The TARDIS travels back to the Crusades, and meets up with King Richard the Lion Heart himself, played by a very familiar face to genre fans… Julian Glover, who played in The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Game of Thrones, and menaced James Bond in For Your Eyes Only.
This four-part story was written by David Whitaker and aired from 27 March to 17 April 1965. In the four episode, The Lion, The Knight of Jaffa, The Wheel of Fortune and The Warlords finds the Doctor(Hartnell) and his companions in the Holy Land during one of Richard’s crusades.
Our group gets split up pretty quickly as Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) is captured by Saracens to be presented to their ruler Saladin (Bernard Kay), alongside one of Richard’s men, des Preaux (John Flint) – who is pretending to be the King, having done so that Richard may escape.
The Doctor, Vicki (Maureen O’Brien), who is forced to masquerade as a boy, and Ian (William Russell) travel to Richard’s palace in Jaffa. Once there, they ingratiate themselves into the Royal court, and Ian is actually made a knight and proceeds to Saladin’s court to plea for Barbara’s release.
Barbara escapes before then, and finds herself lost and hunted amongst the streets, finding a hiding spot with a sympathetic villager.
Ian finds himself in some trouble for a while, when he wakes to find himself staked out in the desert and being held for ransom!
He escapes though and finally meets up with Barbara, from there, they race back to the TARDIS, reuniting with the Doctor and Vicki and continuing on their way, leaving the bloody war behind them.
Some nice seeds of continuity are sown and reaped, the Doctor mentions that he would like to be knighted… that doesn’t happen for a few regenerations, but it does happen, he also reminds Vicki, much as he did Barbara, that they mustn’t interfere with the course of time.
This one is a little more serious, and doesn’t have as many light moments as some of the previous stories, though the Doctor seems to enjoy getting one over on the court in making everyone think Vicki is a boy and constantly has a giggle about that.
Overall, this one is played for story as it delves into the dark history of man that was the crusades, and the political intrigue of King Richard’s court.
Next time around though, our heroes are back out exploring the unknown, and end up in The Space Museum!
I’m looking forward to seeing where the TARDIS goes next!