Loose Cannon Production 17
Marco Polo
"A caravan that flies. Do you imagine what this will mean to the Khan?
It will make him the most powerful ruler the world has ever known;
stronger than Hannibal, mightier than Alexander the Great!"


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Please note that Loose Cannon have no intention recolourising the recently discovered telesnaps. Nor are there any current plans to issue another recon featuring these images. See below.

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BBC Production Details
Production Code: D
Original Transmission (UK): Saturday 22nd February 1964 -
Saturday 04th April 1964
Season: 1
Number of Episodes: 7
Writer: John Lucarotti
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Waris Hussein (1-3, 5-7)
John Crockett (4)
 

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as designed by Jay Williams

 
Loose Cannon Production Details
Production Release Date: February 2002
Episode(s) Reconstructed: Episodes 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
Source Material: Since the recon was made telesnaps have been found for this story. See below.
Audio recorded by David Holman and James Russell
  There are no surviving clips for this story
Other authentic pictures
  Composite pictures
Pictures from other stories / sources
  Specially Created Material
Tape length required: UK / Australia: E240
USA / Canada: T120 & T160 (i.e. 2 tapes)
     

Making the Reconstructions:

This article goes into some detail about how we reconstructed Marco Polo - a project which took over a year to complete. Click here to learn more...

 

Bonus Material

As well as the reconstruction we are able to bring you the following goodies…

 

Celebrity Introduction 1

We were absolutely delighted when actor Mark Eden very kindly offered to film a video introduction for us. Mark was extremely impressed with the reconstruction and in particular the colourisation of the black and white material. Learn more about Mark's work in our Hall of Fame...

 

Celebrity Introduction 2

Nipping back to the 13th century we were fortunate to catch up with Marco Polo during his latter years. Marco very kindly granted us an audience and recounted his adventures with the Doctor and his companions when he was a very young man.

 

Historical Extract

Included on the tape is a short historical extract outlining the life of the real Marco Polo. This mini documentary is beautifully narrated by Mark Eden.

 

Production Documentary

Also included on the tape is a wonderful documentary produced by Richard Bignell about the making of the original production of Marco Polo. The documentary includes interviews with many of the cast and crew of the original production back in 1964.

   
Special Note:  

No episodes of this serial are known to survive. If any should resurface and be released at a later date, please purchase such an official BBC video release to complement our reconstruction.

Support The BBC Video Releases.


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Wow. So far 2004 has uncovered not one but two great finds. Hot on the heels of the discovery of episode two of DMP (Day of Armageddon), telesnaps of Marco Polo have been found. And by none other than Loose Cannon's own Derek Handley!

Derek discovered telesnaps from episodes 1,2,3,5,6 and 7 in the possession of story director Waris Hussein. Waris did not direct episode 4 hence this episode was absent from the collection.

The Loose Cannon reconstruction was completed long before the existence of such telesnaps was known and the photos used in the recon have been colourised if they were originally in black and white. This project took considerably longer than twelve months to complete.

Needless to say Loose Cannon do not relish the thought of colouring the more than 400 telesnaps that have been uncovered. Nor is there any intention to issue a reconstruction using these images in the foreseeable future.

For those wishing to see the telesnaps (And compare them to the recon) they will be printed, one episode at a time, in Doctor Who magazine commencing with issue 342 available from 1st April 2004. (And NO, this is NOT an April Fool's joke.)

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Request a copy here
Please note recons are ONLY available on VHS quality.

LOOSE CANNON WILL NOT, AND NEVER WILL, SUPPLY RECONS FOR DOWNLOAD IN DVD OR VCD QUALITY OR EVEN ON TICKER TAPE!!!!!!


Loose Cannon Says:

This reconstruction features a wealth of previously unseen photographs, many of which are colour. In addition, the Loose Cannon team have painstakingly hand-coloured over 200 authentic black and white photos making Marco Polo the first ever reconstruction to be presented in FULL colour !!!!!

This reconstruction also includes an introduction by Marco Polo himself (actor Mark Eden) and a few other surprises along the way.

