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Scream of the Shalka

Scream of the Shalka

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Encyclopedia
Scream of the Shalka is a flash-animated series based on the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 science fiction television series Doctor Who
Doctor Who
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor who explores the universe in a sentient time machine called the TARDIS that flies through time and space, whose exterior...

. It was produced to coincide with the 40th Anniversary of the series and was originally posted in six weekly parts from 13 November to 18 December 2003 on bbc.co.uk
Bbc.co.uk
BBC Online is the brand name and home for the BBC's UK online service. It is a large network of websites including such high profile sites as BBC News and Sport, the on-demand video and radio services co-branded BBC iPlayer, the pre-school site Cbeebies, and learning services such as Bitesize...

's Doctor Who website.

Although Scream of the Shalka was intended to be an official continuation of the television series that had ended in 1989, as well as the 1996 television movie, the revival of the program in 2005 relegated it, and its Doctor
Shalka Doctor
The Shalka Doctor is the common fan name given to the character that appeared as an alternate incarnation of the Doctor in the flash-animated serial Scream of the Shalka in 2003 and the later short story The Feast of the Stone which were based on the British science fiction television series,...

, to unofficial status. The series was scripted by veteran Doctor Who writer Paul Cornell
Paul Cornell
Paul Cornell is a British writer best known for his work in television drama as well as Doctor Who fiction, and as the creator of one of the Doctor's spin-off companions, Bernice Summerfield....

, with Richard E. Grant
Richard E. Grant
Richard E. Grant is a Swaziland-born British actor, screenwriter and director. His most notable role came in the film Withnail and I. He holds dual British and Swazi citizenship.-Early life:...

 providing the voice for the Ninth Doctor. This performance followed years of rumours that Grant would play the Doctor
Doctor (Doctor Who)
The Doctor is the central character in the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who, and has also featured in two cinema feature films, a vast range of spin-off novels, audio dramas and comic strips connected to the series....

 in a film or new series, and indeed he had appeared as the "Conceited Doctor" in the Comic Relief special Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death
Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death
Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death is a four-episode special of Doctor Who made for the Red Nose Day charity telethon in the United Kingdom, and broadcast on BBC One on 12 March 1999...

in 1999. The Doctor's companion for this adventure, Alison Cheney, was voiced by Sophie Okonedo
Sophie Okonedo
Sophie Okonedo, OBE is a British actress, who has starred both in successful British and American productions. In 1991, she made her acting debut in the British critically acclaimed coming-of-age drama, Young Soul Rebels...

, who a year later would be nominated for an Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 for her performance in Hotel Rwanda
Hotel Rwanda
Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 American drama film directed by Terry George. It was adapted from a screenplay written by both George and Keir Pearson. Based on real life events which took place in Rwanda during the spring of 1994, the film stars Don Cheadle as hotelier Paul Rusesabagina, who attempts to...

. She also appeared in the 2010 series of Doctor Who, as Liz 10, in the episode "The Beast Below
The Beast Below
"The Beast Below" is the second episode of the fifth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was written by showrunner Steven Moffat and broadcast on BBC One and BBC HD on 10 April 2010....

".

Previous Doctor Who webcasts had limited animation and were little more than a series of illustrations. Earlier in 2003, BBCi had had some success with the original animated webcast Ghosts of Albion
Ghosts of Albion
Ghosts of Albion started as a computer-animated web movie series on the BBC's website and has now spawned two book adaptations and two novels with a new role-playing game on the way.The works in order of release:...

. The animation for that story was provided by Manchester-based animation studio Cosgrove Hall
Cosgrove Hall Films
Cosgrove Hall Films was a British animation studio based in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, that once was a major producer of children's television programmes. Cosgrove Hall's programmes are still seen in over eighty countries...

, who were also hired to animate Scream of the Shalka.

This story was the first officially licensed, fully animated Doctor Who story.

Synopsis


The TARDIS
TARDIS
The TARDISGenerally, TARDIS is written in all upper case letters—this convention was popularised by the Target novelisations of the 1970s...

 materializes in the village of Lannet in Lancashire
Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

, disgorging an annoyed Doctor, who has apparently been transported here against his will. He discovers the village silent, its inhabitants all living in fear except for a barmaid, Alison Cheney. An alien race calling themselves the Shalka have taken up residence beneath Lannet in preparation for a wider invasion. Despite his initial reluctance to get involved, the Doctor finds himself having to save the world again, aided by Alison and an old enemy who has become an ally.

Continuity

  • Grant's incarnation of the Doctor (often referred to as the "REG Doctor" or the "Shalka Doctor
    Shalka Doctor
    The Shalka Doctor is the common fan name given to the character that appeared as an alternate incarnation of the Doctor in the flash-animated serial Scream of the Shalka in 2003 and the later short story The Feast of the Stone which were based on the British science fiction television series,...

