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Doctor Who: Shada Hardcover – 15 Mar 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 15 Mar 2012
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; 1st Edition edition (15 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849903271
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849903271
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 367,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"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)

Book Description

From the unique mind of Douglas Adams, the legendary 'lost' Doctor Who story completed at last!

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
(Crossposted from my blog)

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Having not seen any other versions of this Doctor Who story, I was able to come to Shada with fresh eyes and no overblown expectations. Thankfully, that let me see it for exactly what it is: a really great Doctor Who adventure.

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.
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By D. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here, at last, after 30 years, is a finished version of "Shada", the "Doctor Who" adventure by Douglas Adams that was never finished (a strike at the BBC interrupted filming, although bits were used in the later "The Five Doctors" to cover for Tom Baker's absence from that).

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).
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Format: Hardcover
At last Shada emerges from its own time capsule, ironically like some of the characters in the story itself: frozen in time, because it never made the TV screen owing to a strike at BBC TV centre back in 1979.

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.
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