Friday, January 13, 2017

Doctor Who: The Crusade Part 1

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement...
Today we kick off our four-part look at the Doctor Who story the  'The Crusade' with part 1 'The Lion'. Please note: the version I'll be reviewing is the reconstructed version done by Loose Cannon Productions in 2000. In addition, I go through Julian Glover's interview of his memories of filming his first foray into Doctor Who.


  • The Crusade Part 1 – The Lion
  • Air Date: March 27, 1965
  • Viewers: 10.5 Million (down 1 million from previous week)

Today we begin our look at the four part Doctor Who story the Crusade, but like with Marco Polo and The Reign of Terror, The Crusade is yet another story in the history of Doctor Who with missing episodes, namely parts 2 and 4. But with many of the missing episodes of Doctor Who, there have been reconstruction efforts, and the one I happen to have in my archive of goodies is the one produced by Loose Cannon Productions back when the BBC didn’t consider fully animating stories to match the surviving audio like with what was recently down for ‘The Power of the Daleks’.

Also of note: The Crusade is the first Doctor Who story to have non-white actors in it as opposed to those with make-up (such as in the case of the Aztecs) and this episode also sees the return of Walta Randal who played a priest in The Aztecs and who would appear in several more Doctor Who stories. In this story he plays El Akir

Where the TARDIS is 12 century Jaffa in a Forrest where King Richard the Lioneart and his comrads are residing before they are ambushed by Saracens, a catch all term for tribes in the middle east during the middle ages. The skirmish ends up involving The Doctor and Ian while Barbara is kidnapped along with William des Preaux (who pretends to be King Richard in a cunning ploy to protect his liege). We actually see The Doctor and Ian do a big of sword play with two of the Saracens, and while Ian dispatches his with a bit of effort, The Doctor gets an assist from a wounded William De Tornebu who throws his sword through through the heart of the fellow the Doctor is fighting. Ian goes to search for Barbara but she’s gone having been bound and gagged during the melee. They come across a belt of sorts that belong to King Richard and figure it’s best to take De Tornebu back to him to get the King’s aid to search for Barbara. Unfortunately, King Richard, while grateful, is angry with the loss of life vows that he will not do anything to help them rescue Barbara… his reasons being that Saladin (the sultan king of Egypt and Syriia who captured Jerusalem which spurred on the Third Crusade in which this story takes place) uses under handed tactics and seems to be a willing trade partner for The King’s brother John who is planning to usurp the throne!

So what about Barbara who went from killing the Animus to help the Menoptera regain Vortis… to being bound, gagged and kidnapped. Well she can’t quite explain how she got in the woods, but is more than willing to go along with William Des Preaux’s ploy, since he’s pretending to be King Richard, she would pretend to be his sister Joanna. El Akir (the leader of the group that captured them) seem to buy it, knowing that Saladin’s brother Saphadin would love to have ‘Joanna’ (apparently he has the hots for her)… and he knows her so well that he sees that Barbara isn’t the object of his desire. Saladin arrives and analyzes the situation, figures having Des Preaux and Barbara as prisoners treated well could give him an advantage, gives them all liberties of the camp with the exception of freedom itself, basically to be treated like guests who just can’t leave.

All in all this story certainly gets the ball rolling for the new story, setting it in a historical era, having an exiting battle to start, intrigue with Barbara being separated from the others once again and having to fend for herself in less than ideal circumstances. Hell just look at the fact that once she realizes her situation her first instinct is to figure out to get back to the TARDIS. I do like Julian Glover’s performance as King Richard, it’s rather big and theatrical, he commands attention when he speaks.

On the Loose Cannon Productions Reconstruction of The Crusade (produced in the year 2000), The Intro and Out featured Julian Glover who played King Richard in the story and play Scaroth / Cout Scarlioni In ‘City of Death’ during The Fourth Doctor era in 1979. Game of Thrones fans would known him as Grand Master Pycelle and he played Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. He considered the role to be a challenge because he was such a young actor, he was thrilled to get the part and would later play the part of King Richard in 1982’s Ivanhoe and it. His memories of filming was that it was a generally happy engagement because and was impressed with the sets and costumes were arranged in consideration of the budget with everything shot in the studios with no location shot. Glover figures he got the part because he played a lot of Shakespearian roles. In regards to his co-stars he and Mauren O’Brien (who played Vicki) became friends delighting in each other company whenever they happened to meet up over the years, he knew Jean Marsh (who plays Lady Joanna in this story) from prior work done together and there were certain aspect about their King Richard and Joanna they wanted to play up but couldn’t because Doctor Who was considered children’s television. In regards to Jacqueline Hill (who played Barbara Wright) they got along at the time but didn’t stay in touch after she got married to actor Alvin Rakoff. William Hartnell was a tricky chap, he credits him for creating Doctor Who and is the best presentation of the many they have been, he was not friendly to visiting actors because he was a perfectionist and if he felt you weren’t doing your job he’d get very irritable, but he would come to accept you at some point and when he did, it was a big deal, cause he was ‘The Doctor’ and even in 1965, was already an icon.

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