The Legend of King Arthur – Simply Media DVD Review

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Broadcast in eight 30 minute episodes during October and November 1979, The Legend of King Arthur contains all the familiar story-beats you’d expect, but Andrew Davies’ adaptation still manages to throw in a few twists along the way.

Merlin (Robert Eddison) and Arthur (Andrew Burt) have established a new enlightened age, thanks in part to the mighty sword Excalibur which is used by Arthur to subdue his rivals.  But this hard-won peace is short-lived as his vengeful half-sister Morgan le Fay (Maureen O’Brien) has vowed to avenge her father’s death and only Arthur’s demise will satisfy her.  Well versed in the dark arts of witchcraft, she uses her powers to convince Arthur that his bravest knight Lancelot (David Robb) and Queen Guinevere (Felicity Dean) are enjoying a passionate affair.  But Morgan isn’t the only danger that Arthur faces and the treacherous Mordred (Steve Hodson) proves to be the one who fatally halts Arthur’s reign.

Long regarded as one of the best adaptations of the Arthurian legend, once you can get past the rather low-key production values (the VT nature of the studio scenes gives everything a rather stagey feel) there’s much to enjoy.

The central performances of Andrew Burt, Maureen O’Brien, David Robb, Felicity Dean and Steve Hodson are all first-rate.  Burt (the original Jack Sugden in Emmerdale Farm) might not be the sort of actor that would instantly spring to mind when considering the perfect Arthur, but his rather stolid persona is just what the production needed.  Maureen O’Brien is compelling as Morgan, eschewing cackling villainy for something much more low-key.  David Robb and Felicity Dean are both strong players whilst Steve Hodson gives Mordred the sort of slowly increasing intensity which serves the character well.

And if the main cast are pretty faultless, there’s also strength in depth to be found with the supporting players.  Denis Carey, Kevin Stoney, Richard Beale, Geoffrey Beevers, Peter Guinness, Hilary Minster, Ivor Roberts and Margot van der Burgh are amongst those who help to enrich the production.  A young Patsy Kensit, playing Morgan le Fay as a child, is another actor worth looking out for.

The story opens with the King, Uther Pendragon (Brian Coburn), deciding that he wants a Queen to bear him a son. He declares that the wife of his trusted ally, Goloris (Morgan Sheppard), will fit the bill nicely. Both Goloris and his wife, the lady Igrayne (Anne Kidd), are horrified, but Uther is not a man for compromise and tells Goloris that if he doesn’t comply, “however strong you may make this castle, I will have you out of it and roast you like a badger!”

Goloris and Igrayne have a daughter, Morgan (Patsy Kensit), who calls on divine help to strike down Uther, but Merlin appears instead. He tells her that “you have the gift, but not the knowledge of the gift. You see a glimpse of the forbidden things, but only a glimpse.” Merlin may stand by Uther’s side, but he doesn’t serve him, not fully. Goloris’ death at the hands of Uther sets in motion Morgan’s life-long hate of her half-brother Arthur (born of the forced union between her mother and Uther).

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Kensit might have only been eleven at the time, but she was already something of a television and film veteran (her first credit came when she was just four years old). She’s appealing as the innocent who finds herself consumed with loathing for the boorish Uther (a broad, but effective turn from Coburn) and Arthur. Morgan’s transformation from good to evil is sealed when she fails to aid the choking Uther. That he dies after a glutinous feast rather sums up his character.

Episode one then moves ahead some fifteen years, as we see the young Arthur (Richard Austin) pull the sword from the stone, the act which confirms he is the true King. Sadly it’s a rather flatly staged moment, lacking any sense of magic or wonder. Much better is the following scene where Arthur makes a decent impression with some of the nobles. Others are less convinced, so there will be war. But first there’s another key moment – Excalibur needs to be retrieved from the Lady in the Lake.

It’s a pity that we don’t spend more time in the company of young Arthur, as by the start of episode two Andrew Burt has assumed the mantle. It’s not too surprising that the long battles he had to fight in order to prove his legitimacy happened off-screen (budget considerations I’m sure played a part in this). Maureen O’Brien now takes over the role of Morgan. She claims to Merlin that now she serves only God ….

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It quickly becomes clear that Arthur is not the man his father was. Arthur is fair and conciliatory, but events prove this to be a weakness rather than a strength. After he pardons a bitter rival called Accolon (Anthony Dutton), it’s obvious that he’s simply delayed an inevitable confrontation. Arthur and Guinevere are married and Lancelot offers to be her champion, to stay constantly by her side and do whatever she bids.

