Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Scream Of The Whovians

By Shannon Lush 

**Note: I wrote this in the late evening/early morning hours while a torrential downpour of rain spattered off the roof and beat against the windows of my humble abode. It provided the perfect atmosphere and mood by which to write. It is one of the joys of being a long-serving Whovian: the mere mention of titles of stories and actor's names and big events that surrounded their creation and transmission cause good memories to come pouring forth faster than the rain. I hope you enjoy this blog entry as much as I did crafting it!**

'Doctor Who' fandom, in addition to boasting the longest running television science fiction series in history, also can beat its collective chest over its expanded universe of spin-off material. From original novels to comic books and strips, audio and even stage plays, the quirky, low budget series that captured imaginations from day one has, for almost 50 years now, presented diverse stories for fans to enjoy. Today we will be reviewing 'Scream Of The Shalka', a 2003 flash-animated adventure first transmitted on BBCi, or BBC Interactive, the corporation's official website.

In order to properly understand the story and its shifted status from 'officially approved by the BBC' to 'relegated to non-canonical nonsense', several facts must be presented. To begin with, in 2002/03, when this adventure was green-lighted for creation, the BBC appeared to have no intention of resurrecting 'Doctor Who' in televised form. As highbrow and stuffy as the BBC were (and in many respects, still are), their relationship to what was once considered a 'flagship series' has always been contentious; many a BBC Controller or programmer has lamented the fact that, for every period piece, every hard-hitting drama featuring stiff-upper-lipped British actors giving their all in the name of art, every prestigious mini series featuring Lawrence Olivier, their biggest money-spinning export to multiple countries happened to be a low-budget kid's series they made on the cheap featuring rock quarries in Surrey! Simply put, 'Doctor Who' was not the property the BBC wished to be associated with in the eyes of worldwide audiences. They weren't proud of it, no matter how much money it put in their corporate hands. Like an unwanted child, 'Doctor Who' spent its existence on BBC screens searching for love and acceptance from its parents, and instead by 1989 found itself cancelled indefinitely. Sure, the BBC were loath to utter the word 'cancelled', and swapped it out for the less offensive 'hiatus', in order to continue to profit from the gravy train while offering nothing new. But no 'Doctor Who' on the screen was no 'Doctor Who' on the screen, no matter which way it was labelled.

As much as the BBC sought to make 'Doctor Who' for as little money as they could possibly get away with, as much as they forced Whovians to wade through the empty promises of a brighter future from Controllers and various other talking heads who periodically, when corned by the press or persistent fans, would reiterate the party line of 'we intend to insure a bright future for 'Doctor Who' and at some point it will return', as much as they slapped Whovians with their right hands while diving into their pockets to grab profits from the latest New Adventures book or VHS tape release with their left, by the early 2000's it did appear, finally, to fans and the BBC alike, that 'Doctor Who' would never return to the screen. After all, when the only televised adventures the BBC relented to making during the 1990's consisted of clumsy or comedic (and comedic ally clumsy!) tripe such as the 1993 charity special 'Dimensions In Time', in which the Whoniverse was allowed back on BBC1 for a grand total of 15 minutes, but only if it was forcibly merged with that of 'EastEnders', or the 7th Doctor, Ace, and K-9 'searching out space' in the children's series of the same name, and answering science-based questions along the way, even the most dedicated and hard-core Whovian began to doubt.  Anthony Ainley's over-the-top command of 'you must die, Doctor, die!’ in the final moments of Peter Davison's regeneration began to become an epitaph that echoed through the minds of fandom. Not even the august personage of Steven Spielberg, who stamped his approval on a plan to put in motion the creation of what would become the 1996 Paul McGann TV film, could save our beloved Doctor this time.
By 1999, with the amusing 'Curse Of Fatal Death' charity special featuring comic genius Rowan Atkinson as the Doctor, it was apparent that the BBC were only interested in lending the character out for comedy appearances, rather like a cheap clown for children's birthdays.

