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Trivia / Doctor Who S17 E6 "Shada"

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  • Blooper: Showing his notorious venom toward directors, Tom Baker had a hissy fit during filming and swore the living daylights out of the production, repeatedly dropping the F-bomb. Lalla Ward admits Tom could be absolutely lethal with directors in the relevant DVD Commentary connected to this scene (which made creative use of a whirring sound and a Time Lord message cube to cover Baker's mouth when he swore; the uncut version exists online on YouTube if one were to look up the Shada production reel.) It's so bad, if you look closely after Tom lets the f-bomb fly with her right next to him, Lalla Ward's face visibly deflated. At the time, she was his flame, no less! One does not need to ask why the two did not have a lasting marriage.
    Director: And then there's going to be a bang on the door.
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  • Creator Backlash: Douglas Adams was happy that the story was abandoned, because he thought it was not up to much. In 1992, he accidentally signed away rights for The BBC to make a direct-to-video version of it with linking narration by Tom Baker, and was so distressed by this that he declared he would give away every penny of the proceeds he made of it to charity as penance.
  • Development Gag: The Big Finish version stars the Eighth Doctor instead of the Fourth. The story starts when he gets an invitation from Professor Chronotis — he remembers that when he was "all teeth and curls" and he and Romana went punting on the Cam, they were taken out by a time scoop, kept confined between dimensions for just over two hours, and delivered back onto the Cam once the crisis was over. But they were supposed to visit Professor Chronotis that day, and neither he nor Romana, now Lady President of Gallifrey, remember why they never visited their friend. This means that in the Big Finish Doctor Who continuity, the original version of "Shada" never happened.
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  • Doing It for the Art: The 2017 version had the new dialogue for the animated sections recorded and the new model shots all made using original 1970s equipment to ensure the newly filmed material looked and sounded as authentic as possible.
  • Follow the Leader: The BBC decided to finish Shada after the success of the reconstruction of "The Power of the Daleks".
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: Douglas Adams didn't think very highly of this story; fans however consider it one of his best.
  • Old Shame: To the shock of many fans, Douglas Adams viewed the story as this, publicly stating that he'd only signed the release to allow the 1992 VHS issue of what was made to go ahead because he hadn't noticed that it had been included in a folder with a bunch of other routine paperwork.
  • The Original Darrin: The Big Finish version replaces David Brierley with John Leeson as K9; Leeson was the original voice and had returned as K9 from 1980 onward.
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  • The Other Darrin: Lalla Ward (Romana) was the only actor to return for the 2003 Big Finish/webcast version.
  • Posthumous Credit: Denis Carey (Professor Chronotis) and David Brierley (K9) both died several years prior to the 2017 animated reconstruction. Both appear in the animated segments via recycled dialogue from other episodes (K9 only makes short responses to other characters, and Chronotis has a single line).
  • Promoted Fanboy: Daniel Hill (Chris Parsons) reveals that he was a fan of Who as a boy.
  • Romance on the Set: Daniel Hill, who played Chris Parsons, met his future wife Olivia Bazalgette (she was the production assistant) during the location filming of this story. They married two years later and remain so to this day!
  • Saved from Development Hell: This story may set the record for the longest time for a TV show episode between start of production and initial airing: thirty-eight years.
  • Unfinished Episode: One of the most famous examples. After three close attempts to get the story to viewers (the narrated version, the webcast and the novelization), the BBC were, after 38 years, able to get Tom Baker, Lalla Ward and all the surviving cast members to reprise their roles in animated sequences to fill in the unfinished scenes.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The union strike that scuppered the original 1979 production was really bad timing — it was resolved less than two weeks later, but many of the other programmes affected by it were key parts of The BBC's Christmas schedule and were thus afforded higher priority. When John Nathan-Turner took over as producer shortly after it was decided by the previous production team that there was no hope of getting "Shada" completed, he considered re-editing it as a Christmas special consisting of two double-length episodes, but this proved to be impossible with the available footage. Before the 1992 VHS release, Nathan-Turner also considered one in 1985 with then-incumbent Doctor Colin Baker providing the links, but nothing came of this.
    • Chronotis originally perished in episode two, but Douglas Adams had become fond of the character and decided to bring him back.
    • The famous scene where the Doctor is chased by the orb while on a bicycle was supposed to take place at night. The fact that it was shot in the daytime implies that it was intended as a day-for-night scene, but all official reconstructions keep the daytime visuals.
    • Head of Drama Graeme MacDonald suggested a romantic subplot between Romana and Chris, but this was ignored.
  • Working Title: Sunburst.
  • Write What You Know: Douglas Adams chose Cambridge as a setting so he could draw on his experiences as a student at the university.


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