Merlin disappears after the second episode, which is a shame as Robert Eddison had a teasing, impish presence. Merlin’s absence forces Arthur to take control of his own destiny, which you sense is not going to end well. And Morgan’s arrival at Arthur’s court, with Mordred in tow, sets in motion the long endgame that results in Arthur’s death.

The middle episodes develop the relationship between Guinevere and Lancelot. Whilst the arrival of the elderly King Pelles (Denis Carey) dispossed of his lands and with a daughter laying stricken under the curse of a powerful witch (who has to be, unknown to any at court, Morgan) adds another layer to the narrative. Carey, an actor of dignity and subtlety, always enhanced any programme he appeared in and this one is no exception. Pellas tells the court that only one man can save his daughter and that man is Lancelot.

As the serial progresses, both Morgan and Mordred continue to manipulate Arthur.  Amongst some of the riper turns, Steve Hodson offers something more nuanced. When we first meet him he appears to be Arthur’s man, but his alliance with his aunt Morgan and his own ambitions slowly rise to the surface to reveal his true nature.

Morgan suggests to Arthur that the love between Guinevere and Lancelot is the sort of love shared between a husband and wife, whilst Mordred spies an excellent opportunity to blacken Guinevere’s name even further.  Mordred and Morgan had intended to poison Guinevere with a piece of fruit, but the Queen innocently decided to offer this treat to someone else.  When Guido de la Porte (Tim Wylton) drops dead after a single bite, the Queen is suspected of murder.

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Lancelot would be the man to defend her honour, but he lies injured and isolated from the court.  And Lancelot’s standing amongst his fellow Knights (already shaky due to the innuendo about his possible affair with the Queen) diminishes even further when the dead body of Eleanor (Amanda Wissler) comes drifting towards them.  Eleanor loved Lancelot, but he couldn’t return her love.  When Lancelot and the others realise that the spurned Eleanor has taken her own life, it’s amongst the most powerful moments in the serial.   By the time we reach the final episodes, Galahad (James Simmons) arrives, as does the Quest for the Holy Grail, Lancelot and Arthur become bitter rivals whilst Mordred, in Arthur’s absence, usurps his kingdom.

Even with eight episodes, given the amount of ground covered in The Legend of King Arthur there’s the sense that an even longer running time would have allowed some of the secondary characters to be fleshed out a little better, as well as allowing more time to linger on certain themes.  For example, when Lancelot heads off to avenge King Pellas, he’s able to do so with almost indecent haste.  He may be the bravest Knight in the land, but this still seems a little perfunctory!

Produced by Ken Riddington, directed by Rodney Bennett and with incidental music by Dudley Simpson, The Legend of King Arthur is a treat from start to finish.  Those used to the glossier production values of modern television may find it to be lacking in places, but Andrew Davies’ layered adaptation, an attention to detail and the quality cast all help to compensate for the fairly low budget.

There are some production missteps (for example, as the characters age unconvincing wigs and beards are pressed into service) but there are many positives as well.  Andrew Burt is entertaining as the thoroughly decent but doomed King, whilst Felicity Dean is terribly appealing as the winsome Guinevere.  Add in the smiling manipulative villainy of Maureen O’Brien’s Morgan and it all combines to produce a heady brew.

The Legend of King Arthur is released by Simply Media on the 10th of October 2016.  RRP £19.99.

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Doctor Who – The Crusade. Episode Four – The Warlords

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If the previous three episodes of The Crusade tended to concentrate on the court intrigue at both Richard and Saladin’s camps, then The Warlords offers a sharp change of pace.

Saladin, Saphadin and Joanna are all absent and Richard himself only features in a single scene.  He appears here partly to reassure the Doctor and Vicki that he knows they didn’t reveal his plan to Joanna (he was aware it was the Earl of Leicester, but it was politically expedient not to confront him).  The scene also allows the Doctor to inform Vicki and the viewers at home that Richard would, ultimately, be unsuccessful in his aims.  He may only have a short amount of screen-time in The Warlords, but once again Julian Glover is unforgettable.

