This morning I was astonished to see an article in The Guardian stating that the BBC planned to release the completed version of the long lost Doctor Who episode ‘Shada’ today on the iTunes store. The episode from 1979 was abandoned (until now) due to a BBC strike and has been a sort of white whale for those of us who count actor Tom Baker as our favorite regeneration of The Doctor.
I didn’t rush out right away to buy a copy. No, I headed out to walk around the yard a bit to clear my head in the chill November air and then I ran back inside and sat down to purchase the episode on iTunes.
There was just one problem.
When I typed “doctor who shada” into the search bar, the only results that came up were audio books and theme music. No long lost episode.
So I went back and checked the article again and sure enough it said that the new episode would be released on 24 November 2017 – today’s date.
So I googled “shada itunes” and the first result was “Doctor Who: Shada on iTunes – Apple”, which gave me a preview of the iTunes screen and the very first episode listed is the one that I want.
Clearly, I was on the trail – so I clicked the “View in iTunes” link off to the right of the episode description, which gave me this disconcerting warning.
So naturally I clicked the “Change Store” button, and PRESTO there was my quarry!
Hmm. The only way to buy it is as part of a Series Pass, for £16.99, which at the time of this post converts to $22.69 in US Dollars. With Black Friday madness in the air I was committed to treating myself to some youthful nostalgia.
I clicked the button to purchase the series, and typed in all my confirmation codes.
And then this box popped up.
Guess what isn’t currently being sold in the U.S. iTunes Store? Exactly.
And that, my fellow fans from the USA, is why you cannot make a valid digital purchase of this restored episode online. I won’t get into speculation of the reasons why the BBC has not (or cannot) made the digital episode available to shoppers in the United States on what is said to be the busiest shopping day of the year, but I assume that it’s already being downloaded illegally as I type this.
How to see Shada if you don’t live in the UK
If you are a patient and law-abiding fan living in the United States, you can go ahead and order the DVD, which is expected to arrive sometime after Christmas.
Maybe you should stock up on jellybabies while you wait?