|The Shalka Doctor|
|Portrayed by||Richard E. Grant (voice)|
|First appearance||Scream of the Shalka|
|Last appearance||"The Feast of the Stone"|
|Number of series||1|
|Appearances||1 story (6 episodes)|
|Companions||Android version of the Master, Alison Cheney|
|Preceded by||Eighth Doctor (alternate regeneration)|
|Series||Scream of the Shalka & "The Feast of the Stone"|
The Shalka Doctor (or the REG Doctor) is the common fan name given to the character that appeared as an alternate incarnation of the Doctor in the flash-animated serial Scream of the Shalka in 2003 and the later short story The Feast of the Stone which were based on the British science fiction television series, Doctor Who. He was voiced by the actor Richard E. Grant.
Scream of the Shalka was designed to be an official continuation of Doctor Who. At the time, there were no plans for a continuation of the television series and plans for another film were progressing very slowly. The Shalka Doctor was intended to be the ninth incarnation, as two lines in Scream of the Shalka imply: the Doctor mentions that Andy Warhol once wanted to paint "all nine" of him, and comments that a dead cat has used up its nine lives, like he has. The Shalka Doctor's claim to being the "Ninth Doctor" was also backed up by BBC press releases.
However, the 2005 series was announced in September 2003—about two months before the webcast could meet its 13 November release date. This led to immediate controversy about the "official" status of the animated Ninth Doctor. Martin Trickey, executive producer of The Scream of the Shalka, noted these concerns when he was interviewed at the time of Shalka's release: "The BBC said it was the ninth Doctor, so that's great. Is it part of the canon? I don't know. There's a big argument raging on the message board. I just hope people enjoy it. That's the main thing. Whether people choose to see it as the official Ninth Doctor or not is really up to them." Fan speculation has put forward the possibility that this version of the Doctor is, in fact, the younger, more reckless past self of the First Doctor, given that they share several personality traits (including arrogance and eccentricity), a late-Victorian-Early-Edwardian fashion sense, and have a similar face and hairstyle.
As of 2005, Christopher Eccleston is established as the definitive Ninth Doctor:
- BBC press releases and advertisements have firmly established Eccleston as "the Ninth Doctor".
- The new series has also demonstrated this in various episodes.
- The Journal of Impossible Things from the two-part episode "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood" contains sketches of all ten Doctors, with only Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor included.
- In the Christmas special "The Next Doctor", the ten incarnations of the Doctor known at that time appear through an infostamp projection. The footage for the Ninth Doctor was of Christopher Eccleston from "The Parting of the Ways".
- The Eleventh Doctor settles the matter on-screen in the episode "The Lodger", identifying himself to another character as "eleventh" after his nature as a Time-Lord is revealed.
To date the so-called "Shalka Doctor" has appeared in only three officially licensed Doctor Who products: the original webcast, the novelisation of the webcast by Paul Cornell which was released by BBC Books, and the short story "The Feast of the Stone" by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright which has to date only been published on the BBC's "Cult Vampire Magazine" webpage.
A further series was commissioned by the BBC. It was called "Blood of the Robots" and was being written by Simon Clark. Three episodes had been written before it was cancelled because of the imminent return of the live series.
The Shalka Doctor has an appreciation for the finer things that borders on snobbery, although he shares with his other incarnations an abhorrence of evil. His travels seem to be directed by an unseen power that he resents (possibly the Time Lords). This leads to his initial refusal to intervene in the Shalka invasion of the village of Lannet until the death of a homeless woman raises his ire. He also has an abrasive relationship with the military similar to that of the Third Doctor toward UNIT early in his tenure.
To avoid capture by the Shalka, this Doctor tries to act as if he is a detached alien observer. However, he still has respect for human life and can not allow them to kill their hostage. Grant has described his interpretation of the Doctor as "Sherlock Holmes in space." This incarnation of the Doctor seems haunted by some undisclosed past event, to the point where he actively opposes the notion of Alison becoming a companion. For reasons likewise unexplained, he travels with an android which contains the consciousness of the Master (voiced by Derek Jacobi). The android Master does hint, however, that the Doctor's previous companion may have met an untimely end, perhaps explaining his initial reluctance to take on a new travelling companion.
Richard E. Grant had previously played the Doctor, albeit briefly, in the 1999 Comic Relief charity special Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death, when a series of explosions caused the Doctor to rapidly regenerate; Grant's incarnation was intended to be the Tenth. In the spoof, Grant's Doctor was characterised as conceited, a trait associated with many of Grant's past acting roles. For Shalka, Grant played the character straight, with little of his trademark conceitedness. This charity special does not run in the official Doctor Who continuity.
The Shalka Doctor was visually modelled on Grant himself.
Grant would go on to play Dr. Walter Simeon in the 2012 Christmas episode "The Snowmen", a character who was possessed by "The Great Intelligence". He would go on to reprise his role as "The Great Intelligence" in the 2013 episodes "The Bells of Saint John" and "The Name of the Doctor".
Scream of the Shalka
- Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka at the Internet Movie Database
- Scream of the Shalka, on the BBC website
- Scream of the Shalka at The Doctor Who Reference Guide
- Scream of the Shalka theme music mp3 file
The Feast of the Stone
- McCracken, Edd (9 November 2003). "Richard E. Grant's emergence as the ninth Doctor Who". The Sunday Herald.
- BBC-written copy for the release of the novelisation of Shalka
- "Net première for Dr Who"/ BBC News. 12 November 2003
- http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3140786.stm "Doctor Who returns to TV". BBC News. 26 September 2003.
- "The Ninth Doctor's character page at the BBC's official webpage".
- "BBC's Cult Vampire Magazine webpage".
- "The Simon Clark story that never was". http://www.sfx.co.uk/2013/09/09/doctor-who-the-simon-clark-story-that-never-was/.
- Extract of contemporary interview with Richard E. Grant
- Britpop singer Robbie Williams nearly starred in Doctor Who
- "BBC's Doctor Who webpage".