"I know about monsters - I'm the Doctor!"On 9th July 2003, the official Doctor Who website at BBCi made the following announcement:
Doctor Who was, at last, back. Somehow having a bigger impact
than just being "the fourth BBCi webcast", the engagement of Richard
E Grant as a newly-regenerated Doctor gave new hope for fans who
could now eagerly anticipate a brand new animated free-to-view
series for the 40th anniversary.
another bit of innovative marketing, on October 23rd BBCi launched a
competition to win a life-size cardboard cutout of the Grant Doctor
(pictured, right, with Paul Cornell and wife/sometimes-co-writer
Caroline Symcox), to be given to whoever left the funniest message
upon ringing their competition line and hearing a special message
from the Doctor (in fact the greeting as used in 'Shalka', minus the
'Shalka' finished webcasting on December 18th, but more 'bonus
features' were promised to be added to the site in addition to the
interviews which had been accompanying each episode (this seemed to
mainly comprise of a puppet theatre in the vain of the 1970s Blue
Peter one, which appeared just before Christmas). On December 22nd,
a digital TV screening was announced, with a different episode each
day playing on a loop from 7:30 till midnight, from the 30th through
to January 4th. A full-screen, full-frame animation with extra
effects was assured (and had been rumoured for a possible DVD
release for some time), however excited viewers were disappointed to
find it was just the online version in a tiny box in the corner of
And with that, the Richard E Grant Doctor was no more. With a new Ninth Doctor having come and gone, few seemed to have any interest in this BBCi Doctor, and he was quickly and quietly shunted aside. Despite the BBFC classifying the story in September 2005, even a DVD release has yet to be announced. Could this be the end for this Ninth Doctor..? Only time will tell...
SynopsesScream of the Shalka Episode One (Chapters One-Four in novelisation)
Part One*: Two geological experts (Dave [McGrath, recently arrived after some whale-watching at Kaikoura] and his companion [Tony]) from Turangi in New Zealand witness a meteor striking the Earth near Mount Ruapehu, and upon investigating find a creature. The creature escapes, and the gas around the site begins to paralyse them before they are attacked. The TARDIS materialises on an empty street on Saturday night in England, 2003, and the Doctor [a Time Lord from a far-off planet, in his ninth life] exits, shouting at some unseen forces that seem to have placed him there. Locking the TARDIS door with a car-key-like alarm, and taking a mobile phone from one of the door panels, he goes towards a nearby pub [called 'The Volunteer'].
Part Two: Alison Cheney, a barmaid [in her mid-20s] at the pub, gives free beer to their sole remaining patron [Tom Crossley], getting her into trouble with the Landlord ,Max, as the Doctor arrives and tried to order a Mersault '96 (but settles for a dry white wine). He wonders if Alison is related to Lon Cheney, who he has apparantly met, and notices that the three locals seem scared (but Alison the least). Expressing disappointment that there's no Pachelbel on the jukebox (even on 'Smooth Classics 2') he leaves. Alison slowly follows him out, and speaks to a creature (a larger version of that seen in New Zealand) to confirm that they're "all being good".
Part Three: The Doctor [who can hear traffic coming from miles away], sniffing at a manhole cover, notices a strange sound and wonders if the rats have "discovered the joys of the D'Oyly Carte". As he walks off, Alison (following far behind) sees the TARDIS being swallowed into the ground by molten lava. The Doctor finds a human-shaped mass of solidified lava, and meets a homeless lady, Mathilda Pierce. Mathilda tells him about her cat, Oswald, being run over in 1987, and the Doctor explains that "'they' keep putting me in places where terrible things are going to happen". After offering her some money (including an Atraxian semble seed which needs growing, a Zornic groat which talks back, and a Euro [with the King's head on it]) he asks her about the lava, and she tells him it was the noises under the floor, and her 28 cats running away, that made her leave her home, and that all the animals have left the town. There is a severe Earth tremor and Mathilda dies, screaming. The Doctor vows to do something.
