Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Roof of the World 

The TARDIS arrives on Earth in the 13th century, where it is claimed by famed explorer Marco Polo as a gift for his employer, Kublai Khan. Polo hopes to finally buy his way out of the ... See full summary »


Waris Hussein


John Lucarotti (by)


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Episode cast overview:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
William Russell ... Ian Chesterton
Jacqueline Hill ... Barbara Wright
Carole Ann Ford ... Susan Foreman
Mark Eden ... Marco Polo
Derren Nesbitt ... Tegana
Zienia Merton ... Ping-Cho
Leslie Bates Leslie Bates ... Man at Lop


The TARDIS arrives on Earth in the 13th century, where it is claimed by famed explorer Marco Polo as a gift for his employer, Kublai Khan. Polo hopes to finally buy his way out of the Khan's service - but if he succeeds, the Doctor and his friends will never be able to get back to their Ship ever again... (Originally broadcast in seven parts.) Written by Sarah Hadley

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Did You Know?


This episode takes place in China in 1289. See more »


In early episodes, William Hartnell can often be heard flubbing his lines. Due to budget constraints (among other reasons), there was rarely the chance to do retakes. See more »


Marco Polo: [writing in his journal] Success - my plan has worked! The strangers and their unusual caravan accompany me to Lop. Our route takes us across the Roof of the World, down to the Kashgar Valley, and south-east to Tarkand. Here, we join the old silk road, along which the commerce and culture of a thousand years has traveled to and from Cathay. I wonder what the strangers' reaction will be when I tell them what I propose to do?
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Referenced in The Watch-A-Thon of Rassilon: Marco Polo (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Marco Polo (Loose Cannon reconstruction)
7 July 2008 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee all my reviews

Prior to watching the Loose Cannon reconstruction of "Marco Polo" I had only read scriptwriter John Lucarotti's Target novelization of his own story. One thing is clear after seeing this reconstruction and that is that the novelization is a criminal treatment of this gorgeously detailed, lush epic of a historical story. Where the televised story features wonderful characterization, entertaining dialogue, and richly detailed settings the novelization basically cuts it down to the plot alone, which is frankly quite unremarkable and ordinary.

What makes Marco Polo such a special story is the exemplary performances from just about everyone involved, the wonderful script and especially, as the Loose Cannon reconstruction thankfully captures in colourful photographs, the extraordinary detail that went into the wonderful sets and costumes. If ever discovered at any point "Marco Polo" may very well be the best-looking Doctor Who story of the 60's, and it is my current pick even though it is lost currently. The story was directed by the wonderful Warris Hussein so it would have undoubtedly been quite excellent on a visual level. What a shame. This is probably the missing story most deserving of being found. Even though I like some of the missing Troughton adventures a little better than this one, one doesn't feel that as much is lost with those straightforward adventures as with this one.

Loose Cannon have really done a superb job with the reconstruction, using either color or colorized photographs which emphasize the excellence of the production. The acting from the guest stars, particularly Mark Eden, is as good as the acting from the regulars.

"Marco Polo" is a wonderful historical story and remains excellent all the way through and just exemplary in spots.

Episode 1: 9/10, Episode 2: 8/10, Episode 3: 8/10, Episode 4: 8/10, Episode 5: 8/10, Episode 6: 9/10, Episode 7: 9/10.

Average: 8.43/10

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Release Date:

22 February 1964 (UK) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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