DOCTOR: There is something important, sire. If you are able to defeat Saladin in this battle, can you hold the city?
RICHARD: Win the battle, lose the war. The greatest fear we have. We’ve come so close. I must see Jerusalem. I must.
DOCTOR: You will, sire.
RICHARD: You think so?
DOCTOR: I am certain, sire. And when you look upon the city itself, you will be able to find the answer to the problem of this war. May we now take our leave, sire?
VICKI: Are we going back to the ship?
DOCTOR: As fast as our legs can carry us, my dear.
VICKI: Doctor, will he really see Jerusalem?
DOCTOR: Only from afar. He won’t be able to capture it. Even now his armies are marching on a campaign that he can never win.
VICKI: That’s terrible. Can’t we tell him?
DOCTOR: I’m afraid not, my dear. No, history must take its course.
(The Doctor and Vicki leave.)
RICHARD: Help me, Holy Sepulchre. Help me.

Ian (still on his mission to find Barbara) has unfortunately run into the villainous Ibrahim (Tutte Lemkow) who has devised a novel way to discover where Ian’s money is stashed.

A little pot of honey, made from pounded dates and very, very sweet. There, my lord, a little bit on your wrists and a little bit on your chest. Now, over there is a hungry home, full of ants that go wild for date honey. We must be generous to them. Lay a little trail across the sand, like this. And I will sit in the shade of the trees and dream of all the treasures I will get when the ants discover you. If you crane your neck around, my lord, you will soon see what you take to be a black line along the honey. Why, you will be able to see it getting closer and closer. My little ones! Such ecstasy!

Lemkow is good value, especially when Ian turns the tables on him and forces the little thief to take him to El Akir’s palace.  From then on, Ibrahim becomes servile and keen to assist Ian (although there’s no doubt that he will be happy to change sides again at the first opportunity).

At the start of the episode Barbara is once again in El Akir’s clutches – although once more she’s able to escape from him him fairly easily.  This unfortunately doesn’t do the character of El Akir any favours – and his limited screen time during the four episodes does ultimately means that he’s not one of Doctor Who’s most tangible or memorable villains.

El Akir is more of a plot-device (initiating the story by attacking Richard and his friends and then kidnapping Barbara to ensure that the Doctor can’t leave) than a fully-rounded character.  If you compare him to the likes of Tegana or Tlotoxl then he seems even more underwritten, although had this story been a six-parter there might have been more scope to develop him.  As it is, he seems to be denied even a particlarly impressive death scene as the soundtrack implies that Haroun quickly dispatches him.  Haroun is therefore able to rescue both his elder daughter Maimuna and Barbara – which unfortunately does rather negate Ian’s mission (he turns up shortly afterwards).  It is a little surprising that Ian doesn’t get the heroic fight with El Akir – particularly since William Russell was well able to handle a sword (he had previously starred in The Adventures of Sir Lancelot).

Ian and Barbara then head for the forest at exactly the same time as the Doctor and Vicki.  This is something of a plot-hole, since it would have been more logical for Ian and Barbara to return to Richard’s court (they had no way of knowing that the Doctor and Vicki had made an enemy of Leicester).  But slightly clumsy though this is, it does give us a nice final scene as Ian is able to spirit the Doctor and Vicki away from under Leicester’s gaze.  Leicester watches in horror as the four time-travellers disappear in the TARDIS and resolves to “not speak of this. Let this story die here in this wood or we’ll be branded idiots, or liars. Poor Sir Ian, brave fellow. Spirited away by fiends. What dreadful anguish and despair he must be suffering now?“.

If The Warlords doesn’t quite match the scale and sweep of the previous three episodes (and who are the Warlords anyway?) overall it’s still a first class story which thanks to the cast and Douglas Camfield manages to transcend the limited budget and studio-space to produce something quite magical.  If the two missing episodes are never recovered, maybe one day animated versions can be produced – as it’s a story that certainly deserves to sit on the shelf alongside the rest of the second season.

Doctor Who – The Crusade. Episode Three – The Wheel of Fortune

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The Wheel of Fortune is the best episode of The Crusade and it has several moments of special interest, such as Haroun’s life story as told to Barbara, the conversation between Leicester and the Doctor and the confrontation between Richard and Joanna.

Haroun (George Little) lives for one reason only – to kill El Akir.  He describes to Barbara the reason why.

HAROUN: Last year my house was a fine and happy place. A gentle wife, a son who honoured and obeyed me, and two daughters who adorned whatever place they visited. Then El Akir came to Lydda and imposed his will. He desired my eldest daughter Maimuna, but I refused him.
BARBARA: So he took her?
HAROUN: Yes. When Safiya and I were away, he came and burned my house. My wife and son were put to the sword.

