, The Pirate Planet, is a passable romp, while the second, City Of Death, is often regarded as the single best story the TV show ever did. Shada was the third, and was meant to be broadcast at the end of the series Adams script-edited, but filming was stopped two-thirds of the way through because of strike action, and the story was never completed.
It's not quite as lost as the publicity material around this book suggests - a VHS release about twenty years ago, now long-deleted, with Tom Baker doing linking narration, and a remake as a cartoon for the BBC website featuring eighth Doctor Paul McGann (the soundtrack CD of which is available from Big Finish for five pounds, and is well worth getting) mean that many of us have experienced this story in a relatively complete form already.Read more ›
It is of course based on the scripts and some of the filmed material for Shada by Douglas Adams, and the dialogue is therefore as funny and quirky as you would expect, while the story is suitably mad and slightly ridiculous. But it would be foolish to ignore Gareth Robert's contribution to the story. He makes the descriptions (that are his obviously own and not Adams') sing and sparkle and entertain, while still writing with great respect for Adams and mirroring his (almost) unique storytelling style.
On top of this great story, there are also nice little continuity references for the fans, including a delightfully surprising mention of fellow rogue Time Lord the Corsair, only created by Neil Gaiman in his 2011 TV episode. While I expect that many people will come to this book with knowledge of its troubled history and production problems, I urge you to out all that to one side, and see it simply as a brilliant and brand new adventure for the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9.
Gareth Roberts has done a stunning job, returning to the latest notes and versions that Adams left and, as he says in a helpful postscript, having had the luxury of time to complete what Adams was writing in a rush.
I've always been cautious about written versions of Who and never convinced that they work as well as on TV, but Roberts (and Adams, of course!) show here that it's possible. Whether considered as a Doctor Who adventure alongside all the others (including the 21st century revival) or simply as a compelling story, this book succeeds - both bring to life the characters of the Fourth Doctor and Romana and also providing foils in Clare, Colin, and Professor Chronatis, who are swept in their wake (as well as a truly megalomaniac villain).
It's also possible to see aspects of Adams' other fiction reflected here (slightly irritating talking spaceships, bad stuff that might happen with airlocks and much more - it's fun to watch out for this.)
Overall, an enjoyable read, I'd have thought a must for those who are Doctor Who or Douglas Adams fans (or both).
Shada was the third of three stories to be penned by the late, great Douglas Adams for the original Doctor Who TV series. This novelisation by Gareth Roberts does the near-impossible job of satisfying three different audiences: fans of the original (classic) Doctor Who Series; fans of the new TV series and of course Douglas Adams fans.
As someone who grew up with Tom Baker as 'my Doctor' ; Lalla Ward and K9 as 'my companions' this novelisation was a real treat. My first recollections of Doctor Who are the 1979-1980 season - of which Shada was intended to be the finale. Gareth keeps true to the spirit of the original series, so much so you can hear Tom's rich baritone voice in his dialogue booming out from the pages; along with Lalla's haughty observations and K9's nasal pedantry. Along with that you have the wit and dry humour for which Douglas Adams is legendary, and the grafting on of issues that would have been taboo back in 1979 - such as the sexuality of one of the incidental characters. All 3 are done with such aplomb by Gareth that you never doubt for one moment that all 3 sets of readers will be happy with this book.
Some of you may recall the sparkling dialogue between Romana and the Doctor, whilst punting on the Cam,in the 20th anniversary story - The Five Doctors. To date, this is the only part of Shada to make it onto the small screen.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great for this partly shot and never broadcast Tom Baker and Lalla Ward episode to finally be in the novelisation collection. Read morePublished 3 months ago by cool as cats in shades
I loved the Hitchhikers series and as a fan of Doctor Who this was a match made in heaven. Expands the Doctor Who universe whilst having the classic Adams' sense of humour.Published 8 months ago by P. Hill
Lively and entertaining, with a classic Doctor - Tom Baker, with Romana as his assistant, and even K9! Written with passion and fun, there is plenty to entertain. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mr. M. Jones
I was never a massive fan of Douglas Adams but this is one of the most engrossing who books I've ever read,both foreboding and with subtle hints of humour absolutely riveting stuffPublished 17 months ago by keith. gunson
Thank you Gareth Roberts for giving us yet more of Douglas Adams genius. What a loss to comedy his death was. Read and enjoy.Published 18 months ago by rovert