Although the decision was obviously taken some little time ago, the news leaked out onto the World Wide Web today that Dan Hall, the man in charge of commissioning Doctor Who material for 2|entertain’s DVD releases of the classic series, has passed on the opportunity to release Ian Levine’s animation of the half-completed 1979 story Shada.
Once the news was out, Levine himself appeared on the Gallifrey Base forum to let people know how “broken hearted” he was over the decision.
On the question of whether a compromise was unable to be reached because of intractable positions regarding concessions, Levine said, “I have been as flexible as it’s been humanly possible to be. I have agreed with every suggested request or change, so this is simply untrue.
I have refused no request. I spent a whole year of my life and I wanted to see my beautiful hard work released.”
Neither 2|entertain nor Dan Hall himself have yet commented, except in the form of the following tweet on the @classicdw newsfeed: “Plans are to release the SHADA fragments together with MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS in a box filled with other content goodies! Likely 2012.”
I’d suggest this seems to be a case of sugar-coating the bad news (most right-minded fans were at least curious to see the Levine-sponsored Shada animation) with a little bit of good (the confirmation of the appearance of popular documentary More Than 30 Years in the TARDIS on DVD, which had been rumoured for some time but was as yet unconfirmed).
Certainly it seems odd, given that a ‘complete’ Season 17 version of Shada exists, to release instead a version comprising only “fragments”. Even had Hall deemed the animated sections of inferior quality, the completed version could surely have been included as Value Added Material, which would have headed off any potential complaints?
Sadly, it seems unlike now that the world at large will get the chance to judge Ian Levine’s Shada for themselves.
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