Part Four: [Joe Latham, a GP, remembers meeting Alison in Lannet's only club, Bella Bonito's, where she mistook him for a vet and drunkenly asked for advice on a nonexistent cat. She left her University, where she had almost made it onto University Challenge, to stay in Lannet with him and get a job in 'The Volunteer']. Alison arrives home and Joe tells her about the increase in throat complaints at his surgery (Alison has had a sore throat too). The Doctor arrives, having got her address from her payslip while at the pub, and deduces that with no current magazines and a dead phoneline, the town must have been cut off for 3 weeks. By throwing plates on the floor, he forces Alison to confirm this, and to tell him that the lava he found earlier had been her colleague, Kim, who had struggled to get help for the town before the lava swallowed her. The ground begins to rumble, and a number of the creatures burst out to attack the Doctor, Alison and Joe.
*For ease of downloading, the broadcast was split into short chunks which we have included here.
[Info in square brackets only appears in the novelisation]
Scream of the Shalka Episode Two (Chapters Five-Seven)
Part One: The Doctor (who apparently at some point performed poetry as an intro to Elvis) temporarily destroys the creatures by smashing them with a lamp, and leads Joe and Alison to the basement. Assuming they are not dead (as they are bioplasmic, "masses of goo") he prepares for another attack by creating a fertiliser bomb. Throwing them at the creatures, he makes them return underground... and destroys Alison's and Joe's house...
Part Two: With Lannet freed, the Doctor bids farewell to Alison, but upon returning to his TARDIS finds it has disappeared underground, and mumbles "Rumpty" [a very rude non-Earth curse] before shouting again at the heavens and using his mobile phone to call for help from the Secretary General. The creatures, meanwhile, use their screams to open the TARDIS doors, and their leader enters. The Master greets the leader and uses the TARDIS controls to reflect [his] screams and send [him] flying back out into the caves.
Part Three: A military [Chinook] helicopter arranges evacuation from Lannet to Scotland while the Doctor meets with Major Thomas Kennet [an officer in his late 40s who had served in the Gulf] in a classroom [3C] set up as a base of operations. Kennet, with the First Royal Green Jackets, asks for the Doctors help following the completion of the evactuation at 22:00, and threatens not to help find his TARDIS unless he agrees, explaining that 637 civillians have died so far and Alison is the only person alive who had seen one before they were brought out of hiding. The Doctor reluctantly accepts. Meanwhile, Alison and Joe are travelling in a military jeep and arguing about their ties to Lannet [and Joe remembers military forces arriving just hours after the Doctor left, and the full evacuation beginning later that day] when the jeep is attacked by the creatures [killing the two soldiers present]. They try and escape, but Alison is pulled down into the lava.
Scream of the Shalka Episode Three (Chapters Eight-Ten)
Part One: Preparing to enter the underground caves, the Doctor confesses his concerns to Kennet, who offers him a gun (much to the Doctor's disgust). Meanwhile Alison has been captured by the creatures and they start to examine her until she falls unconscious. Down in the caves, the Doctor attempts to lead them to the TARDIS, which he can sense, but they are ambushed by dozens of the creatures. The Doctor tricks the soldiers into setting off grenades, blocking their path but allowing him access to the monsters.
Part Two: Faced with the monster, the Doctor [whilst reminiscing about Goya and Fransisco] climbs inside its mouth and rides it back to the creatures' lair. Back in the TARDIS, the Master [remembering how his face had once had to use tongs to remove his face from a soup tureen at a dinner party in the console room] hears the phone ring. The answerphone picks up [for the first time in years] and a rather giggly Doctor, along with a woman [and the sound of champagne] requests the caller leave a message. The caller is the Doctor, who suggests the Master sets up the secondary configuration suite, and the Master starts to regret choosing life over death.
Part Three: The Doctor arrives at the central caves and is confronted by their leader, who introduces itself as Prime [the same creature who had been watching Alison outside the pub], War Chief of the Shalka confederacy. There are 2,000 of them poised for attack, although the Doctor has never heard of them, and they have a wormhole [leading to the same time-space continuum the TARDIS passes through]. The Doctor suggests that if their homeworld is dying they could share the planet with the humans (although they might have to clean Wookey Hole occasionally), but Prime explains that their homeworld is the centre of an empire of a billion worlds. The Doctor attempts to leave, but they bring out Alison and threaten to kill her unless he helps.
