Bookmark and Share Radio 4 documentary to focus on Shada

11/16/2009 10:34:00 pm - Reported by Anthony Weight

A forthcoming BBC Radio 4 documentary is to examine what led to the cancellation of Shada - the six-part Fourth Doctor story originally intended to end Doctor Who's 17th season.

Shelved takes a look at three TV programmes that were made in 1979 but which never aired because of socio-political, industrial or cultural problems. The three comprise a particularly violent episode of ITV show The Professionals, the last episode of BBC series Secret Army, and Shada.

Interviewees for the Shada segment are Tom Baker, director Pennant Roberts and Jeremy Bentham - the Doctor Who historian, author, former associate editor of Doctor Who Magazine and co-founder of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society. The story, which was never completed at the time because of a BBC strike, would have been broadcast in January and February 1980.

The 30-minute documentary is scheduled to be broadcast on Saturday, December 12 at 10.30am, and it is understood it will make a key revelation relating to Doctor Who through documentation unearthed by producer/presenter Shaun Ley. Recording of the documentary took place at the BBC's Westminster studio on Thursday, November 5.

Incoming Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner tried to remount Shada, but those attempts failed and production was formally abandoned in June 1980. In 1992, the recorded footage was released on video with linking narration by Tom Baker completing the story. It was subsequently reworked as an audio play by Big Finish Productions, featuring the Eighth Doctor and with Paul McGann in the lead role. This version was webcast on BBCi in 2003 and broadcast on digital radio station BBC7 in December 2005, with a repeat the following year. The webcast is currently available to listen to on the official Doctor Who website (may only be available within the UK).