Sunday, May 10, 2009

P2 - The Knight of Jaffa

The Crusade was a serial that was not sold abroad back in the day as much as other stories probably due to what might be a perceived as poor treatment of the Middle East and its people. Pity, that, as it also probably means why only two of its four episodes exist in the BBC archives today.

Still, being a dialogue heavy episode (apart from the largely silent escape attempt by Barbara at the end of the episode), one needn't necessarily see what's going on to understand the story. Richard I relents in his opposition of Ian going to rescue Barbara on account of the fact that he's trying to arrange a marriage between the Saracen Saphadin and his own sister, Joanna. Richard and Joanna share a scene in this episode. This is the biggest drawback of not being able to see this episode. Initially, a slightly incestuous relationship between Richard and Joanna was going to be subtly hinted at, until legendary prude William Hartnell caught wind of this and slammed that
door firmly shut. However, would the actors (Julian Glover and Jean Marsh) have tried to ever so delicately imply the relationship with their performances in a scene between the two? Will we see any possible further hints in the episodes to come?

Speaking of storylines of a marginally ambiguous nature, there's this whole idea of passing off Vicki as a boy for two full episodes. Seriously? Vicki? I mean, yes, she's a slimmer girl, and I would have liked seeing them try to pass off Victoria as a boy (or, for the ultimate challenge, Peri). I suppose this is another similarity this story has with the works of Shakespeare, which, in at least a couple instances, throws a fake mustache on a girl to disguise her as a man and nobody is the wiser.

Before Ian sets off to find Barbara, he is knighted by Richard I. The Doctor laments that he'd like to be knighted one day, too. And he would, but not for another 18 years (by a fake King John) and even later still by Queen Victoria.


Anonymous said...

Actually, according to Jean Marsh on the "Battlefield" DVD, it was the great Verity Lambert, not grumpy Hartnell, who caught wind of what she and Julian Glover were trying to do and stopped them before they could do anything.

Steven said...

Yeah, I just saw that last night, in fact. But I've heard more stories about Hartnell poo-pooing it, and this is the first that I've heard of Lambert being behind. So I'm just going to assume that Jean Marsh is just plain wrong and doesn't know anything about anything.

Anonymous said...

You just like making Hartnell seem like a doddering old prude. I think Warren's rubbed off on you too much.

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