So here we are. I wanted to absolutely love this story. I’d heard so much about it over the years, and indeed, the first parts of it really lived up to everything I’d expected, as did the conclusion. But then there’s the rest…
As with “The Daleks”, the problem here is that we have a very good four part story that’s broadcast over the course of seven episodes. This is really an issue here, because the middle parts severely drag.
Another issue is that the initial set up for the story is, “We’re off on the road to Peking!” and one assumes that they’ll reach there in quick order and have some sort of adventure. But instead most of the story, in fact all but the last part, is about them journeying to Peking, and by the time they get there, there isn’t much room left for the story.
Despite that, the sets and costumes really are as great as the rumors have claimed. It’s very clear that there was a higher budget for the series at this point. The acting is also very good by everyone involved.
I do remain disappointed that the story is missing in its entirety. I do think that if I’d seen it along with video, or even as animated affair, it would have held my attention better. Loose Cannon did what they could, and it’s better than nothing, but…eh.
I hold out hope that this story will be recovered. It was sold more widely than any other during the show’s early years, so surely at least some copies must be out there. Time will tell. It always does.
|Director||Waris Hussein (episodes 1-3,5-7)
John Crockett (episode 4)
|Script editor||David Whitaker|
Mervyn Pinfield(associate producer)
|Incidental music composer||Tristram Cary|
|Length||7 episodes, 25 minutes each|
|Episode(s) missing||All 7 episodes|
|Date started||22 February 1964|
|Date ended||4 April 1964|
Next story: “The Keys of Marinus”