Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor Returns to Live Action in the Shada Remaster

By Tom Pritchard on at

Shada is a Doctor Who story that sadly never got to be completed thanks to industrial action, leading to a number of attempts to 'finish it' over the resulting decades. The BBC's upcoming release, complete with new animated sequences, is the first time Tom Baker got involved to reprise his role, and it turns out it'll see his Doctor return to live action once more.

It's not the first time the actor came back to Doctor Who after his departure in 1981, though. He returned (sort of) in character for the 1992 Shada VHS reconstruction, the much-derided 1992 Children in Need special Dimensions in Time, and he had that cameo in the 50th anniversary special as the museum curator - who may, or may not also be the Doctor's future self. But now, in addition to the voice work, he'll be back in live action as the Fourth Doctor, complete with the famous scarf and coat. It's only a cameo, though, so don't expect the 83-year old actor to be doing very much running around.

The scene will feature the Doctor at the TARDIS console, and was filmed at the BBC Television Centre this year. In the scene the Doctor recites a line from the original script (written by Douglas Adams):

“I expect that sometime in the future – in about 200 years’ time – someone will meet me and say is that really the Doctor? He seemed such a nice old man.”

Well Tom Baker does seem like a nice old man these days, though he's a long way off 200. He had some nice things to say about Doctor Who as well:

“Shada was one of my favourite Doctor Who stories. I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in the studio. When I was doing Doctor Who it was the realisation of all my childhood fantasies… so I took to it like a duck to water and I still do.

I loved doing Doctor Who because it was life to me…. My real life was really rather drab… I used to dread the end of rehearsal… I never left (Doctor Who) and that’s why I can’t stay away from it.”

The new version of Shada is out as a digital download today, from the usual places (including iTunes and Amazon). It's out on DVD and Blu-ray on 4th December.

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