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(An icy mountain range where the peaks are covered in snow: the TARDIS nestles on a small plateau. SUSAN and BARBARA, both wearing warm coats, come out of the TARDIS and walk towards where there is in a large indentation in the snow. SUSAN kneels next to it and BARBARA joins her to examine their find. It is unquestionably a footprint, but it is of enormous size. SUSAN looks perturbed...)

SUSAN: It must have been made by a giant.

(Behind them, snow has already started to collect on the ridges and panels of the TARDIS. There is a cold wind blowing.)


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(IAN, still wearing his large Ulster coat, emerges from the TARDIS. The DOCTOR is with him, breathing with difficulty in the thin mountain air. As the DOCTOR rests, SUSAN points out the footprint to IAN.)

SUSAN: What do you make of this?

(IAN also kneels with them and examines the footprint.)

IAN: Well, it could be a perfectly ordinary footprint, Susan, and the Sun's melted the edges and made it look a bit bigger.

(SUSAN hadn't thought of that...)

SUSAN: Oh...

(IAN turns back to the DOCTOR who is looking somewhat uncomfortable.)

IAN: You all right, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Yes...ah, a little bit out of breath. (Coughs.) Oh, that's quite understandable. After all, we're several thousand feet above sea level.
SUSAN: Do you know where we are, then, Grandfather?
DOCTOR: (Boastfully.) Well, I directed the ship towards Earth and it looks as though I've been successful!

(SUSAN points at the footprint.)

SUSAN: But what about that?
DOCTOR: That? (Irritated.) Oh, I can't see anything without my glasses! Anyway, I don't like this place! You'll have to excuse me - I've got a lot of work to do first and then we must leave.

(He bustles back into the TARDIS, closing the door behind him. IAN looks round at their surroundings with understandable delight at the DOCTOR'S summation of their landing place. Grinning, he places as arm round BARBARA'S shoulder.)

IAN: Barbara, I wonder - do you think it could be the Earth? If it were, where do you think we could be - in the Alps?

(They look over the cold stark ridges of the mountain range.)

BARBARA: Or it could be the Andes?

(Behind them, SUSAN has been listening to their guesses and now joins in...)

SUSAN: Himalayas - the roof of the world!
IAN: The roof of the world? I wonder? If only...

(He gives a short laugh.)

IAN: Well, the Doctor isn't very reliable, you know. Mustn't count on it.

(As if to confirm his words, at that moment the DOCTOR emerges once more from the TARDIS, in a panic.)

DOCTOR: Oh, dear, dear, dear, dear! We're always in trouble! Isn't it extraordinary - it follows us everywhere!
IAN: What's the matter?
DOCTOR: All the lights in the ship have gone out! The whole circuit has burnt itself to a cinder, and added to that it affected the water - we haven't got any!
IAN: Well, the water's no bother, Doctor. I mean, we've got snow - plenty of it, but how about the heating?
DOCTOR: Oh, the heating as well! Everything's gone to pot!
BARBARA: (Appalled.) But that's serious - we could freeze to death!

(The DOCTOR turns angrily to BARBARA.)

DOCTOR: Serious! Are you telling...there's no need for you to tell me that, really!
IAN: I think I'd better try and find some fuel.
DOCTOR: (Angrily.) Fuel? Now where on earth do you expect to find fuel here, hmm?
IAN: (Irritated.) Well, I must try, mustn't I?
DOCTOR: Oh well, I wish you luck!

(BARBARA glares at the DOCTOR'S continuing obstinacy.)

BARBARA: I'll come with you, Ian.
IAN: Thank you.
SUSAN: Yes, me too!
IAN: No, Susan, you stay here.
DOCTOR: You stay with me, child. You might be able to help me.
SUSAN: Okay.
IAN: Oh, come on, Barbara, we haven't much time.

(IAN and BARBARA set off into the snow.)

