Doctor Who/Recap/S1/E04 Marco Polo

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Marco 3476.jpg
"I couldn't place it in the hanging-garden, could I?" What does he think it is? A potting-shed?
The Doctor, mimicking Wang-Lo's comments about the TARDIS.

Historical adventure in which the Doctor and his companions join Marco Polo on his journey into Cathay. Polo sees the TARDIS arrive and believes it to be a magical box, so he decides to take it to Kublai Khan in Peking in order to win imperial favour.

After rescuing Marco Polo from the schemes of the villainous Tegana and saving Kublai Khan from poisoning, the time travelers depart, waved off by Polo.

All seven episodes are missing. A colour reconstruction [1] can be found here. [dead link]

The serial's audio has been released on CD by the BBC, with linking narration by William Russell (Ian).

Tropes include

  • Arranged Marriage: Ping Cho's storyline.
  • The Emperor: Kublai Khan, who's actually pretty accommodating and reasonable towards the travelers.
  • Excellent Adventure: The TARDIS crew's adventure with Polo and company spans months, making this one of the longest Doctor Who episodes in terms of real time spent.
  • Future Slang: Susan lets some slip when talking to Ping Cho.
  • Historical Domain Character: Marco Polo, Kublai Khan.
  • Hero Antagonist: Marco Polo only holds the TARDIS crew ransom because he desperately wants to return to Venice.
  • Home, Sweet Home: Both Ping Cho and Marco Polo's main motivations. In the end, Ping Cho accepts the Khan's offer to stay in his court while Polo is presumably allowed to return back to Venice after 18 years.
  • Kneel Before Zod: The Doctor refuses to kneel to Kublai Khan, because his back hurts from riding a horse and he can't kneel.
  • Lighter and Softer: When the story begins, the Doctor is still his original "angry old man" type. After being absent for an entire episode, he returns as his more widely-recognized "grandfatherly" type.
  • Obviously Evil: Tegana wears his heart on his sleeve regarding his hostility and distrust towards the TARDIS crew.
  • Missing Episode: The entire serial. This case is particularly annoying, as "Marco Polo" was apparently one of the most widely-sold stories. In theory, there should be more copies out there than other missing episodes, but so far none have been found.
  • Professional Gambler: Kublai Khan and the Doctor. The latter tries winning the TARDIS back but after several lucrative gains... he loses.
  • Travel Montage: Marco Polo narrates portions of the journey via voiceover while a map of the route is shown onscreen.
  • Yellowface
  1. (a fanmade attempt to "recreate" missing episodes using surving footage, telesnaps, and other sources)