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MARCO POLO

EPISODE 5 - RIDER FROM SHANG-TU

by JOHN LUCAROTTI
first broadcast - 21st March 1964
running time - 24mins 12secs


1. EXTERIOR - TIME TRAVELLERS' TENT

(IAN cuts through the tent, and sneaks up behind the guard. However, the guard offers no resistance. IAN turns him over. The guard is dead, having been stabbed through the chest.)


2. THE BAMBOO FOREST

(ACOMAT and the MONGOL warriors are hidden in the bamboo forest. ACOMAT turns to the Mongol warrior next to him.)

ACOMAT: Are the men in position?
MONGOL: The caravan is surrounded, my lord.
ACOMAT: Do they know the signal to attack?
MONGOL: Each one has been told that lord Tegana will wave a burning torch.
ACOMAT: Then we shall watch for it.


3. INTERIOR - TIME TRAVELLERS' TENT

(IAN rushes back into the time travellers' tent. The others immediately note his agitated state.)

DOCTOR: What's the matter? Did you kill him?
IAN: No, of course not. He was dead.
BARBARA: Dead?
IAN: Yes, he's been stabbed.
BARBARA: Bandits?
IAN: They must be just on the point of attacking us.
SUSAN: Grandfather, what are we going to do?
DOCTOR: Well, continue with our plan, get the keys, and get out of here as soon as possible.
SUSAN: (Looking out the tent.) Tegana!
IAN: We're already too late, Doctor. The only thing I can do now is warn Marco.
BARBARA: Be careful, Ian.
IAN: I will.

(IAN rushes out of the tent.)


4. MARCO POLO'S TENT

(IAN creeps into POLO's tent, and attempts to wake POLO.)

IAN: Marco, Marco... wake up.

(POLO mumbles, reaching for his sword.)

IAN: No, no, it's all right.

(POLO turns sleepily towards IAN.)

IAN: Marco, the guard's dead, I think we're in for a bandit attack.
POLO: (Immediately sitting up.) Bandits? Where's Tegana?
IAN: He's outside. I didn't tell him - I thought it best to tell you first.


5. EXTERIOR - CAMP

(POLO and IAN rush out of the tent and join Tegana, who is standing next to the fire.)

POLO: Tegana, wake the bearers.
TEGANA: What is it?
POLO: Bandits.
TEGANA: (Gesturing towards IAN.) What's he doing free?
POLO: Never mind about that. A guard's been killed. Now, wake the bearers and get some swords, quickly. Call the others.
IAN: (Calling to their tent.) Doctor, Susan, Barbara, quickly, here.

(The DOCTOR, BARBARA and SUSAN emerge from the tent.)

POLO: Miss Wright, Susan, go into the tent and stay there.
SUSAN: What about Ping-Cho?
POLO: Now, she sleeps now, but if she wakes up, make sure she stays with you.
BARBARA: Yes.

(SUSAN and BARBARA enter PING-CHO's tent just as TEGANA reappears. He is heavily armed.)

POLO: Are the bearers awake?
TEGANA: Yes, they've taken their positions around the edge of the camp.
POLO: (Handing a sword to IAN.) Do you know how to use one of these?
IAN: No, but given half a chance, I'll learn.
DOCTOR: Pardon me...
POLO: (Handing a sword to the DOCTOR.) If you're half as aggressive with this as you are with your tongue Doctor, we can't lose.
IAN: How many of them are there likely to be?
POLO: Oh, more than enough for us.
DOCTOR: Well, we look a bit silly standing here, don't we?
POLO: Then what do you suggest we do?
DOCTOR: Use TARDIS.
POLO: (Suspiciously.) Your caravan? To go where?
DOCTOR: Yes, get out of here, anywhere where it's place... where it's safe.
TEGANA: Look, this is another of the magician's tricks. I don't believe there are any bandits.
POLO: Tegana, a guard is dead.
TEGANA: (Indicating the DOCTOR and IAN.) Could they have not killed him? What better way to give this lie the ring of truth.
IAN: Not everyone lives by your standards, Tegana.
TEGANA: Well, where are these bandits if there are any? Why haven't they attacked? I warn you Marco, if you go in their caravan, they will surely destroy you.
DOCTOR: If you believe that Polo, you're a bigger fool that even I think you are.
POLO: You deceived me before, Doctor. No, we will not use your caravan. If there are bandits, we shall fight.
DOCTOR: (Waving the sword.) Well, we're not going to get very far with this overgrown bread knife! We shall have to use more enterprise than this.
IAN: The Doctor's right, Marco. We need more than these swords.

