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Doctor #9a Guide

 

"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 is back. This time he's fully animated, he's got a new body... and he's on BBCi.

Richard E. Grant will play the ninth incarnation of the Time Lord. He described his interpretation as something of a "Sherlock Holmes in Space," and said he immensely enjoyed recording the story.

The animated adventure, featuring a star-studded cast, is scripted by Paul Cornell - regarded as one of the finest of the new breed of Doctor Who authors. Paul is also an established TV writer, working on such series as BBC1's Casualty.

"I'm honoured to have the chance to set the Doctor off on another forty years of adventures," said Paul. "Just wait until you hear Richard! He is the Doctor!"

The story is set to debut in mid-November, in time for Doctor Who's 40th anniversary.

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.

The story of 'Scream of the Shalka' began several months previously, when Paul Cornell received a call from BBCi producer Jelena Djordjevic asking if he'd be interested in writing a new webcast. After discussing this further with James Goss, Matrin Trickey (who had managed to wangle within the BBC the ability to regenerate the Doctor), Ann Kelly and Daniel Judd, he got to work on writing the story. Bouncing ideas off Jelena (who, as a non-fan, was able to give a distanced look at what would make a good story, and suggested the Doctor carry a mobile phone) and working with Martin (who wanted an uber-threat for the villains), he come up with the 'Shalakor' (later renamed the Shalka), snake-like creatures that take over polluted worlds. It was also decided the Doctor would have two companions: Alison, who was initially conceived as a cinema usher (vetoed by new producer Murinn Lane Kelly who suggested a more mundane job for the "everywoman") and a hologram of the fifth Doctor (later to be replaced by a robot Master). Scenes in New Zealand were inspired by Cornell's honeymoon there (partially ruined as technological problems almost meant the first draft failed to reach BBCi in time) and he decided to avoid a regeneration scene, and skip straight to a point in the Ninth Doctor's life where has has begun to become cynical and weary (not helped by the recent loss of a loved one). Upon Paul's return, experienced director Wilson Milam was appointed, casting was finalised (including Richard E Grant, to everyone's surprise) and recording began on June 13th a the BBC'S Soundhouse Studios (where 'Death Comes to Time' had been recorded in December 2001), ready for the July 9th announcement.

On July 24th, issue 333 of Doctor Who Magazine hit the shelves, carrying a similar story to BBCi's but adding character and cast details for companion Alison (Sophie Okenedo) and Joe (Craig Kelly), and the mid-June recording. The following month (August 21st), DWM was able to confirm that Cosgrove Hall were providing the animation, the majority of the guest cast (including Derek Jacobi, fresh from a stint with Big Finish, as The Master, and bizarrely listing Ben Morrison and David Tennant as 'the Caretakers', a fact backed up in a later feature) and the location as Lancashire 2003.

Excitement built-up over the following months, with a tie-in novel announced (quickly delayed until February) written by Cornell himself, and rumours that the ninth Doctor may end up becoming the "current" one for DWM and BBC Books - all of this came to nothing, of course, as on September 26th news broke of a new TV series in pre-production - one which would undoubtedly not feature this Doctor, and 'Scream of the Shalka' was hurriedly sidelined.

This didn't stop BBCi from ramping up publicity at their end, mainly with exclusive postcards designed by Lee Binding appearing at the November Panopticon, preceded by a full announcement on October 2rd:

Further details of our special anniversary full-animated story featuring Richard E Grant.

It's not only cats that have nine lives... Doctor Who is back! As the cult series prepares to celebrate its 40th birthday, Richard E Grant, star of films such as Withnail And I, Jack And Sarah and Bram Stoker's Dracula, steps out of the TARDIS as the ninth incarnation of the Doctor – only on BBCi.

The new, animated Doctor Who series, Scream Of The Shalka, premieres on BBCi on Thursday 13th November.

Grant, who is joined by an all-star cast including Sir Derek Jacobi, Sophie Okonedo and Diana Quick, describes his interpretation of the much-loved Time Lord as 'something of a Sherlock Holmes in space'.

The six-part drama, animated by Cosgrove Hall and posted on BBCi at lunchtime on Thursdays, follows hot on the heels of the success of previous BBCi web dramas, including Shada, a lost Doctor Who script written by the late Douglas Adams, and the Prix Europa-nominated Ghosts Of Albion, starring Leslie Phillips, written by Amber Benson (who plays Tara in Buffy The Vampire Slayer).

Scream Of The Shalka has been scripted by established TV writer Paul Cornell, who has worked on series including BBC One's Casualty and has written a number of science fiction novels.

BBCi's Martin Trickey says: "We are delighted to be able to bring another fantastic series of Doctor Who to a whole new generation of people. Broadcasting the series via the BBCi website means that people can watch it whenever they want to, so they'll never have to miss a minute!"

