Missing Episodes – Has Marco Polo Been Recovered?

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In an article published in the Radio Times the writer of An Adventure in Space and Time, Mark Gatiss, has indicated that “moments of lost episodes ,.. like Marco Polo” have been recreated for the drama. The 90 minute production, which dramatizes the origins of Doctor Who, will be aired in November as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. Stars of the show include David Bradley as William Hartnell (the First Doctor), Brian Cox as Sydney Newman (Doctor Who co-creator), and Jessica Raine as Verity Lambert (first producer). The two surviving members of the original cast of Doctor Who, William Russell (Ian Chesterton) and Carole Ann Ford (Susan Foreman) appear in small cameo roles as “Harry” and “Joyce”. Mark Eden, who played Marco Polo in the missing serial of the same name, appears in the drama as Donald Baverstock, the Controller of BBC One.

Mark Eden as Marco Polo. Pictured behind him is William Russell as Ian Chesterton.  Both Eden and Russell appear in An Adventure in Space and Time

Mark Eden as Marco Polo. Pictured behind him is William Russell as Ian Chesterton. Both Eden and Russell appear in An Adventure in Space and Time

Rumours circulating prior to the announced recovery of The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear earlier this month speculated that Marco Polo was part of a three serial haul. So consistent were the rumours that an acronym circulated amongst fans for this alleged multiple story recovery – MEW (Marco, Enemy, Web). 

In our article on 21 October The Doctor Who Mind Robber mused upon the relationship between the revival of the Great Intelligence in Series 7 and the recovery of The Web of Fear, the second (and last) story in which the Intelligence appeared. In our humble opinion it appears that Doctor Who show runner, Steven Moffat, was aware of Web’s recovery and almost certainly resurrected the Intelligence to assist in the BBC’s marketing of the recovered episodes.

The Eleventh Doctor )(Matt Smith) with the Great Intelligence (Richard E. Grant) in The Name of the Doctor

The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) with the Great Intelligence (Richard E. Grant) in The Name of the Doctor

Given the precedent set by the Intelligence’s return, together with the long-standing MEW rumours, it’s at least arguable that Gattis’ recreation of elements of Marco Polo is a further example of a BBC missing episode marketing campaign. Should we anticipate an announcement on the return of Marco Polo not long after the broadcast of An Adventure in Space and Time? Let’s wait and see!

In the meantime, check out our gallery of brilliant promotional photographs for An Adventure in Time and Space here.

Radio Times produced retro poster for The Web of Fear

Radio Times produced retro poster for The Web of Fear

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Is Marco Polo the Latest Recovered Missing Serial? | The Doctor Who Mind Robber

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