Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Marco Polo

We join the crew of the TARDIS where we left off... on an icy mountain plateau, where Susan and Barbara have discovered a giant footprint. Ian thinks it's just a normal footprint that's melted a bit. What a swizz!

KrynoidPodCast@KrynoidPodCast Do we ever find out why the footprint is giant?

No; have to assume Ian is correct & it's a normal one whose edges have been melted by the sun.

The Doctor thinks he's successfully brought Ian and Barbara home to Earth.

He's all ratty as the TARDIS has completely broken down after their recent troubles.

If the heating can't be repaired they'll freeze to death on the mountainside.

Ian & Barbara go to find shelter. Barbara is confronted by a furry figure, who disappears before Ian can arrive. Was it a Yeti?

When Barbara tells the others they're sceptical, but soon enough they're surrounded by furry figures!

They're not Yeti, though, they're fur-clad men, Mongol Warriors, led by the bloodthirsty Tegana.

Tegana calls them evil spirits and orders their death, but they're saved by the arrival of another man - it's Marco Polo!

Marco Polo takes the Doctor and co. to their tented gathering, where a young girl, Ping Cho, gives them some hot soup.  

Barbara tells Susan a little of Polo's background, while Ian explains to Marco that the thin air is responsible... 

...not only for the Doctor's "mountain sickness" but also for making it so hard to get a good fire going. 

It's 1289 and they're on the plain of Pamir. Ian and Barbara are still a long way from home! 

Ping Cho explains to Susan that she is travelling with Polo to Kublai Khan's summer palace... 

...where she'll be married off to a 75 year old she's never met. Susan is horrified! 

Tegana drips poison in Polo's ear, explaining that the Doctor's "caravan" has no wheels & is too small for 4 people. 

Marco Polo is inclined to believe the Doctor because he has seen inexplicable things before, at the Khan's court. 

Ian explains that the Doctor is the only one who can make the TARDIS fly. 

Ping Cho tells the Doctor that Tegana is an emissary from the War Lord Nogai, who travels with Polo to make peace with Kublai Khan. 

Polo tells the Doctor that because the others believe that they are evil spirits, but powerless outside the TARDIS, he must agree to stay outside the TARDIS while their caravans travel. 

He'll have to work on repairs as they go. Marco plans to give Kublai Khan the TARDIS as a gift so that he'll be allowed to return to Venice. The Doctor flips! 

Marco Polo thinks the Doctor can just build himself another TARDIS. Seems that's theoretically possible - given the right materials.

Simon Pittman@LibraryPlayer Or grow one! Or is that just in New Who? :P

It's very much a machine at this time. Think the idea of growing one didn't arise till at least the New Adventures novels.

The Doctor descends into hysterical laughter at the news that Marco Polo is thieving his TARDIS.

Elsewhere, Tegana plots to kill Kublai Khan - and to use the TARDIS to do it! 

Episode 2 - The Singing Sands...

Tegana's plan is to poison the water and then head back to Lop for the TARDIS. 

Tegana likes Chess because you get to kill the King. No one takes the hint. 

Barbara thinks the Doctor is just sulking. 

Susan & Ping Cho arrange to meet up to see the desert by night, when Ping Cho says it looks like a silver sea. 

Susan confuses Ping Cho with some "with it" 60s yoof speak. Dig it! 

Marco Polo tells Ian a sandstorm is coming. He doesn't know that Susan & Ping Cho are out and about. 

Darkness falls & the winds whip up, the sound of the sand knifing the air is like "all the devils in hell laughing". 

Susan hears Ian calling them and the pair scramble towards him.

MarcoPolo promises Barbara he won't rest till Susan is found. Just then Susan enters the tent. Job done, Marco. 

4thdocactionfig@4thdocactinfig where's Marcos uncle and dad? They travelled with him 

Yeah, he refers to them early on but they never appear. Assume they're with the Khan, but we never meet them there either!

Marco Polo forbids Susan - and any of the travellers - to leave camp without his say so. 

Susan is suspicious of Tegana; how come he was out there to find them anyway? What was he up to? 

Polo buys Tegana's story about bandits, but equally refuses to turn back to Lop. 

As they all begin to dehydrate in the desert, Polo allows the Doctor to go inside the TARDIS for comfort. 

Having reached the oasis, Tegana has a good guzzle of water, but pours the rest away, cursing Marco Polo! What a git. 

Episode 3 - Five Hundred Eyes 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H Cave of 500 eyes - maximum capacity 250 (or 500 pirates)

Simon Pittman@LibraryPlayer Due to health and safty regulations all eyes must be removed before going into the cave...

