Web Animation / Scream of the Shalka

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The novel of the cartoon of the series.

Scream of the Shalka is a flash-animated Doctor Who serial with Richard E. Grant as the voice of a Ninth Doctor, Sophie Okonedo as his new companion, and Derek Jacobi as the Master. The story was written by Paul Cornell, and its animation was produced by Cosgrove Hall. The serial was webcast by the BBC's official Doctor Who website in November and December of 2003.

An English village is attacked by lava creatures called Shalka. The Doctor arrives to fight off the Shalka, but they have implanted pods in people's heads in the village and around the world, leading humanity in a global scream that will terraform the Earth into a Shalka habitat.

The webcast was revolutionary for a number of reasons. It was going to be the first broadcast piece written by an author of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels. It starred a black companion (something previously only seen in spin-offs). And it had the Doctor and the Master travelling together, exploring the possibility of friendship between them. Sadly, the timing was unfortunate — because just before its release, the new TV series was announced for 2005. Scream of the Shalka and its Ninth Doctor were deemed "alternate universe", and the series is not considered part of the Whoniverse canon. It did, however, get both a novelisation and an official prose sequel: "The Feast of the Stone".


Tropes:

  • Admiring the Abomination: After swallowing the Shalka's brain slug, the Doctor takes a few minutes to wax poetic about how beautiful their Hive Mind is.
  • Always Save the Girl: Inverted. The Doctor knows that he'll always try to save the girl, and has given the Master standing orders not to let him do it.
  • Armed with Canon: Russell T Davies strongly disliked Richard E. Grant's performance. As soon as he became the new Show Runner, he became very vocal about this Doctor not being cast for his series.
  • Badass Longcoat: The Doctor wears one, which looks somewhere between a military overcoat, some sort of Edwardian dress uniform, Eight's Wild Bill Hickok costume and the First Doctor's coat.
  • Brick Joke: Early on, the Doctor snarks that he's going to sing some showtunes. He ends up defeating the Shalka doing exactly that, just for fun.
  • Brown Note: The Shalka scream.
  • The Cameo: David Tennant very briefly voices a one-scene character. He was in the neighbourhood, heard what was being filmed, and begged for a part. He then proceeded to Squee! so hard that the interview crew let him ramble about Doctor Who for a bit, during which he revealed that his mum once knit him a miniature Fifth Doctor cricket sweater.
  • Creepy Good: The Doctor is particularly tall dark and snarky this time around, tracks Alison to her home using a one-second glance he got at her pay slip, enthuses about the beauty of the Shalka Hive Mind, causally mentions killing thousands in the past after the climax and generally behaves like a less drunken Withnail in space. He's also perfectly sweet to a random old lady he meets on the street, gives his apologies to Alison for the death of her friend Kim before the story began, is hesitant to bring Alison with him because he doesn't want to get anyone else killed and has a hint of a sad backstory, so it's a strange balance.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Discussed; The Master has standing orders to "leave the girl behind", possibly due to some hinted-at past trauma suffered by the Doctor.
  • Dull Surprise: Everyone, at everything. It's the animation.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: This version of the Ninth Doctor, to an extent. He also has Creepy Shadowed Undereyes. (Mind you, so does half the cast; it might just be the art style). If his hair wasn't so tidy he'd count as an example of Looks Like Cesare.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Shalka view humanity and all other humanoids as lower lifeforms. The Doctor himself shows some shades of this against humans at points in the story, but that can be put down to a mix of his new personality and resentment towards being forced into the situation, similarly enough to main-continuity Nine's "stupid apes" comments.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Time Lords are alluded to be directing the Doctor's actions, and the novelisation and other extraneous materials explain that in the continuity envisioned at the time, the Time Lords had been wiped out by an alien invasion, resulting in their imprisonment in the Matrix, no, not that one, and subsequently, their taking of control over the TARDIS, resulting in the Doctor being forced into dangerous situations as their agent. Apparently, the unnamed past companion who resulted in the "leave the girl behind" rule was the President of Gallifrey's daughter, and was killed in the invasion: the same invasion also resulted in the Master's Villain's Dying Grace death in a Heroic Sacrifice, which impressed the Doctor enough to resurrect him into an Android body.
  • Green Aesop: See Space Whale Aesop below. Remember kids, if you pollute the environment shapeshifting out-space aliens will decide we're dying anyway and murder us all!
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Master made one off-screen, and is now repenting (while snarking at the Doctor a lot). Given that he's also a robot for some reason, he may or may not have been given a Morality Chip.
    • Originally, in the first drafts, the "companion" was to be a TARDIS-projected hologram of the Fifth Doctor, which suggests that he's also something of a Morality Pet, or Immorality Pet, if you will.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: The Doctor excuses himself by stating he's just going to pop out and do "something eccentric".
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Everyone, just in case they got to do this in live action.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The Shalka can use their voices to control their technology, control people's bodies, and cause chemical reactions in the atmosphere.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: The TARDIS, as usual: this time it's a pop-out mobile phone located where the rotary handset would be in a real police box which can apparently also be used (with a bit of sonic jiggery-pokery) as a way to summon her to a black hole.
  • Noodle Incident: The Doctor's unspecified trauma would eventually become the Last Great Time War in the series proper. It's also strongly implied (and confirmed by Word of God) that it involved the Doctor's previous companion meeting a terrible fate.
  • Novelization: By Cornell. Published as part of the Past Doctor Adventures series, even though it was more a Possible Future Doctor Adventure.
  • Oop North: A fictional village in Lancashire called Lannet.
  • People Puppets: One of the Shalkas' main power is doing this to people.
  • Perky Goth: The Ninth Doctor Looks Like Cesare, (a bit), wears a long dark coat and his TARDIS has a dark, shadowy industrial theme. Then again, he also complains about the jukebox in the pub not having any Pachelbel, laughs at his own jokes and sings a song from "Cabaret" at the end to defeat the invasion force, just for fun.
  • Pop-Cultured Badass: The Doctor and his love for Cabaret.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Shalka use these on their top-level human slaves including Alison.
  • Servile Snarker: This incarnation of The Master is (apparently) loyal to The Doctor, but also can't help but constantly verbally jab at him.
  • Shout-Out: The Doctor's hairstyle looks oddly like that of Ćon Flux.
    • The Doctor also makes multiple musical references, from his "Lon Cheney" line to Alison to his complaint about the lack of Pachelbel in the pub jukebox, to claiming to have done a poetry reading as a show-opener to an Elvis gig to his final song.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Do something about that pollution, or screaming worms from space will destroy the atmosphere the rest of the way.
  • Wine Is Classy: When the Doctor is at his jerkiest at the start of the story, he goes into a small-town Northern pub and demands a specific vintage of Meursault. (In reality, he would undoubtedly have been beaten to within an inch of his life at this point.) This may be something of an Actor Allusion, as Richard E. Grant previously played a wine drinker/The Alcoholic in Withnail & I.
  • World of Snark: Alison, The Doctor, the Sergeant and The Master all crack off zingers at different points throughout the serial. It becomes Deadpan Snarker due to the lack of facial expressions, which was due to the animation style and quality.
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