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Home>Books>Black Archive, The

The Black Archive 10: The Scream of the Shalka

Was released on 3 March 2017

Price: £6.99

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The Black Archive – a series of book-length looks at single Doctor Who stories from 1963 to the present day.

 

Intended as the first in a series of online animated dramas, Scream of the Shalka (2003) was the first attempt to redefine Doctor Who for the 21st century. Produced by BBCi and written by Doctor Who novelist (and later scriptwriter on the revived series) Paul Cornell, it maintains a traditional feel while rethinking the roles of Doctor, companion and villain.

 

Richard E Grant’s Doctor is characterised as aristocratic and aloof, drawing on models from the past such as Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor, Sherlock Holmes and even Dracula. The story, in which the Doctor must accept military assistance to foil an alien invasion beginning in an isolated English village, adheres to a venerable formula. Nevertheless, Scream of the Shalka anticipates its successor in perceptive ways – featuring a Doctor who is ‘an emotional island’ numbed by recent trauma, a companion who must choose between a predictable life with her boyfriend and the joys and dangers of travel with the Doctor, and a Master humiliated by the Doctor’s duty of care.

 

A victim of timing as much as of its own flaws, Scream of the Shalka remains a fascinating glimpse into an alternative vision for Doctor Who.