DOCTOR: Now, Susan, go into the ship and fetch me the 2-L-O, will you?
DOCTOR: You know what it is.

(SUSAN goes back into the TARDIS as the DOCTOR mutters angrily to himself...)

DOCTOR: Even if I do find the fault, I don't suppose I shall be able to repair it before it gets dark, and then we shall all freeze to death!

(He mutters more in the cold...)


(Further down the mountain, IAN and BARBARA are struggling along down into a rocky pass in the howling wind. BARBARA is exhausted as IAN forges ahead.)

BARBARA: (Gasping.) Ian, wait a minute. I must rest!
IAN: Come on, Barbara! We haven't found anything yet. We must find something!
BARBARA: (Gasping.) All right then, you go on. I...I'll catch up with you.
IAN: All right.

(IAN moves on into the snow, leaving BARBARA to herself for a moment.)

BARBARA: Oh...it's hopeless!

(She closes her eyes. Opening them, she sees a dark figure, covered in fur, standing nearby and cries out.)


(The figure darts away as IAN rushes back.)

IAN: What is it? What's the matter?
BARBARA: I...I...there was...there was an animal or something! Just standing there, staring at me!

(She points in the direction she had seen the figure. IAN looks and sees nothing. His look coveys his thoughts.)

BARBARA: You don't believe me, do you?

(She wanders over to where she saw the figure.)

BARBARA: Well, look at these footprints!

(She draws his attention to the indentations in the snow. IAN closely examines them, then gets back up.)

IAN: I'd better take you back to the ship.

(They head back the way they came.)


(Outside the TARDIS, the DOCTOR and SUSAN are examining a broken piece of equipment from the ship. It is a small box with several wires coming out of it.)

SUSAN: Can you mend it, Grandfather, or have you got to make a new one?
DOCTOR: I'm afraid it's going to mean a new one, dear...and it's going to take me days!
SUSAN: Oh dear.
DOCTOR: Oh well...I don't know, really...I'm always in the...

(IAN returns, leading a distressed BARBARA.)

DOCTOR: Well, Chesterton?
IAN: Just as you predicted, Doctor - nothing but snow and ice.

(The DOCTOR sighs. BARBARA sees the unit in the DOCTOR'S hands.)

BARBARA: Have you found the fault?
DOCTOR: Yes, yes, yes, but it's going to take such a long time - time we don't have! Now the only chance is to try and get down to a lower a...altitude and, er, er...you know...before it gets cold...and we...
BARBARA: (Nervously.) Doctor...there are strange things on the mountain. I...I saw one of them.
DOCTOR: (To IAN.) What's she talking about now?
IAN: Well...I only saw a print.
DOCTOR: Print? What sort of print - paws, hooves, what?
IAN: (Hesitates.) To tell you the truth, I thought it was made by a fur boot.
BARBARA: No, Ian, I...I'm sure it wasn't human!
DOCTOR: And...if it were, that means there's shelter nearby!
SUSAN: (Screams.) Look!

(SUSAN sees the figure again just before it darts away.)

BARBARA: There it is!
IAN: Quick, after it! It's our only chance of shelter!

(IAN and BARBARA rush off. The DOCTOR pauses to throw the unit into the TARDIS and pull the open door closed and lock it.)

SUSAN: Come on, Grandfather!
DOCTOR: Yes, all right. Yes, yes, yes, yes!

(They rush after the other two.)


(The four travellers quickly reach a rocky pass in the mountains that obscures the view in any direction.)

IAN: Which way did it go?

(They have very little time to ponder before they suddenly find themselves surrounded in front and behind by a group of armed and menacing warriors. They are all of Asiatic appearance with long dark hair and moustaches. They wear an assortment of furs, tunics and armour with fur-trimmed pointed helmets on their heads. They carry raised curved swords. SUSAN screams and huddles against the DOCTOR.)

SUSAN: Grandfather!
IAN: (Calmly.) Keep still.

(IAN stands bravely in front of his companions. He addresses the group of silent sinister warriors.)

