Doctor Who: The Crusade

The Doctor Who episode The Crusade sees the TARDIS and its passengers encounter Richard the Lionheart as he fights – and unsuccessfully considers a means of potentially reaching peace with – Saladin.

The episode had the potential to have much more reference to religion than it did. But in fact, it was probably realistic to depict the situation as one involving first and foremost military conflict aimed at achieving victory, with religious motivations at best in the background. Religion comes to the fore only occasionally, for instance when Joanna, king Richard’s sister, angrily rejects the idea of being married off to Saladin’s brother, Safadin. Referring to him as an infidel, she threatens to appeal to the pope if necessary to prevent the marriage, which Richard had thought might allow for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Another instance is when King Richard appeals to the Holy Sepulcher for help.

I appreciated that the characters were not altogether stereotypes – there were heroes, villains and warmongers among both the Arabs and the English. And of the two, the most heroic were arguably one local family that rescued Barbara more than once, in a variety of ways.

  • Gary

    I know its a typo, but interesting…the first gay marriage alliance? “Religion comes to the fore only occasionally, for instance when Joanna, king Richard’s brother, angrily rejects the idea of being married off to Saladin’s brother, Safadin. Referring to him as an infidel”. Also brings up a point…always wondered why an alliance would work this way with a Muslim. Same for Solomon. If you have 700 wives, seems like a marriage for a treaty of peace is more like a submission than an alliance. I can see it in a European Christian scenario.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Thanks for spotting that, I’ll fix it!


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