The Crusade (1965)

The Crusade is a story that I’m not a massive fan of. Historical stories are given a bit of a bad wrap in Doctor Who fandom and in some cases quite rightly. Stuff like The Gunfighters and The Romans aren’t particularly great for different reasons. However stuff like The Aztecs and The Reign of Terror prove that it can be done. The Crusade isn’t helped by the fact that half of it doesn’t exist but to be honest that’s not the reason for my lukewarm reaction to it. Written by David Whittaker the story sees the TARDIS land in 12th century Palestine during the time of the Third Crusade in the middle of the Saracen ambush and its at this moment that Barbara is separated from the rest and thus the story begins.

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?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s