Doctor Who (1963–1989): Season 1, Episode 18 - Rider from Shang-Tu - full transcript

The Doctor and his friends elect to warn Marco of Acomat's attack even though it means losing their chance to gain access to the TARDIS.

(As Ian grabs the guard,
he finds he is already dead.)


- Are the men in position?
- The caravan is surrounded, my lord.

- Do they know the signal to attack?
- Each one has been told that lord Tegana will wave a burning torch.

Then we shall watch for it.

- What's the matter? Did you kill him?
- No, of course not. He was dead.

- Dead?
- Yes, he's been stabbed.

- Bandits?
- They must be just on the point of attacking us.

- Grandfather, what are we going to do?
- Well, continue with our plan, get the keys, and get out of here as soon as possible.

- Tegana! (Tegana is preparing a burning
torch, he has not seen them.)

We're already too late, Doctor. The
only thing I can do now is warn Marco.

- Be careful, Ian.
- I will.

(Ian enters the side of the tent furthest from Tegana.)

Marco, Marco ... wake up.
No, no, it's all right.

- Marco, the guard's dead, I think we're in for a bandit attack.
- Bandits? Where's Tegana?

He's outside. I didn't tell him -
I thought it best to tell you first.

(Marco hurries out of the tent.)

(Stardled, Tegana drops the burning torch back into the fire.)
- Tegana, wake the bearers.

- What is it?
- Bandits.

- What's he doing free? - Never mind about that. A guard's been killed.
Now, wake the bearers and get some swords, quickly.

- Call the others.
- Doctor, Susan, Barbara, quickly, here.

- Miss Wright, Susan, go into the tent and stay there.
- What about Ping-Cho?

- Now, she sleeps now, but if she wakes up,
make sure she stays with you. - Yes.

(Tegana returns carrying three swords.)
- Are the bearers awake?

Yes, they've taken their positions around the edge of the camp.
(Marco gives swords to Ian and the Doctor.)

- Do you know how to use one of these?
- No, but given half a chance, I'll learn.

- Pardon me ... - If you're half as aggressive with this
as you are with your tongue Doctor, we can't lose.

- How many of them are there likely to be?
- Oh, more than enough for us.

- Well, we look a bit silly standing here, don't we?
- Then what do you suggest we do?

- Your caravan? To go where?

Yes, get out of here, anywhere where
it's place ... where it's safe.

Look, this is another of the magician's tricks.
I don't believe there are any bandits.

- Tegana, a guard is dead.
- Could they have not killed him?

- What better way to give this lie the ring of truth.
- Not everyone lives by your standards, 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.

- If you believe that Polo, you're a bigger fool that even I think you are.
- You deceived me before, Doctor.

No, we will not use your caravan.
If there are bandits, we shall fight.

Well, we're not going to get very far with this overgrown
bread knife! We shall have to use more enterprise than this.

The Doctor's right, Marco. We
need more than these swords.

- Wait a minute ... perhaps we can outwit them!
- How?

- We'll use this bamboo.
- Well, what good will that do?

If we throw it on the fire, it will expand and blow up.
It's a terrifying noise. It's worth a chance, Marco.

Let us hope time is our ally.

What keeps him then? The moon
will soon rise to deny us darkness.

- Perhaps he is sleeping.
- 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.

- As my lord commands.
- But, not with stealth, as lord Tegana wished.

We'll make sport of it.

(Marco and Ian stack up bamboo stalks by the fire.)

Does the lamb conceal the
wolf, or the wolf the lamb?

- Were you trying to escape?
- Yes.

- It was very reckless of you.
- It was the only thing we could do.

- Even though failure might have meant death?
- We hoped we'd succeed.

- Tell me, Ian, what were you going to do to me? - Take the key from you,
and use you as a hostage until we were safely at the TARDIS.

Then, I shall have to be more careful in future.

Marco, I wish I could explain to you
how important the TARDIS is to us.

And I wish I could explain to you,
Ian, how important it is to me.

The moon will soon be up.

Yes, we must gamble that the attack
comes now. Tegana, wake the bearers.

- They are alert, Marco. - All three of them,
that makes seven. We can wake the Doctor.

- Marco, the bamboo will need time to heat up.
- Yes, we must gamble that the attack comes now.

(They stack up more bamboo stalks.)

