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Trivia / Doctor Who S1 E4 "Marco Polo"

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  • Creator's Favorite Episode: Carole Ann Ford named this as her favourite story.
  • Fake Nationality: British actors play Asians.
  • Missing Episode: The entire serial. "Marco Polo" is particularly annoying as it was one of the most widely-sold 1960s stories. In theory, there should be more copies out there than other missing episodes, but so far none have been found — and, in fact, not a single second of footage survives, something it has in common with only the single-episode "Mission to the Unknown" and "The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve". There are a good number of telesnaps, though (apart from episode 4 — telesnaps were taken, but are not known to survive), so there's that.
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  • Never Work with Children or Animals: The fifth episode featured an untrained spider monkey, who the cast found difficult to work with; Carole Ann Ford recalled that "it was a nasty little thing peeing all over the place and biting anyone who came near it".
  • Urban Legends: In November 2013, tabloids the Daily Mail and the Mirror reported as news that a copy of the seven episodes had been found, recorded off-air by a handheld camera pointed at the TV screen. This was presumably a Chinese whisper based on the fact that many brief clips of footage have survived via this method — filmed by an anonymous Australian fan using an 8mm cine camera — but certainly not any full episodes.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Originally, it was intended that the narrators would be the Doctor, Ian and Barbara, before it was decided instead that these should represent extracts from Marco Polo's diaries.
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    • Although it was the first two Dalek serials that eventually made it to film, this was the first story to be considered for cinematic treatment. In fact, it was Disney who made the approach.
    • More Rule of Funny than realistic, but Mark Gatiss said that when shooting wrapped on An Adventure in Space and Time (which reconstructs parts of this serial), he was this close to saying, "Fuck it, lock the doors, we're redoing Marco Polo!" And indeed, at the time, there was idle talk of redoing one lost serial, likely this one, as part of the 50th anniversary events.
  • Working Title: A Journey to Cathay.


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