Canít SHIFT to Reverse, my last hope. Please Help! :(

Hi all. It pains me to report that Iím having no luck with my car (1989 535i). It seems that when I try to shift into reverse or drive, etc. nothing happens. Nada. The car turns on fine and is otherwise,
from what I know, okay. Any suggestions? I know it can be a number of things. But some kind of feedback would be great.
Itís difficult for me to get a mechanic to check it out. Iím very hands on, so if itís anything I can do myself - I shall. But I only know that of which Iíve learned. And since I never had this problem before, naturally, I donít know what to do. Thanks in advance! I will be hawking for replies.
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Is the shift cable broken?
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If you have just acquired the car it may be shiftlock - forward or reverse drive can only be selected when the footbrake is depressed.
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