Part Four: The Doctor and Prime enter the TARDIS and he deactivates the Master, nothing more than a robot, while Kennet's men continue to swarm around the caves. The Doctor and Alison are left alone as he begins to regret not letting her die, and assures her that his home planet is duller than Lannet. She reveals that she was considering leaving Joe when she experiences a pain in her forehead. Prime reappears to tell them that they understand how to operate the TARDIS, and take the two to the wormhole to die. After the Shalka reprogram it to crush matter [and the Doctor has made a failed attempt to sabotage it] they throw the Doctor in.
Scream of the Shalka Episode Four (Chapters Eleven-Fourteen)
Part One: The Shalka continue to torture Alison, while some work on the TARDIS console [these are Technician Shalka, genetically enhanced from before birth so that upon emergence from the rock egg chambers they would have extra appendages to deal with technology, and were given the ability to choose their form, unlike other types of Shalka]. The Master springs back to life and convinces them that the Doctor has tricked them and he can show them the 'real' systems, in return for passage from the planet. Joe and Greaves wait by the spot where Alison vanished, and are shocked when she reappears, but with a large cut on her forehead - Alison believes the Doctor to be dead, but Joe promises to look after her. In the black hole, the Doctor calls Major Kennet on his mobile phone [linked to the TARDIS, it is able to patch into any communications network, anywhere]. He gets put through to a voicemail and explains what he has recently learnt [and texts him the co-ordinates of the base] but before he can leave his final words for humanity, the battery dies. He then remembers the mobile is a part of the TARDIS, and uses it, with his sonic screwdriver, to create a door, which he enters...
Part Two: Inside the TARDIS, the Master feigns disgust at the Doctor's presence, and between them they are able to eject the Shalka out into the black hole. The Doctor attempts to run a biological search to find Alison, but the Master points out that he is getting involved with another young woman, and attempts to take off. The Doctor tells him that the Shalka forcefield will keep them there, but the Master reminds him that it is locked to the secondary configuration of the TARDIS, and when they revert it, they will be able to break free. The Doctor continues to argue, but the Master reminds him that the programming of his electronic brain was quite clear as to instructions regarding matters such as these, and the Doctor relents [picking up a signed copy of 'Hamlet' and sitting down. In the school, Kennet has arranged from more seismic detectors to be flown in from Switzerland and mulls over the official secrets agreement he made Alison sign after questioning her]. The TARDIS arrives in front of Kennet [which he recognises from photos] and the Doctor exits, making a quick apology and offering to help, glad to hear the news that Alison is alive, and asking that the military give her time to talk to Joe. Kennet is fascinated by the TARDIS, as he hadn't seen one since he was a young man [although it transpires he means Police Boxes]. The Doctor checks Kennet's voicemail [a number only used by his aged Irish father and his son in Cornwall] and deletes his own message. Greaves enters, triumphant that they have caught a Shalka, and the Doctor requests an audience.
Part Three: Max and many other refugees begin walking away from the soldiers in a trance-like state [including Jack Marker, a butcher who worked for Ken and Josie - his nearest relative was an aunt in Leeds, and he had been left at her doorstep, but he now begins to feel himself drawn away, and he thinks about a solider who had tried convincing the people of Lannet that this was the result of a chemical leak. After being questioned by a grim-looking military woman and driven to her Mum's house in Sheffield (her Mum works at Sheffield Uni and her Dad runs a computer business) that had been their home since they moved from Brockley, Alison receives a phone call telling her that the Doctor is alive]. Alison rejoices at the good news of the Doctor's survival [but also being concerned about the bad relationship between Joe and her Mum], but not for long as Joe begins to feel an urge to leave, and strikes the military officer. They both get in the jeep, and although Alison tried to call the Doctor, she fails. The Doctor examines the Shalka, being kept barely alive by feeding it oxygen, and asks for an oxygen tent to be acquired from the local hospital. Back in the jeep, Joe begins to get a sore throat, and Alison begins to feel a presence in her forehead...
