Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans was an independently produced spin-off from Doctor Who featuring the Sontarans and the Rutans, which directly tied into a Virgin New Adventures novel published at the time. Produced by Dreamwatch Media and released by Reeltime Pictures it featured (like many spin-offs of the era) several Doctor Who actors and also former Blake's 7 actor Jan Chappell in feature roles. It is also notable for the altered appearance of the Sontarans; this was due to licensing arrangements meaning they had to be redesigned for the production.
On the run from its mortal enemy, the Sontarans, it will do anything to survive...
Unfortunately, the Sontarans will do anything to destroy it...
Captain Lisa Deranne and her crew of rich misfits must band together or die as the clone warriors move in for the kill!
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- Captain Lisa Deranne - Jan Chappell
- Kurt - Brian Croucher
- Zorelle - Carole Ann Ford
- Mari - Sophie Aldred
- Nikos - Rory O'Donnell
- Robar - Michael Wisher
- Commander Steg - Toby Aspin
- Lieutenant Vorn - Tom Finnis
- First Sontaran Trooper - Jonathon Saville
- Other Sontaran Troopers - Keith Dunne, Derek Handley, Julian Jones, Stephen Mansfield
- Director - Kevin Davies
- Screenplay - Terrance Dicks
- Executive Producer - Gary Leigh
- Producer - Mark Ayres and Kevin Davies
- Associate Producer - Jason Haigh-Ellery
- Stunts - Jason Haigh-Ellery, Jonathon Saville
- Assistant Director - David Rowston
- Director of Photography - Dave Hicks
- Camera Assistants - James Mastroianni, Simon Cohen
- Sound Mixer - Lisa Newsome
- Boom Operators - Jim Ireland, Tony Clark, Alistair Lock
- Dubbing Mixer - Mark Ayres
- Video Effects / Editing - Paul Vanezis
- Music and Sound Design - Mark Ayres
- Costume Designer - Helly McGrother
- Make-up Designer - Paige Bell
- Make-up Assistants - Hellent Coltart, Margaret Aston
- Sontaran Masks and Helmets Designed and Created by - Derek Handley, Stephen Mansfield, David Miller, Susan Moore
- Pyrotechnic Special Effects - Ian Scoones
- Spacecraft Designed and Built by - Dave Brian
- Robar's Toolkit - John Priest
- Medical Kit Loaned by - Mat Irvine
- Mari's Dress by - Dan Maier
- Additional Props - Derek Handley, Studio & TV Hire, The Trading Post
- Additional Model & FX Animation - Tony Clark
- FX Animation - Kevin Davies
- Graphics - Gary Wales
- Production Designer - Tony Clark
- Set Dresser - Keith Dunne
- Production Assistant - Peter Gilman
- Floor Assistants - Daniel Cohen, Roger Dilley, Rob Francis, Staurt Hutcheson, Tony Pulham
- Runner - James De Havilland
- Stills - Robin Prichard
- Transport - Eileen Handley
- With Special Thanks to - Patricia Holmes, Jon Wenzel and Commander Ron Fisher HMS Belfast, Neil and Cliff Culley Westbury Design, Pinewood Studios, Shirley O'Mara and Pip Cooper, BBC Post Production, Robert Allsopp, Bill Baggs, Gateway Audio Visual, Andy Grant , World Leisure Corporation, Passion Pictures, Ace Editing, The Moving Picture Company, Dreamwatch Magazine
- Video Post Production - BBC Pebble Mill
- Kurt learnt how to disable a Sontaran (via the probic vent) from "the Dentist".
- The Sontarans use a War-Wheel to intercept the space yacht Tiger Moth.
- A Sontaran face palms.
- A number of the actors in Shakedown had previously appeared in Doctor Who or Blake's 7. As well as playing Borg in the Doctor Who story The Robots of Death, Brian Croucher had appeared on Blake's 7 as the recurring villain Travis, while Jan Chappell had played the character of Cally. Carole Ann Ford had appeared on Doctor Who as Susan Foreman, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Michael Wisher had played several guest roles, most notably Davros in the character's debut story, Genesis of the Daleks.
- Shakedown was novelised as part of the Virgin New Adventures series, fleshing out the story with a backstory and a resolution involving the Seventh Doctor and his companions.
- The unlicensed nature of the Dreamwatch production meant that they could not even refer to the character of the Doctor by name, hence Kurt's recollection of a man he met on Metebelis III: "Called himself the Physician, or the Dentist, or something..." For the same reason, in BBV Productions' video spin-off drama Auton (1997), Lockwood is heard to refer to the Doctor as "Dr. John Smith".
- Similarly, the copyright to the Sontarans was acquired, but not the specific rights to their appearance, and so they have been redesigned for this story.
- Although the longstanding war between the Sontarans and the Rutan Host was frequently mentioned in Doctor Who, this video marks the only occasion in which the two opposing species appear on-screen together.
- Mark Ayres, who had previously worked on Doctor Who as a composer, was co-producer and post-production sound designer.
- The shoot and production of this story took four months to complete a final product.
- At the end of the credits there is a dedication to the memory of Robert Holmes, who created the Sontarans; and Kevin Lindsay, who played the first three Sontarans: Linx, Styre and the Marshal.
- A behind the scenes making of documentary (The Making of Shakedown Return of the Sontarans) was included on the VHS release of the story.
- As of May 2021[update], the story has yet to receive a DVD release.
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Location work was shot entirely on location aboard the Second World War-era Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Belfast, permanently moored at Symon's Wharf on the River Thames since 1971.
Model shots were shot at Pinewood Studios.
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- PROSE: Shakedown contains the 'full version' of this story. This video element takes up the 'middle' of the novel.
DVD, video, and other releases
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- Mark Ayres - Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans accessed 10th November 2010