REG Doctor

Shalka Doctor

The Shalka Doctor (or the REG Doctor) is the common fan name given to the character that appeared as the ninth 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.

Overview

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 movie 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," he said, "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."

As of 2008 no straightforward answer has been provided by any televised Doctor Who story as to whether the Shalka Doctor or the Eccleston one is the definitive "Ninth Doctor". However, BBC press releases and advertisements have firmly established Eccleston as "the Ninth Doctor". The closest the 2005- series has come to placing an actual "number" on one the Doctors it has shown to date is a single line in the episode School Reunion. There, the Tenth Doctor tells Sarah Jane Smith that he's regenerated "half a dozen times" since they last met — a phrase whose colloquial imprecision allows for several different interpretations.

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.

However, the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Gallifrey Chronicles by Lance Parkin, briefly addresses the conundrum of multiple ninth Doctors. In it, a Time Lord named Marnal looks through various timestreams for the Eighth Doctor. At one point he observes that the Doctor has "three ninth incarnations". This could refer to Eccleston, the Shalka Doctor, and the version played by Rowan Atkinson in the 1999 charity spoof, Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death. Although this theory of the Shalka Doctor as a parallel universe ninth Doctor would provide a kind of closure to the controversy, it should be pointed out that the passage provides no positive identification of any of the ninth Doctors Marnal sees.

The status of the Shalka Doctor in current canon thus remains as unclear to viewers as it did to Shalka's executive producer when it was released.

Personality

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 traveling companion.

The Shalka Doctor had an appreciation for the finer things that bordered on snobbery, although he shared with his other incarnations an abhorrence of evil. His travels seemed to be directed by an unseen power that he resented (possibly the Time Lords). This led to his refusal to intervene in the Shalka invasion of the village of Lannet until the death of a homeless woman raised his ire. He also had an abrasive relationship with the military similar to how the Third Doctor treated UNIT early in his tenure.

Portrayal

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.

External links

Scream of the Shalka

The Feast of the Stone

References

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