Marco... Polo!

Watching Doctor Who: Series 1 Serial 4: Marco Polo


Here we are, Marco Polo, the first entirely lost episode of Doctor Who. It's a shame in more ways than one, having looked at the pictures of the episode I really would have like to have seen all the costumes in action.

In this escapade the gang lands in 1289 with a completely buggered ship. Luckily they manage to hitchhike a ride with Marco Polo as they travel the Silk Road to visit his chum Kublai Libre. One of the group is hell bent on assassinating Chaka Khan in Peking, and attempts to sabotage the caravan along the route are thwarted. As if that wasn't bad enough, the gang has to retrieve the TARDIS from Minty Polo, who repurposes it when he realises that he's forgotten a gift for KHAAAAAAAN!

The Roof of the World


I've got a lot more admiration for the theme now I know how it was made.

So the last episode saw the giant foot print outside the TARDIS. "The sun has melted the edges and made it look bigger." I don't think it would make it look quite that big, Ian.

Ahh the bickering is already going. How the TARDIS lasted through as many series as it did when all it seems to do is break I will never know.

After all the trouble they've found themselves in so far I cannot believe that Ian left Barbara on her own. You know she's going to see someth... oh there we are!

The pictures that accompany this reconstruction are interesting, I particularly enjoyed the Mongol head popping over the rock.

Yummy soup for all, as they deduce where they are and who they're with.

Ian sounds surprised that they're on the "roof of the world" they only said it themselves a few minutes ago... and it's the name of the episode... read the script!

Susan is being very naive about the olden days. Get out of the TARDIS game love and settle down.

Their carriage has no wheels and looks like a tomb. (Well that last bit is kind of right.) Four of you fit in there? Some raised eyebrows all around. Nudge nudge wink wink.

The Doctor is respecting someone's wishes? I feel like somewhere along the line he's going to go back on that one.

Devious all Minty... scheming behind everyone's back.

These sets look quite good, it's such a shame there's nothing to watch, I can't believe there's not a copy somewhere... which Whovian is hoarding them?

Ah, the bickering is back, but at least this time there's a more sensible reason to be doing it. But why is the Doctor hysterical with laughter?

Some stunningly modern facial hair going on in this episode... looks like the Mongols had some pretty fierce trimmers at their disposal.

The Singing Sands


Plots are being hatched by Beardy. Blah blah, steal magic thing, blah blah, kill Kublai Libre.

Polo is having to endure his insults, he should talk to Mickey, get some tips on how to cope.

"We'll get the TARDIS back, there's not enough budget left for us not to."

Susan is being a nosy wotsit again, seriously, the girl has no manners.

Minty just doesn't feel quite right, like he doesn't realise he's supposed to be Venetian.

Susan's idiotic behaviour has now led to her and Ping-Cho being stuck in a sandstorm out on the dunes. Sometimes the sandstorms sound like no one has ever heard what a sandstorm sounds like and asked the music department to come up with something. The cackling sandstorm is joined by Barbara's wailing... I might turn the sound off for a bit.

Damnit, dramatic music and all I've got to go on is a picture of Tegana and some caption about crushing fruit.

All of the water is gone apart from what they're using and they're talking about going back. Ian, with all of his experience of desert life, is telling the seasoned experts they should power on night and day to an oasis where the (non-existent) bandits might be.

Marco asks Tegana if he thinks he can reach the oasis... I should bloody hope so, you were pinning your hopes on you all getting there in the first place.


Five Hundred Eyes


Oh grrr... so the end of the last episode says this one is The Cave of Five Hundred Eyes... I really can't be bothered to make another image for it, and this matches the episode listing I'm doing so ptttttt. *strops like Susan in a mood swing*

I can't remember what was broken in the TARDIS. Was it just a blanket "everything"? Because there will be water in there somewhere.

And really? The in-episode header says Five Hundred Eyes, so it's all good.

The TARDIS is leaking water... she really is a good girl, trying to keep them alive. Oh boo, it's just boring old condensation, good luck getting that across.

Minty has learnt that it's easier to let the Doctor to have his way. I mean really, why bother arguing with him?