IAN: We're travellers, lost on the mountains. Will you give us shelter?

(A man who appears to be the leader of the group steps forward and examines the strangers. He touches BARBARA'S strange clothes which causes her to flinch and gasp. He then turns and addresses his soldiers slowly and deliberately...)

TEGANA: Hear me, Mongols - in these parts live evil spirits, who take our likeness to deceive us and then lead us to our deaths.

(He turns and faces the travellers again.)

TEGANA: Let us therefore destroy these evil spirits before they destroy us!
IAN: We're not evil spirits! We are people like yourselves!
TEGANA: (Quietly.) Destroy them.

(The warriors prepare to kill the four travellers and the women give a small cry, but...)


(...they are interrupted by a European man, who suddenly arrives on the scene. He has dark hair, is clean-shaven and wears a long cloak with a fur-trimmed collar over his tunic and boots.)

MARCO POLO: Put up your swords!

(The Asiatic turns aghast to the European and glares at him.)

TEGANA: Would you have us killed? (Angrily.) These are evil spirits!
MARCO POLO: (Imperiously.) I command you in the name of Kublai Khan!

(Reluctantly, the soldiers back off at the mention of this name and put their weapons away. The European looks at the DOCTOR who appears to be having problems breathing in the thin air and then turns to IAN.)

MARCO POLO: The old man has the mountain sickness?
IAN: Yes, he has.
MARCO POLO: My caravan is further down the pass. Come.

(He beckons to them to follow as he moves off, followed by the soldiers.)

IAN: Come on, Doctor!

(The DOCTOR gasps in the altitude. He leans on IAN and they set off. SUSAN looks quizzically at the European.)

SUSAN: Who is he, Barbara?
BARBARA: I was asking myself the same question.


(Within a large tent, drapes hang over bamboo canes to create partitions, and rugs give more comfort and warmth. In the centre of the main part of the tent is a small brazier with a cooking pot on it. It is tended to by a young, robed Asiatic girl. An elderly woman, also Chinese in appearance, stands nearby – the young girl's attendant and chaperone. The European leads the TARDIS crew into the tent through a draped doorway. The DOCTOR is still leaning on IAN'S arm. The elderly Chinese woman bows to the visitors as the European speaks to the young girl, as horses whinny outside.)

MARCO POLO: We have guests, Ping-Cho. They are cold and hungry.
PING-CHO: Yes, Messr. Marco.

(The European pulls back a stool next to the fire as the young girl, PING-CHO, starts to ladle some soup into a bowl.)

IAN: Sit down, Doctor.

(The DOCTOR does so next to the fire and PING-CHO hands him some soup.)

DOCTOR: Thank you, my dear.

(The others also sit next to the fire as the DOCTOR starts to drink the soup. PING-CHO hands the others bowls of their own and they start to ladle soup for themselves as the Asiatic warrior sulks in the background. Taking note of the server and host, SUSAN comments to BARBARA...)

SUSAN: He's not like her, or any of the others.
BARBARA: No, he's a European, Susan, and he mentioned Kublai Khan...
SUSAN: Kublai Khan?
BARBARA: He was a great Mongol leader, who conquered all of Asia. He had a European in his service. He was a Venetian and his name...

(Meanwhile, the European is talking to the DOCTOR about the soup.)

MARCO POLO: I'm afraid the, er, the liquid is not too warm, but the cold here is so intense, it even robs a flame of its heat.
DOCTOR: Oh, it's excellent nourishment, sir, mm.

(He drinks some more.)

IAN: (To the European.) The cold can't affect the heat of the flame, sir. The liquid boils at a lower temperature, because there's so little air up here.
MARCO POLO: (Puzzled.) You mean...the air is responsible?
IAN: Well, the lack of it...just as the lack of it is responsible for the Doctor's mountain sickness.
BARBARA: (To the European.) Is your name Marco Polo?
MARCO POLO: (Puzzled.) It is, my lady, and may I ask who you are?
DOCTOR: Oh we're...we're travellers...yes.