Synopsis:

As the TARDIS lands on a remote mountainside, the power fails and leaves the Doctor and his companions stranded without heat or water. They are rescued by the Venetian traveller Marco Polo, who tells them it is the year 1289. They join Marco's caravan travelling to the Great Kublai Khan's palace in Peking. Accompanying Marco Polo is the Mongol warlord Tegana, an emissary from the Khan's enemy, Noghai, on his way to discuss peace terms with the Khan.

Believing the TARDIS to be a 'flying caravan', Marco takes it from the Doctor and intends to offer it as a gift to the Great Khan in the hope that he will let him return to Venice. To avoid being stranded in ancient Cathay, the Doctor must repair the ship before they reach Peking. But Tegana has his own plans for the TARDIS and if he succeeds, none of them will even reach Peking...

Reviews:

Review by Andrew Armstrong

Absolutely brilliant, this story didn't grip me on audio too much, but this is great. Since the telesnaps have been found, are there any plans at some stage to revisit this story with the new pics. All round great work, keep it up. Also any chance of colourising anymore stories?

 

Review by Andy Hardwick

Many thanks for my copy of Marco Polo. I've previously seen a few of the recons using telesnaps, and decided that I should really see what you'd achieved with some of the stories that didn't have this resource.

I'm very impressed with the results. The colour is a treat and works really well - as other reviewers have indicated Marco Polo is a particularly appropriate story for colour, with its elaborate costumes and sets. I gather that a couple of episodes didn't have many surviving photographs yetbecause of the care that's been put into the production, I certainly didn't notice the difference. The photographic material is stunning. I enjoyed the recon very much - it's currently my favourite alongside several other excellent productions that are more widely recognised as Who classics.

 

Review by Anthony Wilson

Well, it was always going to be an amazing piece of work whatever. Probably one of the most missed stories from the archives, just because the reputation was so good. Really, only Evil and Masterplan were ever going to top this one. And now in glorious technicolour, too, thanks to the wonders of Loose Cannon and the power of Adobe.

The first thing that strikes you is that the titles look really odd in colour. If you come to this after The Edge of Destruction, it's like hitting Season 8 all over again. Suddenly everything's gone strangely psychedelic (and, yes, I mean Season 8, not 7; it was 8 when they realised what this colour stuff could do!) Was it an experiment worth trying? Hell, yes! With so much of the photographic material in colour, this made perfect sense, and it's wonderful to get an idea of what it would have actually looked like to the actors involved, and the characters involved. On occasion in later episodes, there are moments when only the foreground is recoloured and some of the background remains in black and white, but you can hardly blame the team for this and, actually, it still looks startlingly artistic.

Equally, you can't blame the team for the discovery of the telesnaps after the adaptation had been made, but actually, I think this was a good thing. Had there been hundreds of black and white photos available at the time, I doubt the recolourisation would have been attempted. So our loss turns into our gain, if you see what I mean. Also, when compared with the map in the short recon on The Edge of Destruction DVD, then the Loose Cannon one is much more elaborate and fun. I particularly love the way that the Great Wall casts a 'shadow' which covers the traveller's journey line. Fantastic attention to detail. And on the subject of attention to detail, you've got to love that LC maintained the error at the end of episode 2 which said that the next episode would be 'The Cave of Five Hundred Eyes', and then getting the name of the actual episode correct. In fact, it's this attention to detail which really shines through throughout: the condensation on the TARDIS walls, the shading of skin colour in the recolourisations, the sandstorm effect, and on and on.

As to the story itself, it's still so very good. Hartnell is on magnificent form, even if the character hasn't completely settled down yet, and the scene where he explains his winnings so far to the Khan is a masterpiece of understated hilarity. The slow pace of the story and the sheer length of time that the characters spend remains surprising even now, whilst I still stand amazed that Ling-Tau can travel 300 miles in a day on horseback. I also remain impressed with the origin of the word 'assassin', and the genesis of 'Checkmate'. Russell and Hill are great as always, and Ford, although forced to create a different character every story, is on top of her game. Equally wonderful, both in the story and on the recon, is Mark Eden. I loved the 1334 remake, as if the Loose Cannon team had genuinely caught up with the original and asked him to do an intro for the video! The other bonus sections are great too; I even used the brief Marco documentary to teach children (in my real world job) about how to put a short documentary together.

