The Kingmaker

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The Kingmaker
Album cover
Big Finish Productions audio drama
SeriesDoctor Who
Release no.81
FeaturingFifth Doctor
Peri Brown
Written byNev Fountain
Directed byGary Russell
Produced byGary Russell
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Production code6QI
Release dateApril 2006

The Kingmaker is a Big Finish Productions audio drama based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. The drama was written by Nev Fountain, who is best known for his work on the BBC radio and television comedy series Dead Ringers, and guest stars Jon Culshaw, who in that series is known for his impression of Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor.

The Doctor travels to the year 1485, to investigate the mystery of the Princes in the Tower, in order to fulfil a contract to write a series of children's books. Is there another time traveller on the loose? And just why is there a robot in the TARDIS?


This is a historical serial in four episodes, concerning the murder by King Richard III of the Princes in the Tower, set mainly in the year 1485. The Doctor is investigating the death of the Princes because it is a genuine historical mystery. He visits Shakespeare, in the 16th century, to learn as much background as he can from the author of the most famous play based on the life of Richard III, before taking the more dangerous step of a landing in 1485.

Performance and Context[edit]

Starring Peter Davison, The Kingmaker is written by professional scriptwriter Nev Fountain, best known as writer of the radio comedy series Dead Ringers for BBC Radio 4. Moreover one of the principal guest stars in this story is the Dead Ringers actor: impressionist Jon Culshaw.

The script has some elements which spoof The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (there is a robot which evokes memories of Marvin, the Paranoid Android); it has William Shakespeare (complete with a humorous, but authentic, cod-Birmingham accent); and it has King Richard iii(both the character in Shakespeare's play, and the actual king in 1485). It also has Jon Culshaw doing, at one point, his famous impression of Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor. Culshaw also gives a performance as King Richard's brother in law, Earl Rivers.

The serial spirals backwards and forwards through time, in one of the most complex time-travel plots in Doctor Who. The story was conceived and executed on a grand scale, hurtling back and forth across the centuries, meeting gigantic historical figures in authentic settings, with a script that is reminiscent of Douglas Adams. This story bears resemblance to City of Death.



  • Jon Culshaw does his famous Tom Baker impression when the Fifth Doctor listens to the Fourth Doctor's dictated notes for the incomplete (and fictional) work "Doctor Who Discovers Historical Mysteries".[1]
  • This audio drama features the appearance of a new series Doctor as, in a way, the Ninth Doctor is part of the plot.

Critical reception[edit]

Matt Michael, reviewing the audio for Doctor Who Magazine, criticised it strongly, calling it "over-engineered and overlong", and saying that it "can't make its mind up whether it wants to be comedy or tragedy, and ends up doing neither very well."[1]


  1. ^ a b Michael, Matt (21 June 2006). "Off The Shelf: The Kingmaker". Doctor Who Magazine (370): 63.

External links[edit]