Thu, 31 May 2012
It's back to the reconstructions for Josh and Steven as they do their best to sum up 1964's Marco Polo, the earliest story that's currently missing from the BBC Archives. The first pure historical story, Marco Polo is fondly remembered by those who saw it and worked on it, but does the memory cheat?
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Another great episode guys - really wish the story was there to watch. Marco Polo may qualify as the first historical story on a technicality. Both the first story and The Edge of Destruction went back in time but to periods of no written record. However, history is what is written down - everything before that point is (literally) pre-historic. You could have a pre-historic culture living next door to an historic one (Romans and Goths for example). There are isolated pre-historic cultures living on Earth right now. This would mean that although there are two pre-historic stories before it, Marco Polo is the first historic one. This may seem like idle pedantry (which would be a shock from a Doctor Who fan) but there is an important difference. When the history is written down and recorded by multiple sources it's much easier for us pedants to pick fault and point out where it differes from the historical record. There is also an official record of these events that does not include the Doctor. This means that staging a story in an historic time is an infinitely braver and more difficult choice than using a pre-historic one and much more impressive when it's pulled off as well as some of them are.