Saturday, January 09, 2016

The Damage Caused by Comedy to the Time Line

Well, here's one instance where I really don't mind the Doctor Who television series completely ignoring the audio play continuity--the 2006 Fifth Doctor audio play The Kingmaker decides for some reason to portray the Doctor as harbouring what might be described as disgust for the Bard. Shakespeare himself coming across almost as a villain, all of which is pretty much contradictory to the few mentions Shakespeare'd had on the television series before that point and was pretty thoroughly contradicted by the 2007 episode "The Shakespeare Code".

Yet "The Kingmaker" isn't altogether bad, I sort of liked the idea of the Doctor going back in time with the intention of meeting Richard III to find out just how much of his reputation was true. Though I don't understand the obviously deliberate attempt to make King Richard sounds like the Ninth Doctor--he even says the catch-phrase "Fantastic!" at one point. The actor playing him, Stephen Beckett, does a pretty decent Christopher Eccleston impression but it's never clear why he's doing it, what it's supposed to mean. Maybe if it hadn't come from the era when Big Finish audio productions weren't allowed to directly reference anything in the series from 2005 and beyond the idea would have been clearer.

Peri and Erimem are very entertaining in a subplot, though, as they get jobs in a tavern that somehow leads them to posing as the King's nephews--the princes whose murders the Doctor is trying to ascertain the true culprit for. The Doctor also has some funny lines, I particularly liked his response to Richard who asks him, after he's chained him up, what he's doing here: "I'm a performance artist from the 20th century and this is my latest installation, I was going to call it 'Two Men Chained to a Wall' but then I thought 'Freedom' would give it a bit more intellectual gravitas."

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