    " by fans) has since appeared in an online short story, The Feast of the Stone by Cavan Scott
    Cavan Scott
    Cavan Scott is a freelance author, journalist and editor best known for his work on a variety of spin-offs from the BBC Television series Doctor Who...

     and Mark Wright, although no further stories are planned.
  • Major Kennet looks over a UNIT
    UNIT
    UNIT is a fictional military organisation from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures...

     file with the Doctor.
  • Upon his arrival, the Doctor is able to establish the current location and date by sniffing the air. The Tenth Doctor
    Tenth Doctor
    The Tenth Doctor is the tenth incarnation of the protagonist of the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who. He is played by David Tennant, who appears in three series, as well as eight specials...

     appears to exhibit this ability in the series 4 episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp
    The Unicorn and the Wasp
    "The Unicorn and the Wasp" is the 7th episode in the revised fourth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was aired by BBC One on 17 May 2008 at 19:00. Perhaps due to its later broadcast, it received an overnight audience rating of 7.7 million, making it the...

    ", where he is able to use the scent of grass and lemonade (with a little bit of mint) to determine that they have landed in the 1920s. However, Donna Noble
    Donna Noble
    Donna Noble is a fictional character played by Catherine Tate in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. A secretary from Chiswick, London, she is a companion of the Tenth Doctor, appearing in one scene at the end of the final episode of the 2006 series,...

     notices that he could have been tipped off by the vintage car coming up the driveway, a hint that he might actually have been pretending. The Eleventh Doctor also did the same thing successfully in "Time of the Angels" without any hints, and River Song suggested he did it often.
  • Also on arrival, the TARDIS beeps and 'clunks' while the lights go out like the locking system of a modern car. The Tenth Doctor does the same to his TARDIS in the 2009 Christmas Special The End of Time,Part One
    The End of Time
    The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Our Understanding of the Universe, also sold with the alternate subtitle The Next Revolution in Physics, is a 1999 science book in which the author Julian Barbour argues that time exists merely as an illusion.-Auto-biography:The book begins by describing how...

    .
  • Three of the cast members would go on to play characters in the current version of Doctor Who.
    • David Tennant
      David Tennant
      David Tennant is a Scottish actor. In addition to his work in theatre, including a widely praised Hamlet, Tennant is best known for his role as the tenth incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, along with the title role in the 2005 TV serial Casanova and as Barty Crouch, Jr...

       would go on to play the Tenth Doctor
      Tenth Doctor
      The Tenth Doctor is the tenth incarnation of the protagonist of the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who. He is played by David Tennant, who appears in three series, as well as eight specials...

       in the television series proper from 2005 to 2010. He appeared in Shalka in an uncredited role as a caretaker. He was not originally cast in the production but happened to be recording a radio play in a neighbouring studio, and when he discovered what was being recorded next door managed to convince the director to give him a small role.
    • Derek Jacobi
      Derek Jacobi
      Sir Derek George Jacobi, CBE is an English actor and film director.A "forceful, commanding stage presence", Jacobi has enjoyed a highly successful stage career, appearing in such stage productions as Hamlet, Uncle Vanya, and Oedipus the King. He received a Tony Award for his performance in...

       also appeared as the Master
      Master (Doctor Who)
      The Master is a recurring character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. He is a renegade Time Lord and the archenemy of the Doctor....

      , in 2007's "Utopia
      Utopia (Doctor Who)
      "Utopia" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was broadcast on BBC One on 16 June 2007 and is the eleventh episode of series three of the revived Doctor Who series...

      "
    • Sophie Okonedo
      Sophie Okonedo
      Sophie Okonedo, OBE is a British actress, who has starred both in successful British and American productions. In 1991, she made her acting debut in the British critically acclaimed coming-of-age drama, Young Soul Rebels...

       appeared in 2010's "The Beast Below
      The Beast Below
      "The Beast Below" is the second episode of the fifth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was written by showrunner Steven Moffat and broadcast on BBC One and BBC HD on 10 April 2010....

      " and "The Pandorica Opens
      The Pandorica Opens
      "The Pandorica Opens" is the twelfth episode, and first in a two-part story, in the fifth series of British science fiction television series Doctor Who, broadcast on 19 June 2010. The Doctor's friends send him a warning; he deals with a message on a cliff, a mysterious box and a love story that...

      " as Queen Elizabeth X.

Production


Doctor Who had suspended production in 1989, and aside from charity specials had only resurfaced as an American-funded television movie
Doctor Who (1996)
Doctor Who is a television movie based on the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. Developed as a co-production amongst Universal Television, BBC Television, BBC Worldwide, and the American network FOX, the 1996 television film premiered on 12 May 1996 on CITV in Edmonton,...

 in 1996, which did not garner enough ratings to go to a regular series. When Shalka was announced in July 2003 for planned broadcast in November, the possibility of Doctor Who returning to television screens still seemed remote and BBC Worldwide were continuing to shop around for another possible movie deal. As a result, BBCi officially announced, with BBC approval, that the Doctor appearing in Shalka would be the Ninth Doctor. However, events rapidly overtook this.

