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Thursday, February 08, 2018

Dr Who And Douglas Adams

I’ve just seen the Tom Baker Dr Who story, Shada, by the amazing Douglas AdamsYou may recall that a chunk of this was filmed in the 1970s and cancelled, unfinished due to a tech strike at the BBC.

Well, they’ve finished it - at last! Obviously, the actors were too old to play their roles again, but there was nothing wrong with their voices and the Beeb has been completing episodes with missing bits via animation. They have often been using fan-recorded dialogue - I used to do that myself years ago, with Star Trek episodes, before I got my first VCR. This time, though, they had access to the actors, who were still around and able to record the dialogue for those animated scenes.

If you’ve read Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency - I did, but many years ago - you’ll know what he did with the Dr Who storyline that wasn’t going to be filmed. I really must go back and reread it, along with The Long, Dark Teatime Of The Soul.

Interestingly, I hear that another Dr Who story - rejected - was the basis of the third Hitchhiker’s Guide novel, Life, The Universe And  Everything. I am not familiar with the Dr Who storyline, but I do recall the over-the-top story of the Hitcher’s novel, in which people from the planet Krikkit decide to wipe out the rest of the universe and their weapons and how they use them resemble a game of cricket. Thing is, they are using robots to do this and Marvin the Paranoid Android saves the universe  by accident because they make the mistake of attaching him to the ship’s computer and he passes on his depression to the Krikkit robots... And that was the novel in which the Magrathean coastline designer Slartibartfast turns up in his spaceship which is designed to look like a small Italian bistro. Anyone chuckle like me when Clara flies off in her TARDIS shaped like a small diner? That wasn’t by Douglas Adams, of course, but I bet Slartibartfast’s ship was somewhere in the back of the  author’s mind. If it wasn’t it should have been!

Before I leave you, dear readers, I’d just like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Shada, and there was a delightful surprise in the last scene. Buy it or watch it on streaming, but watch it! It was well worth waiting for. 

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