Overall, then, a masterpiece in 1964 and a masterpiece now. The Loose Cannon restoration does what it really should, and I mean this as a compliment: it makes you bleed for what has been lost. Excellent work.

 

Review by Philip Voss (Acomat).

Many thanks for the 'Dr Who' tape. You've done a really splendid job. You have taken such care and seem to have captured the spirit of the piece. Of course it took me back happily but I didn't sound like Noel Coward at all! Perhaps a touch RSC but then so did everyone. By coincidence there was a 'Dr Who' fan at the stage door the day I viewed the tape with a photo of the other episode I did. Of course he knew all about your reconstruction and will be looking for a copy. Pity about Derren, but it hangs together well. All the best, Philip.

Click here to see the original letter.
With thanks to Richard Bignell for passing this on to Loose Cannon.

 

Review by Dominique Boies

I have received today your reconstruction of "Marco Polo", and I have just finished watching it. I am very impressed with your achievement. "Marco Polo" has always been my favorite story, and I could not have hoped for a better presentation -- I am not even sure the original broadcast looked so well.

I was worried at first about the colorization as I felt that a blach and white story should remain in black and white, but I was instantly won by the great job you've done on each picture. I am particularly amazed by the amount of details you had to take care of on each picture, especially the complicated pattern in the various characters' clothes or the various paintings and tapestries.

The idea of using Mark Eden in bookends for the show is a nice addition which blends perfectly with the story. I still have to watch Richard Bignell's documentary, but I am sure it can only add to an already exceptional tape.

My only complaint -- if I have to complain -- is the sound level that is quite low and show no dynamic range. However, it's clear of any static noise and certainly a big improvement over the audio of the COI reconstruction.

It's certainly your best work up to now. 10/10!

 

Review by Mark Powell

I've seen the quality of recons improve over the years, but we have now got to a new superb level.

Marco Polo as a story is not the most exiting in Doctor Who's history but was always one of the best visual stories and this can now be seen here in this recon. If you were one of those fans who asked "why put out a recon in colour of a story that was made in b&w" well when you see this you will see why. It was also a rare and pleasing treat to see the video clip at the begining of episode one in colour - wow!!!!

The audio used is of course 38 years old, yet if I were marking it out of 10 I'd give 11. The picture quality is brilliant throughout and the Mark Eden stuff is wonderful.

And after 7 episodes, what a great way of ending the tape, the making of documentery is realy interesting.

Well done Derek and the rest of loose cannon, looking forward to Invasion.

 

Review by Mike Fuller

A most impressive piece of work. There has always been in the back of my mind the nagging suspicion that, had Doctor Who been broadcast in color in the 1960s, it wouldn't look much different. Watching this reconstruction proved that to me and more. The strength of Lucarotti's story is such an irresistable force that not even the lack of any existing footage can prevent this great story from shining through.

The restoration is a crowning triumph for loose cannon.

 

Review by Ben Kirkham

I'm very impressed with this reconstruction. It's packed-full of interesting and enlightening information. The documentary, introduction by Mark Eden, and 'making of' featurette are all excellent additions to the story itself, which is truly excellent, and wonderful to watch in colour. Be truly proud of yourselves in this reconstruction. It was superb, and will not be the last one that I get.

 

Review by Justin Barnes

I just have one word to describe this recon. "AWESOME"!

The LC team have out done themselves with this recon and the color is just great I watched it in just one day.I have a very busy schdule so it's hard to have time to watch my recons,especially without being tired, but this I was glued.I look forward to future ones to come,major congrates to LC!

 

Review by Colin Nicol

Many thanks for the marco polo recon. The moment the tape arrived it was popped into the vcr and W O W. So much blood and guts has went into this.Well done guys-rather you than me going through all that painstaking effort. The press report in the Shockeye fanzine was almost true by saying how good the recon is,but it cant give senses,ie shock and amazement of seeing almost a 40year old programme in COLOUR. Then theres the making of-with stars from the show.How did you do it? Just think that inferior and often rot is imported and shown on satellite and tv while this recon tape is faultless. 100%all round and a massive pat on the back for your hard work in making the impossible, possible.

