Doctor Who and Shada

Author's Notes by Paul Scoones

Chapter 11: Into the Vortex

As with the previous chapter, every second or third scene is set in the Professor's room and therefore was recorded for the story.

The script states that at the beginning of the episode K9 stuns one of the prisoners. As none of the prisoners are identified in the script, I decided that this should be one of the non-descript human prisoners, and therefore selected the Executioner as K9's ‘victim’. (As Andrew Pixley notes in the Archive Extra for Shada in the DWM special The Complete Fourth Doctor Volume Two, the Executioner was actually credited as ‘A Hangman’).

The first recorded scene of the episode set in the Professor's rooms and features several major differences between the script and the on screen version. A section of dialogue between the Doctor's lines ‘Quiet! I'm thinking’ and ‘I've been thinking’ is cut on screen and has been reinstated from the script. Romana's interjections during the Doctor's speech are also reinstated from the script, as is the section of dialogue between the Doctor's line ‘They'll be invincible!’ and Romana saying ‘Doctor?’ In the script, the Doctor pins a badge on Romana that reads ‘I am a genius’, but on screen the Doctor pins a small medal on her. I've merged the two versions in the novelisation so that it's a medal that says ‘I am a genius’.

The next scene in the Professor's room also has some dialogue differences. The Doctor's line, ‘Your similes letting you down?’ comes from the script, and his line in the novelisation ‘I can do my part if you can do yours’ also comes from the script; on screen this is delivered as ‘I can do your part if you can do mine’, which sounds suspiciously like another Tom Baker ad-lib. When the Doctor says to Romana: ‘You'll be all right. You're a genius, remember?’ his comes from the script - on screen this is altered to ‘You're a hero. Remember?’ which is a change no doubt made to fit the earlier substitution of the genius badge with the medal.

When the Doctor and Romana are attempting to form an entrance to the vortex in the middle of the Professor's room, the Professor's sofa disappears into the time vortex - or at least it does in the script. On screen, the disappearing sofa became a tea trolley instead (most likely because it was easier to move), and the sofa's not even present on screen in the Professor's room. In the novelisation the sofa is in the room and indeed disappears into the vortex, but compromised by having the tea trolley disappear as well. Douglas Adams may have been disappointed that the sofa wasn't used on screen as it forms what I believe is an intentional link with The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In the novel Life, The Universe and Everything, first published in 1982, a ‘velvet paisley-covered Chesterfield sofa’ turns up in prehistoric Earth and is said to be ‘washed up out of the continuum, it's space-time jetsam’ (page 17 of the Pan Books 1982 paperback edition).

There is a Chesterfield sofa in Dirk Gently, although this one gets delivered to the MacDuff residence, and ends up firmly lodged in the staircase for three weeks before being sawn up.

As the Doctor is about to pass over into the vortex, he talks about learning how to do this from ‘an ancient space-time mystic in the Qualactin zones.’ On screen, ‘Qualactin zones’ became ‘Quantox’ (or ‘Quantocks’?) but I've stuck with the script version, because this is an example of Douglas Adams forging a link with his earlier story, The Pirate Planet - the Doctor says in that story that Qualactin is one of only two places he knows of where Oolion stones occur naturally (see Chapter 2 of David Bishop's TSV Books novelisation Doctor Who and the Pirate Planet).

In the last of the scenes set in the Professor's rooms for this chapter, the first two lines of dialogue are from the script but not on screen, as is Romana's comment ‘I just don't know.’

Return to Chapter 11.
Chapter 12 Notes