In September Lorraine Heggessey
Lorraine Heggessey
Lorraine Heggessey is a British television producer and former Chief Executive of the production company Talkback Thames...

, the Controller of BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

, managed to persuade BBC Worldwide that as their plans for a Doctor Who film were nowhere near fruition, BBC television should be allowed to make a new series. A deal with Russell T Davies to produce the new series was quickly struck, and on September 26, the BBC announced that Doctor Who would be returning to BBC One
BBC One
BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

 in 2005, produced by BBC Wales
BBC Wales
BBC Cymru Wales is a division of the British Broadcasting Corporation for Wales. Based at Broadcasting House in the Llandaff area of Cardiff, it directly employs over 1200 people, and produces a broad range of television, radio and online services in both the Welsh and English languages.Outside...

. As a result, the status of the Shalka webcast was in doubt from even before it was released.

After the webcast, in February 2004, plans for sequels or a DVD release were indefinitely shelved. For a period, it was unclear if the new television Doctor would be the Ninth or Tenth Doctor, but this was ultimately settled in April 2004 when in an interview with Doctor Who Magazine
Doctor Who Magazine
Doctor Who Magazine is a magazine devoted to the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who...

, Davies announced that the new television Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston
Christopher Eccleston
Christopher Eccleston is an English stage, film and television actor. His films include Let Him Have It, Shallow Grave, Elizabeth, 28 Days Later, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Others, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra...

), would be the Ninth Doctor
Ninth Doctor
The Ninth Doctor is the ninth incarnation of the protagonist of the long-running BBC television science-fiction series Doctor Who. He is played by Christopher Eccleston....

, relegating Grant's Doctor to an alternate Doctor. Davies later commented that Grant had never been considered for the role in the television series, telling Doctor Who Magazine: "I thought he was terrible. I thought he took the money and ran, to be honest. It was a lazy performance. He was never on our list to play the Doctor."

Production notes

  • The working title for this production was Servants of the Shalakor. This original story outline is included in the BBC Books novelization (see below).
  • In the pub scene, the Cosgrove Hall Studios logo can briefly be seen on beermat
    Beermat
    A coaster, drink coaster, beverage coaster, or beermat, is used to rest beverages upon. The main purpose is to protect the surface of a table or any other surface where the user might place their beverage....

    s, advertising "Volunteer Ale".
  • The font
    Font
    In typography, a font is traditionally defined as a quantity of sorts composing a complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface...

     used in titles and end credits (Industria) was the one used on the BBC's lines of Doctor Who video releases and spin-off novels at the time. It continues to be used on the classic series DVD releases in Region 1.
  • In 2006 Cosgrove Hall again did a Doctor Who-related animation - the two missing episodes of The Invasion
    The Invasion (Doctor Who)
    The Invasion is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in eight weekly parts from 2 November to 21 December 1968...

    for that series's DVD release. In 2007, some of the animation staff from these two productions went on to develop The Infinite Quest
    The Infinite Quest
    The Infinite Quest is an animated serial based on the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was made by BBC Television, but does not share the same producers as the live-action series. It was aired in twelve weekly parts starting 2 April 2007 as a segment of the children's...

    , a 13-part series aired as part of the second series of Totally Doctor Who
    Totally Doctor Who
    Totally Doctor Who is a children's television series produced by the BBC that was originally broadcast between 13 April 2006 and 29 June 2007, accompanying the second and third revived series of Doctor Who. No episodes have been produced following the third series...

    . A behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the Invasion episodes entitled Flash Frames includes footage from Scream of the Shalka -- the only footage from the production to see DVD release.

In print



The novelization of Shalka was written by Paul Cornell, the first novelization of a Doctor Who series (the 1996 television movie notwithstanding) in nearly a decade (and the last until novelizations based upon episodes of the spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures
The Sarah Jane Adventures
The Sarah Jane Adventures is a British science fiction television series, produced by BBC Cymru Wales for CBBC, created by Russell T Davies and starring Elisabeth Sladen...

commenced in 2007 with "Invasion of the Bane
Invasion of the Bane
-Sladen and Doctor Who:Elisabeth Sladen, who previously played Sarah Jane between 1973 and 1976. In 1981, she was offered the role again to ease the transition between the Fourth and Fifth Doctors, which she declined, but agreed to star in the pilot for the spin-off series K-9 and Company, which...

"). The book also includes a feature on the making of the webcast, as well as the original Servants of the Shalakor story outline.

DVD release


The British Board of Film Classification
British Board of Film Classification
The British Board of Film Classification , originally British Board of Film Censors, is a non-governmental organisation, funded by the film industry and responsible for the national classification of films within the United Kingdom...

has cleared all six episodes of the series for release on DVD, but the BBC has made no announcement about release of the story. As of March 2007, only clips from the series have been released to DVD, as part of Flash Frames, a documentary on the DVD release of the restored The Invasion.

Webcast


Novelization


Reviews