Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The King's Demons

Gerald Flood as bad King John
Some stories don’t need as many words to sum up as others. This is one of those stories. ‘The King’s Demons’ is Terence ‘it’s only Doctor Who’ Dudley’s last script for the show thankfully. It’s starts well enough, King John (Gerald Flood) is visiting a castle in the north of England somewhere even though he is also in London. The King is in fact Kamelion, a robot the Master found of Zeraphax who can change his appearance. Hence the name.
Can you see through the disguise?
It’s a two-parter, which don’t appear to work very well in the Davison era. Come the 15-minute mark of the second episode the writer seems to realise that there’s very little time left and everything gets wrapped up as quickly as possible. The Master spends most of the first episode disguised (badly) as a the King’s (French) champion. So far in every Davison story he’s appeared in he’s had a disguise. Groan. Gerald Flood hams it to the max. Tegan complains how cold it is for pretty much the entire story. The locals hate then like then hate the Doctor again. But no connection with any character is made by the Doctor or his companions. Turlough does very little.

The Doctor and Master grapple for control over Kamelion.

It’s not the worst of the season, it has a good look, sets are solid, costumes fantastic, but at two episodes and a very weak plotline – the Master wants to change history by preventing Magna Carta from being signed, so he’s trying to discredit King John by having Kamelion do wacky things, this story falls far short of what it could have been. In fact it still has me going until the reveal of the robot, which was a real robot, albeit one that didn’t work very well.
Characters are somewhat one-dimensional, but solidly played except for flood who goes too far
camping it up like crazy. As the Master’s only appearance this season, and his previous story ‘Time-Flight’ (which this story references without explaining how the Master escaped) I would have hoped for better for Anthony Ainley. Very hard it seems to tell a good story over two parts.

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