 

Review by Adrian Hudson

I now feel that I have journeyed to Cathay! I've seen it and heard it, travelling in the company of Ian, Barbara, Susan and the mysterious old Doctor. The whole recon is, of course, superb. There is so little to say, although I would like to point out the surprising quality of the audio, the amount of excellent photos I'd never seen before (along with a few old favourites) and the fascinating documentary. Best of all, the quality of the story itself, which this reconstruction finally allowed me to enjoy.

Congratulations and thanks to all. So there is magic in the world after all.

 

Review by Derek Frood

What a superb effort. You should all be congratulated for the whole package which is Marco Polo. Your hard work is certainly appreciated by this veiwer.

I was a little dubious of colourisation before watching this tape but it added another dimension to my veiwing experience, and a thoroughly excellant assortment of extras. A great bonus to the Loose Cannon Collection.

Well done to everyone involved.

 

Review by Tim Kocher

I'm not sure what to say about this amazing work that hasn't already been said. I guess the thing that sticks out for me is how far Recons have come.

I remember getting the first reconstruction ever, of a single episode of "Power of the Daleks." As interesting as I found the concept, I couldn't get through it. The concept was there, but the execution was in its infancy. I followed the recon movement, and year by year new wrinkles were added that improved the technique. The first one that really enthralled me was the original "Marco Polo" - while the images were too small and of a poor quality, the addition of captions to describe onscreen action was brilliant, and made the experience much more coherent. Still, the image size and overall presentation made it tough going at times. It was the first time my fiancee learned of reconstructions, and I confess that she laughed out loud to see me straining my eyes on these blurry little images.

Fast forward to the new LC recon of "Marco Polo." Those of us that have gotten used to the leaps in quality of each LC recon were itching to get our hands on it, and when I finally got my copy, I sat my fiancee down with it. After the first episode was over, she turned to me and said, "You know, that was amazing. It was just like watching a real episode." I can't think of a better review than that. We watched the whole story over three successive Saturdays, and were into it the whole time.

My point is, this reconstruction of "Marco Polo" represents a new state of the art for reconstructions. With the colorization, newly taped footage of Mark Eden (in character!!), and fascinating documentary, it was like getting a Criterion Collection version. Not every story calls for these extra bells and whistles, but "Marco Polo" did, and I commend the LC team for their tireless efforts. Even without the extra features, it would have been a masterwork, their technique is that good. With this high standard of craftsmanship and invention, the noble tradition of reconstructing missing episodes is clearly in safe and loving hands.

 

Review by Peter Carlton

I really just wanted to say how amazed I have been at the superb work done by LC in these reconstructions. Being a huge fan of Dr Who since I was a kid in the 1970's I had, as a adult, managed to collect copies of every surviving episode of Dr Who which I have always enjoyed watching. However I wasn't around in the 60's and so I never really held any hope of being able to see the lost stories, until, that is, I obtained the LC recons. I was really amazed at how much hard work, time and effort has gone in to them. I never really thought they could be as good as they are, but when you're watching them it really is like watching the original programme, and the telesnaps and survivng clips together with the reconstructed footage make them absolutely amazing. I For me personally it has opened up a whole new set of Dr Who stories that I really never thought I would get to see, and done in such a manner that, when you're watching them you really forget that they are reconstructions and you get right in to the story. It really is a labour of love that you have done here and it's first class. I know it won;t happen but personally I would love to see the BBC compensate you for your hard work and get these released on video in recognition of the amazingly brilliant work you have done. Many thanks for making these available for us fans!Having now seen all of them I look forward to watching them again and also I look forward to new releases as you have them ready.

 

Review by Patrick Furlong

What can I say! I've been looking forward to this for AGES! And when I finally got it, I ejected the tape that was in the player at the time (Babylon 5: In the Beginning) and set it to play.

The recon was brilliant, especially the colourisation work. The Mark Eden and the Marco Polo intros were also great.

Keep up the good work LC!!!

 

Review by Andrew Hodson

The laborious efforts hours that have been put into this reconstruction by the Loose Cannon team definitely show. This is the best recon I have ever seen - it was so enthralling that I found it near impossible to stop watching it. When I first got this, I started watching late at night, and only stopped when falling asleep after episode 5!