(He points to the rest of the TARDIS crew in turn.)

DOCTOR: Th...that's my grandchild, Susan, and that's Miss Wright, and that's Charlton.

(He laughs to himself. IAN pulls a rueful face at this continuing error and corrects the introduction.)

IAN: Chesterton. Ian Chesterton
MARCO POLO: My companions are the Lady Ping-Cho and Warlord Tegana.

(MARCO points to the smiling Chinese girl and the scowling Mongol.)

MARCO POLO: We travel to Shang-Tu.
BARBARA: Shang-Tu? That's in China, isn't it?
MARCO POLO: (Puzzled.) China? I do not know this place - Shang-Tu is in Cathay!

(BARBARA realises her error...)

BARBARA: Oh, silly of me! Yes, of course - Cathay
MARCO POLO: Well, you must all be very tired. Ping-Cho, you will share your quarters with...?

(He indicates SUSAN.)

SUSAN: Susan.

(SUSAN wanders off with the young Chinese girl.)

MARCO POLO: I will sleep here with the others, and Lady...?

(He looks at BARBARA.)

BARBARA: Miss Wright.
MARCO POLO: Miss Wright, you will have mine.
BARBARA: Thank you.
DOCTOR: Thank you. Thank you. You saved our lives!
MARCO POLO: I'm...rather curious to know why you were wandering around the mountainside at night, but...questions can wait until the morning.
DOCTOR: Oh, there...there...there...there were two, young man, that I would like to ask?
MARCO POLO: Well, ask them.
DOCTOR: Er...what, er, year is this and...and where are we, hmm?
MARCO POLO: (Surprised.) You do not know?
DOCTOR: No, that's why I'm asking you!

(POLO looks at his strange new visitors in puzzlement.)

MARCO POLO: How long have you been travelling? It is twelve hundred and eighty-nine and this is the Plain of Pamir, known to those who travel to Cathay as "The Roof of the World".
IAN: The Roof of the World!
DOCTOR: Twelve hundred and eighty-nine, ah!


(Night has fallen on the encampment. The main tent stands in the snow with a covered wagon nearby.)


(SUSAN lies awake in the quarters she shares with PING-CHO, restless. She lies beneath fur lined blankets in a room which is curtained off from the main tent by drapes which hang from bamboo poles. PING-CHO enters and sits on the bed.)

PING-CHO: Are you asleep, Susan?
PING-CHO: Where are you from?

(Lying down, SUSAN turns and looks at her, hesitating to answer.)

SUSAN: That's a very difficult question to answer, Ping-Cho.
PING-CHO: (Puzzled.) You do not know where your home is?
SUSAN: Well, I've had...many homes...in many places. What about you?
PING-CHO: I come from Samarkand. My father is government official there.
SUSAN: But I thought Mr. Polo said that...
PING-CHO: (Laughs.) Messr. Marco! That's what we call him in Cathay, Susan.
SUSAN: Well, I thought Mess...Messr. Marco said that you were going to Shang-Tu. Are you on holiday?
PING-CHO: No, Kublai Khan's summer palace is in Shang-Tu. I am going there to be married.

(SUSAN reacts with surprise.)

SUSAN: What? Well how old are you?
PING-CHO: I am in my sixteenth year.
SUSAN: Well, so am I!
PING-CHO: Do you marry at our age in your land? Here it is the custom.
SUSAN: Is your fiancé handsome?
PING-CHO: My what?
SUSAN: Your...the man you're going to marry.
PING-CHO: I have never seen him.
SUSAN: (Shocked.) What!?
PING-CHO: The marriage has been arranged by my family. I know only two things about him.
SUSAN: Well, what are they?
PING-CHO: He is very important man.
SUSAN: Well, that's a good start.

(PING-CHO suddenly sounds very serious.)