There are no bandits! This was all a ruse.

- A ruse Tegana?
- Good luck, Ian.

Doctor - wake up. The bandits!

(The bandits enter the clearing.)

So, the mighty War Lord is awake!

(Tegana stabs Acomat.)

(The bamboo starts to explode.)

(The bandits look around in confusion and run off.)
- They're running! They're running!

We've won! we've won.

- What was the explosion? - Bamboo ... the bandits
thought there were devils in the fire, and fled.

No, it wasn't the devils in the fire. Their leader
was killed. That's why they broke up and ran.

- Well, in battle all men face death.
- And few expect to meet it. Hmmm!

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.

Surely he can't punish us! By trying
to escape - we saved his life.

- If that fool had any decency at all, he'd let us go.
- I doubt if he'll do that Doctor.

Well, then we must go on trying to escape.
The circuit's finished, and all we need are those keys.

- That's not going to be very easy, is it, after last night.
Marco's bound to be on his guard. (Marco and Tegana enter.)

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

- So be it.
- We sacrificed our freedom to save you.

Yes I know, and in return, I revoke the
seizure of your caravan by official decree.

- Huh! Very noble of you, I'm sure! - What you're really saying,
Marco, is that we're no longer Kublai Khan's prisoners -

- only yours, 'eh? - That's right.
- Thanks for nothing.

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.

- And the keys to the TARDIS? - As before Doctor,
they remain with me. And, I shall be guarded day and night.

- Marco, let me be your sword.
- You are in my charge, Tegana, not I in yours.

(Marco walks from the tent.)

Work your magic on him if you will,
but make no move against me.

(Tegana turns and leaves.)

He knows we're on to him.

Strange that Tegana should watch the fire -
a sort of menial job he'd order a guard to do.

- How could he? The guard was dead. - Tegana wasn't
to know that, otherwise he'd have given the alarm.

- Would he?
- You mean he was implicated in the attack?

- Of course he was. The bandit knew him - I'm certain he did.
- 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. - Yes, and he had to kill him or be exposed.

- But what's Tegana's game?
What's he after? - My ship.

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.

- Marco too?
- I don't know - maybe.

- Well, shouldn't we warn ... - No, no, sssh! We mustn't be
impetuous. We must choose the right moment carefully.

(Ping-Cho, Susan and a Courier enter.)
- This is a courier from Kublai Khan. Have you seen Messr Marco?

- Yes, he's in there.
- Please be seated.

- Thank you, my lady. - I will fetch him.
(Ping-Cho leaves to find Marco.)

- His name is Ling-Tau.
- You look as though you've travelled far.

- From the summer palace at Shang-Tu, my Lord.

(Marco is hiding the TARDIS keys in his journal.)
(Ping-Cho enters.)

- What is it Ping-Cho?
- A courier from the great Khan has arrived, Messr Marco.

- Ask him to wait, please. I'll be with him in a moment.
(Marco puts down his journal.)

- Ping-Cho, do I have your word not to tell anyone
where these keys are? - Yes, Messr Marco.

- When did you leave Shang-Tu?
- Yesterday, my lord.

- Yesterday! - What!
- But that's three hundred miles away, isn't it?

- We change horses every league my lord.
- Every league!

(Ling-Tau jangles the bells at his waist.)
- 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.

- And you ride without rest until you reach your destination?
- Yes, my lady.

- I would have thought it was a physical impossibility!
- Our bodies would be shaken to pieces, my lord, were it not for these.

Bound tight - like this one, on my head.

Tell me, are there many men who can
ride such long distances without a break?

- We are few, my lord. - Three hundred miles a days on
horseback! Very few people can ride more than twenty five.

It's in our blood, my lord. We all come
from the great steppes to the north.

- Courier! - My lord, Polo?
- I am he.

- The mighty Kublai Khan sends his greetings to his faithful servant.
- Thank you.

(Ling-Tau passes a sealed parchment to Marco.)
- Thank you.

(Marco breaks the seal and reads the message.)

- We must leave here at once.
- Why, Messr Marco?

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.

- But our possessions, Messr Marco? - They will have to follow
on one of the many trade caravans that travels the route.

- And the TARDIS?
- That too must follow on, Doctor.

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.

