The Kings Demons: Doctor Who: Season 20
The Kings Demons SYNOPSIS:
King John's court visits Sir Ranulf Fitzwilliam's castle to demand more taxes for the crusades, but the Lord can not pay and the King insults him. To preserve the family honour, Fitzwilliam's son agrees to take on the King's french champion in a duel.
The Tardis lands at the jousting grounds before Hugh can be killed and the travellers are welcomed by the King and dubbed the Kings Demons. The Doctor realises history dictates the King could not be here on this date as he was was in London taking the crusaders oath. This is reinforced by the arrival of Sir Geoffrey De Lacey who has arrived direct from the King's side in London.
To save De Lacey's life the Doctor duels the King's champion who's revealed as the Master when beaten. The Master escapes and the Doctor is knighted as the King's new champion. However the Master manages to persuades the Fitzwilliam's to turn against the Kings Demons. The Doctor discovers the King is in actual fact a shape changing android called Kamelion. Being used by the Master to prevent the Magna Carta being created.
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The King's Demons DETAILS:
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The Kings Demons CAST & CREW
Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor)
Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka)
Mark Strickson (Vislor Turlough)
Gerald Flood (Kamelion)
Anthony Ainley — The Master / Sir Gilles Estram
Gerald Flood — King John
Frank Windsor — Ranulf
Isla Blair — Isabella
Christopher Villiers — Hugh
Michael J. Jackson — Sir Geoffrey de Lacey
Peter Burroughs — Jester
Production Staff for Serial 6J:
Writer - Terence Dudley
Director - Tony Virgo
Script editor - Eric Saward
Producer - John Nathan-Turner
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The Kings Demons REVIEWS
Onto the Kings Demons. Pity the season had to end this way on a crappy note. Medieval England revisited again but what for? It seemed a pointless diversion and wasn't as entertaining as the Black Orchid. They pick the wrong villain as well. Why the Master has to turn up to 'foil' the signing of the Magna Carta is a bit small potatoes isn't it? Like he ran out of his own plans and decided to raid the Meddling monks cupboard for a plan to keep him occupied. Maybe he was bored?
The Kings Demons seems to be a vehicle for the monk to indulge in anyway and why not? It makes more sense as he seemed to love Earth's medieval history. Funny though how none of the 13th century locals seem to bat an eyelid at weirdly dressed strangers who turn up in a blue box out of nowhere and that the King's champion can change his face and then wear a snazzy black suit, yet long as the King says it's ok then everyone sort of excepts it. Surely most people would have have risen up against the King claiming he's possessed and overthrown him. They are even called the Kings Demons! But it's sort of like, yeah no probs Kingy it's a bit weird but if you ok it then - cool! Surely the Master's impossibly bad disguise and shite French accent would've been enough to make someone think stabbing the King may not be a bad idea?
The period is recreated well (it's the BBC after all) and the guest cast all act superbly well from Ranulf to his lady (man Google Isla Blair if you want to see her talents her full figure was revealed in an episode of Blake's 7) but are sort of wasted here apart from being manipulated by the two Timelords and look really as they deserve a lot more character development. Yes Turlough gets locked in a cell most of the time so his development has totally hit the wall. Although the doctor's bond with Tegan seems even closer than before but they seem to be going through the acting motions. The Doctor has a lackluster sword duel with the Master before he 'reveals' himself, much better was the mind duel between them as they battle for mental control of Kamelion, the high point of the piece even though it's just a lot of profile shots switching to three shots...
As for Kamelion great idea but badly designed and never used. Could've got a different actor to play Kamelion playing something else in every story seeing he can imitate people but nup, the operator has died so let's shove him in a cupboard for a year. Then again they would've had the problem of writing for 3 companions again and not having enough for them all to do. Look at poor Turlough already. So all in all The Kings's Demons is definitely filler material and an unexpected ending to a season that couldv'e climaxed with Resurrection or Warhead as it would've been called. But would it have been as good? And would they have brought back the daleks again in season 21 for two outings against the 5th Dr? Who knows. 5.2/10
The original point of the Kings Demons (like Black Orchid in the last season), was to be the quiet two-parter before the humongous gung-ho continuity-laden four parter with the return of one the series most loved monsters. Thanks to the BBC Union and the electricians, that never happened and so season 20 ends on a whimper not a bang. Welcome to The Kings Demons. Its a two parter and its chock full of cliched goodness. We got banquets! We got lute players! We got jesters! We got a duel! We got jousting! We got tents with flags on them! We have a barbequed pig with an apple shoved in its gob!
