OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 606
STORY NUMBER: 130
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 15 March 1983
WRITER: Terence Dudley
DIRECTOR: Tony Virgo
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Kamelion Tales Box Set: The King's Demons / Planet of Fire
The Tardis materialises on the estate of Sir Ranulf Fitzwilliam on March 4th 1215, who is playing host to King John and his champion Sir Giles Estram. The Doctor is suspicious because he knows the King is in London that day swearing th Crusader's oath. Turlough is separated from the others and imprisoned with Sir Ranulf's wife Isabella and their son Hugh. At dinner Sir Giles intends to put to death Sir Ranulf's cousin, Sir Geoffrey de Lacy, who has returned to the castle from the king in London. The Doctor confronts Sir Giles who is revealed to be the Master.
If you don't count the unbroadcast 6 episodes of Shada, this is the 600th episode of Doctor Who. Right from the start it's obvious something's up here, the question is what. Having the king historically placed elsewhere throws his identity into doubt immediately and although we don't yet know quite who "the King" is the revelation that the Master is here makes is certain that the king is somehow up to no good. Oh listen, they've mentioned the Magna Carta. Hang the gun on the wall in the first part......
The Master's back so so is Anthony Ainley, being credited as James Stoker in the Radio Times to conceal his identity (James Stoker is an anagram of Master's Joke). His character's surname Estram is an obvious anagram too, but thankfully this is the last time we'll see a "let's disguise it's the Master" anagram and in fact we'll only see one more casting anagram in the entire series. Next time it's justified. There's nobody else returning for this story but Frank Windsor, Sir Ranulf Fitzwilliam, would have been familiar as Detective Sergeant John Watt in Z-Cars and Softly, Softly. He'll return as Inspector Mackenzie in Ghost Light. His wife, Isabella, is played by Isla Blair who in real life is Mrs Julian Glover (King Richard in The Crusade, Count Scarlioni/Scaroth/Captain Tancredi in City of Death).
Location filming for this story took place at Bodiam Castle on 5th-7th December 1982 and in the studio on 19th & 20th December under new director Tony Virgo helming his only Doctor Who story. Although the last story of the season it wasn't the last in the studio as the previous story Enlightenment was recorded after it.