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The Doctor meets Richard the Lionheart
Here is another historical tale with the First Doctor; Ian; Barbara and Vicki!
‘The Crusade’ is a four-part adventure by David Whittaker, who was the original script editor on ‘Doctor Who’. It’s also directed by Douglas Camfield and is his second contribution to the TV series.
The story stars William Hartnell as the Doctor; William Russell as Ian; Jacqueline Hill as Barbara and Maureen O’Brien as Vicki. It also guest stars Julian Glover as King Richard and Jean Marsh as Joanna.
Sadly, only two episodes of this four-part story exist in the BBC archives which are Episodes One and Three. The second and fourth episodes of ‘The Crusade’ exist as audio soundtracks. This is a shame as the story is incomplete and yet it is a compelling and intriguing historical ‘Doctor Who’ adventure.
But there are two ways in which you can enjoy ‘The Crusade’. The first is to see the story on the ‘Lost in Time’ DVD with the surviving ‘Episodes One and Three’ and soundtracks of ‘Episodes Two and Four’. This is accompanied with introductions to the missing episodes by William Russell on the DVD.
The second option to enjoy ‘The Crusade’ is on the audio soundtrack CD of the story. This is also available from ‘The Lost TV Episodes: Collection One’ CD box set. The audiobook has all of the four episodes with linking narration by William Russell that helps you to picture the lost episodes in your head.
Through these two methods, I appreciated and enjoyed ‘The Crusade’ for what it was when it was made back in the 1960s. I wish that this story was complete with animation episodes to fill in the gaps to enjoy it more. I hope the missing episodes of ‘The Crusade’ will be recovered someday soon.
For the story itself, I’m afraid I’m not familiar with Richard the Lionheart’s crusades into the Holy Land as it was a period of history I didn’t study a lot in school. But I found it interesting when hearing the story and seeing the episodes. I found it gripping to see how the TARDIS regulars got involved.
The story takes place in Palestine in the 12th century. The TARDIS lands there and Barbara is instantly captured by Saracens. The Doctor; Ian and Vicki meet up with King Richard and his men and seek a way to rescue Barbara. Can they avoid getting involved with the course of history with the crusade?
William Hartnell is at his best as the Doctor in this adventure. I liked the balance of William Hartnell’s performance when he does comedy and drama in his performance. The scenes where he steals clothes from the seller Ben Daheer were funny to watch in ‘Episode One’ as well as to hear in ‘Episode Two’.
I liked how the Doctor interacts with King Richard as he knows what his future is. The Doctor also gets to hear the king’s plans to marry his sister off to Saphadin. I liked the Doctor’s scenes with Vicki in this story and when he defies the Earl of Leicester opposing his war-making tactics in the crusade.
William Russell as Ian gets to be the action-hero as ever in this story. I liked it when Ian fights a Saracen warrior at the beginning of the story and when he asks the king to be sent with an escort to rescue Barbara. He’s soon allowed to go to find Barbara and gets knighted by Richard the Lionheart.
Ian gets knighted as Sir Ian of Jaffa, which is a great moment for his character and demonstrates his heroism. The scenes where Ian is out in the desert and gets attacked by bandits who want to steal his ‘gold’ were tense to listen to on audio. But he braves on so that he can find and rescue Barbara.
Jacqueline Hill as Barbara has a bad time in this story. Captured and in the custody of the Saracens, Barbara soon meets William des Pereaux who pretends to be King Richard and she joins in acting as his sister Joanna. Their pretence is soon discovered and Barbara is soon under the wrath of El Akir.
Barbara gets kidnapped again by El Akir’s men, but soon escapes and on the run in the streets of the city of Lydda. He is soon helped by people who hate El Akir such as Hauroun and his daughters. I liked the moment when Barbara defies El Akir in his palace as she has contempt and disgust for him.
Maureen O’Brien is pretty good as Vicki in this adventure. She does get to pretend to be a page boy and act as the Doctor’s ward, calling herself ‘Victor’ instead of Vicki. I liked that moment when she scoffs the Doctor’s wish to be knighted someday once Ian has been knighted himself by King Richard.
Vicki’s pretence as a page boy gets discovered when Joanna enters and finds out about it in ‘Episode Three’. I liked it when Vicki begs Joanna to not be angry with her and the Doctor for deceiving everyone. I also liked it when Vicki defies the Earl of Leicester who interrogates her in ‘Episode Four’.
Just to refer back to when the Doctor wished he was knighted like Ian was by King Richard, this adventure takes place way before the Doctor gets knighted in ‘Tooth and Claw’ by Queen Victoria with Rose Tyler. Ironic that Vicki should say to the Doctor, ‘That’ll be the day’ before his knighthood happens.
Julian Glover guest stars as Richard the Lionheart. Julian would later be well-known to ‘Doctor Who’ fans as Count Scarlionli in ‘City of Death’ with Tom Baker. I really liked Julian’s as King Richard in this story. He delivers a convincing performance and it was a nice to see him as a good guy for a change.
Jean Marsh guest stars as Joanna, King Richard’s sister. This was a year before Jean would later play Sara Kingdom in ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ with William Hartnell. I liked Jean’s performance as Joanna and seeing how she interacts with her brother Richard as well as with the Doctor and Vicki.
The guest cast also includes Bernard Kay as Saladin; Roger Avon as Saphadin, Saladin’s brother; John Flint as William des Preaux; Walter Randall as the villainous El Akir; Reg Pritchard as Ben Daheer; Robert Lankesheer as the Chamberlain; George Little as Haroun and John Bay as the Earl of Leicester.
The DVD special features on this story on the ‘Lost in Time’ DVD are as follows. On Disc 1, there are the introductions for ‘The Crusade’ missing episodes by William Russell, which you can see via the ‘Play All’ option on the DVD main menu. There is also an Easter Egg to look out for ‘The Crusade’.
There is also a commentary on the third episode of ‘The Crusade’ with Julian Glover, moderated by Gary Russell. There’s also an audiobook trailer on the missing episode stories of ‘Doctor Who’ on audiobook CDs.
On the original audio soundtrack CD of ‘The Crusade’, there is a bonus interview with William Russell, conducted by Michael Stevens, reliving his memories of the story. This is an enjoyable interview with William Russell who talks about working on ‘Doctor Who’ as well as on ‘The Crusade’.
‘The Crusade’ has been an enjoyable and interesting historical adventure with the First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki. I enjoyed the performances of all the cast in this episode and especially enjoyed Julian Glover and Jean Marsh. I look forward to the day when the missing episodes are finally found.
‘The Crusade’ rating – 8/10
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