Friday 28 April 2023

The Art of... The Crusade

Doctor Who and the Crusaders was the third and final of the original story adaptations published by Frederick Muller Books, arriving in shops in February 1966. Like the Dalek volume, it was written by former story editor David Whitaker, who had written the TV scripts.
The TARDIS features prominently, taking up half of the cover image, but it is accompanied by a generic image of King Richard I - how he was imagined in the public's eye rather than what he might have looked like in the flesh, or as seen portrayed by Julian Glover.

A hardback reissue came from White Lion is 1975, once again featuring current Doctor Tom Baker on the cover, despite having Henry Fox's internal illustrations of Hartnell. The knight on the left looks surprisingly like Roger Delgado, but the figure on the right bears no relation to any of the screen characters. The two figures grappling in the background derive from one of the internal illustrations (des Preaux is attacking Luigi Ferrigo), which in turn derives from one of John Cura's telesnaps.

The first paperback version of the book was published by Green Dragon in 1967. The artist is Mary Gernat, and she has opted for a very cartoonish style, with the Doctor comically fleeing from a squad of Crusaders. This paperback featured a new set of internal illustrations - artist unknown. The back cover text specifically mentions 'Dr.Who', Ian and Barbara, but omits mention of Vicki.

The story then formed part of the initial trilogy of books published by Target in 1973, with a cover by Chris Achilleos. He has used a portrait shot of Glover as Richard,  but the background depicts generic Saracen / Crusader imagery. Despite this being the only purely historical book of the trilogy, we still get Achilleos' trademark cosmic background of stars, comets, suns and weird energy forms.

The book was reprinted by Target in 1982, featuring the then current neon logo. The artist is Andrew Skilleter, from who we expect better. This is terribly weak. The TARDIS features in the centre of the composition, but it is surrounded by more generic Saracen / Crusader imagery, none of which bears any relation to what was seen on screen (or even features in the book). There are no battle scenes beyond the small-scale forest ambush in the first episode.

Foreign language versions include a Dutch one which reuses the Chris Achilleos artwork, whilst the cover of the French edition (presented as usual by TV presenters Igor & Grichka Bogdanoff) is at least humorous. The Doctor seems to be despairing over a knight on horseback bending his jousting pole against the TARDIS. As usual with the French artwork, the Doctor has the long white hair of Hartnell, but with Tom Baker's scarf. The artist is Jean-Francois Penichoux.

The Portuguese version opts for a minimalist look, with a simple sword and shield motif. The artist is Rui Ligeiro.

Above are a couple of Henry Fox's internal illustrations.

In November 1994 Titan Books issued the script of The Crusade, edited by John McElroy. This was the final release in the range. (The Abominable Snowmen and The Pirate Planet were due to follow, but the range was cancelled). Artist Alister Pearson has recently revisited this artwork as part of the forthcoming Riverside Studios event devoted to this story. The Doctor is now no longer tinted purple, and he has repainted the figures of Richard and Saladin from scratch, though in the same poses. The background colour is now a stronger chestnut brown.

The Crusade arrived on VHS as part of a special release, it being incomplete. The recently rediscovered The Lion was coupled with The Wheel of Fortune on a set which included the following story - The Space Museum. (The Wheel of Fortune had previously featured on The Hartnell Years release, presented by Sylvester McCoy, back when it was the only surviving instalment). 
The new set came with a CD of the missing episode soundtracks (a little confusing as there was no narration), a set of B&W photo postcards, and a TARDIS keyring. 
You could also enjoy the missing episodes courtesy of William Russell, in character as Ian, telling the audience the plots from the comfort of his baronial castle home... The footage was actually recorded in Ian Levine's dining room. 
Of the two stories, The Crusade seemed to be the one they were using as the big selling point, as the main image is of the Doctor with King Richard. This release arrived in July 1999.                                                      

The Crusade never got a separate DVD release. With only two of its episodes still in the archives, they made up part of the Lost in Time triple disc set in November 2004, which brought together all the orphan episodes and clips / film trims from the Hartnell and Troughton eras in one place. In the UK we got all of this in a single three disc set only, but in the US you could also purchase separate Hartnell and Troughton volumes. The US set arrived the day after the UK one, with Australia getting its a month later. 
The release of the animated stories and The Collection Blu-ray box sets are gradually rendering this set redundant.

The Crusade soundtrack was released in May 2005, narrated by William Russell. (Oddly, the cover image I found on Google Images gives a running time of 0 hour 00 minutes...). The cover is the usual gaudy photomontage, featuring all the principal guest characters, but omitting poor Barbara from the regulars - despite her playing such a prominent role in this story. Vicki is also missing, but she has very little to do in The Crusade apart from dress up.

The Whitaker novelisation was issued as an audiobook right at the beginning of the range in 2005 - one of a trilogy of those original Muller / Target releases. You could buy them separately, or together in a special "Travels in Time and Space" tin. The narrator is once again William Russell, who also provides a bonus interview. As with all the early audiobooks, the original novel's artwork is reused.

Finally, the film and TV database moviedb has an original colourised photomontage image for this story, as there wasn't a DVD cover to copy.
The story has recently been rereleased on Blu-ray in the Season 2 box set. King Richard features on the Lee Binding cover, and it gets a disc image and feature in the accompanying booklet. The missing episodes are covered by telesnaps and images taken from other episodes, with narration from the soundtrack - or you can enjoy Ian in his upscaled medieval dining room...

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