Sunday, November 23, 2008


Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 1965 Brilliant?

The series stretches out into new territory, creating the archetypal Who story of mixing history and science fiction in The Time Meddler, experimenting with comedy scripts like The Romans, trying a story with no ‘humans’ except the regular cast in The Web Planet and even a one-off grim Dalek adventure with none of our heroes at all but a James Bond-like lead instead, Mission to the Unknown. The first Annual appears. And a huge Dalek nightmare begins, though more on that story later, after…

The Crusade
“You defy me with the Pope?”
“No! You defy the world with your politics!”
The Doctor lands in a remarkably even-handed 12th Century ‘BBC adventure serial’, caught between two dangerous leaders – intelligent, calm Saladin and impulsive, petulant Richard – and their butchering warlords. An extraordinary script brings out the best from outstanding actors with perhaps the finest ‘serious’ dialogue in Doctor Who.

Unfortunately, if you want to see the whole of this story… You can’t. Half of it was binned by the BBC and no longer exists, though you can buy the whole soundtrack on CD, while the Lost In Time DVD set has both the audio-only parts and the restored surviving TV episodes. This is a good one to send off for the Recon, naturally, with a superb interview with Julian Glover as well as reconstructed visuals. Then there’s David Whitaker’s rather dashing novel Doctor Who and the Crusaders, now available as a talking book read on CD by William Russell, and well worth getting.

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