Doctor Who and Shada

Author's Notes by Paul Scoones

Chapter 2: The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey

In the first scene, the Professor's line ‘Why don't you just relax and enjoy yourselves?’ comes from the script.

The scene in which Skagra persuades a man to give him a lift in his car and then steals the driver's mind was apparently not entirely recorded. Although all of the location filming was completed, there seemingly was also to have been an interior shot of the car, presumably to have been recorded in studio, in which we see Skagra's sphere attack the driver and then Skagra takes over driving the car. The script doesn't cast much light on this as the scripted scene is just one location scene and significantly differs to what was recorded in that instead of persuading the man to give him a lift, the script has Skagra simply getting into the driver's seat of a car that has a man sitting in the passenger seat. The passenger has a line: ‘Who are you? What the blazes do you think you're doing?’ Skagra uses the sphere on him and then drives off. (Incidentally, this also explains why in some cast lists for this story, notably The Doctor Who Programme Guide, there's a listing for a character simply called ‘Passenger’).

Romana's suggestion that she heard the voices inside her head, and the Professor's response to this, is from the script.

After the Professor reveals that he brought a book from Gallifrey, the rest of his line: ‘... and I thought it was about time it, er...’ comes from the script

The scene in which Chris contacts Clare Keightley on the telephone refers in the novelisation to Doctor Elizabeth Shaw, who is Head of Physics at the college. This was a piece of inconsequential continuity that proved irresistible when it first occurred to me whilst working on the 1991 edition. It's established in the series that Liz was a highly qualified physicist who went back to Cambridge after leaving UNIT so it's not much of a leap to have her ending up in this role. David Bishop had included a Liz Shaw reference in his novelisation of The Pirate Planet, although I'm fairly certain there's no mention of Liz in the other three TSV novelisations!

This is the only one of the lab scenes with any dialogue. For the 1989 edition I only had a brief description of the scene with no lines, so I had to improvise the scene, which was replaced in later editions once I had access to the script. Here's the 1989 edition version:

Chris Parsons, however, was anything but subdued. He paced up and down in the lab, his excitement mounting as he attempted to rationalise the book with every principle of physics he knew - and failed. He had to tell someone about this amazing discovery that would turn scientific theory on its head. Hands trembling, he reached for the phone, and dialled a number he knew well.

‘Hello, Clare? It's Chris here. Listen, I've got something absolutely amazing to show you. Can you come down to the lab? Yes, straight away...’

The Doctor opens a book and reads the line "On some nights New York is as hot as Bangkok". A quick check on Google reveals that this is the first line from the 1947 novel The Victim and the author, as named by Romana, is Saul Bellow. But Jon and I were both stumped when preparing the novelisation. The line was indistinct on the fan video copy, and Jon thought Romana might have said ‘Sorbella’ (though there's a question mark after this in Jon's transcript). Having failed to recognise either the first line or the author's name, we went with ‘Sorbella’ for the 1989 edition. The book isn't mentioned in the script (this bit must have been added in rehearsals), so it remained uncorrected in the 1991 edition. I first discovered what the line should have been when I saw The Discontinuity Guide entry for Shada and the mistake was finally fixed for the 2001 edition.

When the Doctor reads from the nursery book he says in the script ‘ the ancient days of Rassilon, five great principles...’ but on screen he says ‘the great days of Rassilon’. I suspect that this was a mistake and that it should have been ‘ancient’ not ‘great’ so I've gone with the script version. The title of the book, Our Planet's Story, also comes from the script.

The book the Doctor, Romana and the Professor are searching for is named The Ancient Law of Gallifrey in the script, but on screen it's The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey. The shorter title is used in the synopsis that appears in The Doctor Who Programme Guide.

The final scene of the chapter has Skagra back aboard his space ship and reviewing a rapid display of information about the Doctor. Although this scene was never recorded, the sequence of clips (21 in all) featuring the Doctor had been compiled and appears on the video. Jon went to the trouble of identifying each of these individual clips, each lasting no more than a couple of seconds, in his transcript. In the 1989 edition I described each of the clips, but when I revisited this scene for the 1991 edition I considered this sequence rather unwieldy as described in print, and so cut the description of each of the clips. Here's the sequence as it appeared originally in the 1989 edition:

A small side screen on a wall of the control chamber activated and a succession of images flashed up at bewildering speed. Skagra leaned close, studying the screen intently. He saw the Doctor leaping, being pulled down by a giant tentacle, examining a shell with a stethoscope, walking in a swamp, hiding behind a dune, running through the streets of Paris, knocking out guards whilst locked into a yoke, talking to a Movellan, thrown to the ground, avoiding an explosion, getting off a Metro train in Paris with Romana, outside the Louvre, the Doctor and K9 hiding behind a bush, wrapped up by a tentacle, avoiding wolfweeds, running away on Callufrax, dropping a reed to check the gravity in the swamp, holding a crossbow, watching a Dalek, constructing a reed flute, and running down a Paris street with Romana. The screen froze on this last image, and Skagra nodded thoughtfully.

The 21 clips originated from six stories; in order these were: The Androids of Tara, The Power of Kroll, The Creature from the Pit, Kroll, Destiny of the Daleks, City of Death, Creature, Destiny, Tara, Tara, City, City, Tara, Kroll, Creature, The Pirate Planet, Kroll, Tara, Destiny, Kroll, City.

The conclusion of this chapter marks the end of Part One.

Return to Chapter 2.
Chapter 3 Notes