The series begins as an unexplained meteor crashes into the side of a New Zealand volcano, unleashing the snake-like Shalka, an alien species with a deadly scream.

Thousands of miles away in a Lancashire town, the TARDIS materialises on a Saturday night. The streets are empty, the pubs are deserted and random, unexplained pools of lava keep appearing on the ground.

Time isn't on the Doctor's side and neither, it seems, are the town's inhabitants – with the possible exception of feisty barmaid Alison. When the TARDIS disappears in a pool of lava and the Doctor and Alison are confronted by the hunting Shalka, it seems that there's just no way out...

In 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 giggles).

The primary force behind the October marketing push was, as usual, Doctor Who Magazine. Issue 336 (published 16th October, and also carrying the news of the new TV series) featured a 7-page diary of a day of recording by Benjamin Cook, who attended (or, as the article reveals, tried unsuccessfully to attend) on a day mainly made up of scenes with the Doctor and Kennet (misspelt 'Kennett' throughout most of the article). Interviews with most of the cast, Cornell, BBCi's James Goss and Cosgrove Hall's Steve Maher were included, as were the first images of the Master and the Shalka (and the best yet images of the Doctor and Alison, also confirming that the Sonic Screwdriver would make a reapparance).

The hastily extended 40th anniversary hardback 'The Legend' (with added Ninth Doctor section) hit the shops some weeks earlier than planned, meaning that by October 30th plot details had been revealed for the first few episodes, most notably the appearance of a robotic Master.

The first online teaser (featuring clips from the animation set to Russell Stone's music) appeared on October 31st, and a week later BBC7 started airing three audio trailers edited by Martin Montague with soundbites backed by the new theme arrangement. Throughout the first fortnight in November, a TV trailer with visual clips (including, briefly, the opening credits) was airing on the BBC, a special preview [see boxout, right] aired on North West Tonight, and on Thursday November 13th, 'Scream of the Shalka' Episode One went online...

Alongside the uploads each Thursday, video interviews with nine of the cast and crew appeared, as did fifteen desktop wallpapers (mostly grabs from Episode One, along with two cast photos and an opening credits grab), five soundtrack extracts in Real format, a 1 minute edit of Creation Music's opening theme and an unused piece of Russell Stone's soundtrack.

Two days after the November 20th upload date of Episode Two, the National Museum of Photography Film and Television screened the first three episodes, followed up by a Q&A with Paul Cornell and Steve Maher.

On December 10th, the day before Episode Five was uploaded, the novelisation was formally announced, with a large version of the cover and a full blurb appearing on BBCi. An "extensive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the animated series" was promised as part of it.

When the Doctor lands his TARDIS in the Lancashire* town of Lannet, in the present, he finds that somehing is terribly wrong.

The people are scared. They don't like going out onto the streets at night, they don't like making too much noise, and they certainly don't like strangers asking questions.

What alien force has invaded the town? Why is it watching barmaid Alison Cheney? And what plans does it have for the future of the planet Earth?

The Doctor is helped (and hindered) by his new military liaison Major Kennet and his Royal Green Jacket troops. His old enemy the Master also plays a small part. During the course of this adventure he encounters a brand new race of ferocious alien monsters, and strikes up a friendship with his latest companion, Alison.

While starting with a small community under threat, this old-fashioned, very traditional but very up-to-date Doctor Who story takes in the entire world, from New Zealand to India, Siberia to the USA, and cosmic expanses beyond.

*reads "Lancaster" on the final cover, and "the Lancaster town of Kennet" on an early back cover proof.

'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 the screen.

After 2003, 'Shalka' was all but forgotten. A followup short story appeared without announcement on BBC Cult's Vampire site, an Ebook was mooted for the official site, and Cosgrove Hall won the award for Best Digital Animation at the Blue Chip Awards in Manchester on 22nd January. The rumoured DVD continued to be rumoured, and still has yet to appear, although the novelisation was finally published at the end of January 2005, with Paul Cornell signing copies of it at the 10th Planet collector's shop. The followup short story, 'The Feast of the Stone', added some backstory (mainly to Alison's character) and featured references to the Nigel Kneale TV movie 'The Stone Tape' of 1972 amongst the Vampire-like (but not Great Vampire-like) aliens who appear, but otherwise was little more than an excuse for a vampire story guest-starring the Doctor. Writers Cav and Mark had this to say at the official site:

Cavan Scott and Mark Wright are two long-time Doctor Who fans known for their highly-rated Big Finish audio plays. Their website is at www.beyondtheforge.co.uk

Cav and Mark's comments on the writing of the story follow:

So here we are in the company of the undead once more. Just how did we come to write for vampires in the Doctor Who universe yet again?

Apparently, Project: Twilight, an audio drama we'd penned for Big Finish Productions in 2001 went down well. It featured Colin Baker as the Sixth incarnation of the Doctor fighting vampires on the banks of the river Thames. The vampires in this case were of a fairly traditional bent, albeit in their guise of "mockney" gangsters.