It’s a perfectly pitched and dignified performance by George Little.  Whilst the character invites our sympathy, Little never overplays – instead he allows the script to do the work.  Equally good is Petra Markham as Safiya.  Her father has never explained what happened to the rest of their family, but she has faith that all will be well.  “It is a strange mystery. They’ve gone away and we must simply wait for their return. It is the will of Allah“.

Jacqueline Hill is so good in these scenes – listening in horror to Haroun’s story and also when she nearly reveals the truth to Safiya about her missing family.  Another key moment is when Haroun leaves Safiya in Barbara’s care.  He leaves his knife behind and insists that she use it to kill Safiya and then herself if they’re discovered by El Akir’s men.  Barbara is appalled (“No. Life is better than this.“) but Haroun is insistent. It’s another well played moment from Hill which helps to reinforce just how cruel El Akir must be.

The spat between the Doctor and the Earl of Leicester (John Bay) is a very interesting one.  It’s another of Whitaker’s lovely Shakespearian pastiches that Hartnell and Bay both deliver with aplomb.  Although the Doctor usually takes the moral high ground, he doesn’t really have it here.  His dismissal of Leicester as having no brain doesn’t seem at all fair.  Leicester is a soldier, trained to fight, and it’s difficult to argue with his statement that  “armies settle everything”.  And as Richard’s plan wasn’t recorded in the history books, the Hartnell Doctor, who at this stage was insistent that “you can’t rewrite history, not one line”, would have surely known that the love-match was doomed to end in failure.

LEICESTER: Sire, with all the strength at my command I urge you, sire, to abandon this pretence of peace.
DOCTOR: Pretence, sir? Here’s an opportunity to save the lives of many men and you do naught but turn it down without any kind of thought. What do you think you are doing?
LEICESTER: I speak as a soldier. Why are we here in this foreign land if not to fight? The Devil’s horde, Saracen and Turk, posses Jerusalem and we will not wrest it from them with honeyed words.
DOCTOR: With swords, I suppose?
LEICESTER: Aye, with swords and lances, or the axe.
DOCTOR: You stupid butcher! Can you think of nothing else but killing, hmm?
LEICESTER: You’re a man for talk, I can see that. You like a table and a ring of men. A parley here, arrangements there, but when you men of eloquence have stunned each other with your words, we, we the soldiers, have to face it out. On some half-started morning while you speakers lie abed, armies settle everything, giving sweat, sinewed bodies, aye, and life itself.
DOCTOR: I admire bravery and loyalty, sir. You have both of these. But, unfortunately you haven’t any brain at all. I hate fools.

Saladin and Saphadin discuss the marriage proposal.  Saladin is extremely cautious.

Have England, France and all the rest come here to cheer a man and woman and a love match? No, this is a last appeal for peace from a weary man. So you write your letter and I’ll alert the armies. Then on either day, the day of blissful union or the day of awful battle, we will be prepared.

And sadly, that’s the last we see of Saladin and Saphadin as they, along with Joanna, don’t feature in the final episode.  This does give The Warlords something of an anti-climatic feel, but we’ll discuss that in more detail next time.

When Joanna learns that Richard plans to marry her off to Saphadin, it’s fair to say that she’s not pleased.  The scene is a thrilling moment, as both Julian Glover and Jean Marsh attack it at full-throttle.  It’s hard to find many examples of Doctor Who scenes pitched at such a level – which probably makes this one all the more special.

JOANNA: What’s this I hear? I can’t believe it’s true. Marriage to that heathenish man, that infidel?
RICHARD: We will give you reasons for it.
JOANNA: This unconsulted partner has no wish to marry. I am no sack of flour to be given in exchange.
RICHARD: It is expedient, the decision has been made.
JOANNA: Not by me, and never would be.
RICHARD: Joanna, please consider. The war is full of weary, wounded men. This marriage wants a little thought by you, that’s all, then you’ll see the right of it.
JOANNA: And how would you have me go to Saphadin? Bathed in oriental perfume, I suppose? Suppliant, tender and affectionate? Soft-eyed and trembling, eager with a thousand words of compliment and love? Well, I like a different way to meet the man I am to wed!
RICHARD: Well, if it’s a meeting you want.
JOANNA: I do not want! I will not have it!
RICHARD: Joanna!

As this is the last surviving episode of the story, it’s worth taking a moment to praise Douglas Camfield’s direction.  He always had an eye for unusual angles and some of the caps below are good examples of how he arranged the actors in interesting configurations (some in the foreground and others in the background, for example).  It helps to make the frame more interesting than just having them stand in a line (something many other directors would have been content to do).

