The Crusade – 1965 – S2 – E6/9

image Number : Season 2, episode 6 of 9.

Which One : The Doctor visits the Crusades and 11th Century Palestine.

Cast : The Doctor : William Hartnell
Ian : William Russell
Barbara : Jacqueline Hill
Vicki : Maureen O’ Brien
El Akir : Walter Randall
Saphadin : Roger Avon
Saladin : Bernard Kay
Richard the Lionheart : Julian Glover
Reynier de Marun : David Anderson
William de Tornebu : Bruce Wightman
William des Preaux : John Flint
Ben Daheer : Reg Pritchard
Thatcher : Tony Caunter
Joanna : Jean Marsh
Luigi Ferrigo : Gábor Baraker
Earl of Leicester : John Bay
Chamberlain : Robert Lankesheer
Haroun : George Little
Sadiya : Petra Markham
Maimuna : Sandra Hampton
Sheyrah : Zohra Segal
Fatima : Viviane Sorrél
Hafsa : Diana McKenzie
Ibrahim : Tutte Lemkow
Turkish Bandit : David Brewster
Man-at-Arms : Billy Cornelius

Written By : David Whitaker

First UK Broadcast : 27 March – 17 April 1965.

Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.

Parts :
1) “The Lion”
2) “The Knight of Jaffa”
3) “The Wheel of Fortune”
4) “The Warlords”

Plot : The Tardis takes the Doctor to 12th century Palestine and in the midst of the Third Crusade, meeting King Richard Lionheart and his Saracen opponent Saladin.

Whats good : It’s one of the better period numbers. Ian as a Knight. Julian Glover. Bernard Kay. Walter Randall. John Bay’s “learned men” arguement with the Doctor.

Whats bad : That the Beeb criminally allowed parts 2 & 4 to be junked. Vicki is given nothing to do.

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Review With Spoilers : The Crusade is the 6th episode of season 2 and 4th period drama, since the series beginning.

The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki land the Tardis in 12th century Palestine right in the middle of a fight between Richard Lionheart’s Knights and a surprise Saladin ambush.

As the Doctor and Ian fight off Saladin’s forces, Barbara is kidnapped in the confusion by the Saracens and the Doctor journeys to the court of Richard Lionheart – to gain favour with the King.
The Crusade is a strong and engaging period drama. Probably the best that Hartnell Who ever conceived. This is due in part to the strong performances of the supporting cast.

Julian Glover is excellent as Richard Lionheart; a tortured, self-doubtful and impulsive war-mongering king. Whilst Saladin is played as a cunning but wary Sultan of the Saracrens.

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“In the name of God, Saint Michael, and Saint George, we dub you Sir Ian, Knight of Jaffa. Arise Sir Ian, and be valiant!” Richard Lionheart

Likewise, The Earl Of Leicester and El Akir both impress as secondary antagonists and Who regular; Jean Marsh – as the tough as nails Princess Joanna.

It would be easy to play the Saracens off as savage boogeymen, in this British take on the conflict. However, Who presents a fair take on both sides of the conflict, laying bare the less than virtuous regimes – warts-and-all.

A tortured and unsure King Richard is beset by a decadent and viceful army who prefer to drink and cavort in the streets of Jerusalem.

Saladin – on the other hand, is surrounded by treacherous generals who perceive his lack of direct force against the infidels as weakness.

The Crusade gives companion Ian his greatest turn, decked out in Knights armour and representative of the King. He even gets the honour of being knighted by King Richard and later, tortured by ants by being staked out and covered in honey.

It is a shame that the Beeb allowed the entire serial to be junked in line with their shameful practice of deleting episodes to reuse tapes. Luckily, parts 1 & 3 were eventually retrieved and 3 & 4 have audio recordings of the missing episodes.

With strong performances, well-written dialogue and an entertaining story which skips along, The Crusade is the kind of history lesson that should be shown to kids in school; as it is entertaining and informative.

🔵🔵🔵🔵🔘 (4.5/5)

Old Doctor Who