(IAN glances around their surroundings.)

IAN: Wait a minute... perhaps we can outwit them!
POLO: How?
IAN: We'll use this bamboo.
POLO: (Surprised.) Well, what good will that do?
IAN: If we throw it on the fire, it will expand and blow up. It's a terrifying noise. It's worth a chance, Marco.
POLO: Let us hope time is our ally.


6. THE BAMBOO FOREST

(ACOMAT and the Mongols continue waiting in the forest. Their impatience with TEGANA grows by the minute...)

ACOMAT: What keeps him then? The moon will soon rise to deny us darkness.
MONGOL: Perhaps he is sleeping.
ACOMAT: True. He is not as young as we are. Tell the others, that unless he signals before the moon's first light, we attack then.
MONGOL: As my lord commands.
ACOMAT: But, not with stealth, as lord Tegana wished. We'll make sport of it.


7. EXTERIOR - CAMP

(IAN and POLO have collected a large pile of bamboo. As they arrange the bamboo, POLO considers the implication of recent events.)

POLO: (Contemplating to himself.) Does the lamb conceal the wolf, or the wolf the lamb?

(POLO turns to IAN...)

POLO: Were you trying to escape?
IAN: Yes.
POLO: It was very reckless of you.
IAN: It was the only thing we could do.
POLO: Even though failure might have meant death?
IAN: We hoped we'd succeed.
POLO: Tell me, Ian, what were you going to do to me?
IAN: Take the key from you, and use you as a hostage until we were safely at the TARDIS.
POLO: Then, I shall have to be more careful in future.
IAN: Marco, I wish I could explain to you how important the TARDIS is to us.
POLO: And I wish I could explain to you, Ian, how important it is to me.

(IAN looks into the sky, realising it is useless to continue with the argument.)

TEGANA: The moon will soon be up.
POLO: Yes, we must gamble that the attack comes now. Tegana, wake the bearers.
TEGANA: They are alert, Marco.
IAN: All three of them, that makes seven.

(IAN glances around, and notices that the Doctor has fallen asleep next to the fire.)

IAN: We can wake the Doctor. Marco, the bamboo will need time to heat up.
POLO: Yes, we must gamble that the attack comes now.

(IAN and POLO commence throwing the bamboo on to the fire.)

TEGANA: (Outraged.) There are no bandits! This was all a ruse.

(Suddenly, the bandits begin to emerge from the forest surrounding them...)

IAN: A ruse Tegana?
POLO: (Raising his sword for battle.) Good luck, Ian.

(IAN rushes over to the sleeping DOCTOR, and shakes him.)

IAN: Doctor - wake up. The bandits!

(The DOCTOR hands a box of matches to IAN. IAN quickly lights the pile of bamboo with a match.)


8. THE BAMBOO FOREST

(The bandits move in...)


9. EXTERIOR - CAMP

(Suddenly, the attack commences. The camp is filled with the sounds of swords clashing, and men screaming. POLO's bearers desperately attempt to hold off the attackers. ACOMAT notices TEGANA, and smiles scornfully.)

ACOMAT: (Yelling.) So, the mighty Warlord is awake!

(Before ACOMAT can say another word, TEGANA rushes forward and kills him. Suddenly, amidst the confusion, the bamboo on the fire begins to explode. Screaming in terror, the Mongol warriors rush back into the forest.)

IAN: (Laughing.) They're running! They're running!

(The DOCTOR laughs triumphantly as the group happily celebrate their victory. BARBARA, SUSAN and PING-CHO emerge from their tent.)

IAN: We've won! we've won!

(SUSAN and PING-CHO hug each other in relief.)

