5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"Classic" status well deserved,
This review is from: Doctor Who - 4 - Marco Polo (BBC Original Television Soundtrack) (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.