PING-CHO: And he's seventy-five years old.

(SUSAN gasps.)


(TEGANA is sitting near the fire, drinking the remains of the soup. MARCO POLO, divested of his cloak, is busying himself nearby. They have the main part of the tent to themselves.)

TEGANA: You should have let me kill them.
MARCO POLO: Why? Because their clothes are different from ours? Because their words are unfamiliar to our ears? No, Tegana, they are travellers.
TEGANA: They are evil spirits, sorcerers, magicians!

(POLO sits opposite TEGANA and pours himself some more soup.)

TEGANA: Tomorrow, if we live until then, you may see that I speak the truth.
MARCO POLO: I think the sun's rays will dispel the shadows from your mind, Tegana.
TEGANA: Is that what you believe? Listen, their carriage they travel in has no wheels! It just...stands there like a warlord's tomb on one end. (Quietly.) And another thing...it is not large enough to carry four people.
MARCO POLO: It must be.
TEGANA: I say it is not - and yet, I saw all four walk from it!

(POLO stares at him.)

TEGANA: Upon my sword, I swear it to you!

(MARCO POLO is puzzled at this as he stares at the fire...)


(The next morning, IAN, BARBARA and SUSAN have put back on their warm coats and have travelled back up the mountain with MARCO POLO - also back in his fur-lined cloak - and a surly TEGANA. They all stand outside the abandoned TARDIS with several of the Mongol warriors. POLO looks over the strange shaped box.)

MARCO POLO: So, this is your caravan?
IAN: Yes, the Doctor calls it the TARDIS.
MARCO POLO: Where are the wheels?
IAN: It doesn't have any.
MARCO POLO: Then how does it move?
IAN: Through the air!
TEGANA: (To MARCO POLO.) Did I not say that they were evil spirits?
MARCO POLO: (To IAN.) Are you of the Buddhist faith?
IAN: (Amused.) No, why?
MARCO POLO: Well, at the Khan's court in Peking, I have seen Buddhist monks make cups of wine fly through the air unaided and offer themselves to the Great Khan's lips. I do not understand it, but I have seen it.

(He turns to BARBARA and gestures towards the TARDIS.)

MARCO POLO: There is room for all of you inside here, Miss Wright?

(MARCO POLO walks up to the TARDIS and examines the doors.)

MARCO POLO: And one enters here?

(He tries to push the doors open.)

BARBARA: It's locked.
MARCO POLO: Where is the key?
BARBARA: The Doctor has it, and you wouldn't let him come up here.
MARCO POLO: Oh yes, he has the mountain sickness. (To IAN.) Have you the power to make it fly?
IAN: No. Only the Doctor has that power.
MARCO POLO: Why is it here?
SUSAN: It's damaged!
IAN: Erm, a...part of it is broken.
MARCO POLO: But it could be moved by hand?
IAN: Oh yes, if you had sufficient men.
MARCO POLO: Well, we'll make a sledge and take it down the pass...then we shall see!


(Meanwhile, in the main tent, PING-CHO is cooking again as the DOCTOR walks up to her.)

DOCTOR: Ping-Cho.

(He walks over to the cooking pot, sits down and stirs the contents with a ladle.)

DOCTOR: This smells very, very good! What is it?
PING-CHO: Bean-sprout soup, my lord.
DOCTOR: Ah...mmm...allow me!

(He takes a spoon and tastes the soup.)

DOCTOR: Oh, it's delicious, delicious!
PING-CHO: My lord is kind.

(PING-CHO carries on cooking.)

DOCTOR: Hmm, you know, it's rather surprising to find the daughter of a high government official working as a servant in Marco Polo's caravan.
PING-CHO: I wish to serve, my lord, although, among Messr. Marco's retinue, there is a man who calls himself a cook.
DOCTOR: His name wouldn't be Tegana, would it?

(PING-CHO frowns at him.)

