Monday, September 12, 2005

'The Crusade'

4 episodes: 2 surviving

For what was there, this was a very strong story - literate, almost Shakespearian in its way with dialogue, a vividly depicted setting, unusually adult and violent at times and fair in its portrayal of the Christian/Saracen sides in the Crusades of the 12th century. Unfortunately the two surviving episodes are 1 and 3, which makes watching the story very bitty even though the other two parts are present on the DVD in audio format, and I found it hard to get into the story as much a I would undoubtedly have done otherwise. The 'Lost In Time' 3-DVD set that the story appears on is a real treasure trove of assorted early episodes whose parent stories no longer exist in their entirities - it's due to get a fair number of runs in the PS2 player over the next few weeks... A highlight are in-character prologue, links and afterword from William Russell on the DVD, which are great fun. Storywise, the highlight is the superb exchange at the end of part 3 between Julian Glover's King Richard (the Lionheart) and Jean Marsh's Princess Joanna, with the two really tearing strips off each other. It's a great shame you can't see what comes afterward.

What makes this story strangely evocative is that until not so long ago only one episode was thought to still be extant - but the unearthing of a print of part 1, 'The Lion', in New Zealand in 1998 brought the number to two and is the second most recent discovery of a missing Doctor Who episode to date. It felt quite odd (in a good way) to be watching 25 minutes of footage that theoretically did not exist when I was first reintroduced to Who a few years ago! Shame there's still 108 lost episodes that will probably never be seen again...


Episodes watched: 56
Episodes still to watch: 666

Damn, only a 2-episode day today. Back to being 16 behind again...

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