Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans

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Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans
Shakedown Return of the Sontarans.jpg
VHS Release cover
Writer Terrance Dicks
Director Kevin Davies
Producer Mark Ayres
Kevin Davies
Executive producer(s) Gary Leigh
Length 1 episode, 55 mins.
Originally broadcast 1 December 1994 (release date)

Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans is a film spin-off of the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was released direct-to-video in 1995 and was produced by the independent production company Dreamwatch Media, a division of Dreamwatch magazine. Initially available only through mail order and specialty shops, it was subsequently released to retail by Reeltime Pictures in 1997. It features two races of aliens, the Sontarans (first introduced in the Third Doctor serial The Time Warrior, and appearing in several subsequent stories) and the Rutans (who were first mentioned in The Time Warrior, and appeared in the Fourth Doctor serial Horror of Fang Rock). The Sontarans and Rutans were licensed from the estate of their creator Robert Holmes, although the appearance of the Sontarans had to be modified to avoid legal complications with the BBC, which owned the design of the creatures.

Due to licensing restrictions, the character of the Doctor does not actually appear, nor do any other characters from the series. However several actors from the Doctor Who series do appear in different roles, including Carole Ann Ford, Sophie Aldred and Michael Wisher. Also starring in this production are Blake's 7 alumni Jan Chappell and Brian Croucher.


When a state-of-the-art racing yacht is attacked by a group of aliens during its shakedown cruise, it is up to the captain of the yacht and her crew to prevent an alien invasion.


The film was shot almost entirely on location aboard the Second World War-era Royal Navy light cruiser HMS Belfast, permanently moored at Symon's Wharf on the River Thames since 1971. Some scenes were also shot at Pinewood Studios.[1] The unlicensed nature of the Dreamwatch production meant that they could not even refer to the character of the Doctor by name, hence one character's remembrance of a man who "Called himself the Physician, or the Dentist, or something..." Although the longstanding war between the Sontarans and the Rutan Host was frequently mentioned in Doctor Who, this video marks the only occasion in which the two opposing species appear on screen together. The initial idea for Shakedown came from producers Kevin Davies and Mark Ayres. Director of Photography David Hicks. They would produce, on behalf of Dreamwatch Media, a low-budget film for direct-to-video sale featuring some alien monsters from the BBCtv series Doctor Who and a cast drawn from Who and its stablemate Blake's 7.[2]


Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans - Original Soundtrack Recording
Soundtrack album by Mark Ayres
Released January 1996
Genre Soundtrack
Length 44:12
Label Silva Screen
Mark Ayres chronology
Doctor Who: Ghost Light
Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans

Mark Ayres's music was released on Silva Screen Records in January 1996[3][4]

Track listing[edit]

  1. Shakedown: Main Title (2:05)
  2. The War Wheel (0:55)
  3. Working Dress (0:48)
  4. Sail Drill (Virtual Rigging) (2:22)
  5. The Storming of the "Tiger Moth" (4:41)
  6. A Bit of This, A Bit of That (3:58)
  7. Engine Room (2:18)
  8. Return of the Sontarans (5:30)
  9. Survival at all Costs (1:02)
  10. Robar Remembered (1:46)
  11. A Glorious Death (2:27)
  12. Monster Hunt (1:23)
  13. Worthy Enemies (5:19)
  14. Epilogue and End Title (3:32)
  15. Theme from Shakedown (5:53)


Author Terrance Dicks
Series Doctor Who book:
Virgin New Adventures
Release number
Subject Featuring:
Seventh Doctor
Benny, Chris, Roz
Publisher Virgin Books
Publication date
December 1995
ISBN 0-426-20459-X
Preceded by The Also People
Followed by Just War

In December 1995 a novelisation of this film, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Virgin Publishing as part of their New Adventures line;[5] the title was shortened to Shakedown. It expands greatly on the original story and features many differences in plot, most notably the inclusion of the Seventh Doctor and his companions since, unlike Reeltime, Virgin had the rights to use the character. However, rather than drastically altering the events of the video, Dicks novelised the Doctor-less events of the script in the middle section of the book, with the new plot of the novel taking place around it. It also forms a sequel to the Virgin Missing Adventures novel Lords of the Storm by David A. McIntee.

This was the final Doctor Who-related novelisation by the prolific Terrance Dicks, who had been writing the books since 1973, until the BBC-published novelisation of The Sarah Jane Adventures story "Invasion of the Bane" was published over a decade later in late 2007. Dicks has, however, continued to produce various original Doctor Who novels not based on scripted material.

The book was re-printed in a new edition in March 2014.

See also[edit]

Other creator-authorised Doctor Who spin-offs include:


  1. ^ According to the show's closing credits.
  2. ^ [1] Archived 15 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans - Original Soundtrack Recording (CD Booklet). Silva Screen. 1995. FILMCD 718. 
  5. ^ Perryman (2008), "Doctor Who and the Convergence of Media", Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 14(1): 21–39

External links[edit]