Part Four: The Doctor talks to the captured Shalka using an electronic device that translates his words into their screams. Greaves brings him tea and confesses his fear of the thing, and a sore throat. The Doctor leaves the two alone and [as Greaves starts having images of rabbits in headlights in his head] the Shalka attacks, while the soldier emits a Shalka-like scream. The Doctor bursts back in, saving Greaves by thrusting an oxygen cylinder at the creature. Greaves realises he was tricked, by the Doctor explains he had to confirm a suspicion that the scream is a form of mind control, and that the scream Greaves was giving out was changing the chemical composition of the air into something the Shalka could breathe. The Doctor goes to tell Kennet that the evacuees probably haven't reached their destinations, just as the Major hears that they have not. In a woods in the Pennines, Joe stops the truck and the exit to be greeted by the locals of Lannet, including Tom and Max [and Jack, the ladies from the library, a local skateboarder, and someone called Alex]. Making campfires, they realise the scream is controlling them [and Max tells of his attempt to drive down the M25 when he became compelled to get to the woods]. Alison asks if everyone has got something in their head - they have not. Joe offers to examine her [using a blade sterilised in the fire]. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Kennet deduce that they are in Edale wood, and that they must be under a form of direct control as the rock under the wood is non-volcanic. Prodding [and cutting] at Alison, Joe is shocked to see something green inside her cut, which pops out and screams at him...
Scream of the Shalka Episode Five (Chapters Fifteen-Eighteen)
Part One: The tiny Shalka screams at the crowd, forcing them all to begin moving as they cry for help. They arrive at a storage company [Barlon Warehouse and Storage], where security is made up of just Mitch [Stannard] and Nat. [To get over the fence, the Shalka make the people of Lannet create a human wall, crushing many including the kid at the butcher's shop, but keep Alison alive]. They gain entry [and kill Nat]. Around the world the situation is similar [including Ranjintsi, in Gujarat, India, where a seven year old boy named Lala Ambedkar had been taken over by a tiny Shalka while at school and now led crowds, including a relative called Aj, through the streets. In Tinton Falls, New Jersey a crowd led by Elise Gower of the Zoning Committee of the municipal council, who had recently discovered she was to be a grandmother, head in the direction of Eatontown. Farmers in the old Korchov Collective Farm, including one named Val and one named Alex, follow an alien-obsessed man called Anton who has been taken over. Back in Lancashire, the Doctor herds Kennet's team into the TARDIS, where Kennet is suspicious of the Master, and they arrive in the midst of the crowd and pour out into them]. Surrounded by the civilians, Kennet tries to maintain a ceasefire and finding Alison the Doctor rips the Shalka out of her, and promptly passes out.
Part Two: The Doctor sits back up (surprising Alison who could not find a pulse, despite him claiming to have having multiple ones) and they discover that the situation is the same the world over. They return to the base of operations [where Joe tried to convince Alison to leave] and compile 26 different reports, although they realise from the pattern of attacks, some are missing, such as Siberia. The Chinese begin shooting at their own people, although the Doctor doubts that will make any difference to the plan, which is to make all the slaves create the same atmosphere-altering scream that Greaves had previously, and within the hour the Earth's weather patterns were likely to have completely changed. [In India, Lala waits in fear, in New Jersey, confusion reigns , and Anton and his companions begin to scream].
Parth Three: Kennet suggests a military strike against the infected public, but as the Doctor points out, a simultaneous worlwide attack would be hard to pull off. The Doctor has a plan, and asks for Alison's help - Joe tries to stop her, driving a further wedge between them. Outside, the screaming continues - planes fly overhead but the screams destroy them. On the TARDIS, Alison [having been left alone for 10 minutes] meets the Master, and the Doctor practices his singing (he learny under Dame Nellie - the Master doesn't believe he can tell).
