Classic Doctor Who: “The Crusades”

NOTE: This review is of a “lost episode” that has been reconstructed through recorded dialogue and television stills.

I have been enjoying my foray into the ancient times of Doctor Who and have loved to see how the show has evolved and grown and become more and more sophisticated over time. More than that, I have just enjoyed the episodes… they’re campy, fun, and aimed at kids, but through them all there is a spirit that lives on to this day from William Hartnell to Peter Capaldi. A spirit that is undeniably… Doctor Who.

With “The Crusade,” we are shoved head-first into another historical adventure (and, if you ask me, new Doctor Who doesn’t do this often enough) with the Doctor and his gang thrown into the events of the third Crusade and King Richard the Lionheart.

Personally, a lot like most other Doctor Who serials, I did find the series a bit drawn out between the four installments, but the story was otherwise strong and the acting in “The Crusade” was probably some of the best I’ve seen in the series so far.

I’m also pleased to report that the depiction of the Muslim characters wasn’t as racist as it could have been. Certainly, there were stereotypes and a twinge of racist writing, but for the most part… for 1965, it was actually not that bad.

Two episodes of this serial are missing and, unfortunately, it does make the story a bit hard to follow, but that’s hardly the episode’s fault (Curse you, BBC!). “The Crusade” is stunningly well put together and probably the best episode of the series set in historical times.

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