SUSAN: What was the explosion?
POLO: Bamboo... the bandits thought there were devils in the fire, and fled.
DOCTOR: No, it wasn't the devils in the fire. Their leader was killed. That's why they broke up and ran.
TEGANA: Well, in battle all men face death.
DOCTOR: And few expect to meet it. Hmmm!


10. MARCO POLO'S JOURNAL

POLO: (Writing in journal.) At sunrise, we buried the dead, broke camp, travelled to the edge of the bamboo forest, and out beyond it onto the plain. But at midday, as we were all tired after the events of the previous night, I ordered a halt.


11. EXTERIOR - MAIN TENT

(The caravan has halted momentarily in the middle of an arid plain. The DOCTOR, IAN and BARBARA are sitting around a table outside the "yurta" (the main tent). They are discussing the events of the previous night.)

BARBARA: (Slamming a fist onto the table.) Surely he can't punish us! By trying to escape - we saved his life.
DOCTOR: If that fool had any decency at all, he'd let us go.
IAN: I doubt if he'll do that Doctor.
DOCTOR: Well, then we must go on trying to escape. The circuit's finished, and all we need are those keys.
IAN: That's not going to be very easy, is it, after last night. Marco's bound to be on his guard.

(POLO and TEGANA appear from the main tent. The DOCTOR, IAN and BARBARA immediately become silent, refusing to meet Polo's eye.)

POLO: I have a question to ask all of you. Will you promise, on your honour, not to attempt another escape?

(There is no answer.)

POLO: (Quietly.) So be it.
DOCTOR: We sacrificed our freedom to save you.
POLO: Yes I know, and in return, I revoke the seizure of your caravan by official decree.
DOCTOR: (Sarcastically.) Huh! Very noble of you, I'm sure!
IAN: What you're really saying, Marco, is that we're no longer Kublai Khan's prisoners - only yours, 'eh?
POLO: That's right.
DOCTOR: Thanks for nothing.
POLO: All the freedoms you enjoyed before will be restored. Susan and Ping-Cho can share each other's company, and no guards will watch you by night.
DOCTOR: And the keys to the TARDIS?
POLO: As before, Doctor, they remain with me. And, I shall be guarded day and night.
TEGANA: Marco, let me be your sword.
POLO: (Forcefully.) You are in my charge, Tegana, not I in yours.

(POLO strides back into the main tent. TEGANA hesitates a moment...)

TEGANA: (To the DOCTOR.) Work your magic on him if you will, but make no move against me.

(TEGANA re-enters the main tent.)

IAN: He knows we're on to him.
DOCTOR: Strange that Tegana should watch the fire - a sort of menial job he'd order a guard to do.
BARBARA: How could he? The guard was dead.
IAN: Tegana wasn't to know that, otherwise he'd have given the alarm.
DOCTOR: Would he?
IAN: You mean he was implicated in the attack?
DOCTOR: Of course he was. The bandit knew him - I'm certain he did.
BARBARA: Ian, do you remember that bandit we buried this morning? I knew I'd seen him somewhere before. He was in the Cave of Five Hundred Eyes.
DOCTOR: Yes, and he had to kill him or be exposed.
IAN: But what's Tegana's game? What's he after?
DOCTOR: My ship.
IAN: Oh no, Doctor, he's terrified of it. It must be something else. Whatever it is, we're in the way, that's for sure.
BARBARA: Marco too?
IAN: I don't know - maybe.
BARBARA: Well, shouldn't we warn...
DOCTOR: No, no, sssh! We mustn't be impetuous. We must choose the right moment carefully.

(The conversation is interrupted by the arrival of SUSAN and PING-CHO. They are accompanied by a young courier.)

SUSAN: This is a courier from Kublai Khan. Have you seen Messr Marco?
IAN: (Pointing towards the tent.) Yes, he's in there.
PING-CHO: (To the courier.) Please be seated.
LING-TAU: Thank you, my lady.
PING-CHO: I will fetch him.

(PING-CHO enters the main tent to find POLO.)

SUSAN: (Introducing the courier.) His name is Ling-Tau.
IAN: You look as though you've travelled far.
LING-TAU: From the summer palace at Shang-Tu, my Lord.


