Sunday, 2 June 2013

The King's Demons (Part 1)

Originally Broadcast 15th March 1983

Written by: Terence Dudley

In a nutshell: Visiting England in March 1215, the Doctor finds a traitor on the throne, just weeks before the vital signing of Magna Carta.

Review: OK, many problems arose when watching the first part of two, one of which being ‘what is the Magna Carta?’ No explanation is ever given and, yes, it is a famous part of our history, but does that mean everyone knows it? Especially children because it wasn’t on any criteria when I was at school. Where’s Dudley’s explanation for this? Maybe it’ll arrive in part two along with a better plot?

The Master is my next step of reasoning. I like seeing Ainley get to do a few different things such as a sword fight and lancing but is he really fooling anyone with that hideous make-up job? And why does he choose to ‘reveal’ himself at the end of part one for any reason other than he knows a cliffhanger is arriving? Come to think of it, why does he need a costume in the first place, nobody recognises him there and he didn’t know the Doctor was going to visit.

Moving on a little bit and the script is a mess. Some scenes are really out of place, merely cut and pasted together such as the Master randomly knowing when to go out on horseback to catch a ‘traitor’ from London. Why does Turlough decide to stop following the Doctor and look out a window mesmerised until he gets captured? None of this makes any sense, but I have to admit I love Tegan in this one. Yes she has to moan all the time but she gets some good one-liners with the Doctor (especially the conversation involving who the impostor is). This stuff is good but there’s very little of it.

I think producer JNT, making his ‘bring back’ twentieth anniversary season was desperate to include a Doctor/Master sword fight, larking back to the Pertwee days (‘The Sea Devils’ [1972]) but the fight given here must be one of the worst sword fights in the history of television. It really is shocking. Sadly, we have to wait another twenty-two years for a decent sword fight with the Doctor, finally arriving in ‘The Christmas Invasion’ [2005].

Let’s move onto part two, where I’ve created my checklist. Is Turlough wasted again? Is there any plot? Does the Master explain anything? Will I be satisfied? We’ll find out tomorrow! See you there!
The Doctor & the Master. Not the best sword fight in history.

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