Barbara is back in El Akir’s clutches at the end of the episode (and it’s the second that’s ended with Barbara in peril).  El Akir’s final words here are truly chilling, thanks to Walter Randall’s matter-of-fact delivery.  If El Akir had been an eye-rolling villain then it would have been easier to discount his threats.  It’s his calmness that’s somewhat disquieting.

The only pleasure left for you is death. And death is very far away.

Next Episode – The Warlords

Doctor Who – The Crusade. Episode Two – The Knight of Jaffa

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Richard’s in something of a better temper at the start of this episode – in part this is due to the Doctor’s wily manoeuvrings.  It’s also interesting to note how the Doctor has easily lapsed into the speech patterns at Richard’s court, he’s started throwing “methinks” around quite casually!

RICHARD: There is a jest here, albeit a grim one with our friends dead. But Saladin must be just as much out of temper over this affair as we are.
DOCTOR: Your messenger might offer to exchange a hundred prisoners for the knight he holds.
RICHARD: We think we value Sir William highly. We do, but it would not be good to let Saladin know.
DOCTOR: He might think you undervalue his men. One hundred men to one of yours. Methinks a fair bargain, sire.
RICHARD: By my father’s name, you have wit, old man. Guard, call the Chamberlain. We recognise the service you have rendered us and will be pleased to see you in our court.

With the Doctor and his friends in Richard’s debt, this allows Ian (once he’s been knighted as Sir Ian, Knight of Jaffa) to begin his quest to find Barbara.  This also handily removes William Russell from the main storyline (and he’s on holiday next week, so only appears briefly on film).  When a story rich in plot-threads like The Crusade only lasts four episodes, it can be a problem finding things for everybody to do, so this simplifies matters – the Doctor and Vicki remain at court and Barbara finds herself in the clutches of El Akir.

As with first episode, David Whitaker’s dialogue (especially when spoken by actors as good as Julian Glover) is something to savour.  Richard ponders the strange relationship he has with Saladin –

Saladin sends me presents of fruit and snow when I am sick, and now his brother decorates you with his jewels. Yet with our armies do we both lock in deadly combat, watering the land with a rain of blood, and the noise of thunder is drowned in the shouts of dying men.

The notion that Saladin’s brother, Saphadin, is captivated by Joanna (Jean Marsh), Richard’s sister, sets the King thinking.  Could this be a way to bring the war to an end? He sets about drafting a proposal, although crucially, he doesn’t think to speak to Joanna first.

And not only this kingdom, its towns and fortresses, shall be yours, but also the Frankish kingdom. Our sister, the Princess Joanna, whose beauty is already spoken of wherever men of judgement and discernment are, is a fit match for one who not only enjoys so grand. No, not grand, eminent. So eminent a brother as the Sultan Saladin but who also possesses an element of his own. Prince Saphadin, we beg you to prefer this match and thus make us your brother.

Richard is pleased with this and takes the Doctor and his friends into his confidence and this helps to bring them back into the main narrative.  A story like this, focusing on the machinations of Kings, will inevitably tend to sideline the Doctor – although this isn’t something that David Whitaker necessarily had a problem with.  He was of the opinion that when the Doctor traveled back in time he should be content to be merely an observer and not interfere.  Dennis Spooner (as can be seen in The Romans and The Time Meddler) had the opposite view, so this story (written by Whitaker, script-edited by Spooner) could be seen as something of an uneasy compromise between the two.

But even if the Doctor is something of a passive figure here, he does have some fun by bamboozling his adversaries.  There’s another fine example in this episode, as we see the Doctor runs rings around the unfortunate Chamberlain.

DOCTOR: What’s this?
DAHEER: Visitor of sorrows, depriver of my children, robber of my goods.
DOCTOR: Who is this? Do you know?
VICKI: No. Oh, his face is a bit familiar.
CHAMBERLAIN: You stole some clothing.
DOCTOR: Really?
CHAMBERLAIN: You see this riding habit? It was taken from this very room. Now it is back here again.
DOCTOR: And a pretty poor garment, too.
CHAMBERLAIN: This and this, stolen from me.
DAHEER: And stolen from me.
DOCTOR: Yes, now there really is a point there, isn’t there? If I stole from you, my lord Chamberlain, how could I steal from him?
DAHEER: You did. You did steal from me.
DOCTOR: Then how could I steal from him, eh, you blockhead?
CHAMBERLAIN: Please, please. Now, I had the clothes first.
DOCTOR: Oh, how nice for you.
DAHEER: And I had them second.
VICKI: Did you buy them?
DAHEER: Yes.
VICKI: From us?
DAHEER: No.
DOCTOR: Then whoever it was stole them from you must have sold them to you. Now, don’t you agree?
CHAMBERLAIN: Er, yes.