Part Four: The TARDIS materialises at the Shalka's lair - the Doctor explains that the Master can't leave. The Doctor admires the architecture - Alison likens it to Gaudi (she was on her way to a degree in history when she moved in with Joe instead). Prime [flanked by three warriors] faces the Doctor and threatens to add Earth to their Empire of a billion worlds. The Doctor has realised their plan - the Empire is based in a wormhole, and they take planets already on the brink of an ecological disaster. She explains that they inhabit 80% of the worlds of the Universe, but these planets are all considered to be dead. Back at the base, Kennet tries to get hold of someone in the cabinet. The Doctor describes the Shalka as "death incarnate". Kennet realises that the ozone layer has been stripped away as the climate changes and the screams continue [tidal waves destroy the US eastern seaboard, the west coast of Ireland and Japan). Prime says she will bring extinction to the entire human race...
Scream of the Shalka Episode Six (Chapters Nineteen-Twenty One)
Part One: Chained up, Alison asks the Doctor why they keep screaming - he explains, and she compares it to a "sonic internet" with a "sonic service provider". The Doctor picks the locks binding them with a hairpin while the climate continues to destroy the world above. The Doctor reminisces that Andy Warhol wanted to paint all nine of him and then swallows the Shalka grub that had been in Alison's head. Merging with it, he begins to understand the benefits of the way they work as a species. He reprograms it and learns from it.
Part Two: The Doctor sings to the Shalka and then presents them with "nul points". He antagonises them into attacking, but attacks back with his singing - they begin to burst. Outside, more screaming...
Parth Three: The Doctor faces off against Prime, who he is surprised to realise has kept her human vocal chords - she is still able to overpower him with her Shalka screams, and claims he only beat the previous warriors as they were inexperienced. He still tries to sing at her, but is beaten [this reminds him of his fencing skills - he is a member of Salle Paul, a pupil of Italo Sentilli, tutor to the Chevalier d'Eon and Abraham Lincoln - he'd only not won an Olympic medal as he refused to tie himself to a nationality]. As a last resort , he opens the wormhole and kicks Prime in. Alison is able to close the wormhole back up, and the Doctor asks her to take back the Shalka grub that he had swallowed.
Part Four: The Doctor promises that the grub is asleep, he just needs Alison to give it orders. She does so - and frees humanity, telling them to stop screaming [Lala, Elise and Anton are still alive to hear this]. The Doctor makes an announcement to the Shalka: another perfectly pitched sound, but this time he destroys them all. [Lala survives, with his Mum, Dad and Aj. Elise and Ann Gower are reunited. Anton and Val triumphantly exclaim "aliens - you can always beat them somehow."] Alison wishes she'd had another couple of seconds to use the scream to fix the atmosphere, but the Doctor says it's up to humans to do that. He explains he is a mass of contradictions: so many friends in the military and such a genocidal pacifist - she understands...
Part Five: Kennet mocks Greaves for moaning while antiseptic is applied to his forehead. [Following a long, hot bath, Alison stands in the console room and mulls over reading a book on human history 2003-2010.] The Master and Alison talk about the Doctor - he explains that his friend would never invite her to stay, but that she can offer him a companionship he has not allowed himself for a long time. She asks what happened to him, but the Master will not tell her - just that he was of aid to him, and in return he offered the Master a last chance of salvation: Life as a robot. The Doctor enters, huffing that the Master left the umbrella stand in the zeppelin hanger again, and he and Alison walk out into the rain. Alison asks if they could go and visit the pyramids, but at this point Joe and the army arrive. Kennet offers the Prime Minister's congratulations, and the Doctor says goodbye to his new friend. Before he can leave, though, she goes to tell Joe she will be travelling with him. At the Doctor's suggestion, Joe calls Alison's Mum to see if she's already arrived home, following adventures as yet unknown. She isn't, but Alison leaves in the TARDIS anyway...
