Former Doctor Who actor Tom Baker is back playing the Time Lord — four decades after the role made him famous. Tom, 83, completed a story that had to be abandoned 38 years ago. The story was called Shada, and it was penned by Hitchhiker’s Guide creator Douglas Adams. It was meant to be a six-episode story for Doctor’s 4th incarnation, as played by Tom Baker. The story line was to have aired between 1979 and 1980, but couldn’t be finished due to an interruption by a BBC technician’s strike. They had only managed to film half of it before the strike hit, and the rest of the shoot was shelved.
38 years later, Baker and co-castmember Lalla Ward came back to the studio to record the rest of the story at a studio in Uxbridge, West London. Ward, now 66, played the companion Romana, and will be recreating that role for the project. Only the actor’s voices will be used alongside animated sequences to replace the original unfilmed remaining four episodes.
That didn’t stop Tom from dressing the part, however. An insider said, “He wore his original costume, including coat, hat and scarf — and the original K9 was here.”
Douglas Adams wrote the Doctor Who television stories The Pirate Planet and Shada. He co-wrote City of Death with producer Graham Williams under the pseudonym David Agnew. He was also script editor for Season 17. Having started his career as a contributor (and occasional bit player) for Monty Python’s Flying Circus, he is most famous for creating The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which he wrote as a radio play and book while script editing for Doctor Who.
The third novel of Hitchhiker’s Guide, Life, The Universe and Everything, was originally intended to be a Doctor Who story. The Doctor was replaced with Slartibartfast, a planet designer from Magrathea, his TARDIS by the Starship Bistromath (which boasted a perception filter) and the Daleks by the Krikkiters.
Lalla Ward is the daughter of Edgar Ward, 7th Viscount of Bangor, and is entitled to use the honorific “The Honorable” in front of her name. She was married to Tom Baker for about sixteen months between 1980 and 1982, but conflicting work schedules and goals got in the way. The couple drifted apart, but she says she still respects and loves Baker for all that.
There is as yet no release date publicized. Watch this space.
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