Then, someone at the BBC reached into their pockets like the miser Scrooge, produced a well-worn shilling, and thought 'we can re-make him, gentlemen, we have the technology'. As they had done for what seemed like time immemorial when it came to producing new 'Doctor Who', the BBC looked to the cheapest method. No more would they sell the feature film rights to shady operators like Coast-To-Coast Productions, who spent close on a decade scrambling to raise funds before the deadline to start filming lapsed, only to fail miserably and be forced to allow the rights to revert back to the BBC. No more would they seek to co-produce a new series and then argue over the nickels and dimes of budget and profits, as they did with Amblin and FOX over the McGann film, souring both on the prospect of follow-up films. No, 'Doctor Who' would, for once, stay in-house and under the corporate umbrella. The result was the first-ever fully-licensed, animated 'Doctor Who' adventure. While an admirable feat in itself, the resultant story is, simply put, awful.

'Scream Of The Shalka' was written by Paul Cornell, who was rapidly on his way at the time to becoming a fan-favourite in the mould of Terrance Dicks, as from his pen had come the likes of 'Love And War', a celebrated novel from the 'New Adventures' line of Virgin Publishing. In addition to introducing the character of Bernice Summerfield, who herself would go on to enjoy spin-off success both inside the Whoniverse and, when Virgin Publishing lost the license to continue to make original 'Doctor Who' stories, essentially took over from the Doctor as the main protagonist, Cornell had authored several popular works of fiction and non-fiction about the series. He was given the mandate of not only producing a new story for a new medium, in this case flash-animation, he also was tasked with creating a completely new incarnation of the Doctor. More on the character he devised to come.
On paper, the notion of a writer so well versed in 'Doctor Who' itself, who had the respect of Whovians as a true torch-bearer for the new generation of 'Doctor Who' mythos, seemed like a home-run. Or, so it seemed.

With Cornell on board, it fell to James Goss, one of the executive producers of the project, to make the decision on mounting a brand-new, fully-licensed, continuation of 'Doctor Who' with a new lead actor, rather than simply hire Paul McGann to reprise his role as the fully-licensed 8th Doctor. Goss had been made senior content producer of the BBC's website, and under his aegis, had expanded the online presence of 'Doctor Who' on the site. Visitors to the website in this time could be forgiven for thinking that the BBC actually cared about 'Doctor Who', given Goss's hard work on what became the BBC's 'Cult TV' section. At this point in the sordid tale of 'Shalka', the facts become murky. This reviewer cannot find any rationale behind the decision to present a 'new' Doctor, from Goss or anyone else involved. Common sense would dictate, if the 8th Doctor existed as the 'officially licensed BBC Doctor' by this point in time, which the character was, 'why' the need to deviate?

Consider these salient facts: like his seven predecessors, the 8th Doctor's image and likeness were trademarked by the BBC; in effect, the BBC 'owned' the character. Since his debut in the FOX/Amblin TV film of 1996, the character featured in the comic strips published in 'Doctor Who Magazine', as well as what would become, today, the longest-serving number of 'Doctor Who' adventures featuring one  specific incarnation, the Big Finish audio play range. The character also became the main protagonist of the BBC Book's 'Doctor Who' novel range, which took over the officially-licensed printed adventures from Virgin (after the Doctor was depicted as possibly having sex with his successor as protagonist in the Virgin books, Bernice...but that's an entirely different rant for another blog!). That's not counting the numerous merchandise created around and featuring the 8th Doctor. In short, the real-world reason the Doctor was regenerated in the FOX film had less to do with storylines and much more to do with the much-needed regeneration of the spin-off work itself. A new, younger, handsome and charismatic Doctor was exactly what the books, comics, and audios needed, a creative shot in the arm to inject new life into a character that had been, by that point with the 7th Doctor, mined for every dramatic purpose under the sun. By 2003, the McGann version of the Doctor had been accepted as the 'current' Doctor by Whovians and casual fan alike. One would naturally assume that 'if' the BBC were giving the corporate nod to continuing the officially-licensed adventures of 'Doctor Who', this incarnation, which they owned lock, stock, and barrel, and which was the 'face of the franchise' by this point, would be the one to go with.

