Trash Culture’s Dr. Who Reviews – The Crusades (1965)

by Chad Denton

This time the TARDIS lands near the city of Jaffa, right in the middle of the Third Crusade. While looking around the group is ambushed by Saracen soldiers, who abduct Barbara. The soldiers also capture William des Preux, a Crusader who lets himself be captured while pretending to be King Richard I of England in order to distract the enemy, while the rest of the TARDIS crew manage to rescue William de Tornebu, a nobleman also serving under Richard. The Doctor hopes that by helping de Tornebu recover from his wounds and by returning him to Richard’s court they can get the king to help them save Barbara. At Saladin’s camp, des Preux interrogates Barbara, curious about her “strange clothes.” Barbara ducks his questions and finds out about des Preux’s charade. Concerned for Barbara’s safety, des Preux tells Saladin’s ministers that she is Richard’s sister, Joanna. Meanwhile the Doctor steals clothes for himself, Vicki, and Ian, from a merchant in Jaffa, so they can fit in.

A Saracen emir, el-Akir, presents Barbara and “Richard” to Saladin and his brother Sephadin, but Saladin sees through the ruse. An enraged el-Akir threatens to have Barbara tortured, but Saladin angrily rebukes him and dismisses him. Barbara actually tries to tell Saladin the truth of who she is and where she’s been, but he just assumes that she’s telling him in a roundabout way that she and her companions are traveling entertainers. As such Saladin considers keeping Barbara on as his entertainer. At Richard’s court, the Doctor and the others find an extremely ill-tempered Richard, who is glowering under recent setbacks in the Crusade and the news that his brother John is trying to usurp the English throne. Regardless Ian insists on begging Richard to send him with an escort to Saladin to arrange for Barbara and des Preux’s release. Richard declares he’d let Barbara rot in a cell before he would negotiate with Saladin. The Doctor and Vicki join in and convince Richard to reconsider by pointing out des Preux’s ruse and the potential embarrassment Saladin will feel when it turns out that des Preux is not the king. Amused by his way of thinking, Richard invites the Doctor to join his court as an adviser.

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