Some of these pictures capture very suspicious facial expressions.

Gather round everyone... we need to pad the story out with a tale.

Barbara could be about to break this one wide open again here... although I don't think following Beardy was the best idea she's ever had... but I guess there are still four episodes left for her to be captured or something similar.

Barbara, Barbara, Barbara... *heavy sigh* Always getting yourself into trouble. They're playing dice for the privilege of killing her... serious, has no one in time and space ever killed someone straight off so they can't escape.

I've zoned out a little bit. It's becoming difficult to follow the images... and the screaming at the end of this episode is particularly annoying yet again.

In my head I feel like these reconstructed episodes would be better with audio description rather than the subtitle stage directions.

The Wall of Lies


Why must we start this episode with Susan, Ping-Cho and the Doctor screaming... didn't we have enough of that in the last one?!!

This mile from where they were staying, to the cave, is surprisingly short if Ian has managed to make it there already.

The eyes are moving... I feel like we're in Murder By Death territory here, very suspicious moose eyes.

"That cunning Susan." Marco, just with that idea you should know that Tegana is up to something.

I'm really not sure why Polo hasn't been into the TARDIS yet. It's not like he promised not to or anything.

Barbara is getting her trademark observations in... which everyone then ignores.

Ahhh, atmospheric music and wistful picture of Ping-Cho. It must mean she's sad.

I'm going to have to scour some history books, I'm sure there would be some mention of this strange blue box appearing at weigh stations on the Silk Road. Has someone created a documented history from diary entries and articles on the TARDIS and the Doctor from an outsiders point of view? If not, they should, and I'll only take 50% in royalties for the idea.

Trying to turn the tables on Tegana with three episodes left?! Are you mad?

Seriously... go in the flipping TARDIS and then they can sneak back in while you're running round the outside all confused by the dimensions.

Oooooh a dead guard! I was just about to moan about the fact he had his back to the tent.

Rider From Shang-Tu


A cunning plan is afoot by someone... but I'm feeling a little lost again.

This whole thing basically started because Minty had a massive attack of car envy over the TARDIS.

A fight scene is just too much for these reconstructions.

I've definitely lost track of this episode, I'm not really sure why.

Ping-Cho has recovered a TARDIS key from Polo's quarters and they've managed to make their way inside... but of course Susan has gone AWOL...

Me from my sofa: "Just leave her!!!"

Mighty Kublai Khan


Susan has been captured... I suppose they need to mix it up a bit so it's not always Barbara.

"I don't think we'll get him on another horse as long as he lives." Well he gets over that one!

I can't believe this is the first time that one of them has tried to explain where they're from to Minty. He seems reasonable, and educated. Tell him to go into the bloody thing!

Polo: I don't believe you.
Ian: But come on, I've told you the truth.
If Barbara was there: Go inside the flipping box and then decide how you feel about Ian's magical tale of where we're from.

Ian has found Ping-Cho, and it turns out that everyone is getting hoodwinked. Ping's money stolen, and the TARDIS half-inched.

They're all meeting Chaka Khan and the audio sounds like someone is low key watching porn in the background... but don't worry, it's actually the Doctor and his aching back.

Khan is sounding more like a dithering wizard from Harry Potter than a conqueror and ruler.

Ian and Ping-Cho are back in the mix, almost forgot they were out and about. Beardy is back, he's come for his TARDIS.

I'm a little grateful there's only one episode left right now. I'm enjoying this story line, but i really don't feel it needed to be this many episodes.

Assassin at Peking


There's a minor kerfuffle and everyone is finally headed for the same place.

I was getting along with this story until the dithering old boys started playing backgammon for prizes.

Oh I'm done with Tegana beardy-weirdy warrior. He's really annoying me now.

Argh... get off the planet for crying out loud.

Tegana is bad... oh my god, who would have thought it? *expressionless*

So everyone is off home, including Minty after a warm gesture from Khan.

---

I did enjoy this story, and I probably would have been more engaged at the end if it was a video one and not a reconstruction. There are a few bits that I really don't think were needed, and probably one whole episode could have been clipped off.

Still a good story though, but I do yearn for a good old fashioned alien though.

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