Like a lot of historical stories in the Hartnell era, the main story is for the regulars to stumble into the centre of the events that are occurring and desperately trying to get back to the TARDIS. This is brilliantly done in The Aztecs but whereas there is just a wall separating the crew from the TARDIS, in this story there’s hundreds if not thousands of miles away. The main issue about this story is that I just cant get interested in the events that the story is set in. In order for me to engage with the story I have to have a certain level of interest and in the Aztecs and Romans there was. I liked both eras when learning about them at school but in this there was nothing.
The supporting cast is really quite strong in this adventure. The star of the show is Julian Glover who’s performance in this is a joy to watch and is only beaten by his outing in City of Death. As King Rickard the Lionheart, Glover gives the role a caring and not rashly judgemental at the strangers. Equally good is Jean Marsh who makes a rare appearance as a good person as Joanna. Marsh would return a year later as the hardened Sara Kingdom. Walter Randall is also very good as El Akir. His villany is truly brilliant. The regulars do quite a good job though its Jacqueline Hill that gets a bit of a bad time and its quite hard to watch at times.
The Crusade is one of those stories from the early years of Doctor Who that doesn’t quite hit the mark. It’s a shame as I think that David Whittaker is a good writer as some of his other Doctor Who contributions shows he can write a good story. However this isn’t his finest piece of work. For me it’s not the acting that lets it down, neither is it the production values which are very impressive especially for a 1960’s Doctor Who. No, it’s the fact that the time setting for the story that just didn’t grab me in a way that it should but then again there must be people out there that love that time period. Right?