Tuesday 7 December 2010

015 Marco Polo Part 2: The Singing Sands

EPISODE: Marco Polo Part 2: The Singing Sands
TRANSMITTED: 29 February 1964
WRITER: John Lucarotti
DIRECTOR: Waris Hussein
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: (1964-1965)

After the reprise we get the unique for Doctor Who device of some narration, given by Marco Polo over an animated map of the journey. Ian raises the subject of how much water they need....ooooh, what a coincidence. The Doctor is sulking unwilling to eat or talk to anyone - is Hartnell on holiday this week? Susan watches the desert at night with Ping Cho and sees Tegana sneaking away - they follow. The horses, agitated by a coming sandstorm, wake Ian and Marco. Susan & Ping Cho take shelter from the storm. Tegana finds the girls and bring them back but later sabotages the water gourds. (why didn't he use the poison he bought the previous episode?) Marco wants to push on to an oasis while Tegana wishes to return to the way station at Lop. After several days the water runs out and Tegana is dispatched to the oasis to fetch more water. The Doctor emerges and collapses (the pictures are missing, is this a double for Hartnell?*) Tegana reaches the oasis and drinks his fill but has no intention of returning.

A bit harder going this episode, but some lovely sound effects in the middle for the storm.

* I'm unable to get at any of my reference works to check but I'm assuming Hartnell was on holiday: During the 60s Doctor Who was recorded an episode a week most of the year so every so often an actor will spend a week locked up in a prison cell so that they can have a week off. Hartnell's disappearances become more frequent as the series progresses and his health starts to decline. EDIT: I've found an online resource that says Hartnell *was* present this week and his first holiday was episodes 3 & 4 of Keys of Marinus.

Missing Episodes 2) Film & Selling Abroad

Different broadcasting systems are used around the world for the transmission of Television, so when Doctor Who was sold abroad it was sold on film which is easy to play whatever broadcasting system you used. These films were made but pointing a film camera at a television screen. (an unforeseen and beneficial consequence of this technique emerged many years later) Film copies of Doctor Who were sold round the world with some films being sent from one country to another. After five years the rights to sell the story needed to be renegotiated with the writer & their agent. If the rights were not renewed then the film was no longer able to be sold and being seen of no further value was destroyed.

For example Marco Polo was sold on film to Australia, Canada, Malta, Singapore, Gibraltar, Aden, Trinidad & Tobago, Nigeria, Rhodesia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Uganda, New Zealand, Ghana, Zambia, Jamaica, Cyprus, Kenya, Bermuda, Thailand, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, Iran & Ethiopia. (Wiped! Doctor Who's Missing Episodes p376-8) In some cases we know which country passed which print onto which other country. Despite this wide distribution not a frame of footage of this story has ever been found.

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