The most amazing aspect of this reconstruction is the sheer number of photographs. Amazingly, around 280 original photos have been tracked down, and every single one of these has been colourised. As if this wasn't enough, these which have been made into many more composite images beyond that!

It is nigh-on impossible to tell which photos are actually from a colour source and which have been doctored. The only ones I could spot out of the hundreds were those familiar photographs which I had seen in black and white - though that's almost cheating!

As with their Galaxy 4 reconstruction,, Loose Cannon has used specially created material and material from other productions near flawlessly; the only photographs that quite obviously stood out as specially created materials were things like the goldfish, or the bamboo piles, of which it would be ludicrous to expect original photographs. That said, it struck me as rather odd that Acomat appeared to have a 1970's hairstyle, but who am I to question the Loose Cannon team's expertise in the area of 13th century Chinese fashion?

The reason I'm griping about such small things is that, really, the reconstruction is almost perfect stuff. The picture quality is astounding; only a very small number of photographs looked blurry (mostly the few 'telesnaps' for this story, which were never going to be great), or had unnatural colouring (I cannot understand why Acomat's hair is blue at one point!). The sound quality is just as impressive, streets ahead of that on Galaxy 4 and not so far from some of the BBC Radio Collection releases!

At the time of this reconstruction's release, a competition was held to win a copy of the camera script for The Roof of the World signed by Carole Ann Ford. The requirement to enter was to find the Chinese symbols for 'Loose Cannon' within the program. (This competition was, in fact, won by myself - despite receiving the reconstruction only a week before the closing date! I watched it with my eyes glued to the screen in case I missed anything, taking copious notes as to possible sightings before weighing up the odds of each one!). If I've piqued anyone's interest and you wish to know where the symbols are… I suggest you start hunting!

 

Review by Richard Ely

This is the first recon I have watched and I have to say I was staggered, delighted and not a little moved by the love and dedication that is evident throughout its (considerable) length. The team at Loose Cannon clearly love this story and are determined that we will love it, too. This is a brilliant success, revealing Marco Polo as what many had long claimed it to be: on of Doctor Who's 60s peaks, a story to rank alongside Evil of the Daleks.

I ordered this recon first because I knew so little about the story, but had heard a remark that it really captured the feeling of a long journey. So it does: but, in colour, a very vivid journey, too. There are so many other delights: the early title sequence looks terrific in colour, the intro by Mark Eden sets the scene perfectly, and the mini documentary on the real Marco Polo is an interesting adn appropriate bonus.

Finally, to round off this delicious banquest, we have an exhaustive documentary on the making of the serial, with contributions from a good many of those directly involved.

Loose Cannon seem determined to do all they can to give the fans exactly what they want. I still can't believe this amazing piece of work cost me nothing bar a blank tape and the return postage!

I suppose this is what you'd call a rave review, but you guys have more than earned it! Hope you give up the brilliant work, and here's wishing more power to your elbows!

 

Review by Gerry Briody

Congratulations to the Loose Cannon team on a fantastic effort.I am completely blown away by the sheer amount of loving effort which has obviously gone into this reconstruction. I don't intend to demean the JV effort- which I enjoyed at the time - but this is a hundred times better.

The colourization is absolutely beatiful and the sheer number of pictures creates a real feeling of watching the original production.

Sadly, I don't remember watching this story in the sixties as I think I was only really interested in stories with Daleks in them at the time. However, this is a really good story with plenty of enjoyable characters and enough action to keep the stroy moving along. Perhaps it's a little overlong like most early Dr Who but it's enjoyable nonetheless.

The only negatives are the occasional poor sound quality and one or two composite's which don't quite convince. I was thinking of the picture(s) of Acomat in the bamboo forest. Anyway, this is nitpicking. It's a beatiful production of a lovely stroy and the extras are all great too.

Thank you very much.

 

Review by Andrew Hunter

I am not a big fan of historical stories, but I really enjoyed Marco Polo. There is a strong sense of adventure throughout due to the map tracing their journey and the different sets. This makes it an exciting story. Because it is in colour, Marco Polo is made more interesting and more up-to-date.

