As the television show Doctor Who celebrates its 50th anniversary, we take a look at the adventures of the Doctor during medieval times.
The science-fiction show began on the BBC in 1963, and has broadcasted nearly 800 episodes. Originally planned as an educational series that used time travel to explore science and history, the series quickly became very popular, especially during the 1970s.
The show follows ‘The Doctor’ an alien from the Planet Gallifrey who is a Time Lord. Using his ship known as the Tardis, the Doctor travels throughout the universe and able to go backwards and forwards through time. However, he seems to spend quite a lot of his time on Earth, usually somewhere around the United Kingdom!
Periodically the body of the Doctor has to regenerate, giving him a brand new appearance (this is a storyline device that allows new actors to take over in the lead role). The twelfth version of the Doctor will begin his stint during the 50th anniversary of the show. Along with many different human companions, the Doctor must face a wide array of villains and enemies, such as Daleks and Cybermen, who are trying to alter history or destroy the universe. So far the Doctor has succeeded in foiling their evil plans.
Throughout the history of the show the Doctor has made a few trips to the Middle Ages, such as:
Marco Polo – aired in 1964, it had seven episodes where the Doctor and his companions journey back to the year 1289, where they meet the Venetian traveller Marco Polo and save the Mongol ruler Qubilai Khan from assassination. The footage from this series is completely lost (many of the earlier episodes of Doctor Who have been lost).
The Crusade – aired in 1964, it involves four episodes where the Tardis lands in the Holy Land during the Third Crusade, where the crew must deal with the King Richard the Lionheart, Saladin and their men.
The Time Meddler – A four-episode series that aired in 1965, here The Doctor and two companions arrive in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria on the eve of the Viking and Norman invasions. It is 1066, a pivotal moment in British history, and the hand of a mysterious Monk is at work in the nearby monastery.
The Time Warrior - airing in late 1973 and early 1974, these four episodes follow the Doctor as he goes back to medieval England to fight a Sontaran warrior named Linx. The alien makes allies with a group of bandits led by two brothers Irongron and Bloodaxe, and much of the action takes place around ‘Wessex Castle’ (in reality it was Peckforton Castle in Cheshire).
The King’s Demons – a two-part episode from 1983, it has the Doctor facing off against one of his main villains, The Master. The story is set in England in the year 1215, where the Master is using an impostor of King John to start a rebellion against the English monarch, one that he hopes will topple the real King and prevent the Magna Carta from being written.