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135k 'The Kingmaker'

CD audio adventure released April 2006, 4 episodes

Writer: Nev Fountain
Director: Gary Russell

Roots: Richard III, Dead Ringers. The Black Adder (a kindly King Richard indulging his nephews, contrary to written and alleged historical account) and Blackadder: Back and Forth (Shakespeare as a time-traveller's rival). The Doctor refers implicitly to Henry VI, 3 while the cover story Peri and Erimem use on stage is similar to The Comedy of Errors. The Doctor's early book title ideas (if they are to be believed) are plays on How Green Was My Valley and The Female Eunuch.

Intertextuality: The Doctor Who Discovers books were published by Target Books in 1977 and are as named here, although the unpublished sixth book was to be about Pirates and was dropped due to low sales. The Doctor Who Cookbook was published in the early 80s, also by Target. Tavern reveller 'Pleasant, Open-faced Pete' is a nod to Terrance Dick's frequent Target novelisation shorthand description of the Fifth Doctor. Richard is voiced by an Ecclestone-sounding accent and uses the Ninth Doctor's catch-cry "fantastic!" Shakespeare's exclamation, "What the Chaucer?" continues the precedent of Charles Dickens employing "What in Shakespeare?" in The Unquiet Dead (itself a play on "What the Dickens?")

Dialogue Triumphs: "Midnight's for assassination, dawn's for betrayal. Dusk is for flight, noon is for executions, and late morning is for bloody battle" "What's afternoon for?" "Lunch."

The Doctor and Richard: "I am not the architect of your life" "Oh no, I wouldn't say 'architect'. More like a god. You see past, present and future and make sure we all act according to the rules. In fact you're worse than a god - at least a god allows his subjects to repent."

Oh, and that tennis court scene. Chilling.

Double Entendres: "That man playing Elizabeth. He is playing the role of the queen, yet he is a man" "-That's quite common in the English theatre, believe me"

"Theatre was seen to be beneath a woman, as were most fun things"

Continuity: 'The story changes but the end stays the same' is, according to the Doctor, the motto of the Celestial Intervention Agency, meaning that provided major events run their course as required by the web of time, the minor details may remain flexible, an approach to time the CIA have taken to heart. The Doctor, on the other hand, prefers merely to observe, or says he does, which is why he has programmed the TARDIS to this destination: research for his book. During the seventies and while still allied to UNIT the Fourth Doctor began a writing career, initially intended to open the world of UNIT to a wider audience he opted instead on children's books (it was that or the cookbook). Early ideas for titles for the Doctor's work may have included How Green Was My Gallifrey and The Female UNIT. He also considered doing the chat-show round and played cricket as one of the Lord's Gentlemen. Eventually he began the book series, but stopped short, having only begun to research the history of Richard III, as part of his incomplete work Doctor Who Discovers Historical Mysteries.

In this version of history, Edward V and Richard are the second and third-born legitimate children of Edward IV rather than the fourth and sixth. The 'princes' born to Edward are of course not strictly princes at all, lacking the necessary anatomical wherewithall (although, contrary to Peri's theory, neither are they robots). The Duke of Clarence drowns as reported, but not by his brother's hand, and in the Thames rather than in wine. Named among the finest gossips in England are Ellie Merryweather [from] the Lincolnshire Tattletale and Dolly Trubshaw [from] the Wessex Busybody

The TARDIS' drift compensators have been playing up, according to the Doctor. The Fast Return switch is small and located on the TARDIS console at the base of the panel nearest the scanner - turning it clockwise throws it. Among the alien articles purloined by Shakespeare are a Cybergun (most likely a spare from Earthshock) and Dalek control relays (possibly The Mutant Phase, but more likely The Dalek Invasion of Earth or Resurrection of the Daleks). As it dematerialises it takes with it half the head of a trooper, Biggins, who was 'fiddling about' with it at the time. The Doctor says Leela used to always leave the taps running in the TARDIS bathroom, flooding the Arboretum below.

Peri displays a greater degree of ignorance in this story (usually for comedic purposes), being generally poorer in her understanding of her history that Erimem is about the future history of another country. She also doesn't know a codpiece when she sees it (at least she's heard of the Beatles). While imprisoned Erimem demonstrates some belief in the Afterlife, suggesting that she and Peri poison themselves, their deaths being only a stage in their metaphysical and spiritual journey (it would appear after this and The Roof of the World that her earlier claims of not believing in the gods in The Eye of the Scorpion are somewhat exaggerated). She says that in her short life she's already seen sacrifices and killings, even seen servants walled up so they can join their masters in the hereafter.