The episode ends with Barbara escaping from El Akir’s guards.  She runs through the streets of Lydda, desperate for a hiding place.  But will she find friend or foe?

Next Episode – The Wheel of Fortune

Doctor Who – The Crusade. Episode One – The Lion

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The Crusade brings the TARDIS to the Holy Land at the time of the Cruades.  Whilst the Doctor, Ian and Vicki join the court of Richard (Julian Glover), Barbara finds herself in the enemy camp, captured by the evil El Akir (Walter Randall) and brought face to face with Saladin (Bernard Kay).

Given that this story was made in 1965, it does have a rather surprising revisionist feel about it.  Since Richard the Lionheart had for so long been portrayed as one of England’s greatest heroes (the Robin Hood saga often hinges on the hope that one day Richard will return to right the wrongs of his brother) he’s a far less heroic character in this story.

The episode opens with Richard and his friends relaxing in the forest.  Sir William des Preaux (John Flint) fears an attack – but Richard arrogantly dismisses his fears.  Of course, des Preaux was correct and many of Richard’s friends are slain.  And though it’s never overtly stated, it’s implied that Richard ran away, leaving his friends either dead or dying.

Barbara and William des Preaux are captured by the Saracens, whilst the only other survivor (apart from Richard himself) is Sir William de Tornebu (Bruce Wightman).  de Tornebu owes his life to the intervention of the TARDIS crew – thanks mostly to Ian, although the Doctor plays his part (and it’s lovely to see William Hartnell in fighting mode!).

William des Preaux claims to be the King, in order to draw attention away from Richard.  Although this is where the cramped nature of the studios is quite noticeable – as good a director as Douglas Camfield was, it’s impossible not to notice that Richard was lying very close to where des Preaux was captured.  It’s therefore difficult to believe that El Akir and the other Saracens couldn’t see him.

After the Doctor finds some suitable clothes for himself, Ian and Vicki (via some comedy business that Hartnell always excelled at) there are two main scenes left in the episode – Barbara’s meeting with Saladin and the Doctor, Ian and Vicki’s first encounter with Richard.

Despite being caked in brown make-up, Bernard Kay is chilling as Saladin.  He has the power of life and death over Barbara – and many others as well – but he has no need to be demonstrative.  He’s thoughtful, restrained and articulate as he probes the reason for Barbara’s presence.

SALADIN: Please talk. It helps me to consider what I have to do with you.
BARBARA: Well, I could say that I’m from another world, a world ruled by insects. And before that we were in Rome at the time of Nero. Before that we were in England, far, far into the future.
SALADIN: Now I understand, you and your friends, you are players, entertainers.
SAPHADIN: With little value in an exchange of prisoners with the English King, brother. This is a trivial affair. I do not know why you waste your time.
SALADIN: I cannot dispense life and death lightly. If Sir William is to be returned, he must make good report of our mercy. Perhaps that is the factor in your favour.
BARBARA: I don’t believe you’re as calculating as that.
SALADIN: Then learn more of me. You must serve my purpose or you have no purpose. Grace my table tonight in more suitable clothes. If your tales beguile me, you shall stay and entertain.
BARBARA: Like Scheherazade.
SALADIN: Over whose head hung sentence of death.

By contrast, Julian Glover’s Richard is highly emotional.  He berates the loss of his friends, although it’s difficult not to concede that his own reckless actions were, in part, responsible.  The Crusade is one of those stories where, as we’ll discuss later, the Doctor and his friends are largely superfluous.  Julian Glover is so good (and he’s provided with some lovely Shakespearean-type speeches by David Whitaker) that it’s very easy to imagine this story as a straight play without the TARDIS crew being present.

Once again, I am in your debt. But I’d give this for de Marun and the others. My friends cut down about my ears or stolen. My armies roust about the streets and clutter up the streets of Jaffa with the garbage of their vices. And now I learn my brother John thirsts after power, drinking great draughts of it though it’s not his to take. He’s planning to usurp my crown, and trade with my enemy, Philip of France. Trade! A tragedy of fortunes and I am too much beset by them. A curse on this! A thousand curses!

Next Episode – The Knight of Jaffa