|Ninety per cent of the first episode of Shada uses exactly the same script as the original television production, but if you're familiar with the existing 1979 footage, you'll know that this episode is, perforce, the most extensively reworked of the six.
The later episodes have undergone only the occasional tweak to accommodate the new format, but the first episode required a couple of substantial alterations.
Gary Russell has written a brand new prologue which, I think you'll agree, not only serves to introduce the new team of the eighth Doctor and President Romana, but also links our new production rather neatly with established Doctor Who history: we hear of the original trip to Cambridge, and of the punting expedition so rudely interrupted by the events of The Five Doctors. So, for those concerned about the integrity of the Doctor Who canon, I think we've got it covered.
The other changes to the first episode derive from the fact that a couple of sequences in the original version were purely visual. The opening scene on board the Think Tank station, and a later sequence in which Skagra waylays an unsuspecting motorist, were both originally non-speaking scenes that have now acquired dialogue courtesy of Gary.
And finally, here's a little snippet from the studio floor: when the Doctor asks 'How long were we gone?' in the prologue scene, it was John Leeson's suggestion that K9 should give the answer in such punctilious detail. The script said 'Two point eight hours,' but John said, 'I think K9 would say something more like "Two hours, 21 minutes, 13.26 seconds."' And who was I to disagree with the man himself?
© Nicholas Pegg 2003.
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Making Shada, casting Chronotis and more.