The Fifth Doctor doesn't seem to be that big of a fan of Shakespeare, calling him a "hack" in the beginning of the story (see below), but tells a rueful Richard, regretting the loss of Clarrie, to write him into his 'next' play (in fact George, Duke of Clarence does not appear again in Shakespeare's works until Henry VI part 3).

Untelevised Adventures: See: Continuity. It is implied that the Ninth Doctor ("A Northern chap with big ears") dropped off a letter to Clarrie in order to assist his previous incarnation's attempts to find Peri and Erimem. Immediately prior to this story the Doctor meets Shakespeare and during a particularly lively drinking session falls foul of the Bard and vice versa.

Future history: In the far future (the 64th century), all of the publishing have been taken over by one all-powerful company that owns all the authors throughout history, including the lazy ones who were paid advances but never bothered to finish their works. They acquire heavily-armed time travelling robots to coerce such authors (including the Doctor) to make good on their advances.

Links: Peri mentions the Master and Kamelion (Planet of Fire). The Doctor was inspired to write his series of books after the events (specifically the Skarasen in the Thames) of Terror of the Zygons.

Location: London and locations outside, 1483 and "half-past 1485".

The Bottom Line: "You know what they say, the story changes but the end stays the same".

Bonkers and brilliant, and the best comedy of the Davison Era to date. Interestingly, the king is given the best lines, thoroughly understanding and in some places soundly bettering the Doctor and his off-handed approach to the Web of Time and history in general. What starts as a farce quickly becomes something genuinely thought-provoking and challenging as amidst a series that revels in playing with historical figures, real and reinterpreted, here's one who speaks for them all, renouncing their role as playthings to a wandering god. Then there are the wonderful conceits - the Fourth Doctor cameo ("everyone's voice sounds different on tape") and the voice of Richard himself which despite the talent involved only summons a vision of one particular actor in the role. If you can accept a Salford-sounding Duke of Gloucester and a Brummie Bard you'll have a ball. The Kingmaker isn't always especially serious, but it is seriously good.

Where There's a Will: The Doctor and Shakespeare

The Doctor has encountered Shakespeare at several times in his life. In Time of the Daleks the Eighth Doctor meets him as an unnamed Kitchen Boy, later revealed to be a young Will, and may have met him later in boyhood also, the Fourth Doctor describing him as 'taciturn' (City of Death). While the playwright and board-treader is a young man he encounters the Tenth Doctor and Martha, having just completed Loves Labours Lost (The Shakespeare Code), and contemplates dedicating a sonnet or two (possibly sonnets 127 to 152) to the Doctor's 'Dark Lady'. The Doctor gives Shakespeare the name Sycorax, very much later appearing in The Tempest. So far so friendly, and as these meetings are by incarnations further along the Doctor's timeline it would appear he has allowed a good deal of water (or ginger beer) flow under the bridge after the events of this story. In The Chase an older version of the Bard appears on the Time-Space Visualiser, discussing Falstaff (The Merry Wives of Windsor) with Elizabeth I and getting the idea for Hamlet (of which, more later) from Francis Bacon. By his Fourth incarnation the Doctor has already personally met the adult playwright ("charming fellow... dreadful actor") and in City of Death claims to have helped him with his metaphors and assisting him with the first draft of Hamlet after Shakespeare sprained his wrist writing sonnets (an injury not due to Erimem, it would seem). Perhaps by now and having met several times (including one or two future incarnations) the Doctor and Shakespeare are well enough acquainted to drink together in confidence, with the consequence of one such meeting (The Kingmaker) leading to a falling out over artistic license and Shakespeare stowing away, spending two years in the TARDIS plotting and gathering alien equipment to undermine the Doctor before being hoist by his own petard on Bosworth Field. Despite this, a further incarnation on the Sixth Doctor considers going back to spend more time in Shakespeare's company (The Mark of the Rani) - although it's possible that he could have meant Richard's (Peri, having been there would likely know). Of course the Tenth Doctor falls completely under the Bard's spell yet again, perhaps as a result of meeting the man in his prime writing comedies before succumbing to pressure and reinterpreting history for Elizabeth I who, as we see in The Shakespeare Code, is no friend to the Doctor.

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