Monday, 7 March 2011

14: The Crusade - One Of The More Literate Of The Doctor Who Stories.

Julian Glover is excellent as King Richard.
Written by: David Whitaker.
Companions: The Doctor, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright, Vicki.
Monsters/Villains: El Akir.
Brief Synopsis: The TARDIS arrives during the Holy War between Richard the Lion-heart and the Saracen ruler Saladin.
Rating: 5/10.

In one glaringly obviously way this is just as outmoded as The Web Planet. For those of you who haven't seen this or who don't have eyes, this is because several of the people playing Saracens are white actors blacked up!

Bernard Kay blacked-up as Saladin.
Trying to look beyond this obvious racism the Saracen people are treated respectfully. Whereas they're skin colour stamps them as foreign and exotic their accents don't. Bernard Kay as Saladin matches the same shakespearian quality that Julian Glover brings as King Richard. Mr. Glover will famously return to play Scaroth opposite Tom Baker in The City of Death.

This is however one of the more literate of Doctor Who's stories, Ian quotes Shakespeare twice: 'A most poor man made tame to fortune's blows' (King Lear) and 'What judgement shall I fear, doing no wrong?' (The Merchant of Venice). 
Barbara quotes Shelley's Epipsychidion ('One heaven, one hell, one immortality'). When she is held at Saladin's court and asked to provide amusement (an allusion to The Arabian Nights), she plans to use Romeo and Juliet, Gulliver's Travels and Anderson's fairy tales. Henry IV Part I is echoed at the opening of the story when Sir William des Preaux substitutes himself for the King. Jean Marsh makes the first of her three appearances in Doctor Who this time as Princess Joanne. A year later she will return as Sara Kingdom in The Dalek's Master Plan and in 1989 opposite Sylvester McCoy as Morgaine in Battlefield.

Jean Marsh a wonderfully powerful woman. 
My favourite moment is when Ian gets knighted Sir Ian Knight of Jaffa. I also love the way Princess Joanne describes the Doctor "There's something new in you, yet something older than the sky itself. I sense I can trust you." What a perfect description of the Doctor.

This was my first dip into the delectable DVD box set Lost In Time, a compilation of all the remaining orphaned episodes. A vital addition to any Who fan's collection. Only the first and third episodes of this story fully exist so to fill in the blanks I visited You Tube. Here are links to the reconstructions of episodes two and four:

Episode 2

Episode 4

Thanks to chadmoore36 for these. By and large I wasn't overly impressed with this story, there isn't anything wrong with it aside from the dated racist casting; it might be because two of the four episodes are missing, but it failed to capture my attention. I really enjoyed all of the cameo performances but the story was somewhat non-exsistant.

Join me next time along with three Classic Who virgins for The Space Museum.


tigerna9 said...

This ought to have been much better with talent like Julian Glover in it, but it was one of the more disappointing historical ones.

Chad Moore said...

Glad you enjoyed my humble recon of the missing episodes!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for those. They're great. I'll be coming to you for any recons you have for my following blogs. Thanks for following. Tell your friends.