- And how long will you honour us with your presence, my lord?
- We have to ride to Shang-Tu tomorrow.

- Oh how sad! Good day, my gracious ladies.
(Ping-Cho and Susan walk past.)

Cheng-Ting is so delightful
at this time of the year.

- Well, where is it?
- What?

Oh, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear.

I was advised of your pending arrival, my lord Marco,
by a courier who passed this way from Shang-Tu.

- Polo?
- What is it now?

- I thought you said the TARDIS was to be placed in the courtyard.
- To what does the old lord refer?

- His caravan.
- Oh, that's what it is! I had it moved.

- Where to?
- The stables, my lord.

- The stables? - Well, I could hardly leave it
in the hanging garden, my lord, now could I?

It will be safe enough there, Doctor. What... er...
when does the next commerce caravan leave for Shang-Tu?

Umm, the day after tomorrow, my lord.

Will you see that all the baggage
goes with it, including that caravan?

I shall make it a personal duty, my lord Marco.

- And now, if you step this way, I'll escort
you to your apartment. - Thank you.

(Wang-Lo leads Marco out.)

"I could hardly have it placed in
the hanging garden, now could I"

What does he think it is?
A potting shed, or something.

Well it's better there than in the courtyard,
Doctor. At least it's out of sight.

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.

There's you Susan, hmmm?
A wicked goldfish.

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

(Ping-Cho turns away upset.)
- Oh, Ping-Cho, I'm sorry.

How I miss my home in Samarkand.

And your home Susan? You've never told
me about that. Is it so very far away?

Yes, it is. It's as far
away as a night star.

- But you can reach it from Venice, can't you?
- No, Ping-Cho, no, I can't.

And if Messr Marco does give your caravan to
Kublai Khan, you will never see your home again?

That's right.

I gave him my word Susan. I promised not
to tell anyone where he put the key.

And I promise you that no-one will ask you.

- What is it, lord? (A one eyed man,
Kuiju, meets Tegana in the stables.)

A War Lord's tomb. I want it. Can you
arrange to have it taken for me?

- Are you prepared to pay a good price?
- How much?

- We want gold, not Kublai Khan's paper money.
- You shall have it.

In advance.

One half tonight, the other half when I get the tomb.

- 100 golden pieces.
- You shall have it.

- That first part, my lord. When do I receive it?
- Tonight.

- The street of the beggars at midnight.
- I shall be there.

- So shall I.
(Kuiju bows and leaves quickly.)

A War Lord's tomb. More than that,
a Khan's throne for Noghai.

Come in.

- It is dinner time, Messr Marco.
- Thank you, Ping-Cho.

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

(Marco gets up and exits.)

(Ping-Cho opens the journal and takes the TARDIS keys.)

(Quietly, she leaves the room.)

(Ping-Cho makes her way towards the garden.)

- I have something to give you.
- What is it?

- Can't you guess?
- No.

- This. - Ping-Cho! But you promised Messr Marco ...

... not to tell anyone. I haven't.
You don't know where I got it.

- But he'll be terribly angry!
- But one of us will be on their way home.

- Good night, ladies. (Tegana walks past.)
- Good-night my lord.

- Do you think he saw it?
- No, I don't think so.

- Let me go up to our room before you
tell the others. - Yes, all right.

- You will say good-bye, won't you?
- Of course I will! Ping-Cho ...

what can I say?

(The travellers cautiously head towards the TARDIS.)

- Got the key Doctor?
- Yes, of course I have.

- Get back - there's a guard. - Dear, dear,
dear, dear, haven't you any ideas?

Yes ... yes I have.

(Ian picks up a jug of wine and goes out.)

(Outside the guard paces up and down.)

(Ian staggers out pretending to be drunk.)

(Hearing a noise the guard turns.)

Why don't you have a drink?

(Ian hands the jug to the guard.)

(As they leave, Susan rushes back to
find Ping-Cho.) - ?Ping-Cho!

(As Barbara and the Doctor come
out Ian attacks the guard.)

(Tegana enters the courtyard.)

(Susan makes her way back to the TARDIS.)

All right Doctor, close the doors.

Wait! Where's Susan? Where is she?

She must have gone to say good-bye to Ping-Cho.

- What on Earth does that child think she's doing? Great Olympus!
- Don't panic. Give her a second. I knocked out the guard.