2006: Big Finish - Doctor Who THE KINGMAKER Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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2006: Big Finish - Doctor Who THE KINGMAKER Review

Nathan Browne digs into the Big Finish archive for a Fifth Doctor classic...

Dr Who encounters one of the most notorious characters from the past, as he journeys through time to solve the great Historical Mysteries...

Not surprisingly the Doctor becomes mixed up with Richard the third himself, as he tries to unravel the perplexing problem of who exactly killed the Princes in the Tower.

Peri and Erimem also encounter a suspicious time traveller. Someone from the Doctor's own past. Someone who shouldn't really be there at all.

So who did murder the Princes in the Tower? Perhaps it's best not to ask a question like that.

You might not like the answer...

Released in April 2006, The Kingmaker is my favourite Peter Davison Big Finish story. It's an extraordinarily intricate audio adventure, one which combines Shakespeare, the Master, Richard III and provides a theory about the Princes in the Tower.

The Fifth Doctor is joined by Peri, played by the perky and ever-buoyant Nicola Bryant, and Big Finish original companion Erimem, a princess of ancient Egypt. The cast also includes Arthur Smith and Jon Culshaw, the latter of whom provides his familiar Tom Baker impersonation.

The Kingmaker is an extremely long story, virtually a six-parter running in excess of 145 minutes, and is packed with plot and jokes which will be really enjoyed by any aficionados of the Doctor’s adventures, as there are numerous mentions of past television events.

The plot itself is particularly ingenious, and sees the Doctor, recovering after a night of drinking with William Shakespeare, visited by a nine-foot-tall robot from the future. The robot informs the Doctor that he is long overdue with his manuscript, and that his publisher will revoke his existence unless he meets the contracted deadline for "Doctor Who Discovers Historical Mysteries." Disabling the robot, the Doctor, Peri and Erimem, journey back to the time of Richard III, to determine whether Richard really killed the Princes in the Tower.

Except, as you might expect, things don't go exactly to plan. Peri and Erimem end up in 1483, and the Doctor in 1485. It goes a little farcical, but it really works, and will just have you laughing at the running gags, the cross-dressing, the hunchback jokes, and Shakespeare threatening London with a Sontaran grenade!

Some familiarity with the story of Richard III is helpful to get some of the jokes, but not essential. The set-up about the publishing contract is a brilliantly conceived fourth-wall-breaking in-joke involving a real-life book series titled "Doctor Who Discovers . . .", and there's a great twist at the end when we find out what really happened to the Princes, but I wont spoil it for anyone who hasn't listened to the story.

This frothy and fun escapade is likely the funniest adventure that Big Finish have released. It's a story that actually dares to tackle, albeit tongue in cheek, just why the Doctor is referred to as ‘Doctor Who’ - five years before Steven Moffat answered the "first question". In short, The Kingmaker is an absolute classic, and if you don't already own it then download it today, it may be a decade old but it's still one of their very best.

Nathan is getting too old too quickly and is rapidly approaching his pipe and slippers phase.

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