Mark Eden is fantastic as Marco Polo is interesting to listen to, unlike a lot of other characters of Dr Who historical stories who seem out of place.

Thanks LC - Marco Polo is a brilliant recon.

 

Review by Steve Hatcher
(Edited version)

One of my pet hates, about which I have been known to moan at length, is the misuse of the word "literally". So, I hope readers will understand that when I say that that Loose Cannon's reconstruction of Marco Polo is literally breath taking, I do mean just that. Gasps and sharp intakes all-round.

... The fact that this piece of classic television was junked is a tragedy, which borders on the criminal. Now, 38 years after Marco Polo's one and only broadcast on UK television, viewers can again glimpse a little of what made
this story special, thanks to the efforts of the Loose Cannon Team - Derek Handley, Dean Rose and Rick Brindell.

... The result is astounding. Linked to a crystal-clear soundtrack, the huge variety of quickly changing pictures make this a real treat to watch, with none of the problems posed by some reconstructions of over-repeated images. There are very few seven part stories, even those in which the pictures still move, that I could sit down and watch all in one go. With Marco, as episode seven ended, I was left wanting more.

... the package ends in fine style with Richard Bignell's excellent "The Making Of Marco Polo" documentary, which would be worth having in its own right. Including interviews with Eden, Carole Ann Ford, Philip Voss, Zienia Merton, Waris Hussein and Barry Newbery, the documentary takes an in-depth look at the production, presenting a wealth of new and fascinating information.

.Make no mistake; this reconstruction is a monumental achievement. Many congratulations and thanks to Derek, Dean and Rick.. If you have not got it yet, then why ever not? It's free for goodness sake!

Full article originally printed in SHOCKEYE'S SNACK Bite 5, March 2002.

 

Review by Stuart Palmer

Utter brilliance. The colourisation is first class, the composites flawless, the script top notch. I watched it in a single sitting.

 

Review by Corey Charette

Hartnell in COLOR?!? Excellent story. An unusual take to see the story from the viewpoint of Marco Polo instead of the TARDIS crew. Tegana was probably the best character in the adventure. It's probably one of the only seven part stories that is worthy of being seven parts. Definitely rewatchable. Excellent work on the recoloring of the stills also.

 

Review by Nick Mellish

Wow. Just wow.
Being only 17 I, obviously, did not see this the first time round and I feel extremely honoured to do so now- in full colour- alongside an excellent introduction and postscript and a brilliant documentary to round things off. Full marks- a must see!

 

Review by Kenneth Black

I recently had the pleasure of finding your site and being a long time Who fan have been somewhat interested in what the missing episodes were like. I later found out that a long time acquaintance of mine happens to be a dub site. Naturally I called him into service and about a week ago received a copy of Marco Polo and one of The Reign of Terror.

It is such a dreadful shame that a masterpiece like Marco Polo was junked, but to see the LC recon . . . . WOW! This is high quality stuff! I can only imagine the time and effort that must have went into this fine work of art.

No dedicated who fan should be without it!

 

Review by P. Ingerson

Wow! This is amazing!

Far too many so-called "classic" Doctor Who stories actually turn out to be nothing special, their undeserved reputation spreading itself like the Emperor's new clothes. But with Marco Polo, we have that rarest of things: a classic that really lives up to its status.

Maybe this is because it was made early in DW's history, they weren't restricted by their established ideas about what a DW story should be like, and they had the freedom to concentrate on telling a good story without worrying about whether or not it's good Doctor Who. This is first and foremost Marco Polo's story - he even narrates it - and the Doctor is only a minor character in it! And the story works *because* of this!

...

Anyway, the reconstruction itself is nearly flawless. Great work guys. And just how many goldfish did you have to audition before you found ones that looked like the characters?

I'd agree with the other reviewer who said Acomat looked a bit out of place in some composites, and there were also a couple of close-ups of Barbara against a totally black background as if you'd forgotten to superimpose the scenery behind her. But these silly minor details never detracted from the story.

I didn't really care much for the "making of" documentary - that's just not the sort of thing that interests me, and I'd have preferred more about the historical Marco Polo instead. But a lot of fans do seem to like it, so and it's tucked away at the end where I won't have to see it again, so I can't even complain about that.

