Making of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
During the filming of the 1979–80 season of Doctor Who, the BBC production workers went on strike, shutting down all work. At the time, the cast and crew were a less than halfway through the recording of Shada, an episode by an up-and-coming writer by the name of Douglas Adams. This was during the reign of the 4th Doctor, played by Tom Baker, at the height of his power, having become one of the most popular Doctors of all time.
Shada is the story of megalomaniac Skagra’s search for the lost prison planet of the Time Lords where they imprisoned other would-be galactic overlords. But only one, very elderly, Time Lord knows the location. Professor Chronotis, a tea loving Time Lord at the end of his final regeneration, is retired to (you guessed it) Earth as a Cambridge professor. And it just so happens the Doctor is paying a visit when Skagra comes calling.
Although eventually the strike would be resolved, it would come too late for Shada. By the time the cast and crew returned to the stage they would be starting a new season. Shada would remain unfinished, but not forgotten.
Now we have a novelization of the story by Gareth Roberts, one that uses the almost complete script written by the much missed Douglas Adams. Make no mistake, this is not simply the screenplay rehashed. Roberts is no stranger to Doctor Whoor humor, having written recent popular scripts for the new series, including The Lodger and Closing Time.