12. INTERIOR - MAIN TENT

(Sitting on his bunk, Polo has just completed his journal entry for the day. As he hides the TARDIS keys in the spine of the journal, PING-CHO enters.)

POLO: What is it Ping-Cho?
PING-CHO: A courier from the great Khan has arrived, Messr Marco.
POLO: Ask him to wait, please. I'll be with him in a moment.

(PING-CHO turns to walk off...)

POLO: Ping-Cho, do I have your word not to tell anyone where these keys are?
PING-CHO: (Quietly.) Yes, Messr Marco.


13. EXTERIOR - MAIN TENT

(Outside the tent, the DOCTOR, IAN and BARBARA are talking to LING-TAU.)

IAN: When did you leave Shang-Tu?
LING-TAU: Yesterday, my lord.
IAN: Yesterday!
BARBARA: What!
DOCTOR: But that's three hundred miles away, isn't it?
LING-TAU: We change horses every league my lord.
IAN: Every league!

(LING-TAU indicates the bells around his waist.)

LING-TAU: That's the reason we wear these, my lord - to warn the post-house of our arrival, and when we get there, a fresh horse is saddled and waiting, ready for the next three miles.
BARBARA: And you ride without rest until you reach your destination?
LING-TAU: Yes, my lady.
DOCTOR: I would have thought it was a physical impossibility!
LING-TAU: Our bodies would be shaken to pieces, my lord, were it not for these. Bound tight - like this one, on my head.

(LING-TAU indicates his extra-tight riding breeches.)

IAN: Tell me, are there many men who can ride such long distances without a break?
LING-TAU: We are few, my lord.
DOCTOR: Three hundred miles a days on horseback! Very few people can ride more than twenty five.
LING-TAU: It's in our blood, my lord. We all come from the great steppes to the north.

(POLO and PING-CHO appear from the main tent.)

POLO: Courier!
LING-TAU: My lord, Polo?
POLO: I am he.
LING-TAU: (Bowing.) The mighty Kublai Khan sends his greetings to his faithful servant.
POLO: Thank you.

(LING-TAU hands POLO a note.)

POLO: Thank you.

(POLO reads the note.)

POLO: We must leave here at once.
PING-CHO: Why, Messr Marco?
POLO: Kublai Khan wishes to see me without delay. Six days hard riding from here is the city of Cheng-Ting, where we can take horses and ride on to Shang-Tu.
PING-CHO: But our possessions, Messr Marco?
POLO: They will have to follow on one of the many trade caravans that travels the route.
DOCTOR: And the TARDIS?
POLO: That too must follow on, Doctor.


14. MARCO POLO'S JOURNAL

POLO: (Writing in journal.) My only concern now is to reach the summer palace as quickly as possible. So within an hour, we were on the move again, and on the sixth day of our journey, the spires of Cheng-Ting could be seen on our horizon. By later afternoon, we had arrived at the way station of the White City, as Cheng-Ting is often called.


15. INTERIOR - CHENG-TING WAY STATION

(The way station at Cheng-Ting is the most extravagant the travellers have stopped at so far. The manager of the way station, Wang-Lo, a portly and fussy man, greets them.)

WANG-LO: And how long will you honour us with your presence, my lord?
POLO: We have to ride to Shang-Tu tomorrow.
WANG-LO: (Theatrically.) Oh how sad!

(SUSAN and PING-CHO wander into view...)

WANG-LO: Good day, my gracious ladies. Cheng-Ting is so delightful at this time of the year.

(At that moment, the DOCTOR rushes into the room. He is in an agitated state.)

DOCTOR: Well, where is it?
POLO: What?
DOCTOR: The TARDIS.

(POLO shrugs.)

