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Monday, 13 February 2012 - Reported by Chuck Foster

On 15th March the official novelisation of the 'incomplete' Fourth Doctor adventure Shada will finally be published, both as a hardback and as an audio recording. The new adaptation of the story is based on the original and shooting scripts by its author Douglas Adams, and has been written by long-term author (and Doctor Who screen-writer) Gareth Roberts.

The novelisation was originally announced in March last year, with BBC Books' editorial director Albert De Petrillo saying: "Douglas Adams's serials for Doctor Who are considered by many to be some of the best the show has ever produced. Shada is a funny, scary, surprising and utterly terrific story, and we're thrilled to be publishing the first fully realised version of this Doctor Who adventure as Douglas originally conceived it."

Literary agent Ed Victor (representing the Adams estate) said: "The BBC have been asking us for years, and the estate finally said: 'Why not?'" Commenting on Roberts undertaking the task, he added it was "like having a sketch on a canvas by Rubens, and now the studio of Rubens is completing it."

The 416-page book is available for pre-order in hardback and Amazon Kindle form; the audio version is read by Lalla Ward, who played Romana in the original story.

Gareth Roberts will also be signing copies of the book on 14th March at London's Forbidden Planet store in Shaftesbury Avenue between 6:00 and 7:00pm.

The Doctor's old friend and fellow Time Lord Professor Chronotis has retired to Cambridge University - where nobody will notice if he lives for centuries. But now he needs help from the Doctor, Romana and K-9. When he left Gallifrey he took with him a few little souvenirs - most of them are harmless. But one of them is extremely dangerous.

The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey isn't a book for Time Tots. It is one of the Artefacts, dating from the dark days of Rassilon. It must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. And the sinister Skagra most definitely has the wrong hands. He wants the book. He wants to discover the truth behind Shada. And he wants the Doctor's mind...

Based on the scripts for the original television series by the legendary Douglas Adams, Shada retells an adventure that never made it to the screen.

The story is expected to be made available on DVD as part of what is currently entitled The Legacy boxed set, along with the series documentary More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS. Although some special features have been recorded for the set, no other details on how the story itself will be presented or a release date for the DVD are known at present.

Shada, which was not completed following industrial action at the BBC, has been the subject of other versions over the decades. In 1992 BBC Video released a version of the story with linking narration by Tom Baker, including new effects and a music score by Keff McCulloch. In 2003 it was also released by Big Finish as a new presentation starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, and a webcast of this version was presented on the BBC's Doctor Who website (at the time of writing the webcast will no longer play due to Flash incompatibilities). The Big Finish audio play was broadcast on BBC7 in 2005 and 2006.

An unofficial project to recreate the story using animation to bridge the unfilmed segments was undertaken last year by producer Ian Levine, and featured a number of the original cast recording their lines based on the scripts. It has also been novelised by fans in the past, with a version in the UK by Jonathan Way (appearing in the DWAS fiction publication Cosmic Masque over issues 13-18) and in New Zealand by Paul Scoones (available to read via the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club).

FILTER: - Audio - Books