PING-CHO: (Shocked.) Oh no, my lord! The Warlord Tegana is a special emissary from the camp of the great Mongol Lord Khan called Noghai, who has been at war with Kublai Khan.
DOCTOR: Yeah - Mongol fighting Mongol, hmm!
PING-CHO: The war is over, my lord. Noghai has sued for peace and Tegana travels to Kublai's court to discuss the armistice plans.
DOCTOR: Yes, oh well, yes. Well, for an emissary of peace, I must say he has rather bloodthirsty habits, hasn't he?

(He laughs but PING-CHO is prevented from answering by the arrival of MARCO POLO with IAN, BARBARA and SUSAN. The DOCTOR'S three companions sit with him round the fire as MARCO takes his cloak off.)

MARCO POLO: I find your caravan most unusual, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Yes, er, Messr. Marco, it is different!
MARCO POLO: And in need of repair?
DOCTOR: That is true, hmm.
SUSAN: Messr. Marco has ordered a sledge to be made. He's going to bring the TARDIS down here.
DOCTOR: Oh indeed? That's charming of you, very charming of you! It won't take me very long to repair, a day or two. But I assure you that I shall not hold up your journey any longer than is necessary.
MARCO POLO: I'm afraid we can't stay here. One crosses the Plain of Pamir as quickly as possible. However, we will be spending a few days at Lop.
BARBARA: Lop? Where's that?
MARCO POLO: It's a town on the edge of the Gobi Desert, beyond Kashgar and Yarkand.
DOCTOR: I see, and you will be taking us along with you, including the TARDIS?
MARCO POLO: Doctor, I once transported an entire army and its equipment from er, Cathay to India, all without loss.
DOCTOR: Oh good, good! Then I can work as we proceed.

(The DOCTOR laughs.)

MARCO POLO: Erm, no.
DOCTOR: (Snaps.) Why not, hmm?
MARCO POLO: (Sighs.) The Mongol bearers still half believe that you are evil spirits. They also believe that outside your caravan, you are harmless. However, should any of you attempt to enter, there would be trouble.
DOCTOR: (Warily.) Hmm, I see.

(He paces, thinking quickly.)

DOCTOR: You saved our lives, Messr. Marco, and the least we can do is to respect your wishes. No one will enter the TARDIS until we reach Lop.


(A map of shows that the "PAMIRS" is just outside the borders of ancient Cathay. Just within the western border is "KASHGAR" and to the south-east is "YARKAND". )

MARCO POLO: (OOV.) Success...my plan has worked!

(MARCO POLO writes the journal of his travels using a feather quill and ornate script in a large ledger.)

MARCO POLO: (OOV.) The strangers and their unusual caravan accompany me to Lop.

(The TARDIS is strapped by ropes upright on a horse-drawn wagon with wheels decorated with images of Chinese dragons. It is accompanied by Mongol warriors as they pass a range of mountains on the fringes of the Khan's empire.)

MARCO POLO: (OOV.) Our route takes us across the roof of the world, down to the Kashgar Valley and southeast to Yarkand. Here, we join the Old Silk Road, along which the commerce and culture of a thousand years has travelled to and from Cathay. I wonder...what the stranger's reaction will be...when I tell them what I propose to do?


(MARCO POLO'S caravan has arrived at the way station in the busy town of Lop where IAN and BARBARA stroll in the high-walled courtyard. Although they both still wear their twentieth-century clothes, they also have wide-brimmed straw hats on their heads to protect them from the sun. They look at the various medieval Chinese around them as they go about their business. TEGANA is also nearby but alone and aloof from the two teachers. A decorated terrace leads into the station. TEGANA steps onto this...)


(...and into the station which is plain but comfortable with decorative wall trellises. POLO speaks with Yeng, the proprietor.)

MARCO POLO: My caravan is large, Yeng, so I shall need plenty of food and water before venturing out into the Gobi Desert.

