Aug 10, 2010
In 1215, the Court of King John of England is at the castle of Sir Ranulf Fitzwilliam to extort more taxes, and when the lord refuses to pay the King insults him. To defend his honour his son Hugh takes on the King’s champion, Sir Gilles Estram, in a joust. The latter wins easily, though the joust is disturbed by the arrival of the TARDIS. The Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough are greeted as demons and welcomed by the King.
Having established the date, the Doctor concludes the King is not himself - in fact, he is not the King at all, as he is actually in London taking the Crusader’s Oath. Sir Geoffrey de Lacy, the cousin of Sir Ranulf, arrives at the castle and confirms he knows the King is in London. Sir Gilles is about to torture him as a liar during a royal banquet when the Doctor intervenes. It seems the King's champion is not who he claims to be, either: Sir Gilles sheds his disguise and reveals himself to be the Doctor’s arch nemesis, the Master. He flees in his own TARDIS, which had been disguised as an iron maiden.
The King knights the Doctor as his new champion, and he is given run of the castle. After a series of mishaps, including the death of Sir Geoffrey at the Master’s hands, the Doctor confronts the King and the Master and discovers the truth. The monarch is really Kamelion, a war weapon found by the Master on Xeriphas, which can be mentally controlled and used to adopt disguises and personas. Disguised as King John, the Master intends that Kamelion will behave so appallingly so as to provoke a rebellion and topple the real King from his throne, thus robbing the world of Magna Carta, the foundation of parliamentary democracy. It is a small plan on the Master’s usual scale, but nevertheless particularly poisonous to the normal progress of Earth society.
The Doctor resolves the situation by testing the Master in a battle of wills for control over Kamelion. He takes control of the robot and steals it away in the TARDIS, thus foiling the Master’s scheme. Kamelion reverts to its robot form and thanks the Doctor for his assistance and rescue.
|Episode||Broadcast date||Run time||Viewership
|"Part One"||15 March 1983 (1983-03-15)||24:48||5.8|
|"Part Two"||16 March 1983 (1983-03-16)||24:27||7.2|
|Doctor Who book|
|The King's Demons|
|Cover artist||David McAllister|
February 1986 (Hardback)10th July 1986 (Paperback)
|Preceded by||The Mark of the Rani|
|Followed by||The Savages|
The serial was repeated on BBC One in July 1984 on consecutive Fridays (06/07/84 & 13/07/84). This story was released on VHS in November 1995 in a box set along with a special edition of the subsequent serial The Five Doctors and a postcard book. This story and Planet of Fire were released in a Kamelion-themed box set on 14 June 2010. The DVD contained two commentaries, one with Peter Davison, Isla Blair and Eric Saward, and another with Director Tony Virgo on Part One.