Doctor Who the Legacy Collection is a significant DVD release in many ways. It comprises two discs, one that features the lost untransmitted story Shada and the other disc is the documentary More Than Thirty Years in the Tardis.
Taking the documentary first, it was first released in a shortened version and celebrates the programme’s thirtieth anniversary. Directed and produced by Kevin Davies, this is the quintessential look back at the show and a superb celebration. Unhappy that his work was condensed into an hour long show, Kevin managed to get this extended version released and now it can be enjoyed on DVD.
Every Doctor contributes along with many companions but what makes this even more special is that Kevin recreates many iconic moments from the show and puts the actors in them for interview. So we have the Daleks crossing London Bridge, the Cybermen walking down the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, Jon Pertwee menaced by his favourite monster the Draconians plus Colin Baker and Peri being attacked by a brand new addition, a flying Cybermat. It’s these touches that make the documentary that more special as the Cybermat was originally supposed to be in Silver Nemesis.
The fact that Kevin found the cash to include it is to be commended and shows his fan roots. It is a shame that Kevin hasn’t been given the opportunity to tackle the new era as he would be spectacular. However, my only gripe is that I hate the fact we have to listen to Toyah Wilcox and cricketers sharing, quite frankly, pedantic memories of the show. I don’t care about them, they are stealing time from other Who actors who have actually added to the legacy. For me it was frustrating as I knew at the time that Who actors’ contributions had been cut to give these people air space.
NO!!!!!!!! A Doctor Who documentary should be crammed with fan favourites, not celebrities like a second rate Big Brother audition. The only exception I agree with is the inclusion of Gerry Anderson and his son who add something new. Gerry is a sci-fi icon and the only non-Who face here that deserves to be there. Given his recent passing, it seems fitting somehow. Also first Doctor William Hartnell’s real life granddaughter who brings something magical about her memories of her family. A great look back and if they do this for the 50th anniversary then bring it on, just leave half baked celebs out of it.
The extras on this disc add so much more to the memory and any fan’s love of the show. The Brigadier himself Nicholas Courtney is remembered in a special feature, first Doctor companion Peter Purves discusses his time on the show, the late Verity Lambert is interviewed and we have a discussion about the role of divas in Doctor Who including the Rani herself, Kate O’Mara.
And the main feature here is Shada. For those that don’t know, Shada is the only Doctor Who story that was cancelled due to strikes while it was being made. Only some location work and studio work was completed and a video release was done using Tom Baker to provide links for the unmade parts of the story. This is the version you get here with Tom in a pin striped suit walking through a parade of his old enemies and being, well, Tom and the Doctor, and as we know, one is indistinguishable from the other.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy creator, Douglas Adams, served on the show as script editor and wrote this one and it has all the wonderful mad ideas one came to expect from his writing. Invisible spaceships, evil spheres and the Doctor punting are all here to enjoy as well as crystalline monsters, some of which were above the yen of the programme’s budget such as the realization of the Kraag, the monster of the show.
Set in Cambridge university, the Doctor, Romana and K9 meet a fellow Time Lord residing as a professor, Chronotis, played by the vibrant Denis Carey who would later star in Keeper of Traken, Baker’s penultimate story. Christopher Neame plays the villain Skagra who has a camp taste in outfits but his evil is brilliantly played as he leads our heroes into his plot involving something from Time Lord history. Also in the cast is Daniel Hill and Victoria Burgoyne as Chris and Claire who are pulled into events and who ended up marrying in real life as revealed in the Documentary. This is the definitive account of what happened and how the cast and crew took it. None too well as we find out.
Sylvester McCoy’s story Greatest Show in the Galaxy almost suffered the same fate but a bit of imagination saved it. Not for Shada though, as unions were the greatest enemy the Time Lord has ever faced and been defeated by. You really feel for the production team and cast as they talk about their shock and disgust at learning of the show’s cancellation. It provides a real insight to Shada and what could have been. But someone had an idea that the story had to be told, so Paul McGann’s Doctor pops down to take Romana and K9 to resolve some unfinished business in the webcast animated series that is accessible here.
It again gives us an idea how the finished story may have played out. The fourth Doctor and Romana at the height of their partnership, K9 in full flow battling hovering spheres and a great idea. Of course, we know the budgetary restrictions would have let the bigger ideas down but if it had have been shown, then it would definitely have been a great story.
Fan ‘next time’ trailer for Shada: