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Nobody's Doctor now
on 18 September 2013
Scream of the Shalka is an anomaly, a one off, a dead end. Intended as a new start for Doctor Who its now relegated to a footnote in the programme's history. I had hoped this dvd release might reveal a lost gem but unfortunately its a fairly ordinary story, a generic alien invasion. The animation is the basic Cosgrove Hall style and the picture quality is surprisingly poor for such a recent production. Richard E Grant plays the Doctor in a performance that Russell T Davies has described as lazy. This seems unfair, he is playing a character consumed by ennui and drained of passion and he livens up considerably when the Doctor "finds some form" in the later episodes. Derek Jacobi's rather camp performance as the Master is not a patch on his later appearance in the episode Utopia. David Tennant has a very brief cameo as one of the Shalka's victims but the rest of the cast get little to do and are rather forgettable.
As is usual with the BBC Doctor Who dvd range there are plenty of interviews, documentaries etc. Of particular interest is an isolated soundtrack of the musical score for the story. In spite of the effort involved in this dvd it still feels inconsequential and probably will only be of interest to Doctor Who completists.