DOCTOR WHO - Pure Historical's - THE CRUSADE - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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DOCTOR WHO - Pure Historical's - THE CRUSADE

Christopher Morley returns with another pure historical Doctor Who story, and signs up for The Crusade.

Time now for us (& our TARDIS traveller friends) to cross the murky waters of religious conflict as we consider The Crusade - so put on your best armour as we prepare to make our way into the Holy Land!

More properly chronologically speaking its technically the Third Crusade, as the First Doctor, Vicki, Ian & Barbara find when they set foot in 12th-century Palestine. But just why can't Richard the Lionheart & the Saracen (Muslim) sultan Saladin be friends? The whole mucky business has been raging on since 1095 - backed by the Roman Catholic church! It all starts when Pope Urban II, the Pontiff/Holy Father of the time, decides it'd be nice if Christians could have access to the important sites of faith in/near Jerusalem (think along the lines of Bethlehem, Jacob's Well, the River of Jordan, Galilee...) on a similar footing to the Saracens. But whether you believe it was an aggressive attempt to either extend Christianity's reach or stamp out Islam, you'll know we're in for quite some battle!

Following on from The Web Planet, the Doctor & chums quickly find out that they've been dropped off at Jaffa, in exactly the same stretch of forest in which King Richard & his armies (perhaps better known as the Knights Templar) have chosen to hide out. Before they can ask where to find the mythical Cakes of Jaffa - the First, Ian & Barbara want something nice to go with their cups of tea once in a while - the Lionheart's forces are ambushed by the Saracens (sadly not the rugby team from London). The alpha males of our foursome quickly fight off one of the invaders with a spot of teamwork, but at the cost of Ms Wright being taken as a hostage. She can hear their calling for her, but not respond as she's been rather roughly gagged & bound, not helping to improve the 'savages' reputation of her captors one bit!

Of course, when it comes to war, however 'holy', there are few real winners - & it looks like one of old Dickie's men, William de Tornebu, has got himself in a bit of a mess. Badly wounded, its only the decisive intervention of the three remaining members of the TARDIS crew that saves him from shuffling off to meet God, in whose name he of course believes himself to be fighting. A little further on, another of these brave Templars, William des Preaux, manages to pull off a quite ambitious bluff when cornered by the Saracens - convincing them that he's Richard in a noble bid to protect his king, he's dragged off to be presented to Saladin, as are the standing orders for the Muslim side of the conflict. Amazingly it takes until now for the Doctor to work out where & when they are, & Chesterton to finally cotton on that Barbara's not around. Perhaps at least in part in a bid to make up for their own lack of attention, they make it their mission to get de Tornebu back to the Lionheart's court.

Barbara's got problems of her own, mind. As a prisoner back at the Saracen camp, she's not exactly the happiest of bunnies. She does, though, get talking to des Preaux - who quickly tells her of his cunning ruse. He thinks she should join him & pretend to be Joanna (Richard's sister). As if leading the ambush that got them into this mess wasn't bad enough, El Akir, one of Saladin's senior lieutenants, quickly proves himself thoroughly unpleasant by interrupting their chat & throwing insults at them, the cur! All of which makes des Preaux simmer with rage- he's heard that the Saracen leader insists on proper respect for his prisoners.... But that doesn't stop El Akir from telling them they're soon to be presented to the ruler's brother, Saphadin.

Where has the Doctor got to? He & Vicki are stealing some more period-appropriate clothing in an effort to blend in. But its OK, as their chosen garments were themselves in turn half-inched by a Saracen from the good Templars in a nice bit of circularity. Meanwhile Saphadin is quickly infuriated - El Akir's presented him with a 'Richard & Joanna' who aren't really anything of the sort, the great ninny! But perhaps their captor isn't so bad - to make up for El Akir's error, Barbara & des Preaux are allowed every freedom of camp life - except actual freedom. You win some, you lose some.

The Doctor most likely at that moment in time thinks he's winning, as he & his colleagues have indeed by now finally made it to the court of King Richard. Is he happy to see them? Not a bit of it. Greatly troubled by the rapidly rising body count, he absolutely refuses Ian's request to help him get his lady friend back - angered by the underhand tactics his foe employs. But by revealing that Saladin most likely thinks he's got the real King, & the massive 'egg on face' moment he'll suffer when he realises he hasn't, the Doctor is able to bring about a quick change of mind & an invitation to accept a position as an honoured guest of his royal host. He & Vicki (disguised as a boy, ' Victor') manage to meet the real Princess Joanna, who's about to get a nasty surprise. Ian, who's been knighted, has been given orders to offer her fair hand in marriage to Saphadin in an attempt at peacemaking as well as trying to negotiate the release of Barbara & des Preaux. Everyone in Dickie's forces seems to go along with the plan, but for the Earl of Leicester who'd been counting on a bit more blood & thunder, & Joanna, who understandably is a bit tetchy about prospectively having to marry a man she doesn't even know.

Which leaves the Doctor in a tight spot as a confidant to both - the angry Richard bidding them to leave him to his own devices. The Earl is also nearly bursting a blood vessel or two, calling the First & Vicki traitors to the cause before Richard forgives them & accepts that if anyone was stirring the pot a little it was Leicester. As the troops prepare for battle, the Doctor & his young Susan-surrogate decide it might just be time for them to get back to 'Sexy' & wait for Ian & Barbara to escape their respective pickles - Wright on the run from El Akir & Chesterton having been waylaid by a thief who won't release him from possibly soon being gobbled up by ants without a large payment of gold. Hitting upon a rather clever means to escape that nasty pickle, he tells the greedy sadist he has some cash hidden in his boot - when one of his foot bindings is loosened he gives the fool a good kicking & forces him under pain of death to take him to Lydda (where Barbara & several harem women are in a bit of a bind). Living up to his knightly billing & not having to use coconuts to create a horse-riding effect, he helps them escape. He's getting rather good at the whole thing, & saves the Doctor from Leicester's blood-lust with the clever lie that as the Time Lord's killed scores of his men, he, Sir Ian of Jaffa, has a more legitimate claim to the Doctor's dastardly head - which the Earl is bound by honour to accept.

With that, then, it's onward to the claustrophobic jam of The Space Museum & presumably a few choruses of 'Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Ian!' from his pals, in recognition of his not chickening out or buggering off.

Previous Pure Historicals

The Reign Of Terror 
The Romans

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