Published on February 16th, 2014 | by Christian Cawley

Movie Time: Watch The Sontarans In Shakedown! [VIDEO]

Make Sunday night your Doctor Who movie night by hitting play above and enjoying the fondly-remembered fan-produced 1990s spin-off movie Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans!

Conceived by Mark Ayres and Kevin Davies – and shot largely on location aboard Second World War-era ship HMS Belfast, permanently moored on the Thames at Symon’s Wharf since 1971 – the film features redesigned, Babylon 5-esque Sontarans who caused quite a stir when they first appeared in promotional pieces such as in Doctor Who Magazine.

Starring Sophie Aldred and Carole Ann Ford (in new roles), the fact that Shakedown was unlicensed (it was produced by Dreamwatch Media) meant of course that the Doctor couldn’t appear. He was, however, referred to obliquely, with one character recalling someone who “…called himself the Physician, or the Dentist, or something…” Also appearing are original Davros Michael Wisher, Brian Croucher (The Robots of Death, Blake’s 7) and Jan Chappel (Blake’s 7)

But hey, who needs a Time Lord? This film is the first (and to-date only) time the millennia-spanning war between the Sontarans and the Rutan Host has been seen, and the direct-to-video film proved popular for this.

Interestingly, there is also a Terrance Dicks novelization, courtesy of Virgin Publishing in 1995 (the original version of this is available on Amazon now, with a BBC Books reprint imminent in March). With the shortened (and more commonly used) title of Shakedown, the book features the Doctor and expands on the film, cleverly inserting the events of Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans into the middle of the book. After all, Virgin had the rights to use the Doctor; Dreamwatch Media did not!

Initially released as a mail-order only release, Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans was eventually released on VHS in 1997 by Reeltime Pictures (a company which released many Doctor Who-related fan-produced documentaries and movies), but remains very hard to get hold of (although Mark Ayres’ soundtrack can be picked up on Amazon).

So, grab something alcoholic, some tasty nibbles, click play and enjoy!

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About the Author

A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.




5 Responses to Movie Time: Watch The Sontarans In Shakedown! [VIDEO]


  1. Oh, I figured it would be some sort of remastered super-special-HD version. Still pretty swell, tho.


    • Sadly no :(

      But hey, it’s tough to find so who are we to complain?

  2. spoiled says:

    So this is a legal copy?


    • I wouldn’t like to speculate either way. It’s up to YouTube, the uploader and the copyright holders to deal with that.

  3. Ian says:

    I would like if those that made this could release it on DVD. Its an excellent production. Remember when it was premièred.

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