by Graham Pierrepoint
While most Doctor Who fans these days will likely be more concerned with the moves that the show is making going forwards, it is still a fascinating series to look back on. Its enormous history is something to delve into indeed – and with over a dozen actors having taken over the lead role of the time-travelling alien, it’s one which has a rich tapestry unlike any other – and it’s this week been confirmed that the BBC will be working with Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor, to finish off a storyline that was never fully completed.
The storyline in question is Shada, which was abandoned in 1979 following BBC strikes – the episode would have sealed the 17thseason of the classic run, and while it was never completed, there is at least footage enough to put together something of an intended release. The best new is, of course, that Baker will be returning to reprise his role. The actor has, in the past, been rather reserved about returning to the franchise and even promoting it at all – but he was heavily involved in the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013, and it appears that the unfinished episode will give fans of the classic series a chance to witness him as the fourth Doctor once again. Baker is often cited as one of the best to have portrayed the character – and is largely credited with much of the iconic look, mannerisms and behavior patterns.
The lost episode will be released towards late fall, with a digital download approaching in late November and a full disc release on both Blu-Ray and DVD in early December. The release is to be animated – as, sadly, the original actors have aged over the three decades since the show has been on the air – and it is thanks to BBC Worldwide that hardcore fans can now enjoy what has long been mooted a lost episode.
Audio drama specialists Big Finish has long since provided former Doctors Paul McGann, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy with their own extended adventures through non-visual formats – which continue to be extremely popular with fans. It’s also been confirmed that Big Finish adventures starring McGann were in fact canon – meaning that there’s an extra layer to these extra visits to Doctors past and present. It’s a show that continues to entertain us through its colossal past as well as in its exciting future.