A small confessional is in order. The Tour is a bit stiff and sore this time around as we exercised some muscles which hadn’t been used for quite a long time, but the release on blu-ray of Shada got us intrigued.
How well would a traditional classic Doctor Who story, with the mix of filmed external shooting and studio videotape look when scaled up to HD specs? Film always looks better for the simple reason that it contains much more information per frame than videotape, especially from 40 or more years ago, did.
Happily we’re able to report that the results are much better than we expected, owing to whatever successive ‘vidfire’ technology was employed on Shada, and so much so that we re-capped Shada for the second time.
As for Shada, it’s the great disappearing story in all of Doctor Who. The industrial dispute which took out two of three studio sessions means episodes 4, 5, and 6 are significantly incomplete. When the story was first released (on VHS no less) the gaps were filled with Tom Baker talking from a studio chair. Now animation, which is enjoyable but not within the purview of the Tour, takes its place.
Nearly forty years on, Shada can and has been re-molded multiple times into different formulations ranging from Paul McGann stepping in for Tom Baker on Big Finish, to Douglas Adams reusing the basic precepts (despite saying he wasn’t happy with the Shada shooting script) for his own work in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
If for nothing else, Shada on blu-ray might be worth a look if for no other reason than the coda scene featuring the octagenarian scarf-laden Baker smiling into the camera in an official capacity one last time.