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The Shada Debate

Results compiled by Paul Scoones

The Proposition: "That Shada should be accepted as part of the Doctor Who canon."

  • For the affirmative: 7
  • For the negative: 1

In effect, the result changes nothing, but it is interesting to note the overwhelming majority in favour of Shada being accepted into the Doctor Who canon.

In a proper debate, the winner is usually arrived at by a vote on which side presented the best case. The Shada Debate was however - judging by the responses received - won on readers' own views on the subject, which were probably at best simply clarified by the opposing points of view put forward by myself and Jon Preddle (see TSV 32).

Jessica Smiler, in voting for the negative, said that Shada is "more interesting as a novelty."

Of the seven people who voted for the affirmative, Matthew Dentith, Ehren Stowers, David Lawrence and Fleur Hardman did not offer comment on the subject, but the other three did:

Paul Roper said "As well as expanding Who mythology, Shada gives Doctor Who an extra dimension by letting people use their imagination to fit the pieces together."

Jeff Stone added: "The fact that recording did start, that it has its own production code, and the appearance of the two clips in The Five Doctors is proof positive of its place in the Doctor Who canon".

Matthew Morris tackled Jon's case for the negative more directly: "I believe Shada should be accepted as part of the Doctor Who canon. Jon's reasons sound like he is desperately trying to climb a mountain of loose shingle; it's all coming down around him. Can't he see that whether it was broadcast in full or not doesn't make a blind bit of difference? How would Jon regard the New Adventures series for instance - surely these belong in Doctor Who mythology? And I am not saying that the other unfinished stories belong. They were aborted often even before a script was in existence. They never eventuated into anything - Shada did.

"Jon's comment that the only broadcast pieces now belong to The Five Doctors is ridiculous. The Doctor and Romana were having an adventure before they were plucked out of time - that adventure was Shada. They were restored back to their own time at the end of The Five Doctors with their memories erased - just as all the other Doctors were. Jon has said so himself in a previous issue of TSV.

"That aside, if Shada is not to be recognised as part of the Who canon and should remain a 13 year old curiosity, then why did Jon waste his time doing the novelisation? Doesn't make sense to me, I'm afraid." It should be pointed out that in this last comment, Matthew is referring to Jon's assistance with the first edition of my novelisation of Shada, for which he was credited as co-author.

It would be foolish to expect that this result might bring the whole subject of canonicity to a close in TSV. There might be nothing further to add about Shada, but the Jon Pertwee Doctor Who radio series is just around the corner. Now, are they true, canonical Who, or just merely apocryphal...?

This item appeared in TSV 33 (April 1993).

Index nodes: Shada