'Bugger off with the bloke', the BBC said, and Paul Cornell got to work coming up with a completely new Doctor, voiced by a completely different actor: Richard E Grant. While this reviewer to this day shakes his head at the oversight of intentionally handicapping the project with now being forced to spend valuable screen time introducing a new Doctor, perhaps there were forces at work that conspired to force this change. Perhaps Paul McGann refused the project, assuming of course he was ever at any point asked, though this assumption overlooks the actor's repeated association with the Whoniverse through Big Finish, as well as convention appearances...not to mention the zeal by which he states he not only would have continued as the Doctor had the FOX film led to a new series, but his wish to appear in the current series as well at some point, perhaps in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Perhaps, given the combination of flash animation over audio and the new medium of the internet as the broadcaster, it was felt a new Doctor would act as the mascot of BBCi, eschewing the previous incarnations depicted in other media forms. Whatever the true reason, whoever ultimately made the decision, whatever the short and long-term plan was, the result is that 'Scream Of The Shalka' features a Doctor that, for one brief period, was the officially-approved-by-the-BBC '9th Doctor'. Yes, you read that right: before Christopher Eccleston, before the new series, before Russell T Davies, the officially licensed Doctor, regenerated FROM Paul McGann's 8th Doctor...was the one depicted in 'Scream Of The Shalka'. Did we mention the BBC just can't stop messing with Whovian's hearts? We covered that, right? 

Richard E Grant, aside from being one of those pretentious actors with initials denoting their middle names, seemed on the surface to be a decent, if not spectacular, choice to give life to this '9th Doctor'. Aside from starring with McGann himself in the cult film 'Withnail And I', he had appeared alongside Bruce Willis in the film 'Hudson Hawk'. Aside from a brief turn as the Doctor already in 'The Curse Of Fatal Death', portraying a future incarnation of the Doctor for laughs, Grant had done nothing of substance and nothing of note that would be worthy of rewarding him with what many previous actors chosen to play the Doctor called 'the role of a lifetime'. He was not given the role based on his 'Fatal Death' experience, any more than Mr Bean was ever seriously considered to be the next Doctor. The truth of the matter is that Grant was cheap, Grant was available, and he had limited experience in voice acting. And his subsequent performance would reflect his unsuitability to the role.

To make matters worse, the chosen animation company for this project, a Manchester-based outfit called Cosgrove-Hall, decided to visually pattern the 9th Doctor after the actor voicing him, resulting not only in a Doctor with bags under his eyes and a pronounced lip, but with long, flowing hair slicked tight to his scalp. In this 'new Who', the Doctor seemingly applies hair product in liberal doses. Cosgrove-Hall had produced, or co-produced, such classic British animated exports as 'Danger Mouse' and 'Count Duckula', so there was hope they would do their vision of the Whoniverse justice. Then again, Paul Cornell wrote 'Love And War', and he's not getting off the hook, either. Life isn't always fair, now is it?

This Doctor is depicted as taller, wears Victorian-inspired clothing complete with crushed green velvet smoking jacket and cape, is more physical than his previous incarnations, shouts at what are no-doubt-supposed-to-be Timelord overlords who appear to frequently direct and/or misdirect his travels, is curt and impatient with his human companion, has a sonic screwdriver, dislikes the military mindset, and is arrogant and superior-minded. In other words, a poor man's 3rd Doctor.

There are shades of other incarnations tossed in for good measure, as well; instead of creating a fresh, new version from the ground up, Paul Cornel performs a strange alchemy upon the character, picking out recognizable personality traits from the previous eight incarnations and putting them all in a blender. The result is a 9th Doctor who has moments of manic genius like Tom Baker, resigned disgust at the dark elements present in the universe like the latter McCoy years, spirited belligerence like Colin Baker, and the aforementioned parallels to the fashion sense and action-adventure feel to the Pertwee years. Not only is this a top-heavy character for Whovians to attempt to get used to, Grant's absolutely dot-for-dot, line-reading approach does it no favours. Tonally flat and dull, with no hint of immersing himself into the role whatsoever, Grant's Doctor emotes about as well as Adric. Teamed up with an animation studio that here appears not to have been paid enough by the BBC to properly design and animate the character much beyond cardboard cut-out level with a range of motion befitting the worst penny-pinching of Filmation's 'He-Man', what should be the triumphant return of the legendary Time Lord in an epic adventure that boasts not only a new actor in the role but a new injection of talent, time, and money, is instead bested by episodes of 'South Park'.

On to the story itself. As lamented earlier, this story by necessity must spend a portion of its playing time introducing this new incarnation of the Doctor. After all, whatever else must be said of Whovians for blindly supporting everything 'Doctor Who' in the face of decades of BBC indifference and hostility to the character, one thing we all are united on is we will forgive shoddy FX, budgets that couldn't stretch to purchase a Happy Meal, and location filming to such exotic locales as windswept rock quarries, so long as the story is good. Especially an introductory story for a new Doctor, those we especially go easy on, realising the tentative nature of the whole thing and the nebulous nature of the initial Doctor character as a work-in-progress. We suffered through the worst excesses of 'Twin Dilemma', after all. How bad can this be?

