The Roof of the World

TV In the kind of happy coincidence that only a Doctor Who fan could enjoy I'm currently listening to BBC Audio's release of the First Doctor adventure Marco Polo at the same time as catching up on Michael Palin's travelogue Himalaya. It's struck me, horrifyingly, that if this most famous of lost stories actually turned up in vision that I could only be disappointed, despite the apparently incredible set and costume design.

Even on scratchy bootlegs, as the TARDIS travellers set foot into the wilderness and we hear Ian vocalise the first episode's title 'The Roof Of The World...' I've always shivered at the thought that they really were in the highest point on earth, as close to space as you can be without resorting to rocketry. This new spruced up version hasn't dampened the feeling, and in fact William Russell's superb narration has increased the feeling. Now that I've seen the incredible place on tv, with people dwarfed against the landscape, this adventure is rendered in my imagination in widescreen. Suddenly, for example, the mongols who previously might have seemed like they'd turned up from equity for their first job are given the face of the native peoples.

Even more excitingly this how Doctor Who is going to be appearing for real on television at the end of the month, albeit in shorter bursts that the three hours Marco Polo takes to tell its story. Flicking through this month's DWM and seeing all of the photographs of the set, even more so than the 1996 TV movie this looks like the show we all thought it could be. I'm disappointed that there aren't to be any pure historicals as they always seem to demonstrate the full range of the premise (there are parts of history that haven't had an attempted alien invasion surely) but just to be able to look at a brick wall and not have to make allowances for it being made of plasterboard is going to be incredible.

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