DOCTOR: Oh, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear.
WANG-LO: I was advised of your pending arrival, my lord Marco, by a courier who passed this way from Shang-Tu.
DOCTOR: Polo?
POLO: What is it now?
DOCTOR: I thought you said the TARDIS was to be placed in the courtyard.
WANG-LO: To what does the old lord refer?
POLO: His caravan.
WANG-LO: Oh, that's what it is! I had it moved.
DOCTOR: Where to?
WANG-LO: The stables, my lord.
DOCTOR: The stables?
WANG-LO: Well, I could hardly leave it in the hanging garden, my lord, now could I?
POLO: It will be safe enough there, Doctor. What... er... when does the next commerce caravan leave for Shang-Tu?
WANG-LO: Umm, the day after tomorrow, my lord.
POLO: Will you see that all the baggage goes with it, including that caravan?
WANG-LO: (Smiling broadly.) I shall make it a personal duty, my lord Marco. And now, if you step this way, I'll escort you to your apartment.
POLO: Thank you.

(As WANG-LO leads Polo away, the Doctor scowls. He turns to IAN and BARBARA...)

DOCTOR: (Mimicking WANG-LO's sing-song voice.) "I could hardly have it placed in the hanging garden, now could I" What does he think it is? A potting shed, or something.
BARBARA: Well it's better there than in the courtyard, Doctor. At least it's out of sight.


16. COURTYARD - CHENG-TING WAY STATION

(SUSAN and PING-CHO are sitting next to the fish pond in the courtyard. They are watching the goldfish swim through the water.)

SUSAN: Look at that one there. He's just like Wang-Lo, all fat, smooth and silky. And look at this one here - he's very solemn. He's just like Marco Polo. And look at this one dashing around all over the place. He's got Ian's energy. Ah, look, that one's all by itself. It's independent, like Barbara.

(One of the goldfish suddenly hides by itself.)

PING-CHO: There's you Susan, hmmm? A wicked goldfish.

(SUSAN laughs.)

SUSAN: Now, where are you Ping-Cho? Oh, look there - that little pretty one down there, with the wedding veil.

(PING-CHO struggles to hold back the tears.)

SUSAN: Oh, Ping-Cho, I'm sorry.
PING-CHO: How I miss my home in Samarkand. And your home Susan? You've never told me about that. Is it so very far away?
SUSAN: (Sadly.) Yes, it is. It's as far away as a night star.
PING-CHO: But you can reach it from Venice, can't you?
SUSAN: No, Ping-Cho, no, I can't.
PING-CHO: And if Messr Marco does give your caravan to Kublai Khan, you will never see your home again?
SUSAN: That's right.
PING-CHO: I gave him my word Susan. I promised not to tell anyone where he put the key.
SUSAN: And I promise you that no-one will ask you.


17. STABLES - CHENG-TING WAY STATION

(In the stables, TEGANA meets KUIJU, a sinister looking man wearing an eyepatch. There is a small monkey sitting on Kuiju's shoulder. The two of them are examining the TARDIS.)

KUIJU: What is it, lord?
TEGANA: A Warlord's tomb. I want it. Can you arrange to have it taken for me?
KUIJU: Are you prepared to pay a good price?
TEGANA: How much?

(TEGANA offers KUIJU some paper currency.)

KUIJU: We want gold, not Kublai Khan's paper money.
TEGANA: You shall have it.
KUIJU: In advance.
TEGANA: One half tonight, the other half when I get the tomb.
KUIJU: 100 golden pieces.
TEGANA: You shall have it.
KUIJU: That first part, my lord. When do I receive it?
TEGANA: Tonight.
KUIJU: The street of the beggars at midnight.
TEGANA: I shall be there.
KUIJU: (Chuckling.) So shall I.

(As KUIJU walks off, TEGANA studies the TARDIS.)

TEGANA: A Warlord's tomb. More than that, a Khan's throne for Noghai.


18. INTERIOR - CHENG-TING WAY STATION, MARCO POLO'S ROOM

(POLO is putting away his journal, when there is a knock on the door.)

POLO: Come in.

(PING-CHO enters.)

PING-CHO: It is dinner time, Messr Marco.
POLO: Thank you, Ping-Cho.

(POLO notices the state of his hands.)

POLO: Oh dear, I have ink on my fingers. I will join you there.

(As soon as POLO walks off to wash his hands, PING-CHO quickly removes a key from the spine of the journal.)


19. COURTYARD - CHENG-TING WAY STATION

(Later on, PING-CHO meets with SUSAN in the courtyard.)

