Friday 22 November 2013

Marco Polo found!... ish... maybe

Whilst looking up the time The Day Of The Doctor was going to be broadcast I stumbled across this article on The Mirror's website, a rumour sobizarre it might actually be true.

The basic gist is that in 1964 a guy used a cine film camera to record all seven episodes of Marco Polo, the fourth Doctor Who serial. Yes, “serial”, The Mirror, not “series”, bloody tabloid research. Normally I'd read something like “Marco Polo found!” and drop straight into reliable fan cynicism because it's one of the wish list ones, one of the ones everyone wants to see. It's the first proper historical (no, cavemen do not count), the surviving set photos are lavish and the plot is actually pretty good even if seven episodes seems over long.

I also want to see if there's as much lesbian subtext between Susan and Ping-Cho as the Loose Canon reconstruction leads me to believe. Seriously, every surviving photo of them used in that recon either has them hugging, holding hands, leading towards each other to whisper conspiratorially or lying in bed together! This, ladies and gentlemen, is a Ship that sails itself and I'm surprised there's sop little Susan'Ping-Cho slash fic out in the wild.

Two things make me half believe this rumour.

One: The Enemy Of The World and The Web Of Fear are both pretty high on the wish list and we've got those back, minus one episode.

Two: the bloody odd way these episodes have apparently been restored to the BBC. Not original film cans from some Commonwealth country but some guy who in 1964 decided to record the whole serial using his cine film camera. This is weird enough to believe. Why he wanted three hours of silent Doctor Who is beyond mebut apparently it's good enough quality it can be married up with the surviving audio to make a marketable DVD.

I kind of feel sorry for Moffat, actually. I mean he spends all this time writing and filming an 80-minute special for the fiftieth anniversary and keeps being gazumped by decades old stories surfacing and stealing his thunder.


Anthony Peterson said...

Telegraph have picked it up now. From the Space Pirate

Anonymous said...

I believe they have the facts wrong. It is more likely that the serial was found in the archive of a foreign broadcaster and had been dubbed into another language. The BBC is probably trying to restore the sound track by using the fan recorded "audio tapes" from 1964. There was a fan who recorded the sound from the early episodes by pointing a tape recorder at their TV. Recording the video from a TV by pointing a movie camera at it would take hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of film and would look horrible unless you had a way to sync your camera with the scan rate of the TV. I think there was a miscommunication between the source of the story and the media.