Thanks and congratulations to everyone involved with this tape. It really *is* a classic.

 

Review by Layin Madhavan

If genius is pain, then Derek Handley and his Loose Cannon comrades must be the world's biggest machoists. I have seen some reconstructions before, but this is something else. Very different, but very clever... Colorizing the story was quite a good novel idea. I suppose (as Mark Eden has said) puritans who have wanted the story in the original black and white, can always turn down the color of their TV.

However the bit I was really impressed with was the color footage at the start. I know no clips of the story exist and also know that you have extracted this clip from the end of the previous story 'Inside the spaceship aka The Edge of Destruction', which was a cliffhanger leading to this story. Even though the footage must have been about 15 seconds long, I must admit I was blown away when I saw it! To see a color Hartnel story!! It must have taken a lot of painstaking work to create that. Very impressive.

The story itself, although considered by many to be a classic, was quite good. I didn't think it was perhaps not that derserving to be labelled a classic, but still it was entertaining nevertheless. It was certainly visually impressive. Thank you all at Loose cannon, for making this release possible.

 

Review by Liam Copsey

What can I say about this recon that hasn't been said before? Well I'll start by declaring that this was simply excellent - both story and reconstruction...

Oh what controversy! Classics now in colour? Perish the thought! How anybody with a sane mind, though sometimes I do wonder, could possibly dare turn down the colour and the vibrancy, drain the recon's energy from their television screens, I mean as such an act would simply be criminal, needless to say disrespectful. Why should somebody spend all of their time working hard to improve something, supposing they haven't got anything better to do, just for all their efforts to be deleted with a press of a button? To me that's plain madness. There are those people who believe that a story should accurately represent the original, which is fair enough in itself, but why not, if possible, improve it using such blatantly successful techniques? Anyway, apart from the recolourisation this is, quite sincerely, a remarkable recon, and the ones without telesnaps seem to be a lot more effective than those with. I suspect it is mainly due to the ingenuity and sheer determination of the LC team to create shots for every scene, trying to keep variance all through the story, and they certainly succeed with this approach in 'Marco Polo'.

Now what can I finish with? .Hmm, well I suppose I could use those much-overused clichés such as: it was another 'gem', no? Well how about 'great job' or perhaps 'well done', or 'be proud LC'? No, I'm sorry none of it really fits, it's all too unsubstantial, the words don't convey what they're saying to a true effect. This review stuff is hard, ah ha! I know, the perfect three words to sum this production up: watch it yourselves. And I really cannot think of any way of expressing it better.

 

Review by Paul Davidson

I'm no journalist and I do find it difficult to find the right words when reviewing things, but with Marco Polo it is made so much easier.

The story itself is a classic, but to have it represented by all these beautiful colour photographs is just fantastic. I also thought the titles looked good with the colour filters on, and I was gobsmacked when I saw the opening scene in colour.

And Richard's documentary was the icing on the cake. I've just started getting recons, and after seeing this, I think I will be getting them all. Can't wait for Dalek Masterplan!!!

 

Review by David Spofforth

The day this tape arrived was not the best. I had a fair bit of work that needed doing. Still, I couldn't resist watching the first few minutes. A few minutes became a whole episode then it was 'just one more' then it was three hours later. Lambert & Whittaker's format at its purest. The colouring was first rate - difficult to tell which photos were colourised at times. A day wasted? Not a bit of it. Still - it was lucky the wife was out!

 

Review by Warren Butler

Marco Polo -- well what can I say????
This was one of the first ever DW stories that I had ordered from you at Loose Cannon, and I was really pleased that I did so. What an superb effort must have gone into this reconstruction in particular, Now I can relate too the many stories that I have heard about it.
The story itself -- well... I was astounded that IT WAS IN COLOUR.
I really enjoyed Mark Edens intro.
Marco polo is everything that it should be and more, and as for a colour version of a black and white story ..... THANKS GUYS FOR TAKING US ON A TRIP INTO THE PAST AND MAKING IT ENJOYABLE.
Look forward to other LC Recons.
I will order them now I know what to expect --- QUALITY!!!

