Story 004: Marco Polo

Original air date February through April 1964.

This is one of the lost episodes.  For some reason, the sound was saved separately, and fans have made various reconstructions.  I’ve found animated version of the first one that is better than no video at all.  For the others, there are photos placed over the audio track.  It is enough to follow the story.

This is the first example of the Doctor and companions meeting a famous person.  1289, they meet Marco Polo.  He rescued them from Yet Another TARDIS breakdown.

The cultural shocks between the TARDIS group and the locals is so different as to be shocking.  Susan is shocked by the young girl’s arranged marriage.  One of the warlords insists they are evil spirits.

This is the first time the TARDIS is moved by manual means.  Marco Polo’s caravan apparently can move it.

Look!  The TARDIS is the Macguffin!  Everyone wants it.

I wonder what special effects they had for the big sandstorm effect.  The audio was certainly unusual.  Considering the pictures they took, this was an epic episode, with lots of extras and costumes.  A foolish thing to have destroyed them.

It is ironic that a video of animation is larger than the regular video would have been.

The story is good, although a little long.  There was only one plot point I wondered “Why did the Doctor do this?”   Why would he step out of the TARDIS he’s snuck into when people are watching?  He has the monitor; he can see out.  He didn’t, and got caught.  All he had to do was wait them out, then get the others.  Oops.

At Westercon, I was warned about seven-part stories.  This was eight.  By today’s lights, it was a little long, and probably could have been edited to six.




Leave a Reply