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Doctor Who: The Crusade

"Once, in the marketplace at Jaffa,
I stole a bolt of fabric that was THIS BIG!"
Season 2, Story P

Starring William Hartnell as the Doctor
With William Russell (Ian), Jacqueline Hill (Barbara) and Maureen O'Brien (Vicki)
Written by David Whitaker
Directed by Douglas Camfield
Produced by Verity Lambert

Episodes and Broadcast Dates
  • 1. The Lion – 27 March 1965
  • 2. The Knight of Jaffa – 3 April 1965 **MISSING**
  • 3. The Wheel of Fortune – 10 April 1965
  • 4. The Warlords – 17 April 1965 **MISSING**

How To Watch:
  • Due to the missing episodes, it's not available on Britbox or Pluto.tv
  • The "Lost In Time" DVD release features episodes 1 and 3, plus the audio of episodes 2 and 4, and introductions by William Russell as (Sir) Ian. Search eBay.
  • Loose Cannon telesnap reconstructions of episode 2 and episode 4 are available online.
  • There is no plan (as of May 2022) to animate the missing episodes for a future release.


Landing in Jaffa, the TARDIS crew get caught up in a skirmish between Richard the Lionhearted's men and a group of Saracens. Ian ably assists in defending Richard, but Barbara is abducted, along with Sir William de Preaux, by the Saracens. William claims to be Richard, and Barbara claims to be his sister Joanna, and the fearsome El Akir is quite eager to do them harm – especially once they realize they've been fooled – but Saladin, leader of the Saracens, intercedes. Richard takes the Doctor and Vicki (dressed as a boy) into his confidence, but will not hear of assisting in the return of Barbara. The Doctor and Vicki get involved in court intrigue as Richard attempts to broker peace by offering his sister Joanna in marriage to Saphadin, brother of Saladin, and he makes Ian a knight in order for him to broker the arrangement. Joanna, of course, is furious at the idea, and her rejection of the offer sours the relationship between Richard and the Doctor. Barbara finds an ally in Haroun, whose son and wife were murdered, and oldest daughter abducted, by El Akir. Eventually Ian helps Barbara and Haroun's daughter escape the clutches of El Akir, who meets his fate at the hands of Haroun. The Doctor and Vicki return to the TARDIS, but are stopped by the Earl of Leicester and his men. Ian arrives, and as Knight of Jaffa, he has a claim on the Doctor's head. Leicester relents, and our heroes escape in the TARDIS.

Shortly after takeoff, the lights in the TARDIS dim and our heroes suddenly stiffen, as if frozen in time...

Analysis and Stuff

A quintessential historical story; the TARDIS lands in the middle of a skirmish in the middle of the Crusades, and were it not for Barbara being abducted two minutes in, there'd be no story. As it was, the Doctor, Ian and Vicki were in no position to look for Barbara on their own, so they were obliged to ingratiate themselves with the King of England, improvising rapidly along the way. As does Barbara, recognizing her place as a sort of Scheherazade, keeping herself alive by spinning stories, either from literature or from her own recent adventures. They all survive on their wits, resorting to lying, cheating and stealing at times. In a touching scene, Richard asks the Doctor if he will ever enter Jerusalem, and he replies with a reassuring lie: of course he will. Barbara even saves the daughter of a virtuous old man from the clutches of El Akir.

Even if most of the Saracens are played by European actors in dark makeup – not ideal, but on par with the casting practices of the era – they did at least cast a handful of actual BiPOC actors in speaking parts (including Tutte Lemkow), and a few more uncredited extras (including Roy Stewart, more on him later).

My ability to embrace this story as much as many others is limited mainly by an over-reliance on capture/escape/re-capture/re-escape, and perhaps unfairly, the fact that this is the only season two story with missing episodes. The only way to watch it beginning to end is the Lost In Time DVD, and the missing episodes don't even have stills/telesnaps to offer any visual elements.

"The Crusade" basically captures the best and worst aspects of the Pure Historicals. Depending on your mood, it's an intriguing, lavishly costumed, intelligently written and engagingly performed adventure with our heroes struggling hard to survive, or it's a lavishly costumed runaround with classical actors slumming with sub-Shakespearean classical dialogue.

Haven't I Seen You Somewhere In The Future?
  • Julian Glover (Richard) is of course best known for playing Count Scarlioni/Scaroth in "City of Death."
  • Jean Marsh (Joanna) came back the following year as companion-lite Sara Kingdom in "The Daleks' Master Plan," and Morgaine in season 26's "Battlefield." She also was married, at one point, to Jon Pertwee.
  • Bernard Kay (Saladin) was Tyler in the "Dalek Invasion of Earth," and would return as Inspector Crossland in "The Faceless Ones" and Caldwell in "Colony in Space."
  • Reg Pritchard, who played silk merchant Ben Daheer, later appeared as a policeman in the infamous Christmas 1966 episode "The Feast of Steven;" the Doctor claims to recognize him, struggles to place the face, then realizes "Of course! The marketplace at Jaffa!"
  • Tutte Lemkow (Ibrahim) also appeared in "Marco Polo," played the Cyclops in "The Myth Makers," and choreographed the dancers in "The Celestial Toymaker." Outside the Whoniverse, he appeared in Raiders of the Lost Ark (owner of the treacherous monkey), and attempted to seduce Diane Keaton in Woody Allen's Love And Death.

Rating: three out of four bags of money in my boot. No, the other boot.
John Geoffrion is a semi-retired semi-professional thespian, a professional data guy, and a Dad. He usually falls asleep to the Classic Doctor Who channel on Pluto.tv

1 comment:

  1. I too was only able to watch this thanks to the Lost Years DVD collection, and am not a huge fan of the telesnap portions, although they are better than nothing. I found it on the duller side, but as usual with Doctor Who, I didn't actively dislike it. Julian Glover and Jean Marsh in the same serial certainly didn't hurt matters!


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