 

Review by David Murphy

Amazing. Simply amazing.
My wife and I decided to start obtaining copies of the reconstructions after our soundtrack for Marco Polo turned out to be relatively unlistenable in certain parts, such as the end of Episode 7, which resembled nothing more than silence. We're university instructors and are working on a comprehensive, critical analysis of every Doctor Who story , and needed something better, but couldn't wait for the BBC Audio release. In five minutes, we'd forgotten we were watching a reconstruction. I actually turned and said, "I feel like I'm watching the real thing." The pacing of the slides is fantastic, and the computer additions -- backgrounds, the maps, the blowing sand -- really help to keep the atmosphere of the original intact.
This has always been one of my favorite stories, and it got even better while watching this fantastic production. Many thanks to the people at Loose Cannon -- and to Dan Murphy for his quick dubbing -- for helping to recreate some of the magic of this great production. Marco Polo is easily one of the best Doctor Who's ever made, and this as close as we're liable to get to the magic of the real thing.

 

Review by Jaymze Harvey

Probably the best recon, second only to the superior, "Dalek Masterplan".
As the years go by, the recons get better and better. Maybe some of the older ones could be redone to match the quality of these newer gems. The sound was clear, a little low, but I adjusted the EQ, and sound on my surround, and it was fine.
Finally I got to hear, and see the end, which my audio was missing.

FANTASTIC!!!! I think I'll watch it again right now!!!

 

Review by Bill Moser

Wow. This is the first recon I've seen which might actually be better than the original. If this story is ever returned to the BBC, I'll be disappointed by all of that monochrome. Well worth the effort, Loose Cannon!

The story is very good, one of the best of the historicals. The narrations by Marc Eden further enhance it. Once again, another story that would have been gone forever but for the reconstruction team. Well done!

 

Review by Michael Rose

I just received Marco Polo and I watched it and it was great. The way you colorize the photos is excellent and the interviews are great and the documentary was the best.

 

Review by Andrew Merkelbach

A COLOUR Hartnell - fantastic! More of this sort of thing please ;) Makes you wonder what the proposed Disney remake might've been like.
Great stuff indeed!

 

Review by Adam Bewley

This is an excellent recon, I did notice some of the composites... I liked the extras, especially the older Marco Polo. I've watched it three times, it was worth spending a lot of time.
The best recon for the best story.

 

Review by James Stephen Barnes

This was a story that I'd heard so much about in Doctor Who fandom since I first got into the show only a short time ago. 'Marco Polo' more than lives up to it's hype: an epic encounter that never drags, misses a beat or goes off on a tangent. I've enjoyed the work of Mark Eden & Derren Nesbitt in two of my other favourite TV serials of all-time, 'Coronation Street' & 'The Prisoner', & was delighted to see the pair of them together again in this wonderful Doctor Who serial.

The colour telesnaps just add a richness to what would be an outstanding reconstruction in black & white, & the bonus material, particularly Richard Bignall's documentary, is fascinating. An incredibly professional reconstruction of what is now one of my all-time favourite Doctor Who stories. Absolutely wonderful.

 

Review by Brinley Thomas

This is the first recon I have obtained. This is an excellent Doctor Who story. Loose Cannon have really done a great job with the reconstruction and colourising. It is brilliant even without the telesnaps and is one of my favourite stories. I have always loved the historic stories and I wish they would have continued right through the Troughton era at least. The pictures are outstanding and very clear.

 

Review by Christopher Forbes

Wow! I’ve heard the audio which bored me to death, but this! Wow! In COLOUR! Shame about the swordfight at the end though, if you guys revise this one, could be worth trying to find out what the choreography was and maybe act the thing out and then superimpose the right actor’s head in place. Might look rather weird having an unmoving head on an active body, but it would still make an improvement to what’s there now. (Don't be discouraged guys I'm just being picky! It's still worth getting) Apart from that slight thing it was great! Worth getting! A gripping story now that there are pictures. The panning of the photos helps create movement and is much better than the BBC's The Tenth Planet recon where it was a typical telesnap recon. The shot of Tegana pouring water on the desert sand is the most impressive picture as far as your colourization techniques go. Some of the pictures at the beginning were a bit poor, but still much better than black and white. Great stuff! Can’t decide which three recons to get next!
Great work Loose Cannon!

 
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