Shada by Gareth Roberts was a novelisation of the TV story of the same name written by Douglas Adams, which was intended to conclude Season 17 but never completed due to labour action at the BBC disrupting production. It was the first novelisation of a Doctor Who TV story since Doctor Who - The Novel of the Film in 1996, although many Sarah Jane Adventures novelisations were published between the two.

Publisher's summary Edit

Hardback Edit

(back cover)

At the age of five, Skagra decided emphatically that God did not exist. This revelation tends to make most people in the universe who have it react in one of two ways — with relief or with despair. Only Skagra responded to it by thinking, Wait a second. That means there's a situation vacant.

(inside front cover)

From the unique mind of Douglas Adams, the legendary "lost" Doctor Who story completed at last!

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 K9. 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. 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.

This epic "lost" adventure from 1979 features the Fourth Doctor and Romana as played by Tom Baker and Lalla Ward, written by Doctor Who's then script editor Douglas Adams.

Paperback Edit

Inside this book is another book — the strangest, most important and most dangerous book in the entire universe.

The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey is one of the artefacts, dating from dark days of Rassilon. It wields enormous power, and it must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.

Skagra — who believes he should be God and permits himself only two smiles per day — most definitely has the wrong hands.

Beware Skagra. Beware the Sphere. Beware Shada.

Chapter titles Edit

  • Part One: Off the Shelf
    • Chapters 1-13
  • Part Two: An Uncharitable Deduction
    • Chapters 14-24
  • Part Three: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
    • Chapters 25-36
  • Part Four: Carbon Copies
    • Chapters 37-51
  • Part Five: Gallifrey's Most Wanted
    • Chapters 52-61
  • Part Six: Brought to Book
    • Chapters 62-75

Characters Edit

References Edit

Time Lords Edit

  • The High Council grant Time Lords in their final incarnation an opportunity to retire to a planet of their choosing. However, very few accept this offer.
  • Romana estimates Chronotis is between 12,000 and 13,000 years old.
  • The Doctor is 760 years old.
  • Romana II recalls Zetar, another evil renegade Time Lord who, like Morbius, was executed by vaporisation.
  • Romana is part of the Prydonian Chapter.


Music Edit

  • One of the undergraduate students is wearing a Jethro Tull shirt.
  • David Taylor's car radio plays a Cilla Black song, Love of the Loved.
  • Clare jokingly calls the skeleton in Chronotis' study 'Boney M'.
  • Professor Chronotis owns a Bonnie Tyler cassette tape.
  • The Doctor hums the opening notes to the Doctor Who theme tune.

Literature Edit

Notes Edit

  • None of Douglas Adams's three Doctor Who stories have previously appeared in book form for a variety of legal reasons. This novelisation, the first book adaptation of his stories to be released, was released 11 years after Adams' death in 2001.
  • Although Douglas Adams had said he would like to novelise his other two Doctor Who stories, The Pirate Planet and City of Death, when he had "run out of things to do" and didn't want another author writing them, as far as he was concerned Shada would never see print as he felt it was "just not up to much".
  • This is the first official novelisation of Shada.
  • This story was also released as an ebook available from the Amazon Kindle store.
  • The opening page features epigraphs from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Maxims and Reflections, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Resident Alien and The Smiths song Still Ill.
  • Some hardback editions incorrectly refer to Skagra as a Time Lord on the sleeve.
  • Chronotis owns a travel guide, Alternative Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse was a planet in Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He also made a slight reference near the end of the book about it.

Continuity Edit

Deviations from the televised story Edit

  • An opening chapter focusing on Skagra is added.
  • There is a homosexual subtext to Skagra recruiting David Taylor. The character is given a greater presence than in the original story, although his character was also elaborated on in the webcast.
  • The scene with the Doctor being chased by the sphere on the bicycle is relocated to nighttime. This was the original intention in the script, but could not be filmed as such due to strike action. (DOC: Taken Out of Time)
  • There are added scenes featuring Chris walking around the TARDIS and finding his bedroom.
  • The closing of the novel adds a scene of Chris, Clare and Chronotis being escorted to the police station, and a scene of the Doctor and Romana using the Randomiser in the TARDIS.

 Audiobook Edit

Shada audiobook cover

Audiobook cover.

  • This novel was released complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by Lalla Ward and John Leeson. Unusually, this release uses the series' theme music at the opening and closing, a convention usually not followed in these audiobook releases.
  • The audio set of four CDs was released in March 2012 priced £13.99 (UK)

External links Edit

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