In Paul Cornell's case, he took the approach of 'it's a new Doctor. Don't ask questions'. There are vague hints this Doctor somehow indirectly caused the death of a previous companion. Vague hints that the Doctor is not in the business of saving people anymore; as he curses at the Timelords, he is 'tired' and 'doesn't do this anymore'. Fair enough. Foreshadowing future revelations of sweeping changes in the Whoniverse is fine, especially since the BBC has green-lighted follow-up stories of this, wait, they didn't. Meaning every utterance of every vague, unspecified situation will go down as unresolved. That's not entirely Cornell's fault; after all, he was commissioned to write this story more than likely on the understanding it would serve as a 'pilot', a trial run for future stories in which he, or other writers, could pick up the bread crumbs he's laid down here and expand on them and fill in the blanks. That a series or any follow-up adventures did not come to fruition is hardly his fault. Except Cornell was also paid to write a novelization based on this story, after the fact. Meaning all the vague allegations to a ghastly companion death, meaning the existence of the Master as inhabiting the body of an android and becoming, essentially, the Doctor's fussy TARDIS butler who at one point even checks the voicemail, meaning the very nature and specifics of the 8th Doctor's regeneration into this 9th, 'should' be resolved by the writer who invented all of them. This reviewer didn't read the novelization, and likely never will, so on this point, we have to give Cornell the benefit of the doubt until we know otherwise. But if it comes to pass that we learn that Cornell was paid twice to tell the same story and in neither does he expound upon the dangling potential storylines that need to be resolved in order to satisfy the chosen few who, like this reviewer, enduring sitting through the animated story, then may he be pushed into the path of Sontarans marching to glory.

So, the Master. The Doctor's arch-nemesis, here reduced to flicking a few buttons on the console and tossing out the odd wry line. Truthfully, he is one of the better characters and brightens the entire story, attempting in vain to rescue it from run-of-the-mill boredom, but that is down to the voice actor, Derek Jacobi, who went on to become the Master officially within the new series, after this trial run. Visually, it appears the look is based more on an aged Roger Delgado than Anthony Ainley, or, as this reviewer immediately flashed on mentally on a Delgado much older and one with paunch, which is odd for an android unless the Doctor fashioned it that way intentionally, one final indignity for his old enemy? Jacobi in one scene spouts his lines with conviction and aplomb convinced this reviewer he, and not Grant, ought to have been cast as The Doctor. He actually doesn't sound as if he is asleep in the chair reading his lines, unlike Grant.

The final piece to this story, on the human side anyway, is the companion. The latest model, as it were, is Alison Chaney, a former history undergrad that gave up her education in order to be with her boyfriend, Joe...although, the 'why' is left unexplored, as is so much else in terms of characterization in this story. Suffice it to say, at the point the Doctor first encounters her, she is a bar maid. Oh, this Doctor drinks, did we cover that? Yes, Cornell should be applauded; one of the few elements he hasn't nicked from previous Doctors and baked into this version is that this Doctor, for some weird reason, fancies a pint. Because nothing says 'near-immortal Time Lord' like downing one in the pub.

Alison is rather bland. Granted, the truncated nature of the story doesn't allow for much in the way of a spotlight, but what little there is, isn't especially appealing. She prattles on about how she feels her boyfriend, Joe, who is a doctor himself but this fact is at no point utilized by the Doctor despite the circumstances of what is, after all, a freakin' alien invasion, is boring her and keeping her from things. A vast majority of her whining is during moments where both she and the Doctor, a man she's just met, are kidnapped and held captive by the aliens whose appearance and existence Alison seems to shrug off. Cornell pens an unconvincing reason for this, to the effect she has 'seen lots of bad things already', but this seems forced and placed there solely to short-circuit the problem of pairing a modern human up with a Doctor who routinely encounters giant alien monsters without the human losing their minds in terror and fear. The Doctor may have wished to retain her friendship and invite her to travel with him; odds are most of the audience watching this wouldn't. The actress, Sophie Okonodo, who like Grant and Jacobi, has transitioned to appearing in the current TV series, gives a unexceptional performance...but it's better than Grant's, that's saying something.

