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Doctor Who - 4 - Marco Polo (BBC Original Television Soundtrack) [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

John Lucarotti , William Russell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Nov 2003
The first Doctor, William Hartnell, and his companions join the caravan of the legendary explorer Marco Polo in this seven-part lost story from the programme's original 1964 series.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (3 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563535083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563535089
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 12.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 471,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lost Masterpiece 17 Mar 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
William Hartnell's Doctor is sadly forgotten by many people these days, which is a crying shame because without the charm and conviction he brought to the role, we could not have had Messrs Pertwee, Baker (Tom and Colin) and all the other actors whose names spring more readily to mind in connection with DR WHO.
MARCO POLO was in fact, the 4th full length serial for the fledgling programme back in 1964. It places the Dr and his 3 companions in the unusual position of being forced to accompany Venetian explorer Marco Polo on his months-long journey across 13th century China (then known as Cathay). Polo is working in the service of Kublai Khan and is hoping that by giving the Doctor's TARDIS to him as a gift he will be permitted to return to his native land.
Those expecting the usual run-ins with alien beasties or robotic terrorizers will doubtless be disappointed with the lack of sci-fi elements to this tale. This is not to say that there isn't a great deal of drama and incident -there's a splendidly devious Mongol Warlord contributing most of the problems which our heroes encounter. But this is one of the purely historical tales which were a staple of DR WHO's early years, then later abandoned.
What surprises one about this 40 year old soundtrack is the pace, intelligence and subtlety of the script. All the characters are interesting and credible. Moreover, you get a free history lesson while you're enjoying the plot - this is done beautifully, no boring info-dumps from this script; instead a magical evocation of an ancient culture which is every bit as fascinating as any luridly imagined alien world.
The acting, the music, the situations all lead one to visualise a sumptuous production in the mind's eye.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Classic" status well deserved 11 April 2006
Format:Audio CD
I didn't want to enjoy Marco Polo as much as I did. Marco Polo has obtained a legendary status - dubbed by some as "the best Doctor Who story ever made" - that I had largely put down to it being the earliest missing story in the series' twenty-six year run.
None the less, I was involved in the story from the outset, even in audio-only form. It's not a fast-paced story - historicals seldom would be - rather, it takes a laid-back pace over its seven episodes (indeed, the story spans a period of several months) and allows the listener to soak up the atmosphere.
Atmosphere is something Marco Polo does very well indeed. The sound effects and incidental music of flute and harp suit the story perfectly and are very evocative. Indeed, given that this is a first season story and entirely studio-bound, one suspects that the serial is almost more atmospheric without the pictures.
John Lucarotti's script is intelligently written and contains several well-formed characters and subplots. This is reinforced by strong performances from all concerned (even William Hartnell doesn't fluff to many lines) with guest stars Mark Eden as Marco Polo, Derren Nesbitt as Tegana and Zienia Merton as Ping-Cho, who forms a very close bond with Susan, all adding something to the story.
Finally, William Russell provides effective linking narration that doesn't interfere with the dialogue or the mood of the story as a whole. It may drag ever so slightly around episode six, but Marco Polo is an excellent piece of Who that is well worthy of its reputation as a classic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Minty fresh? 12 Oct 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Marco Polo is the first 'missing' story from the BBC archives, which judging by the quality of the story is a great shame. It is hard to believe that this story is over 40 years old and was one of the first stories to be produced and broadcast, nonetheless, it is excellent both as a piece of historical fiction and as part of the Doctor Who cannon.
The story comprises of the original TARDIS crew: Hartnell, Russell, Ford and Hill - and by this point not only have the actors cemented their relationships it seems that the characters have as well. No longer do we hear their continuing bickering as was the case with previous early adventures, but we hear them working as a team and rely on each other to escape.
Set in China during the reign of Kublai Khan, the story traces the travels of Marco Polo, superbly acted by Marc Eden. Although simplisitc, the story is effective - each episode tells a piece of the journey and the apparent perils that beset the company on the way to it's terminus: the Khan's palace.
This may seem slow - however, it is far from that - the charcterisation gives real life historical figures substance. In his scripts, Lucarotii brings characters from the past vividly to life and it is complex and detailed characterisation that makes this story worth its classic status. Similarly, if the visuals existed, Barry Newbury's excellent design, would set this apart from all the other stories at the time. Even Disney were interested in turing the adventure into a film!!
A must for fans - not only is it a classic story, but it comes from the early days of the show, when little was known about the Doctor and as each episode had a name title back then, we did not know where the TARDIS would take the time-travellers next.
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