Douglas Adams's Abandoned 'Doctor Who' Episode is Being Completed Nearly 40 Years Later

Evening Standard/Getty Images
Evening Standard/Getty Images

In 1979, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams was enlisted to pen a script for the finale of Doctor Who’s 17th season. Titled “Shada,” the episode saw The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and his companion Romana (Lalla Ward) land the TARDIS in Cambridge to help a retired Time Lord stop an evil alien from hacking into the secrets of a lost planet-turned-prison for evildoers.

The script was written, and filming for the episode commenced … but then there was a BBC staffer strike, and filming was abandoned. Now, nearly 40 years after its intended air date, Whovians will finally get to see the episode—just as Adams wrote it and with Baker stepping back into the role.

BBC News reports that “Shada” will finally see the light of day when the original footage is mixed with animated recreations and newly recorded voiceovers from both Baker and Ward to complete the episode.

Baker, for one, is thrilled to see the episode finally reach audiences; he told BBC News that it was one of his favorite Doctor Who stories.

"I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in studio,” Baker said. “I'm so glad that BBC Worldwide have found a way to bring fans a complete visual version.”

It’s not the first time the network has recreated one of the series’s old episodes. In November 2016, “The Power of the Daleks” found new life in animated form 50 years after it first aired, and more than 40 years after its original recording was destroyed.

At this point, “lost” episodes are as much a part of Doctor Who canon as doctor regenerations. When the sci-fi series first began airing in 1963, little thought was given to how—or why—there would be any reason for the BBC to stockpile the original recordings of their shows when they could just reuse the same tapes to save money.

While fans have helped the network to reassemble parts of the missing catalog, more than 100 of the series’ original episodes remain lost to time. Fortunately, “Shada” will no longer be one of them. The episode will be available for digital download on November 24 and released on DVD and Blu-ray on December 4.

[h/t: BBC News]

Harry Potter Cast Remembers the Late Alan Rickman

© 2009 - Warner Bros.
© 2009 - Warner Bros.

The world lost some of its most iconic celebrities in 2016, including ​Carrie Fisher and David Bowie. For ​Harry Potterfans, the January 14, 2016 death of ​Alan Rickman hit hard. Unsurprisingly, his castmates were also deeply impacted by the actor's death and have spoken out several times over the years about the magic he brought to the set.

"Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with," ​Daniel Radcliffe wrote about Rickman a couple months after his death. "He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I've ever met in the film industry."

Over two years later, the cast of Harry Potter is ​remembering Rickman to Entertainment Weekly.

Both ​Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood, and director Chris Columbus remember Rickman for being stoic on the outside, but very sweet on the inside.

"You’re thinking, it’s the guy from Die Hard and going, 'Oh my god.' If he’s in a serious mood, he’s intimidating as hell. But suddenly I had dinner with him ... and when he smiled, he just became the warmest, nicest human being in the world," Columbus said.

"Alan Rickman, pretty much every day of filming, he had a whole troop of little children [visiting]," Lynch remembered. "It was the most bizarre scene to see Snape in this black robe ... surrounded by all these happy little children who were just chatting away to him.”

Oliver Phelps and Warwick Davis recalled Rickman's affinity for iPods.

“I remember once he’d come back from an awards show ... and in the gift box was an iPod, when they’d first come about," Phelps said. "I remember being next to him ... and I ended up showing Alan how to work an iPod, which was not what I thought I’d ever do in my life. He was a very approachable guy once you saw past Snape’s wig."

"I started to wonder, what does Alan Rickman as Professor Snape listen to on his iPod?" Davis stated. "An audiobook? Some Shakespeare? Some classical music? Some techno beats? I don’t know. I never did ask
him, and I wish I had. I’d love to have known.”

​​Rickman's final role was in Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Game of Thrones Star Sean Bean Talks Reprising Ned Stark Role for Prequel Series

Nick Briggs, HBO
Nick Briggs, HBO

Former ​​Game of Thrones star Sean Bean had a brief run on the show before his character, Ned Stark, literally lost his head.

During a recent interview with ​The Hollywood Reporter, Bean shared his take on whether he'd be willing to reprise his role for the Game of Thrones prequel series. Since next year's eighth season will also be the ​series' final season, fans are eager to get their fix through the prequel series, which is set to start filming next year.

When Bean was asked if he'd consider being a part of the prequel, he said, "I don't know how we can be ... I don't know how anyone can be, since they're going backwards, I'd be younger. Now, we all look a little bit older."

Before you get your hopes up and put all of your faith in the magic of digital editing, which could potentially make Bean appear younger, the actor appears to have doubts about reprising his role in general. He shared:

"I'm always a bit reluctant to go back to shows under a different format or guise ... But you never know with something like this, it just depends on the time frames ... I think if the quality was maintained. You know, the kind of thought behind it, if it didn't look as though it was an add-on just to capitalize on earlier success."

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