(Yeng bows and goes off to make the necessary preparations for the caravan's stay. The DOCTOR rests in a chair, straw fan in his hand, while TENAGA sits brooding nearby. Laughing and chattering, SUSAN and PING-CHO come down some stairs from an upper storey.)

SUSAN: ___ very nice.
PING-CHO: Oh, I'm glad you like it.
SUSAN: ___ sweet.

(POLO greets them.)

MARCO POLO: Is the accommodation to your liking, Ping-Cho?
PING-CHO: Thank you, Messr. Marco. It is most comfortable.
SUSAN: Oh, I think it's fab!
PING-CHO: (Puzzled.) Fab? What is that, Susan?
SUSAN: Well, it's, erm...it means wonderful! It's a verb we often use on Earth.

(Sensing that SUSAN is not thinking about what she says, the DOCTOR walks up and hastily changes the subject.)

DOCTOR: Oh, Messr. Marco, these way stations - do you have many of these in Cathay?
MARCO POLO: Yes, the Khan has them...dotted at regular intervals throughout his domain. Those who work in his service...

(He holds up an oblong of gold imprinted with Chinese letters which hangs on a chain round his neck.)

MARCO POLO: ...and wear the Khan's gold seal have the right to demand anything they may require: provisions, horses, shelter.

(The DOCTOR holds the seal and looks over it.)


(SUSAN is impressed and wants to look closer.)

SUSAN: May I have a look, please?
MARCO POLO: Of course.
SUSAN: Thank you.

(IAN walks in from the terrace which looks over the courtyard outside.)

IAN: Doctor!
IAN: They've set the TARDIS up in the courtyard.
DOCTOR: Oh, excellent, excellent! (To POLO.) Er, well, if you'll pardon me, I have a lot of work to do and...

(The DOCTOR tries to walk onto the terrace...)


(...but he is stopped in his tracks by several of the Mongol soldiers who draw their swords to prevent him from going any further. He turns to confront MARCO POLO in irritation at this turn of events.)


(He calls over from the doorway...)

DOCTOR: (Angrily.) What does this mean?
MARCO POLO: (Calmly.) Please sit down, Doctor.
DOCTOR: (Angrily.) I don't wish to sit down. I want you to call your guards off!
MARCO POLO: Please, be seated.
MARCO POLO: I beg you to hear me out!
DOCTOR: But I have work to do!

(BARBARA tries to calm the DOCTOR down.)

BARBARA: I think, perhaps, we should listen to him - come on.

(She leads him to a chair.)

DOCTOR: Very well!

(He sits down with a bad-tempered sigh and a scowl at POLO as he takes up his explanation.)

MARCO POLO: My home is Venice. I left there with my father and my uncle to come to Cathay in 1271. The journey to Peking took us three and a half years. When I arrived at the Khan's court, I was twenty-one. I was an alert young man, good at languages, and willing to learn. The Khan liked me.
DOCTOR: (Feigning boredom.) Oh, really?
MARCO POLO: On my twenty-fifth birthday, I was given an appointment in the Khan's service.
BARBARA: 1277?
MARCO POLO: It was, as you say, 1277. Since then, I have travelled to every corner of his domain and beyond it. Two years ago, my father, my uncle and I asked the Khan for permission to go home. He refused. I think we had all served him too well.
DOCTOR: Well, I really don't see what this has to do with my repairing the TARDIS!
MARCO POLO: Doctor, I have not seen my home for eighteen years. I want to go back!
DOCTOR: (Shouts.) Well, ask the Khan again!
MARCO POLO: (Angrily.) I intend to! (Quieter.) But this time, I shall offer him a gift so magnificent...that he will not be able to refuse me.

(IAN suddenly sees what MARCO POLO'S intentions are.)

IAN: (Shocked.) You mean to give the Doctor's caravan to him?

(There is a very long pause. The DOCTOR stands up.)