The baddies here are an alien race called the Shalka. Slightly larger than human sized, they are biomorphic creatures who burrow into lava and the subsurface of a planet. There's a few moments of technobabble in which the Doctor goes on and on about them, but essentially they are a race dedicated to conquest, members of the Shalka Federation, which, they claim, boast 'billions of member worlds'...even if the Doctor admits he's 'never heard of them'. Turns out, they select worlds that are in risk 'ecologically', worlds in which pollution is beginning to really affect the standard of living. They infiltrate the worlds, turning the populations into their own weapon of destruction by fitting them with amplified voice modulators, so that they can 'scream' using sonic bursts to break the world's already weakened ozone layers, allowing the worlds to be destroyed on the surface, while the Shalka can exist underground and in the magma veins.

Their invasion force, numbering two thousand, are under the command of Prime, the only member who has fitted itself to not only speak proper BBC English, but who would, for plot reasons, be unaffected by the 'screw 'em all up' device that the Doctor is contractually obligated to construct to stop them in their tracks. To summarize this mess of a plot much more would be pointless. Suffice it to say: the Shalka secretly sneak into a town, lull the human population into obedience simply by sonically blasting those who dare to raise their voices or make any other noises, such as scrape a chair. So, the Shalka are the intergalactic equivalent of a librarian, shushing people. Or the people who don't like it when you talk during a movie. When the time is right, the populations of entire towns in which they took control are placed under mental command, gather outside like the Whos in Whoville around the Christmas tree, and unleash the fury of voices that haven't been used above a whisper in a couple of weeks. Genius.

Ok, so... let's see, an invasion plan predicated on subjugating human beings and preventing them from talking until the Shalka want 'em to talk. Anyone who opens their mouths to protest in anything above a whisper is harshly punished, in one instance sonically blasted to a fine dust. An invasion plan that requires cutting an entire town, village, or city off from the rest of the world...or at least, hoping the people in other towns, villages, or cities don't ever visit, call, or engage citizens of the invaded locations. 'Cause they gotta spare their voices, doncha know. An entire invasion that could be undermined by a 13 year old girl with a reasonably affordable text plan. Even by 2002 standards, this invasion plan is so ridiculously easy to foil using basic non-vocal communication technology, no wonder the Doctor is angry at the Timelords for sending him in to take care of it! Anyone trained in Braille and/or sign language could get a message to the world about the Shalka!

Lest we spend too much time on the absolute hilarity of the Shalka's plan, let's focus a little on the creature's visual appearance itself. It's a cross between the Xenomorphs from 'Aliens', spiky and brittle and segmented, and the Zygons, for some reason. Taken on their own, the Shalka are visually interesting, despite their drone-like nature; like all too many invasion/advance/shock forces in 'Doctor Who', they are not given their own unique personalities, and instead rely on a 'mouthpiece', in this case, the human-speaking Prime. Prime was voiced by Diana Quick, and in yet another nod to 'the Whoniverse is a small world after all', the actress appeared in the same film that gave Tom Baker a featured role, 'Nicolas And Alexandria'. Quick made the most of what poor material she was given, and managed to make Prime a quick-witted adversary for the Doctor; more than once, Prime belittles the Doctor verbally in a scolding and amusing manner.

No proper invasion story is complete without getting out the Army to shoot at stuff, and 'Shalka' is no exception. A small squad of U.N.I.T soldiers are brought in to help the Doctor deal with all this, after the Doctor has complained bitterly about them of course. In yet a further tired and stretched-out swipe from the Pertwee years, the man in charge of this group of soldiers, Major Kennet, is sarcastic, doesn't suffer the Doctor's superiority complex for long before prodding him to action, and is willing to take the lead rather than order others to their potential deaths. No word on whether Cornell was ever cuffed round the ears by Nick Courtney.

The whole story concludes with the Doctor overcoming the Shalka threat by literally singing Opera. No, really. He overrides the mind control of the Shalka with the help of some gadgets and Alison, who is able to amplify her 'voice' through the mind of those under mind control because for some completely bizarre reason, she is human and that somehow matters. The Shalka intentionally implanted the device she used to do so IN her themselves, only to have the Doctor turn the table and break the conditioning of thousands of people simply by telling them not to scream. Uhm... what? There's more to it, but it's padding and technobabble meant to distract from the fact that the story is awful, and is easily recognised as such. The Doctor and Major Kennet reconcile their respective opinions and admit they make a good team when pressed into service together, Alison climbs aboard the TARDIS as the new companion after the Master talks her into it. Allow this reviewer to repeat that. Alison agrees to travel through time and space after an android replica of the Doctor's worst enemy asks her to. This is included to further illustrate that the Doctor is still such an unlikable wanker even after all this time. Thus ends the first and only animated appearance of what Whovians refer to as 'The Shalka Doctor'. Mercifully.