When we were approached, on the back of Project: Twilight, to pen the Doctor Who segment of this short story collection, we saw the chance to do something different, twisting the theme of vampirism slightly. We also saw the opportunity to combine the running theme with elements of paranormal investigation, in which we both share a passing interest.

More than this, the major pull for writing The Feast of the Stone was to be able to contribute towards the mythos of a brand new incarnation of Doctor Who. The Scream of the Shalka introduced Richard E Grant as the Doctor, a totally different Time Lord to any we had experienced before. With his former arch enemy, the Master now a robotic ally, and the human presence of Alison Cheney as a new travelling companion, the TARDIS had its most interesting crew in years on board for new adventures.

With such a short word count, we realised that action would have to be kept to a minimum, but the story flowed very easily from within the characters themselves. We were especially keen to use the Master to drive the story, and from there examine the dynamic of the characters and their interactions.

This new Doctor is a traveller, much as he always had been, but this Doctor is haunted, running from a new demon eating at his soul. He is also an aesthete – he likes fine wine and expensive brandy (another new trait for this Doctor is his predilection for alcohol). He craves social company, yet is rude and standoffish, and we wanted to bring that contradiction to light in the contrast between the party flashbacks, and his inability to relate to Alison in the closing moments aboard the TARDIS.

Our editor, Ann, requested a blanket ban on any continuity references or in-jokes connected to the original television series or books. (No I didn't, Ed) However, as the Doctor regales his party audience, we managed to sneak past a crafty reference to Quarks, robotic servitors seen in the Patrick Troughton television story, The Dominators. Since then, they have become shorthand for things that are a bit, well... rubbish. The punchline to the Doctor’s joke also includes a reference to Slarvians. We created the Slarvians for an abandoned Big Finish project, but Mark had picked them up for his soon-to-be released Tomorrow People adventure, The Slarvian Menace.

The synopsis for The Feast of the Stone was sent to BBCi in an extremely developed stage, complete with snatches of dialogue already written. This helped us put the essence of the characters across much more easily. It had been some months since we’d worked on anything together.

Aside from several short stories and three Doctor Who audio dramas for Big Finish, our writing paths had taken separate forks recently. Mark chose to pursue a freelance career, whilst Cav continued as a magazine editor. Solo projects have followed, with Mark penning several film and TV guides, as well as recently completing an adaptation for audio of the acclaimed Bryan Talbot comic book, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright. Cav meanwhile has swapped the TARDIS for Mega City One with the Judge Dredd audio adventure, For King and Country, due for release from Big Finish in June. He's also penned October's Tomorrow People adventure The Warlock's Ring for them, and has other projects in development.

However, working on The Feast of the Stone reminded us how much fun it is writing together, something we’d forgotten in recent months. The partnership is now well and truly revived, with plans to work together on various projects in the near future.

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...

Synopses

Scream 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.

The stories


Scream of the Shalka
by Paul Cornell

BBCi Webcast #5
Episode One:
Nov 13th 2003 (14'32")
Episode Two:
Nov 20th 2003 (10'12")
Episode Three:
Nov 27th 2003* (12'07")
Episode Four:
Dec 4th 2003 (10'12")
Episode Five:
Dec 11th 2003 (12'37")
Episode Six:
Dec 18th 2003 (15'06")
Uploaded at 12:30

*premiere screening Nov 22nd at NMPFT, Bradford

Cast
The Doctor: Richard E Grant
Alison: Sophie Okonedo
Joe: Craig Kelly (1-2, 4-6)
Max: Andrew Dunn (1, 5)
Mathilda: Anna Calder-Marshall (1)Dawson: Conor Moloney (1)
McGrath: Ben Morrison (1)
The Master: Derek Jacobi (2-6)
Prime: Diana Quick (2-6)
Kennet: Jim Norton (2-6)
Greaves: Conor Moloney (3, 5-6)

Uncredited Cast
Ben Morrison and David Tennant as 'The Caretakers' (Nat and Mitch, Episode Five)
Rob Francis created the sound of the Doctor's hand on the blackboard in Episode Two

Crew
Broadcast Assistant: Ursula Smyth
Incidental Music: Russell Stone
Theme Music: Ron Grainer
Theme Arrangement:
Creation Music
Recording and Post-Production:
The Soundhouse
Animation:
Cosgrove Hall Films
Producer: Muirinn Lane Kelly
Executive Producers:
Mario Dubois, James Goss,
Martin Trickey
Director: Wilson Milam
BBCi 2003



The Feast of the Stone
by Cav Scott & Mark Wright

A BBCi Ebook
Short-Story
Published Feb 2004
3,809 words

Illustration by Daryl Joyce

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'.

Paul Cornell



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.

Cosgrove Hall



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'.

Guest Cast



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.

Webcasts



'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)

Which Doctor?



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).

Novelisation



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