Doctor Who-Shada (Blu-ray) (1979)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-multiple
Bonus Episode-two other full stories/versions
|Year Of Production||1979|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono
English Audio Commentary DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
It is hard to believe that any television show could run for 50 years, let alone what started as a little sci-fi series designed for kids on the BBC. This series has enthralled, excited and inspired generations of children and adults alike. There have been spin-off series, movies and more over the years. Season Eleven of the new series is due to begin later this year, 2018, with a female Doctor for the first time (although not the first female time lord).
Back in 1979, the Seventeenth Season of the original series was being made featuring Tom Baker as The Doctor and Lalla Ward as his companion, female Time Lord, Romana. The final planned serial of that season was to be titled Shada, the name of a Time Lord prison planet. Location shooting was completed and then production moved to the BBC studios and some studio work was also completed. Unfortunately, industrial action meant that shooting in the studio was halted and never recommenced. Eventually, the BBC decided that there were higher priority shows to complete in their roster and Shada was canned. It languished in the archives as the "great lost Doctor Who episode" until 1992 when the completed footage was strung together in a logical sequence. Added to this was Tom Baker in the Doctor Who museum providing an introduction and then explaining what was supposed to have happened in the missing footage, between each segment. This was released on video tape but never aired on television. Another attempt was made in 2003 to tell the Shada story this time as an animated audio play, starring Paul McGann as the Doctor. The animation is very basic on this version and both this and the 1992 version are included in the extras as a Blu-ray exclusive bonus disc. This 3 disc Blu-ray set focuses on the latest attempt to bring the story into the public domain. In 2017, the BBC decided to complete the original Shada serial by adding new effects and models, a small amount of new footage with some of the original cast and new better (although still nothing special) animation for the missing scenes, voiced by the original cast. Disc One contains this version as one long feature rather than the original episodes.
So, what is the story about? A young post graduate student at Cambridge, Chris Parsons (Daniel Hill) visits the rooms of a strange and eccentric professor, Professor Chronotis (Denis Carey) to borrow some books. He borrows the books and returns to his lab where he realises that one of the books is very strange indeed, containing writing he cannot read and that seems to affect the passage of time when it is opened. Meanwhile, two other people are also looking for Professor Chronotis, The Doctor and his companion, Romana, and a strange alien, Skagra (Christopher Neame) who seems to have some sort of nefarious plan. Before long, naturally, all three parties along with Chris' girlfriend, Clare Keightley (Victoria Burgoyne) and the irrepressible K9 are caught up in a galactic adventure involving Time Lord prisons, invisible spaceships, a mind control sphere and aliens made of molten rock called The Krargs!
The feature runs for nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes which is probably about 40 minutes too long. I think it would have worked better as a serial over a number of weeks (as originally planned) rather than one long show. The concept and ideas are certainly interesting and there is some sly humour which adds to the audience's enjoyment. It was penned by Douglas Adams of Hitchhikers Guide fame but he subsequently dismissed this as a substandard script which he was not proud of. Doctor Who fans will certainly be pleased to see this full version of the story, however, for the casual fan this story is probably not one of the greatest of the classic Who serials.
The video quality is very good, restricted by the various sources rather than the transfer.
The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio of the recorded footage from 1979. It is 1080i rather than full 1080p.
The picture was sharp and clear throughout considering most of it was shot for television in 1979, without ever looking spectacular. Shadow detail was fine considering the source.
The colour is good in the older footage for the age and very good in the animation.
There was some specks and dirt in the older footage, minor motion blur during fast movement and some little bits of aliasing, more in the animation. Time and effort has obviously been spent on the restoration.
There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read but included some mistakes.
The audio quality is very good.
The disc contains an English soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1, a stereo track in DTS HD-MA 2.0 and a mono track with the same technical specs. There is also an audio commentary track, also in DTS HD-MA 2.0.
Dialogue was quite clear throughout. The 5.1 track provides a quite separated and immersive experience compared to the other two but is obviously restricted by the mono source. The stereo and mono tracks allow for fans to choose how close to 1979 they would like the sound to be
The music is quite good without being really exciting.
The surround speakers were used mostly for music and atmosphere.
|Surround Channel Use|
A large collection of extras are included. They are 1080i and DTS HD-MA 2.0 and have subtitles available.
The menu features the Tardis control room and noises from the show. Audio Navigation is available as an option.
As Toby Hadoke explains this is not really a commentary as the BBC said they did not have budget for one. What Toby has done is cobble together various interviews he did with people involved in the show over the years into a track which plays over the show but is not scene specific. Despite the source, this track is really quite interesting featuring actors Christopher Neame and Daniel Hill plus animator Anne-Marie Walsh and animation designer, Martin Geraghty. Name and Hill talk about the shooting and their memories of the strikes and challenges involved and the animators talk about their process and challenges in matching the production including things like how hard it was to animate Tom Baker is.
A 2012 production which chronicles the writing, the involvement of Douglas Adams, the locations, sets and more. Includes interviews with Baker, the director, production assistants and cast members. Interesting and worth watching.
Another 2012 production which focuses on the specific locations and how they have changed or otherwise over the years from 1979 to 2012. It also covers logistics, filming schedules, trivia and more. This is OK but a little dry.
A 2012 production which is a fascinating history of union and strike action impacts on Doctor Who over the years. It is really surprising how it worked back in the 1960s and 70s. Includes interviews with former union leaders, producers, directors and actors. Really interesting stuff.
On set footage taken at the time of shooting with text captions to explain. Includes on set sound such as director comments, cast questions, etc. Shows lots of logistics and setup. Interesting for film-making aficionados but probably a little long for the casual fan.
Footage of the actors recording the dialogue in 2017 for the new animated sections.
On-set footage of the new scene shot with Tom Baker in 2017 including the Tardis control room, setup and rehearsals.
Behind the scenes of the new effects shots and models created for the new version.
Basically just some extra dialogue which was recorded but not used.
Various pieces of title footage from Doctor Who.
Reference footage for the animators of actors playing the roles, some original cast.
Gallery of stills from the 1979 production set to music.
Animation stills plus on set shots, effects and models set to music.
The first attempt at bringing Shada out of the archives. The original 1979 footage with Tom Baker providing an eccentric intro plus comments between scenes to explain what was missing. Certainly of interest to completists. 1080i and DTS HD-MA 2.0
An audio play starring Paul McGann as the Doctor with a similar story/sequel which is accompanied by some very ordinary animation. Again certainly of interest to completists but hard to sit through otherwise (for 2 and a half hours!)
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This special is available globally seemingly in the same format.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.The extras are a huge selection of mostly worthwhile content.
|DVD||Panasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|