A 38 Year Old Unfinished 'Doctor Who' Episode Finally Gets Completed

Throughout all of Doctor Who's adventures, the Time Lord has regularly traveled through various timelines, with the series recently mirroring its fictional narrative as an episode from the late '70s finally being completed. The unfinished episode, entitled "Shada," even brought actor Tom Baker out of retirement to recreate the role of the fourth Doctor.

The episode was partially filmed in 1979, but an engineering strike prevented the episode from being finished. BBC Worldwide wasn't content to have the episode lost forever, using an animated sequence to help fill in the gaps, in addition to filming a new scene with Baker.

Baker has previously donned his iconic coat and scarf for a charity appearance, with this new episode being the first time he portrayed the character in the official series since his run that lasted from 1976 to 1981.

“When I was doing Doctor Who it was the realization of all my childhood fantasies…so I took to it like a duck to water and I still do,” Baker revealed. “Doctor Who was more important than life to me – I used to dread the end of rehearsal….That’s why I can’t stay away from it.”

The episode was written by Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams and, due to its incomplete nature, has gained mythic attention amongst devout Doctor Who fans. At one point, the episode was adapted for a radio play.

“’Shada’ was one of my favorite Doctor Who stories," Baker recalled. "I have many fond memories of shooting the location scenes in Cambridge, and it was disappointing not to finish the story in studio. I’m so glad that BBC Worldwide[has] found a way to bring fans a complete visual version."

Charles Norton helped create the animation for the episode, having previously worked on another lost episode, "The Power of the Daleks." Mark Ayers even utilized authentic equipment from the '70s to create an all-new score for the episode.

To mark the memorable episode, the BBC will opt to avoid its broadcast, but will instead make the special available as a digital download and also a DVD release.

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The episode is currently available digitally and will be available on DVD in January.

[H/T Variety]