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< 80. Time Works
82. The Settling >

81. The Kingmaker

Rating Votes
10
49%
62
9
20%
25
8
16%
20
7
4%
5
6
6%
7
5
2%
2
4
2%
2
3
0%
0
2
3%
4
1
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Average Rating
8.7
Votes
127

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: NewWorldreviewsReview Date: 1/20/16 8:21 am
2 out of 3 found this review helpful.

The Kingmaker is the most balmy, crazy and wacko Doctor Who audio ever. Forget The Scorchies, Doctor Who And The Pirates, The Ultimate Adventure and all the rest. This is the wackiest Doctor Who story of all time, with some frankly silly ideas, which, were they to be taken by most writers, would come across as a complete mess. But this story is written by Nev Fountain, and he manages to take all of these disparate elements, and weave them together into something that not only is a coherent, well plotted story, but also one of the funniest pieces of Doctor Who fiction ever. The basic premise of the story is that the Doctor is writing a book about Richard III and whether he killed the princes in the tower. But rather than just exploring that idea, Fountain subverts everything to an absurd degree, and mines it for as much humour as possible, which results in something truly unique. For example, Fountain brings in the real world fact of Target having written books called Doctor Who Discovers, and gives an in-universe explanation as to why that is there. I didn't need to be done, but trying to push such a ludicrous idea into the Doctor Who universe is funny and helps set the general tone for this adventure. I say general tone, because while it is, for the most part, a light-hearted romp, there are quite a few dark moments that do indeed reinforce the danger that the 15th century was. There are some brutal moments of torture, which are pretty gruesome, and there is also a bit of talk about the nature of foreknowledge, and the morality of nipping back and observing a famous killer at work, and where that would leave a person. I loved the scenes between the Doctor and Richard here, with some very interesting ideas brought up. However, as I said earlier, the story's main focus is on comedy, and mocking historical truths, and I loved the way this came together. The main revelations are downright silly, but that's half the fun with this script: hearing what ludicrous twist is going to come up next. And the end is possibly one of the most stupid, illogical, continuity breaking twists ever. And it is so utterly fantastic. Fountain throws caution to the wind and just creates a humdinger of an ending that ties up all the loose threads, but does so in the most extraordinary way. And provides the best answer ever as to who killed the princes in the tower. While you could argue that the characters were merely caricatures, and merely there to provide a focus for the comedy, Fountain still creates such outlandish characters. The idea of making Richard III sound like Christopher Eccleston is inspired (as is the cheeky reference to a chap with 'big ears'), and Jon Culshaw also gets to put his Tom Baker impression into work in a dramatic sense. All were fabulously over the top, but it never seemed like the actors were hamming it up. Everyone, like Arthur Smith and Stephen Beckett, maintain the straightness of the characters throughout, much to my delight. That's not to say they weren't having fun: Chris Neill pitched Tyrall as a 15th century version of Julian Clary, and it was clear that Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and Caroline Morris were enjoying themselves too. Peter especially, seen as he doesn't have as many overtly comic stories as the other Doctors, bar Tom and John. Gary Russell's direction was also superb, making sure the story remained straight throughout. Gareth Jenkins and Andy Hardwick's sound design and music was also amazing, with some great music in particular. It was occasionally a little hard to tell if the action had shifted into a different time or not, but it was only a really tiny niggle, and barely detracted from the story at all. Overall, The Kingmaker is a standout main range release that had me doubling up in stiches. Certainly, if you like your Doctor Who to stick to the version of history were familiar with, you'll hate this. But, if you're prepared to let Nev Fountain play loose and fast with history and you're perception of it, than you'll find yourself in for a killer of a ride. One of my all time favourite Big Finish's.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 11/25/15 5:35 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The Kingmaker: Nev Fountain has written one of the most complex and detailed stories that's packed full of great ideas. It's not strictly a pure historical; it's not exactly a pseudo-historical, but it does have a strong vein of comedy running through it, yet conversely, I didn't find it all that amusing but did appreciate the lightheartedness of it all. This is as close to 'Blackadder' as 'Doctor Who' will ever get.

The Doctor has a publishing deal agreed but hasn't delivered on his promise of a manuscript. He decides to investigate King Richard the Third and the Princes in the tower. The story continually manages to wrong-foot you in the most ingenious and inventive ways.

This audio should get a ten just for the performance of Stephen Beckett as, 'King Richard the Third' alone. His unique blend of cunning scheming insouciant intimidation is just probably the best performance in Big Finish ever. There are lots of great characters in this and the interplay between Peri and Erimem is fantastic. This is partly because the perspective of the story keeps changing and showing events from their perspective rather than just having them disappear when they are not with the Doctor.

I did find it a bit hard to keep at times as there was so much going on and some of the voices were a little too similar, and there are lots of characters. Thankfully, a second listen is more of a bonus than a hindrance.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
NA
Acting Rating:
NA
Replay Rating:
NA
Effects Rating:
NA
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: YorickReview Date: 2/25/15 11:22 am
0 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Didn't love it as much as the majority did but that's not to say it isn't very good as I enjoyed listening to it, despite the writer stealing a couple of gags from Blackadder II
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 10/28/14 8:50 am
5 out of 5 found this review helpful.

God this was hard work, not due to the nature of the drama in question, more to the fact that I spent over a week trying to get time to listen and appreciate this release. Essentially this is the story of the Doctor and his companion's passing each other like ships in the night, as Peri and Erimen take on the guise of barmaids and then un- assuming participants in the cover up of the actual circumstances of the Edward IV's two offspring and their time in the Tower of London, and subsequent disappearance. The Doctor is trying to track down and catch up with the two companions so that he can get them out of this time. It is important to point out that the premises of the story starts when the Doctor is caught out by Peri, after a robotic bailiff arrives in the TARDIS to see that Doctor makes good on completing another book in his Dr Who series for children.

This is a big fat adventure and although it runs roughly at the same time frame as most, it seems more like a boxed set story, with much more substance and physical story telling than what essentially is a monthly main release. All parts in this are excellent, and played exceptionally well. Peter is effortless, and puts in a wonderful and powerful performance without missing pace, or empathy, he is both dramatic when it is required, yet injects a dry pathos sadly lacking from the BBC days. The same is true of all the supporting cast with this adventure, what feels like a full theater cast of supporting actors also add to this adventure, all of which are first rate.

What is great about this above all else is essentially it takes what is believed to be current thinking on the Richard's taking of the throne, at the expense of the two offspring, for whom we believe were murdered in the tower by Richard or his accomplice. Add a massive Who SF dollop, and mix in William Shakespeare and the Master as well as you have as I said one BIG FAT ADVENTURE. Loved it, and although I started this article by saying that it was a struggle, at no point was it down to the story telling.
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