The King's Demons

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128[1]The King's Demons
Doctor Who serial
Kings Demons.jpg
The Doctor and Kamelion
Cast
Others
Production
Writer Terence Dudley
Director Tony Virgo
Script editor Eric Saward
Producer John Nathan-Turner
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Jonathan Gibbs
Production code 6J
Series Season 20
Length 2 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast 15 March–16 March 1983
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
Enlightenment The Five Doctors

The King's Demons is the sixth and final serial of the 20th season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was originally broadcast in two daily parts on 15–16 March 1983. This serial introduced Kamelion, voiced by Gerald Flood, as a companion.

Plot[edit]

In 1215, the Court of King John of England is at the castle of Sir Ranulf Fitzwilliam to extort more taxes, and when the lord refuses to pay the King insults him. To defend his honour his son Hugh takes on the King’s champion, Sir Gilles Estram, in a joust. The latter wins easily, though the joust is disturbed by the arrival of the TARDIS. The Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough are greeted as demons and welcomed by the King.

Having established the date, the Doctor concludes the King is not himself - in fact, he is not the King at all, as he is actually in London taking the Crusader’s Oath. Sir Geoffrey de Lacy, the cousin of Sir Ranulf, arrives at the castle and confirms he knows the King is in London. Sir Gilles is about to torture him as a liar during a royal banquet when the Doctor intervenes. It seems the King's champion is not who he claims to be, either: Sir Gilles sheds his disguise and reveals himself to be the Doctor’s nemesis, the Master. He flees in his own TARDIS, which had been disguised as an iron maiden.

The King knights the Doctor as his new champion, and he is given run of the castle. After a series of mishaps, including the death of Sir Geoffrey at the Master’s hands, the Doctor confronts the King and the Master and discovers the truth. The monarch is really Kamelion, a war weapon found by the Master on Xeriphas, which can be mentally controlled and used to adopt disguises and personas. Disguised as King John, the Master intends that Kamelion will behave so appallingly so as to provoke a rebellion and topple the real King from his throne, thus robbing the world of Magna Carta, the foundation of parliamentary democracy. It is a small plan on the Master’s usual scale, but nevertheless particularly poisonous to the normal progress of Earth society.

The Doctor resolves the situation by testing the Master in a battle of wills for control over Kamelion. He takes control of the robot and steals it away in the TARDIS, thus foiling the Master’s scheme. Kamelion reverts to its robot form and thanks the Doctor for his assistance and rescue.

Continuity[edit]

Every story during Season 20 had the Doctor face an enemy from each of his past incarnations. The old enemy for this story was the Master, who faced the third, fourth and fifth incarnations of the Doctor. This story doesn't reveal exactly how the Master escaped the events of his last story Time-Flight (1982), although the Master does state that Kamelion was instrumental in his escape from Xeriphas.

This story marked the first appearance of Kamelion as voiced by Gerald Flood. Freelance effects designer Richard Gregory and software designer Mike Power gave a demonstration of the robot prototype for Nathan-Turner and Saward. Nathan-Turner was so impressed he commissioned scriptwriter Terence Dudley to develop a storyline to introduce Kamelion into the series. Shortly after filming, however, Power died in a boating accident and no one was able to continue his work. Subsequently, Kamelion made only two appearances before being written out of the series.

In the story, the Master disguises himself as Sir Gilles Estram, Estram being an anagram of "Master". To hide Ainley's return, Sir Gilles was credited in the Radio Times as having been played by "James Stoker", an anagram of "Master's Joke".[5]

This story marks the last appearance of the TARDIS console room set which had been in use since The Invisible Enemy. A new console room would debut in the next story, The Five Doctors, although the console itself would be reused as the Second Doctor's console in The Two Doctors.

Production[edit]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
"Part One" 15 March 1983 (1983-03-15) 24:48 5.8
"Part Two" 16 March 1983 (1983-03-16) 24:27 7.2
[6][7][8]

The working titles for this story were The Android, The Demons, A Knight's Tale and Demons Keeper.[citation needed] Part One of this story was billed by the BBC as the six hundredth episode of Doctor Who.

Outside references[edit]

The Master's TARDIS is disguised as an iron maiden. Originally thought to be a genuine medieval torture device, historians today consider it a hoax from the 19th century. The Doctor's claim that King John wanted the Magna Carta as much as his nobles and that he could have defeated the barons easily is historically untrue. John signed the Magna Carta after it became clear that he could not suppress the First Barons' War, and immediately appealed to the pope to release him from his oath to support the Charter's terms.

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

The King's Demons
Doctor Who The King's Demons.jpg
Author Terence Dudley
Cover artist David McAllister
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
108
Publisher Target Books
Publication date

February 1986 (Hardback)

10 July 1986 (Paperback)
ISBN 0-491-03642-6

A novelisation of this serial, written by Terence Dudley, was published by Target Books in February 1986.

Home media[edit]

The King's Demons was released on VHS in November 1995 in a box set along with a special edition of the subsequent serial The Five Doctors and a postcard book. It and Planet of Fire were released in a Kamelion-themed DVD box set on 14 June 2010.

References[edit]

  1. ^ From the Doctor Who Magazine series overview, in issue 407 (pp26-29). The Discontinuity Guide, which counts the unbroadcast serial Shada, lists this as story number 129. Region 1 DVD releases follow The Discontinuity Guide numbering system.
  2. ^ Nathan-Turner, John (1986). Doctor Who - The Companions. New York: Random House. pp. 18–21. ISBN 0394882911. 
  3. ^ Howe, David J; Stammers, Mark (1995). Doctor Who - Companions. London: Doctor Who Books. p. 103. ISBN 1852275820. 
  4. ^ "Doctor Who - Classic Series - Companions - Kamelion". BBC. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  5. ^ Howe, David J.; Walker, Stephen James (1998). "The King's Demons". Doctor Who: The Television Companion. London: BBC Worldwide. pp. 437–8. ISBN 0-563-40588-0. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  6. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "The King's Demons". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  7. ^ "The King's Demons". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  8. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2007-08-07). "The King's Demons". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 

External links[edit]

Reviews
Target novelisation