Then the Master turns up (yeah we didn't see that coming) and no one bats an eyelid. Bit like when the Tardis first arrives too during the jousting scene so no doubt Masters and Tardis' are common occurrences in medieval England. The companions are now back to being dull again now that the reason for Turlough existing in the first place is now over. In this story he spends the entire time locked up (get used to it mate!) or slapping horses on the arse. Tegan is back to normal too; whining about wanting to go home (even though it was HER idea to rejoin the Doctor at the end of Arc of Banality) and complaining about the cold.
Then there is Kamelion. What the hell was the point of this thing? More to the point; what was the point in dragging its tin carcass into the Tardis and never seeing it again until Peri comes along with her perky, thirsty squeezable voluptuous bazzookas. I think JNT thought it would be a great companion and commissioned it BEFORE seeing that it was a worthless heap of scrap.
And speaking of the Master. Can we PLEASE NOT HAVE HIM BACK??? Okay, I know he does but why does he give a fuck about Magna Carta anyway? How about coming up with a plan that involves monsters that aren't going to double cross you and you actually DO SOME SERIOUS DAMAGE for a change? Magna Carta? Why is he bothering? Its very small potatoes for someone who should be ripping the guts out of the universe. Then again, for what he is here, he is nowhere near as bad as what he's like in another twenty odd years time with Last of the Timelords. If anything, the Master seems to be added into the story quite late in the proceedings cos his presence there does very little to advance the plot.
Some positives; some nice location filming outside and ummmmm......bugger. I seriously can't think of anything else to say about the Kings Demons. Its just Meh. Bugga it; 4/10. Oh; if Ressurention of the Daleks had come to fruition, then every story in this season would have spelled out the name of the person coming back in The Kings Demons. See....
Arc of Banality
Resurrection of the Daleks.
I kind of enjoy watching the Kings Demons... but the main thing that holds it back is of course - why the hell is the Master there? The story itself is an interesting enough tale of an attempt to foil the signing of the magna carte - nothing wrong with that. And it's a chance for the BBC costume department to excel with a nice realisation of the period. And hey, as it's only two parts, it's nice and quick and doesn't muck around... and there's a nice sword fighting scene too (much better than the one in Sea Devils - I think it was Sea Devils?)
As we all know, what brings The Kings Demons down though is that there's no real reason for The Master to want to do this. At a stretch I guess you could try to cook up a reason. He's spent a lot of time on Earth... and a lot of time in the UK. Maybe he thought he'd go and fuck up their parliamentary system.... hmmmm... if he was going to do that, that would piss the Doctor off too... still, nah, why would you? Maybe he wanted to give his new toy a test drive? But then again I guess he's already done that in his escape from Xeriphus.
Let's face it, nobody knows why he was there... not even the writer, director or producer as they've allowed the Doctor to say "It's small time villainy on his scale". I think that's the writer's way of throwing his arms in the air and saying "I don't know - they made me put him in there!!" To make matters worse for the Master, his performance as the Lord Anagram is shit. That accent is reminiscent of one of the many poor jobs I've trotted out in the past... maybe even worse... if possible.
That said though, once he is the Master he works quite well with Davison here - although he does look a bit confused as to what he's doing there too... and once he buggers off, he probably only comes back to get his new Robot... and to tell the Doctor that his "Willy's weak"... although the last battle of wills is pretty good - and the Doctor taking off with Kamelion is good too... pity the only bloke in the world who knew how to operate it died - cos I remember at the time looking forward to seeing more of that!
Tegan and Turlough are pretty much non existant in this... although through Tegan I learnt that back in the day people ate more to keep warm. All up I'll give The Kings Demons 1/2 marks for the story (without the Master), and 0.5 for the sword fight and 0.5 for the song... come on, it's catchy!!!
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