Break Out Your Stripey Scarf, Tom Baker Is Returning To The TARDIS

Doctor Who

Back in 1979, a BBC strike had the effect of shelving a Doctor Who episode penned by Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams that would have starred Fourth Doctor Tom Baker. The Who team had captured only seven hours of footage when the strike happened and the episode, “Shada,” was never completed… until now.

Baker, arguably the most popular Doctor in the history of regeneration (just try to count all the stripey scarves you see at Comic-Cons), is dusting off his key to the TARDIS and doing his part to complete the decades-old episode. The actor has the honour of being the person to play the role the longest (his tenure lasted from 1974 to 1981, with a return in 1993 for a charity special and another in 2013 for the 50th Anniversary celebration, “Day of the Doctor”).

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The BBC is making every effort to give the new/old episode an authentic late-1970s feel by using the original scripts and footage and limiting the technology and special effects used in the reshoots to equipment that was available in the era. The new scenes will be shot on cameras from the ‘70s and will feature Baker’s original TARDIS and faithful companion, K9 the robotic canine. Animated versions of characters like the Doctor’s assistant Romana will be used on screen and the actual actors who played them will voice their cartoon avatars.

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As for Baker, he’ll appear in scenes as an aged version of himself—which, we’re guessing, the episode’s storyline will somehow explain. What we do know is that Baker is super enthusiastic to play the Doctor one more time: “I think it never left me and that’s why I can’t stay away from it,” he told The Guardian. “It was a lovely time of my life. I loved doing Doctor Who because it was life to me. My real life was really rather drab compared with the life of Doctor Who when we were making it. Doctor Who for me was an asylum and when I was in, in full flight, making silly suggestions or pulling funny faces to make actors laugh, then I was happy.”

“Shada” is available to download from iTunes now and will be released on a DVD on December 4.