Season 2 – Episode 6 – (1965)
Doctor: 1 – William Hartnell
Companions: Ian, Barbara, Vicki
Thank goodness I can at least say something in general about the series here. As mentioned before, there is a sort of rough idea of balancing the futuristic sci-fi stories with the historical one. This story is the last historical to air before the introduction of the pseudo-historical. For clarification, a historical story is one set entirely in the past with the gang interacting with the locals and generally watching or getting caught up in history. The pseudo-historical warps the idea and generally includes aliens, monsters or anachronistic technology. Pure historicals only really happened in the 1st Doctor’s tenure, with a couple of exceptions. They tend to be paint by numbers progressive stories that involve the cast getting trapped or caught up in the past. I don’t always hate them, I love The Aztecs, but this one is tedious.
I suppose the main reason I don’t like this one is that it’s a less comical version of The Romans. The group arrive in the middle of the crusade and Barbara is captured starting off the story. In that time, The Doctor, Ian and Vicki meet King Richard I, and Saladin and, look, I’ll just chuck out the plot as quickly as I can!
In true style – Barbara and Ian are the ones who are caught in the underbelly of the operation while The Doctor and Vicki are more caught in the over world of the aristocracy, playing games with Richard I and trying to sort out things, while never being truly worried about what is going to happen. Obviously in this time he becomes a trusted adviser in the court and Ian is knighted Sir Ian of Jaffa. Ah I guess one more thing is that Vicki has to pretend she’s a boy – which she doesn’t like – take that, those of you who assume the classic show is old fashioned! The female characters barely ever just accept these things.
The standard way of addressing stories with missing episodes is to watch the serial with the audio (all intact) and telesnaps or screenshots that have been kept and matched up over the years. Some background… This story is actually the only one in season 2 with missing episodes. This makes season 2 as the most complete of the junkable era in the show’s history and that’s probably a good thing. This season is the most solid of Hartnell’s run and sure THIS story is forgettable but largely they are solid plots that show a great progression in the show. There exist some alternative ways of viewing this, one of them is having a rather aging William Russell (Ian) narrating the progression of the story between. They are cute, findable online and do add a bit more nuance to an otherwise rather flat story.
Mercifully four parts, but definitely a least favourite for me. My least favourites aren’t always the historicals but a couple of them really drive me away.
I can’t come up with one this time I’m afraid – it’s just not memorable enough
Next time: Time isn’t behaving right and the Doctor and co. find themselves as exhibits in a space museum. Can they avoid this fate? Why are they trapped? It’s revolution and evil corporations! My inner Marxist is looking forward to it.