While this production was at half its present age and half its present reputation as a turkey, plans were afoot elsewhere within the BBC to bring 'Doctor Who' back as a fully-realized, live-action series once more. 'Shalka' had its day in the sun as 'official'; upon the announcement of the new series, Russell T Davies officially crushed it's dream of canonicity by declaring that with Eccleston officially the BBC-approved '9th Doctor', this story was swept under the rug like the ugly stepchild it was. Of special note is the venom in which RTD bemoaned Grant's performance, stating, as this reviewer did, that he felt that Grant simply 'gave a lazy performance', and casting aspersions upon the project as a whole. This rings hollow, however, as whatever else can and has been said regarding 'Scream Of The Shalka', including the fact it is essentially a by-the-book reworking of your basic Pertwee alien invasion story featuring U.N.I.T, right down to the eco-friendly messages it clumsily presents, many elements of this production would bleed into the TV series under RTD's producer ship, too many to be mere coincidence.

Borrowed elements that would later crop up in multiple Eccleston/Tennant stories include, but are not limited to: a debut story of a new Doctor that does not feature a depicted regeneration; the Doctor deriding humans, here referring to them as 'sheep' in the same snide and condescending manner Eccleston's officially-licensed 9th Doctor used when he called them 'apes'; the Doctor uses a TARDIS-shaped cell phone, similar to that used by both the 9th/10th Doctor, Rose, and other companions; the Doctor's recent past is immersed in vague, troubling issues which he is having a difficult time coming to terms with; the Doctor feels remorse, regret, and guilt over somehow causing the death of others, in this case alleged to have been his previous female companion; The Master is played by Derek Jacobi; The Doctor is shallow, arrogant, and has a decidedly darker outlook on life in general, traits he shares with the 'official' 9th Doctor; Alison is not only involved in a racially diverse relationship akin to Rose, though here in reverse as she is black and Joe is white, she also abandons her boyfriend out of no more compelling or understandable reason than boredom, to hitch her wagon to the Doctor as Rose does; David Tennant makes an un-credited cameo appearance voicing The Caretaker, apparently as the actor was at the time working close to the production of 'Shalka' on an unrelated project and, upon discovering what was being worked on next door, begged the production staff to allow him to take part. All of these elements and several of the actors would go on to form major parts of RTD's tenure in 'Doctor Who', and therefore, in this reviewer's opinion, RTD's caustic comments can perhaps be attributed more to adhering to the BBC's mindset at the time of quickly striking 'Shalka' from the official records in order to clear the path for the new series than to any perceived malice on RTD's part; RTD is simply 'toeing the line' in this case.

For those Whovians who feel obliged to seek out this now-unofficial adventure, it is no longer available on the official BBC website, where it had found a home for a great many years after it had been stripped of official status. The novelization by Paul Cornell was published by BBC Books and still exists for purchase, presumably, online and in certain SF shops; those readers of this blog who somehow locate a copy and read it are encouraged to contact this reviewer at the email address provided on this page or through The Whostorian's Twitter account @TheWhostorian, in order to clarify whether Paul Cornell expanded upon the story in any way and accounted for the backstory and/or plot threads he introduced in the story. And if he didn't, back to the head of the approaching Sontaran army with him. No second chances. We are that kind of fans.

With such shoddy and limited animation, quite possibly the most offensive arrangement of the classic Ron Grainer theme tune, which incorporates disco and dance music. A story that is riddled with plot holes, and the final sense of vindication every Whovian inevitably feels that the new series replaced this in the hearts, minds, and canon of fans and BBC alike once they conclude watching this travesty. 'Scream Of The Shalka' is, if nothing else, proof that Richard E Grant must be stopped. Each and every appearance he makes within the Whoniverse results in mind-numbing farce. Let us all hold hands and scream greater than the Shalka as we witness his return to the Whoniverse this fall alongside Matt Smith, quite possibly the 'only' incarnation of the Doctor that the 'Shalka Doctor' is superior to. And I include Peter Cushing in that list.

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