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.