It's another freezing night; the next morning Polo laments that Tegana is their only hope.  

In the TARDIS, the warmer air on the inside hitting the cold outer walls has formed condensation - and they can collect the water! 

Steve Powner@StevePowner I thought this a great idea on first listen

A great example of the remit to educate really serving the plot - great too to get a science lesson within a historical story! 

Simon Pittman@LibraryPlayer Was it unusual for the TARDIS to be seen during story in early years? Ones I've seen pretty much arrive/leave and that's it. 

Yeah, I'd say so, until stories like the Chase and the Daleks' Master Plan. Though actually, they go in and out a couple of times in the Web Planet, too. 

atruedrwhofan@atruedrwhofan fully stolen here, in the Web Planet. Also arguably the Myth Makers and Celestial Toymaker. 

Tegana claims he's late and waterless due to having to hide from bandits. 

Barbara doesn't believe Tegana's story for a minute; there's not even the slightest trace of bandits. 

I suspect Sand-People; they ride single file to disguise their numbers, you know. 

As Polo has demanded the Doctor hands over the TARDIS key, the crafty old beggar's cut another one! 

They arrive at the city of Tun-Huang, with its' cave of 500 eyes, and legends of the Hashashins... 

Ping Cho tells the legend, of "Ala-eddin" and his drugged assassins, who were finally overcome after a 3 year siege. 

Tegana meets with agents of Noghai in the cave of 500 eyes. 

The Doctor goes with Ping Cho and Susan to find Barbara, who's been captured by one of Tegana's warriors... 

Susan is freaked out when the cave's "eyes" seem to swivel to follow them! End of part 3! 

Episode 4 - the Wall of Lies - good title for a missing episode...

atruedrwhofan@atruedrwhofan of which no telesnaps exist. The hole in the Polo :D 

Tegana tells the Doctor the caves are filled with evil spirits, but he's not afraid. 

Tegana claims that the Doctor is a liar. Takes one to know one. 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H I don't believe you.

Neither do I ;-P

Polo grounds Ping Cho and forbids her from spending any more time with Susan, who's a bad influence on her. 

The Doctor plots escape; Barbara thinks it's a shame Susan can't hang out with her mate. 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H listening to her crazy rock'n'roll tunes on her transistor

They're just lucky there's no scissors in camp.

MAW Holmes@MAW_H "Come and join me for some scissor-based fun" whispered Susan Foreman, the serial killer...

Ping Cho is sad; their journey will soon be over and she will be married off to a man she's never met. 

Ping Cho says she can prove Tegana lied - how did he know of the passageway if he'd never been there? Polo ain't impressed. 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H Marco Polo - always finding arguments containing a bloody great hole in them.

Tegana plots to kill the Doctor with a stake through the heart! He's not a vampire! 

Steve Powner@StevePowner The Doctor would make a Great Vampire lol

And he may or may not have a second heart anyway. Sort of. Ish.

Simon Pittman@LibraryPlayer And he may or may not be half human on his mother's side! :P

Polo has his knickers in a twist because Ping Cho supported the Doctor against Tegana - and by default against Polo himself. 

Polo is livid to find that the Doctor has another key, and has Tegana confiscate it. 

The Doctor tells Polo that if he tries to use the key the lock will be destroyed. 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H which is precisely what kind of useful...?

Definitely an "I'll explain later" job! Guess it's sort of a self-destruct, logic being you'll only get the key out of his cold dead hand and then the technology has to be kept from whoever has it? 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H Yeah, I guess... but on those nights after he's been down the pub with the Brig... Not such a great idea...

It's something he's obviously changed nowadays where he throws keys out like confetti.

MAW Holmes@MAW_H "Liberty Hall, Clara, Liberty Hall" (although the Sensorites did Nick the original, didn't they?)

Polo continues his diary, whinging that the Doctor & co. won't behave themselves like nice prisoners. 

The Doctor's had enough and they determine to get the key and creep back to the TARDIS - but the guard Polo left has been murdered! 

Episode 5 - Rider from Shang Tu 

The Doctor asks Ian if *he* killed the guard - like that's something he would normally have expected and/or accepted. 

He's not come so far since contemplating getting a caveman stoned, after all, has he?

Simon Pittman@LibraryPlayer  Got an entirely different picture in head thanks to that tweet - didn't know Doctor Who dealt in questionable substances! :P

He never changes; here's Doctor Who number 8 with his Sonic Camberwell Carrot...