The Feast of the Stone
The TARDIS arrives in a cave, which seems to have a consciousness. The Doctor leaves to investigate, and Alison contemplates following him, asking the Master (who cannot himself leave) if he thinks she should apologise to him. Alison does leave, although the Doctor practically ignores her, hallucinating that he is sharing an anecdote with a large crowd of people. Alison cannot see any way out, so goes to rouse the Doctor, but begins hallucinating herself, saying goodbye to her dying grandmother in hospital. The Doctor's dream continues as a familiar female arrives, and then he is thrown into a warzone, stumbling around the dead and dying. Alison continues to watch her Nan die, and then is taken to a club with Joe, and then back to the hospital where she stands with her Mum as her grandma dies. Back in the room where the Doctor is telling stories, he notices that everyone's wine glasses are filled with blood, but the Master's voice comes through, as he reaches from the TARDIS and grabs the Doctor, dragging him back in. Inside, they look on the scanner and see Alison being attacked by shadows, and levitating above an alter. The Doctor theorises that this is the stone tape effect, put forth by Thomas Lethbridge in Cambridge, that rock is capable of containing psychic memories of people - although in this case there is something sentient in the rock feeding off memories like a psychic vampire. The scanner starts showing what Alison is seeing, but includes one of the Master's memories, as he kills a guard. The Doctor realises that the Master, through the TARDIS, has unwittingly awakened the monster, and deactivates him. He then tempts the shadows to feed on the Master's evil emotions and uses the TARDIS console to overload him and destroy them. He brings Alison back inside and gives her a Brandy, as she wonders what will happen when he has a need to deactivate HER.
Further reading...The official site's 'Scream of the Shalka' section still contains video/text interviews with Grant, Okenodo, Kelly, Norton, Moloney, Calder-Marshall, Dunn, Quick and Milam (along with the various multimedia 'bonus features' listed above). DWM #336 features a lengthy interview with various cast members, including Grant, and DWM #340 features a review by Dave Owen. 'The Feast of the Stone' can still be read at BBCi (now BBC Online), although 'Cabinet of Light' is now out-of-print.
Scream of the Shalka
Richard E Grant
The actor chosen to play the Ninth Doctor was Richard E Grant, born May 5th 1957 in Mbabane, Swaziland, as Richard Grant Esterhuysen. Grant studied English and Drama in Capetown, South Africa, before moving to London in 1982. Beyond a couple of small film appearances, he did not become "known" until 1987's "Withnail and I" (co-starring Eighth Doctor Paul McGann), which shot him to stardom. Between then and 2003, he appeared in 40 films (many made-for-TV), starred in 8 TV series and made guest appearances in 'Absolutely Fabulous' and 'Let Them Eat Cake'. He also played the Tenth Doctor (following on from Rowan Atkinson's Ninth) in the 1999 Comic Relief Doctor Who spoof 'The Curse of Fatal Death'.
Grant has never hidden from the fact that, growing up without a TV, he has next-to-no-knowledge of Doctor Who, and had to be given the background of the character when preparing for 'Shalka'.
Prior to 2003, 36-year-old writer Paul Cornell had made quite a name for himself in the Doctor Who world, penning five Virgin New Adventures (including the popular 'Love and War' which introduced Bernice Summerfield, 'Human Nature' and 'Happy Endings'), the first Missing Adventure ('Goth Opera'), a BBC Eighth Doctor Adventure ('The Shadoes of Avalon'), the first Virgin Bernice novel ('Oh No It Isn't!), two short stories in the Virgin Decalog collections, had edited the first two BFP Benny anthologies (and contributed a story to the second) and had written 'The Shadow of the Scourge', a BFP audio drama featuring Summerfield, and a further McGann audio 'Seasons of Fear' with his wife Caroline Symcox. With so many firsts, he was a natural choice to lead in the new Doctor.
Outside Doctor Who, he had written episodes of British soaps/dramas 'Coronation Street', 'Casualty', 'Springhill', 'Children's Ward', 'Wavelength', 'Holby City', 'Love in the 21st Century' and 'Doctors'. He later went on to be commissioned for an episode in the first season of the new Doctor Who TV series.
Established in 1976, Cosgrove Hall had also made a solid background for themselves in non-Who animation, creating such entertaining and downright weird cartoons/stop-motions as 'Jamie and the Magic Torch', 'Chorlton and the Wheelies', 'Danger Mouse', 'Count Duckula' and the feature film version of 'The BFG'.
