In 1095 Pope Urban II called for a crusade to establish Christian possession of the Holy Land. Kings, nobles, their private armies, conscripts, villagers and peasants flocked to "take up the Cross". After seven crusades and nearly two centuries of bloodshed that achieved next to nothing, the last Crusader foothold in the east fell in 1291.
In 1096 the "People's Crusade", a poorly led, undisciplined and ill-equipped rabble, left Europe for the Holy Land. It ended in disaster, wiped out by Turks and Saracens without getting much further than Constantinople (now Istanbul). Also in 1096 the First Crusade set forth, with more success. Three years later these Crusaders captured Jerusalem, and put its inhabitants to the sword. The popular image of gallant and chivalrous knights is far removed from reality. Success by the Turks in Edessa lead to a second Crusade in 1147, it captured Damascus but ended shortly after.
In 1169 Saladin became leader of the Saracens, and 18 years later invaded Palestine. A Third Crusade began, led by Richard the Lionheart of England and Philip II of France. The two leaders constantly quarrelled, and after taking Acre in 1191 Philip returned home leaving Richard in sole command. In the summer of that year, Richard began his march on Jerusalem. Richard would fail to take the city, the following year he concluded a treaty with Saladin and returned home.
Chroniclers of the above events neglect to mention the appearance of a strange blue box at Jaffa, between Acre and Jerusalem, in the year 1191.
`The Crusade' is arguably the best historical Doctor Who story ever. It is well-researched and written, and there is some great dialogue for the Doctor. The Crusade was also the first Doctor Who story in which established actors played guest roles, Julian Glover as King Richard, and Jean Marsh as his sister Joanna both give fine performances.
Julian Glover also played King Richard in the telemovie Ivanhoe, directed by Crusade's director, Douglas Camfield. He would return to play a Doctor Who villain 14 years after `The Crusade'.
Jean Marsh, at one time married to some chap called Pertwee, is perhaps best known for her role in the BBC series `Upstairs, Downstairs'. She would return to Doctor Who twice more; as Sara Kingdom in `The Daleks' Masterplan', and Morgaine in the seventh Doctor story `Battlefield'.
Episodes 2 and 4 of The Crusade are the only episodes missing from Doctor Who's second season.
Episode 3 'The Wheel of Fortune' was retained by the BBC. It was released in 1991 on the compilation video "The Hartnell Years". The other three episodes were believed lost forever. However in January 1999 episode 1, 'The Lion', was discovered in New Zealand. This episode, as well as 'The Wheel of Fortune' and links by Ian Chesterton (William Russel), is now available on the special video release The Crusade and The Space Museum.
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Introduction by GARY ZIMMER (firstname.lastname@example.org).