It's an unusual thing about Doctor Who that there can be so many different versions of the Doctor besides the ''official'' versions. Here in 2003 there lurks the mysterious Shalka Doctor, an alternate ninth incarnation, played by Richard E Grant and visible only by animation. He has his own TARDIS interior, sonic screwdriver, companions and title sequence. In fact until Russell T Davies showed up this Doctor was THE Ninth Doctor.The plot of Scream of the Shalka is typical ClassicWho fare: the Doctor arrives, meets some monsters, stops them and then he's off. In this edition he also acquired a new companion in the form of Alison joining him in his TARDIS where there also resides the Master in an android body. There's also some involvement from UNIT but they prove that without one of the Lethbridge-Stewarts they're little more than ''Red Shirts''.REG's performance is of a Doctor who appears disinterested but will still get the job done, even if he may need an incentive. Can he be trusted? What's happened to the Doctor since his previous McGann-shaped incarnation? That's the question that Paul Cornell sets out to ask but not necessarily answering it. I'm reminded of the "Am I a good man?" arc from series eight and the Twelfth Doctor. In fact the Shalka and Twelfth Doctors are quite similar personalities in lots of ways.The true highlight of the show is Derek Jacobi's Master. It's a shame he doesn't get much screen time but he's great during a limited period, just like his official Master from Utopia.This is an unusual look into what could've been but now never will be, an important lesson for Doctor Who obsessives to learn about. In a universe where the show never got back on the BBC as the mighty juggernaut of British Television it is today then this is how the show would exist now.It's a shame we never got more of this Doctor. All we have are three stories. Scream of the Shalka and its novelisation, a short story online called The Feast of the Stone (which is really really good) and Simon Clark's unfinished Blood of the Robots. I wish he'd blow the dust off his scripts and treat us to that sometime!
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