The Crusade

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor and his friends to 12th century Palestine – the time of King Richard’s Crusade into the Muslim holy lands. Barbara is abducted by the Saracens and is held prisoner. The Doctor, Vicki and Ian fend off a Saracen attack are found by King Richard the Lionhearted and his men. Ian is infuriated when his request for help in rescuing Barbara is met with King Richard’s refusal, but the Doctor smoothes things over with the King and wind up becoming a member of the royal court, while Ian is knighted and sent on his way to save Barbara and the King’s brother – and to offer the hand of the King’s sister, Joanna, to Saladin in the hopes that their marriage would end the ongoing conflict. The Doctor and Vicki – the latter masquerading as a boy – try to keep their necks out of the court intrigue as they discover that King Richard has told his sister nothing of his plan for peace. In Saladin’s court, Barbara finds an ally who has his pledged vengeance upon the Emir…but this new ally leaves it to Barbara to carry out his murderous revenge for him.

Order this story on audio CDwritten by David Whitaker
directed by Douglas Camfield
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: John Flint (William des Preaux), Walter Randall (El Akir), Julian Glover (Richard the Lionheart), David Anderson (Reynier de Marun), Bruce Wightman (William de Tornebu), Reg Pritchard (Ben Daheer), Tony Caunter (Thatcher), Roger Avon (Saphadin), Bernard Kay (Saladin), Derek Ware, Valentino Musetti, Anthony Colby (Saracen Warriors), Jean Marsh (Joanna), Robert Lankesheer (Chamberlain), Zohra Segal (Sheyrah), Gabor Baraker (Luigi Ferrigo), Chris Konyils, Raymond Novak (Saracen Guards), George Little (Haroun), Pera Markham (Safiya), John Bay (Earl of Leicester), Sandra Hampton (Maimuna), Viviane Sorrel (Fatima), Diane McKenzie (Hafsa), Tutte Lemkow (Ibrahim), Billy Cornelius (Soldier)

Notes: Guest star Jean Marsh would return in the following season, in the role of one-time TARDIS traveler Sara Kingdom in The Daleks’ Masterplan, and again as Morgaine in 1989’s Battlefield. Julian Glover would also appear in Doctor Who again, in the classic 1979 Tom Baker story City Of Death.

Broadcast from March 27 through April 17, 1965

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: A surprisingly mature adventure from an era when Doctor Who was unquestioningly considered to be children’s programming, The Crusade takes a remarkably even-handed approach to both sides of the conflict around which the story revolves. King Richard and his men are not portrayed as flawless, nor are Saladin and the Muslims portrayed as brutish savages. With the Doctor once again struggling mightily – as in The Aztecs – to keep out of history’s way, The Crusades achieves a kind of storytelling sophistication that was occasionally missing from the more futuristic SF tales made at around the same time.

Julian Glover, Jean Marsh and Bernard Kay help to elevate the material even further with their performances, not chewing on the scenery but becoming full participants in the even-handed treatment of the story. Glover’s King Richard alternates between the expected prerequisite nobility and moments of petulance, while Jean Marsh gives Joanna a steely resolve that serves her in good stead when she discovers that she’s about to be bartered for a peace agreement. For this period of Doctor Who, where the acting even among the regulars could often be very stagey (though that was the fashion of the time), The Crusade is also one of the best-acted stories.

Sadly, the second and fourth episodes are missing from the BBC archives, though of course the entire story is available in audio form and the first and third episodes are included – along with the missing segments in audio form – on the Lost In Time DVD box set. The Crusade was one of the last 1960s stories to be archived in audio form, as off-air sound recordings of all four episodes weren’t found until the mid-1990s. Even in audio form, however, the performances and the story shine. This really is one of the best “historical” stories from the series’ early years, and I really do hope that the missing episodes come to light someday so I can enjoy it even more.