Douglas Adams Is Writing (Posthumously) Again


?Back in the late ’70s, Douglas Adams wrote a Doctor Who serial called “Shada.” If you haven’t heard of it, that’s because only parts of it were filmed when “industrial action at the BBC” halted production in 1980, and then that was it. Or was it?

It wasn’t. Because the BBC is finally publishing a novelization of “Shada” in 2012, written by frequent Who screenwriter Gareth Roberts. Before you pick up your torches and pitchforks and Eoin Colfer’s severed, decaying head, there’s a few things you should know: 1) Adams actually wrote a full script to this, so Roberts doesn’t have to wing anything. 2) Adams had apparently always planned to write the “Shada” novelization himself, except… well, he was Douglas Adams. 3) The BBC has apparently been asking Adams’ estate to allow them to do a “Shada” book for years, and the estate just now acquiesced — so if you’re upset for any reason, I imagine you should be blaming Adams’ widow, who keeps rummaging through her dead husband’s pockets for cash (metaphorically speaking). But with a full script from Adams and a seasoned Who screenwriter on board, I imagine this will end up fine — certainly a far cry from And Another Thing. The plot of “Shada” (courtesy of the Guardian) follows:

The story features the Time Lord coming to Earth with assistant
Romana (Lalla Ward) to visit Professor Chronotis, who has absconded from
Gallifrey, the Doctor’s home planet, and now lives quietly at Cambridge
college St Cedd’s. (The Doctor: “When I was on the river I heard the
strange babble of inhuman voices, didn’t you, Romana?” Professor
Chronotis: “Oh, probably undergraduates talking to each other, I

Chronotis has brought with him the most powerful book in
the universe, The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey – which, in a
typical touch of Adams bathos, turns out to have been borrowed from his
study by a student. Evil scientist Skagra, an escapee from prison
planet Shada, is on its trail.

Doctor Who Goes to College? Enh, works for me. Maybe Roberts can write in a Rodney Dangerfield or Kurt Vonnegut cameo. Thanks to Simon P. for the tip.