Doctor Who (1963)

Season 1 Episode 14

The Roof of the World

Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Feb 22, 1964 on BBC
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Episode Summary

The Roof of the World
The TARDIS experiences a total power failure and is stranded in the Himalayas in the 13th century. The travellers are forced to join the caravan of the famous explorer, Marco Polo, in order to survive -- but Polo, fascinated by their claims that the TARDIS can fly through the air, seizes it on behalf of Kublai Khan in the hope that presenting the Khan with such a fabulous gift will convince him to let Polo return home to Venice. The travellers are forced to accompany Polo on his long trek across Asia to the Khan's court, but their many attempts to reclaim their property are foiled -- not just by Polo, but by the war lord Tegana, who is apparently on a mission of peace but has entirely different plans for dealing with Kublai Khan...moreless

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    O. Ikeda

    O. Ikeda

    Yeng [uncredited]

    Guest Star

    Leslie Bates

    Leslie Bates

    Man at Lop

    Guest Star

    Zienia Merton

    Zienia Merton


    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (0)

    • NOTES (4)

      • The working title for this story was Journey to Cathay. A tenth anniversary tribute magazine from the BBC's Radio Times listed all stories to date and, in the absence of an official title, named the serial The Roof of the World after its opening episode. The serial is now widely referred to as Marco Polo, and this title was used by the BBC for the CD release of the audio soundtrack.

      • This is the first historical story of the series.

      • Novelisation: Doctor Who: Marco Polo by John Lucarotti (ISBN 0 426 19967 7) first published by W H Allen in 1984.

      • The master videotapes of all 7 episodes of this serial were wiped by the BBC in 1967. Despite airing in over 18 countries (the most of all the lost serials), no footage is known to survive. This is one of three serials (along with Mission to the Unknown and The Massacre) without even a clip existing in the BBC vaults.

        Director Waris Hussein passed a complete set of telesnaps for all episodes (apart from The Wall of Lies) to the BBC archives in 2004.

        DVD: An abridged reconstruction of this serial, using telesnaps and extracts from the original soundtrack, is included in Doctor Who: The Beginning box set (BBCDVD 1882) released in January 2006. (Released in U.S.A./Canada (Warner Home Video E2491) in March 2006.)

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