Sophie Okonedo (Alison) had appeared in small roles in numerous TV shows and films since 1986, including 'Casualty', 'Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls', 'This Years Love', 'Dirty Pretty Things' and 'Spooks'.
Craig Kelly (Joe) was best known for his starring role in Russell T Davies' 1999 series 'Queer as Folk', but also had small roles in many films including 'Titanic', 'Spiceworld the Movie' (also starring Richard E Grant) and a recurring role in 'Casualty'.
Andrew Dunn (Max) had previously appeared in 'The Bill', 'Coronation Street' and 'Dinnerladies', amongst others.
Anna Calder-Marshall's (Mathilda) credited work is mainly in the form of Shakespeare adaptions in the 60s and 70s, including 'The Winter's Tale', 'King Lear' and 'Titus Andronicus'
Ben Robinson (McGrath) had previously appeared in 'One of Them' and TV series 'Shortland Street'.
Derek Jacobi (The Master) had amounted over 70 TV and film roles before 'Shalka', but was probably best known for his leading part in 'I Claudius'. Earlier in 2003 he had starred in Big Finish Productions' 'Deadline'.
Diana Quick (Prime), wife of actor Bill Nighy (rumoured to be the Ninth Doctor prior to Eccleston's casting) was similarly prolific, with over 40 roles to date including 'Wilt', 'Dalzeil and Pascoe' and 'Saving Grace'.
Jim Norton (Kennet) had appeared in over 30 films and TV shows including 'Memoirs of an Invisible Man', 'American History X' and the second Harry Potter film, although was more often cast in guest roles in shows such as 'Tales of the Unexpected', 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and 'Babylon 5'.
'Shalka' was the first TV/film work for Conor Moloney (Greaves/Dawson).
Alternate Episode 1
For the first week of airing, Episode One was shown in a slightly alternate format. Preceding the opening credits was "BBCi Presents" (as opposed to just "BBCi"), and at the end of the main credits the caption read "Episode I Part I" (instead of "Episode One"). Then at the start of each of the following download chunks was an 18 second sequence with "BBCi Presents", "Scream of the Shalka by Paul Cornell" and "Episode I Part II" (and part III and IV), backed with the title graphics but no sound. There was also no 'Play All' feature. Shortly after the launch of Episode Two, Episode One was reformatted to match.
'Scream of the Shalka' was the fifth webcast presented by BBCi.
The first was the Sylvester McCoy epic 'Death Comes to Time'. One episode (made up of a rejected Radio 4 pilot married with some barely-animated Lee Sullivan drawings) was uploaded 13th July 2001, with a further five similarly-animated episodes appearing in 2002.
Then came 'Real Time', a six-part Colin Baker Cyberman story produced by Big Finish and animated in a similar manner to 'DCtT', uploaded in Summer 2002 and released (in extended form, but without animation) on CD in December 2002.
Next was 'Shada', a six-part Big Finish adaption of the unfinished Tom Baker story, but with Paul McGann cast as the lead. Although the animation was similar, it was created using Flash rather than Real. It was uploaded in Spring 2003 and released (again with no animation) on CD later that year.
Immediately following 'Shada' was a non-Doctor-Who in-house production of 'Ghosts of Albion', an original story by Amber Benson for which Cosgrove Hall were commissioned to provide full-animation Flash files. It was this that led to their involvement in 'Scream of the Shalka'.
After 'Shalka', BBCi set aside money for a followup that would never happen - they eventually used this money to commission Cosgrove Hall to reconstruct The Invasion's missing two episodes for webcasting in late 2005. This, too, would ultimately fall through, but only after the animation had been completed - in late 2006, this "almost webcast" made it to DVD...
North West Tonight
On November 12th (the day before Episode One's upload), local news programme North West Tonight featured a 2'40" report on 'Shalka', centring around a fan, Andy Preen, who talked through the previous Doctors before watching Episode One (with some clips shown) and giving it a positive review. It also featured a brief interview with one of the producers (mistakenly labelled as Steve Maher) in which he pointed out that the animation was based on Richard E Grant, and a soundbite from the real Steve Maher where he talked about his fan roots.
