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Marco Polo

An epic journey

Travelling across Cathay

With Marco Polo

After the rather odd edge of destruction, we now go back in time and visit Marco Polo. This is also the first story that I haven’t seen. [click here for more info about the wiped stories] The narrator for this particular story is William Russell, who played Ian Chesterton in the story.

The TARDIS has broken down once again (but this time without any deliberate sabotage) but as the crew are in the Himalayas, they must seek shelter before they freeze to death. The TARDIS has no way of providing heat and it is a chance encounter with Marco Polo that saves them. He is travelling through Cathay (China) in order to met Kublai Khan. Amongst the travellers accompanying Marco Polo is Tegana, supposedly a peace envoy but he is the villain of the piece. The Tardis is taken from the Doctor in order to be a gift to Kublai Khan in order to allow Marco Polo to return home. The TARDIS is refered to as his flying caravan despite the fact no one has seen it fly. This seems to be taking an awful lot on blind faith, Marco Polo doesn’t even venture inside.

The finale doesn’t directly include the crew as Marco Polo fights Tegana who has tried to kill the elderly Kublai Khan.

This story is unusual as it takes place over many weeks as the crew accompany Marco on his travels and once more, the TARDIS is kept out of action, preventing it from being an easy escape route. The early episodes tend to have the adventure starting as a result of the crew being unable to leave rather than deliberate actions on their part. Keep an eye out in the coming stories as to how they start. The TARDIS of this story sounds as if it would fail the Gallifreyan equivalent of an MOT.

The writer of this story was John Lucarotti, his first of three William Hartnell stories. These stories (Marco Polo, The Aztecs and The Massacre) are all historical stories and among the very best  historical stories of the first Doctor’s era. Had the historical stories remained a part of Doctor Who, I would hope that the production team would have called on him again (and often). He also provided the story for the Ark in Space for Tom Baker’s first season, but the script was largely re-written by then script editor, Robert Holmes.

  1. The Roof Of The World
  2. The Singing Sands
  3. Five Hundrerd Eyes
  4. The Wall Of Lies
  5. Rider From Shang-tu
  6. Mighty Kublai Khan
  7. Assassin At Peking

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