Doctor Who (1963)

Season 17 Episode 21


Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Unknown on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
19 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Doctor and Romana visit Chronotis, a retired Time Lord living in Cambridge, who admits that he's lost a book dating back to the time of Rassilon and needs their help to find it. In fact he's accidentally lent it out to graduate student Chris Parsons, who soon realises that this is an extraordinary text indeed. The book is also sought by the evil scientist Skagra, who has developed a sphere capable of drawing its victims' minds out of their bodies. Skagra needs the book to reach the Time Lord prison Shada, which even the Time Lords have forgotten. Long ago they imprisoned the criminal Salyavin there, as punishment for using his powers to transfer his mind into other people's bodies. Chronotis is eventually forced to admit that he himself is Salyavin; he escaped long ago and used his powers to cause the Time Lords to forget about his prison. However, he's now repented of his crimes and wishes to live a quiet, peaceful life. Skagra drains Chronotis's mind and thus acquires the ability to transfer his own mind into other bodies; with the aid of the sphere and his crystalline servants, the Krargs, he will spread his own mind throughout the Universe and become immortal. However, when the Doctor pretends to be stupid, the sphere fails to drain his mind completely. He thus survives, and since there's a copy of his mind inside the sphere, he is able to use the resonance to turn Skagra's possessed slaves against him. Skagra is imprisoned by his own Ship, and Chronotis returns to Earth to resume his peaceful retirement.moreless

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  • Douglas Adams' legacy lives on

    I'm sure that when Paul McGann appeared as the eighth Doctor in the TV movie, British people instantly took against him because he made Doctor who more american than british but in the long run Paul McGann wasn't perticularly bad at acting. He fits the lines the fourth doctor would have said almost perfectly and is the ideal doctor to remake such a fantastic story with.

    Douglas Adams' script is completely flawless and sometimes you can tell where some lines were reused in the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy but that doesn't make this any less of a story. Douglas Adams is a decent writer and if he was alive today he would be pleased with the end result.

    Acting on everone's behalf is the usual brillant stuff and really gets you engrossed in the storyline. From the moment you start listening/seeing episode 1 you won't be able to stop!moreless
Denis Carey

Denis Carey

Professor Chronotis

Guest Star

Daniel Hill

Daniel Hill

Chris Parsons

Guest Star

Victoria Burgoyne

Victoria Burgoyne

Claire Keightley

Guest Star

David Brierley

David Brierley

Voice of K9

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Professor Chronotis: Would you like some biscuits too?
      The Doctor: Well, I wouldn't have said no.
      Prof. Chronotis: Crackers?
      The Doctor: Oh, sometimes!

    • Professor Chronotis: Oh, Doctor! How splendid to see you!
      The Doctor: You too, Professor. This is Romana.
      Prof. Chronotis: Oh, delighted. Delighted. I've heard so much about you.
      The Doctor: Have you really?
      Prof. Chronotis: Well, not yet, but I will have done. When Time Lords get to my age, they tend to get their tenses muddled up,

    • The Doctor: Professor, when we were by the river, we heard the strange babble of inhuman voices, didn't we, Romana?
      Prof. Chronotis: Oh, undergraduates talking, I expect. I'm trying to have it banned.

    • Romana: Oh, I do love the spring, all the leaves, the colours...
      The Doctor: It's October.
      Romana: I thought you said we were coming for May Week.
      The Doctor: I did. May Week's in June.
      Romana: I'm confused.
      The Doctor: So was the TARDIS.
      Romana: (resignedly starting over) Oh, I do love the autumn, all the leaves, the colours...

  • NOTES (5)

    • The BBC released a webcast version of this story in 2003, replacing the Fourth Doctor with the eighth Doctor but sticking with the script, for the most part. Paul McGann reprises his role as the Doctor from the TV movie and the Big Finish audio adventures, while Lalla Ward and John Leeson reprise their roles as Romana and K9 respectively. The deviation from the original script is that the new version also cleverly manages to make it clear that these events happened for the fourth Doctor, Romana and K9 as well, and brings the use of the Time Scoop into the original story timeline.

    • Douglas Adams later reused scenes, dialogue, and characters from this episode when writing Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, presumably thinking that Shada would never see the light of day.

    • Video: Doctor Who: Shada (BBCV 4814) released in July 1992. Released in U.S.A./Canada (Warner Home Video E1180) in February 1993. The video release comprised all existing footage, with Tom Baker (in character as the Doctor) narrating the missing sequences (mostly bits and pieces from the first two episodes, and large chunks of the final four).

    • Footage from Shada's film shoot first surfaced in the 20th-anniversary special, The Five Doctors, to explain the Fourth Doctor's absence from the story.

    • Originally intended to be the six-episode finale to the season. Production was broken up into one location shoot and three studio recording blocks. Unfortunately, after the filming and the first studio block took place, a technicians' strike at the BBC halted further production. By the time the strike was resolved it was impossible to reschedule the remaining recording blocks, and the story thus remained incomplete.