D. Marco Polo

Season One - 1963/1964

Story Editor: David Whitaker
Writer: John Lucarotti
Directors: Waris Hussein (1-3,5-7) and John Crockett (4)
Produced by: Verity Lambert
Designer: Barry Newberry
Incidental Music: Tristram Cary
Sword Fight Arranger: Derek Ware (7)


The TARDIS materialises in Central Asia, 1289. The Doctor and his companions meet Marco Polo, a Venetian emissary to the Kublai Khan. He is on his way to Kublai's court accompanied by Tegana, a Tartar warlord on a peace mission from the rival Mongol ruler, amd Ping-Cho, a Chinese girl.

Marco Polo forces the Doctor to joins his trek from the snowy heights of the Pamir Plateau, across the Gobi dessert and on through the Cathay. Marco Polo plans to offer the TARDIS to the Kublai Khan in the hope he will be allowed to return to Venice.

Tegana also wants the TARDIS, and he attempts to steal it believing it can fly. He also attempts to poisoning the party's water supply and drilling holes in the water carriers as they cross the desert. He escapes on the remaining horse. The rest of the group are left without water, but due to the heat and cold condensation forms on the inside of the TARDIS.

They make it to Peking, and the Doctor meets Kublai Khan. They get on well, and the Doctor starts winning at backgammon, but his luck turns and he endsup gambling, and losing, the TARDIS. Tegana tries to assassinate the Kublai Khan, and when the Doctor prevemts this the TARDIS is returned.

Regular Cast

  • Susan Foreman: Carole Ann Ford
  • Barbara Wright: Jacqueline Hill
  • Ian Chesterton: William Russell

Guest Cast

  • Marco Polo: Mark Eden
  • Tegana: Derren Nesbitt
  • Ping-Cho: Zienia Merton
  • Man at Lop: Leslie Bates (2)
  • Chenchu: Jimmy Gardner (3-4)
  • Acomat: Philip Voss (3-5)
  • Malik: Charles Wade (3)
  • Mongol Bandit: Michael Guest (5)
  • Ling-Tau: Paul Carson (5,7)
  • Wang-Lo: Gabbor Baraker (5-6)
  • Kuiju: Tutte Lemkow (5-7)
  • Vizier: Peter Lawrence (6-7)
  • Kublai-Kahn: Martin Miller (6-7)
  • Office Foreman: Basil Tung (6)
  • Empress: Claire Davenport (7)
  • Other Extras: David Anderson, Bill Brandon, Robert Chow, Harry Dillon, Kay Fong, Michael Guest, Maung Hlashwe, Irene Ho, O Ikeda, Lloyd Lam, Boon Wan Lee, Violet Leon, LL Lim, Henry Loy, Iris Loy, Suk Hee S'Hng, WA Scully, Zohra Segal, Peggy Sirr, Suchin, Doreen Tang, Aman Tokyo, Ying Wiu
  • Marco Polo's Writing Hand: John Woodcock
  • Mongol Extras: Leslie Bates, Gordon Bremworth, David Brewster, Ronald Chee, Stanley Chee, Clem Choy, Elton Fing-On, Arnold Lee, John Lee, Philip Lee, Valentino Musetti, Carlton Ngui, Arman Tokyo, Roy Vincente, Santos Wong

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 14. The Roof Of The World Saturday, February 22, 1964 5:15 PM - 5:40 PM 9.4M 63%
BBC 1 15. The Singing Sands Saturday, February 29, 1964 5:15 PM - 5:40 PM 9.4M 63%
BBC 1 16. Five Hundred Eyes Saturday, March 7, 1964 5:15 PM - 5:40 PM 9.4M 62%
BBC 1 17. The Wall Of Lies Saturday, March 14, 1964 5:15 PM - 5:40 PM 9.9M 60%
BBC 1 18. Rider From Shang-Tu Saturday, March 21, 1964 5:30 PM - 5:55 PM 9.4M 59%
BBC 1 19. Mighty Kublai Khan Saturday, March 28, 1964 5:30 PM - 5:55 PM 8.4M 59%
BBC 1 20. Assassin At Peking Saturday, April 4, 1964 5:15 PM - 5:40 PM 10.4M 59%


  • Ealing Television Film Studios
  • Lime Grove Studio D

Working Titles

Part 3: The Cave of 500 Eyes

Doctor Who and a Journey to Cathy

Doctor Who and Kublai Khan


This is the longest historical story and part one was the first episode of Doctor Who to be accompanied by a Radio Times cover.