One marvellous extra to the upcoming release of the “missing” Doctor Who story Shada is Doctor Who Magazine illustrator and comic artist Adrian Salmon’s art for the limited edition Steel Box Blu-Ray – but this isn’t his only contribution to the release.
Last month, the BBC announced Doctor Who star Tom Baker had returned to complete Shada, an unfinished story, 36 years after it was abandoned.
Shada, which was filmed in Cambridge, was written by Douglas Adams, the creator of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy back in 1979, intended as the finale to the show’s seventeenth season. The story finds the Doctor in Cambridge working alongside Romana and a retired Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, to defeat the evil alien Skagra who is attempting to steal the secrets to the prison planet, Shada.
Sadly, strike action at the BBC meant studio scenes were never completed and the episodes were abandoned. The handy video below explains things more…
The new animated sequences are the work of the same team who brought us Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks and the animation of lost Dad’s Army episode “A Stripe For Frazer”. Producer and director Charles Norton headed up the team, assisted by comic book artists Martin Geraghty and Adrian Salmon, both well known and much admired for their work for Doctor Who Magazine.
Adrian was hired late last year as head colourist on the production which meant he oversaw all colour aspects of the new animated sequences of the story – specifically the characters and lighting options.
“In April I was additionally hired as lead storyboard artist and worked for six weeks with producer Charles Norton on all the big sequences before starting colour work,” he reveals on his blog. “The rest of the boards were done by various hands including lead character designer Martin Geraghty.
“Finally, I created the cover for the steelbook.”
This isn’t the first time the Shada story has had an animated makeover of course. In 2003, the BBC commissioned Big Finish Productions to remake Shada as an audio play which was then webcast in six episodic segments, accompanied by limited Flash animation, on the BBC website using illustrations provided by comic artist Lee Sullivan. The play starred Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and Lalla Ward as Romana. The audio play was also broadcast on digital radio station BBC 7, and you can watch it on YouTube.
Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner also completed the story (so far as was possible) by commissioning new effects shots and a score, and having Tom Baker record linking material to cover the missing scenes, creating six shortened episodes of between 14 and 22 minutes each. These were given a 111-minute VHS release in 1992.
• You can order the Doctor Who Shada limited edition Steelbook here on amazon.co.uk (using this link helps support downthetubes)
Doctor Who © BBC