DOCTOR: You're mad!
MARCO POLO: You can make another.
DOCTOR: (Exasperated.) What! In Peking, or Shang-Tu?
MARCO POLO: (Snaps.) You do me an injustice, Doctor! I will not leave you stranded in Cathay, just as I did not let you die on the mountain. No, you will come with me to Venice and make another one there.
DOCTOR: Oh, you think so, really? Oh no! Oh no!

(He storms about the room in helpless anger as IAN tries to reason with POLO.)

IAN: Marco, it's impossible!
MARCO POLO: Surely, for a man who possesses a flying caravan, all things are possible?
IAN: No! We need special metals, materials, things that don't exist in Venice. I'm afraid you don't understand all the problems involved.

(The DOCTOR returns, snapping at IAN.)

DOCTOR: And neither do you, young man!
MARCO POLO: Well, travel home by ship! We trade with every port in the world. It may take you longer, but you'll get there eventually!
DOCTOR: Eventually? He doesn't know what he's talking about. The man's a lunatic! Ho!
MARCO POLO: No, Doctor...
MARCO POLO: ...desperate. There are many men who are jealous of the Polo influence at court, and the Khan suffers from an affliction for which there is no cure.
BARBARA: Well, what's that?
MARCO POLO: Old age. If he dies...I may never see Venice again.
DOCTOR: (Angrily.) Well, that is your problem, not mine!
MARCO POLO: (Angrily.) I have just made it yours, Doctor!
BARBARA: But you do see Venice again, Marco, I know you do!

(POLO looks at her strangely.)

IAN: What makes you so sure that the Doctor's caravan is a suitable present? The Doctor is the only one who can fly it.
MARCO POLO: I told you about the Buddhist monks. They will discover its secret.

(The DOCTOR begins to laugh in a scoffing fashion.)

MARCO POLO: (In wonder.) 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!

(TEGANA listens thoughtfully to this assertion...)

MARCO POLO: Stronger than Hannibal, mightier than Alexander the Great!
IAN: Marco, you don't understand!

(MARCO POLO has had enough of the debate, and defiantly ends it.)

MARCO POLO: (Shouts.) I refuse to listen to any more. My mind is made up! Your caravan goes with me to Kublai Khan!

(He storms out of the room. The DOCTOR starts to laugh continuously, while BARBARA tries to calm him down.)

BARBARA: Doctor, come on. Come and sit down.

(She leads him to chair.)

DOCTOR: (Between laughs.) Quite a mess, isn't it?!

(SUSAN kneels at his feet.)

SUSAN: Grandfather!

(He continues to laugh and splutter.)

SUSAN: Grandfather!
DOCTOR: (Still laughing.) Yes. Go by sea, he says!
SUSAN: Why are you laughing?

(The DOCTOR'S laughs get louder.)

SUSAN: He means it!
BARBARA: Doctor, he's serious.
DOCTOR: I know he is! Yes!

(He continues laughing uncontrollably.)

SUSAN: But what are you going to do?
DOCTOR: (In hysterics.) I haven't the faintest idea!

(He laughs on and on...)


(In a dark and lonely alleyway in Lop, TEGANA has met up with a mysterious Tarter MAN in peasant clothing and wearing a headband. He hands the warlord a small dark phial of liquid.)

MAN AT LOP: Be careful, my lord. One drop will poison an army!

(TEGANA takes the phial and stares at it.)

TEGANA: I will use it well...on all but the first of Marco Polo's water gourds, for tomorrow, the caravan sets out to cross the Gobi Desert. Now, you will follow us...and on the third night, I will walk back to you...then we're gonna ride back here to Lop, wait for two days...and then...return to the caravan...to collect the...thing of magic...that will bring the mighty Kublai Khan to his knees!

Next Episode

Dr. Who

Ian Chesterton

Barbara Wright

Susan Foreman

Marco Polo



Man at Lop


Title Music by
with the BBC
Radiophonic Workshop

Incidental Music
composed by

Story Editor


Associate Producer


Directed by


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