The Phone Greeting
The 7-second phone message greeting callers who phoned in the competition line that opened on October 23rd was very similar to that appearing in Episode Three.
"Hello. You've reached the good ship TARDIS. We're rather busy at the moment - leave a message after the beep, and we'll try and get back to you before you call."
This has never been made available for download at the official site, and therefore appears her for archive interest.
Click to download mp3 (293k)
(Captured by Richard O'Neill for the Outpost Gallifrey forum, remastered by TME)
Although initially announced as the official Ninth Doctor, by the November broadcast the eventually-to-be-Eccleston Doctor had already been announced as the immediate successor to McGann, leaving fans to chew over the possible continuity conflicts, and many to abandon 'Shalka' as 'Unbound' (a term created by Big Finish for a series of extra-continuity adventures produced throughought 2003).
One other possibility is that the 'Shalka' Doctor is some future incarnation. Although the novelisation clearly states that he is in his ninth form (p13), the script itself does not, with only the mention in Episode One that a dead cat "must have used up his nine lives, rather like me" (a reference in Episode Six to Andy Warhol wanting to paint "all nine" of him could just suggest that they met when the Doctor was in his Eccleston body) although implying he is the ninth with this, it is equally possible he is on his tenth (ie used up nine lives - although Tennant has disptoved this theory), his final (ie he is out of lives, like the cat) or his fourteenth (ie he has run out of lives, since he should have died after thirteen).
The novelisation was published February 2nd 2004, and written by Paul Cornell, slightly fleshing out his original script and adding explanatory sections for readers brand new to Doctor Who. It also featured a 24-page 12,000 word Making Of by Cornell and the 18-page original pitch. When commissioned to write this, it was hoped it would lead into a series of Ninth Doctor novels, however by the publishing date it was clear that the Eccleston Doctor's announcement would see the end of this incarnation's travels.
The novelisation was previewed in an interview with Cornell in DWM 339 (15th Jan 2004) and reviewed by Matt Michael in DWM 343 (29th Apr 2004) where he focusses on the storyline itself, but briefly mentions the book as "the best novelisation since 'Remembrance of the Daleks'".
It features a typo on page 103 where Kennet is referred to as "Kellet".
ISBN 0 563 48619 8
Commissioning Editor: Ben Dunn
Editor & Creative Consultant: Justin Richards
Project Editor: Vicki Vrint
Cover Imaging by Black Sheep
Typeset in Garamond by Keystroke, Jacaranda Lodge, Wolverhampton
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Mackays of Chatham
Cover printed by Belmont Press Ltd, Northampton
The Cabinet of Light
Published in July 2003, this was the ninth of Telos Publishing's 15 Doctor Who novellas. It was told from the point of view of a 'time sensitive' outsider, and although the Doctor was at the heart of the plot he only appeared towards the end.
Publicized as being a future Doctor, fans noticed some startling similarities in the descriptions of this incarnation and that of Richard E Grant. Whilst author Daniel O'Mahoney had worked without any knowledge of 'Scream of the Shalka', and this is therefore a coincidence, it's still always possible that the story is part of this Doctor's adventures...
The book, as with all the other novellas in the range, featured a foreward by a recognised scifi/fantasy luminary, and was published both in a £10 "regular" edition and a £25 deluxe one with textured cover and an exclusive frontispiece. Along with its fellows, it was discontinued in June 2004 when Telos' license expired, although the guest characters in this have since gone on to feature in their own 'Time Hunter' range.
ISBN 1 903889 18 9 (deluxe ends -19 7)
First published in England in 2003 by Telos Publishing Ltd, 61 Elgar Avenue, Tolworth, Surrey KT5 9JP, England
Font design by Comicraft
Typeset by TTA Press, 5 Martins Lane, Witcham, Ely, Cambs CB6 2LB, England
Printed in England by Anthony Rowe Ltd, Bumper's Farm Industrial Estate, Chippenham, Wilts SN14 6LH