Scream of the Shalka

From Academic Kids

Template:Doctorwhobox Scream of the Shalka was a flash-animated serial based on the British science fiction television series, Doctor Who. 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 BBCi's Doctor Who website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/doctorwho/webcasts/shalka/). Although it was intended to be an "official" continuation of the television series that had ended in 1989, the revival of the programme in 2005 relegated it and its "Ninth Doctor", to unofficial status.

The serial was written by veteran television writer Paul Cornell, with Richard E. Grant providing the voice for the Ninth Doctor and Derek Jacobi as the voice of an android made in the image of The Doctor's old enemy, the Master. This performance followed years of rumours that Grant (among many others) would play the Doctor in a film or new series, and indeed he had appeared as the Tenth "conceited" Doctor in the Comic Relief special Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death in 1999. Also appearing in a cameo role was actor and Doctor Who fan, David Tennant, who in April 2005 was announced as the Tenth Doctor in the television series proper.

Contents

Synopsis

Missing image
Shalka.jpg
The Doctor confronts Prime, War Chief of the Shalka Confederation, and her minions

The TARDIS materialises in the village of Lannet in Lancashire, 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, the Doctor finds himself having to save the world again, aided by Alison and an old enemy who has become an ally.

The Shalka

The Shalka are an alien race made almost entirely out of lava. They live underground, near where lava meets metamorphic rock. They communicated by screaming, and breathed volcanic air; the only exception is Prime, the Shalka leader, who was able to speak and breath normal air. They use sound as a weapon and a means of controlling "lower alien creatures", among other uses.

Notes

Doctor Who had suspended production in 1989, and aside from charity specials, had only resurfaced as an American-funded television movie 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 possibiliy 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 announced, with BBC approval, that the Doctor appearing in Shalka would be the "official" Ninth Doctor. However, events rapidly overtook this.

In September, Lorraine Heggessey, the Controller of BBC One 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 in 2005, produced by BBC Wales.

As a result, the "official" nature of the Shalka webcast was in doubt from even before it was webcast. After the webcast, in February, 2004, plans for sequels 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, Davies announced that the new television Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston), would be the Ninth Doctor, relegating the Richard E. Grant Doctor to unofficial status.

Grant's incarnation of the Time Lord (often referred to as the "REG Doctor" or the "Shalka Doctor" by fans) has since appeared in an online short story, The Feast of the Stone by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright, though no further such stories seem planned.

A novelisation of Shalka was published in 2004, the first novelisation of a Doctor Who serial (the 1996 television movie notwithstanding) in nearly a decade. (ISBN 0563486198)

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