Ian thinks they can confuse the attacking bandits with bamboo. Bamboozle, surely? 

As the dry bamboo cracks on the fire, it'll sound like gunshots, scaring the bandits away. 

Ian is back in Polo's good books, but Tegana is sulking. The Doctor figures out he set up the bandit attack. 

Tegana volunteered to watch over the fire so that no one else gave the alarm; he only killed a bandit to silence him. 

The eponymous rider from Shang Tu brings a message from the court of Kublai Khan. 

The Khan has ordered Polo to meet him at Cheng Ting. The Doctor & friends are dragged along. 

Wang-Lo is (at least) the 3rd uncomfortably stereotypical performance in this, after Malik & Chenchu.  

Ping Cho steals the TARDIS key for Susan. Polo will be angry, but she's unrepentant: "One of us will be on the way home". 

Ian distracts the guards by acting drunk, then karate chops the guard. He suddenly thinks he's Bond or something. 

They're just ready to take off when they realize Susan has gone back to say goodbye to Ping Cho. Idiot. 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H "Jolly good smacked bottom!" Alert

"Great Olympus!" exclaims the Doctor. Eh? 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H Always appreciated a good camera did Billy...

Susan is captured by Tegana, anyway. 

Episode 6 - Mighty Kublai Khan 

When Polo kicks off, Ian takes the fall for Ping Cho. "What are you going to do about it?" 

When Polo mentions the Crusaders, Ian tells him that he's from 700 years in the future. 

If it's 1289, and the Crusade he refers to was 25 years ago, 700 years from then makes it 1964 in Ian's head. 

Wang Lo has scared Ping Cho into running away, but Ian rides to her rescue. 

The TARDIS has been stolen! Still a bit of a novelty at this point. 

While Ian and Ping Cho go after the stolen TARDIS, Tegana continues to badmouth them to Polo. 

Tegana is amused that Ian & Barbara don't see eye to eye about Ping Cho's arranged marriage. 

The Doctor refuses to kow-tow to Kublai Khan, blaming his back. 

RobotOfDeath@Mr_GWard I'm down with that excuse, well down as far as I can get anyway.

The vizier gives the Doctor grief, but it turns out the Khan sympathizes with his various aches and pains. 

Polo scolds Susan for laughing at "mighty" Kublai Khan. 

Elsewhere, Ian takes on Kuiju, who swindled Ping Cho on orders from Tegana... 

...only for the War Lord himself to arrive, challenging Ian with his drawn sword. 

Episode 7 - Assassin at Peking.

Ian squares up to Tegana, and the War Lord admits his treachery, but the Khan's soldiers arrive to stop the fight. 

The soldiers take them to the court of Kublai Khan, where the mighty ruler is playing backgammon with the Doctor. 

The Doctor has won 35 elephants, 4000 white stallions & 25 tigers. Good job the TARDIS is bigger on the inside. 

The Doctor proposes to play for the TARDIS. 

Susan and Barbara have made the most of a chance for a free makeover at the expense of the Khan's hospitality. 

Polo does the decent thing and admits to the Khan that he nicked the Doctor's TARDIS to use as a gift. 

The Khan's keeping it anyway because he won it in a game of backgammon. 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H "Ha! Won this myself! So... Marco, where's my PRESENT???!!!" 

"Well, I... er... have you tried one of these mints, my lord? Made it myself..." 

Kublai Khan will talk peace with Tegana later. Good luck with that. 

MAW Holmes@MAW_H "Oooh" whispered Tegana "you'll never guess what Marco said about you..."

Ping Cho is not completely gutted to learn that her fiancee has popped his clogs. 

The wise old Khan makes the most of the opportunity to seek Ping Cho's advice about the travellers. 

The Doctor realizes they don't have much time before Tegana attempts to assassinate the Khan. 

News reaches Marco Polo that Noghai's army marches on Peking. 

Tegana's blade misses, killing the vizier instead of the Khan. Polo arrives to take Tegana on in a duel. 

Polo is victorious, and Tegana impales himself on a guard's sword rather than be captured. 

The time travellers say a hurried farewell to Ping Cho and leg it for the TARDIS. 

Polo apologizes for giving the TARDIS back, but the Khan says the Doctor would only have won it back at backgammon! 

"I wonder where they are now? The past or the future?" 

Bek Hobbes@Greebobek Neither. Margate.

MAW Holmes@MAW_H Let's just hope it's nowhere with an acid sea, eh... 

Ah, the Keys of Margate... 

Coming Soon... Vengeance On Varos

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