PING-CHO: I have something to give you.
SUSAN: What is it?
PING-CHO: Can't you guess?
SUSAN: No.
PING-CHO: This.

(PING-CHO hands over the key to an astonished SUSAN.)

SUSAN: Ping-Cho! But you promised Messr Marco...
PING-CHO:...not to tell anyone. I haven't. You don't know where I got it.
SUSAN: But he'll be terribly angry!
PING-CHO: (Smiling.) But one of us will be on their way home.

(As they hug each other, TEGANA walks past.)

TEGANA: Good night, ladies.
PING-CHO: Good-night my lord.
SUSAN: Do you think he saw it?
PING-CHO: No, I don't think so. Let me go up to our room before you tell the others.
SUSAN: Yes, all right.
PING-CHO: You will say good-bye, won't you?
SUSAN: Of course I will! (Beginning to cry.) Ping-Cho... what can I say?


20. COURTYARD - CHENG-TING WAY STATION (AT NIGHT)

(Later that night, after everyone else has fallen asleep, the escape plan is put into operation. The Doctor and his companions sneak into the courtyard.)

IAN: (Whispering.) Got the key Doctor?
DOCTOR: Yes, of course I have.

(As they are about to enter the courtyard, IAN beckons for everyone to stop.)

IAN: Get back - there's a guard.
DOCTOR: Dear, dear, dear, dear, haven't you any ideas?
IAN: Yes... yes I have.

(IAN searches around the area, until he finds a goblet. He fills it up with water, and drunkenly approaches the guard, placing his arm around the guard's soldier. The guard is momentarily alarmed.)

IAN: Why don't you have a drink?

(IAN and the guard laugh drunkenly. Ian leads the guard away from the courtyard, holding the goblet teasingly in front of him.)

SUSAN: (Looking around.) Ping-Cho...

(As the Doctor and Barbara approach the TARDIS, SUSAN wanders off to find PING-CHO. Nearby, IAN suddenly turns around, and knocks the guard unconscious. The DOCTOR quickly places the key in the TARDIS lock, and opens the door... the DOCTOR, IAN and BARBARA rush into the TARDIS console room.)


21. INTERIOR - TARDIS

(The DOCTOR immediately rushes around the console, setting levers and dials.)

DOCTOR: All right Doctor, close the doors.

(The DOCTOR presses the level on the console. The doors glide close...)

IAN: Wait! Where's Susan? Where is she?
BARBARA: She must have gone to say good-bye to Ping-Cho.
DOCTOR: What on Earth does that child think she's doing? Great Olympus!
IAN: Don't panic. Give her a second. I knocked out the guard.


22. COURTYARD - CHENG-TING WAY STATION

(Outside in the courtyard, SUSAN meets up with PING-CHO. They sadly hug each other good-bye. SUSAN quickly rushes back to the TARDIS. Suddenly, TEGANA emerges from the darkness, and grabs SUSAN. SUSAN screams.)

SUSAN: Grandfather!


NEXT EPISODE - MIGHTY KUBLAI KHAN


Doctor Who
WILLIAM HARTNELL

Ian Chesterton
WILLIAM RUSSELL

Barbara Wright
JACQUELINE HILL

Susan Foreman
CAROLE ANN FORD

Marco Polo
MARK EDEN

Tegana
DERRIN NESBITT

Ping-Cho
ZIENIA MERTON

Ling-Tau
PAUL CARSON

Chenchu
JIMMY GARDNER

Malik
CHARLES WADE

Acomat
PHILIP VOSS

Kuiju
TUTTE LEMKOW

Wang-Lo
GABOR BARAKER

Title music composed by
RON GRAINER
and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop

Incidental Music
TRISTRAM CARY

Story Editor
DAVID WHITAKER

Designer
BARRY NEWBERY

Associate Producer
MERVYN PINFIELD

Producer
VERITY LAMBERT

Director
WARIS HUSSEIN

Transcribed by
BRUCE ROBINSON

Script Adaption / Editing / Additional Description
LEE HORTON

Corrections by
JULIAN HAYLOCK
MAL

 

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