To Play the King

BBC (ended 1993)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 1 : Ep 4

    Part Four

    Aired 12/12/93

  • S 1 : Ep 3

    Part Three

    Aired 12/5/93

  • S 1 : Ep 2

    Part Two

    Aired 11/28/93

  • S 1 : Ep 1

    Part One

    Aired 11/21/93

  • Cast & Crew
  • Michael Kitchen

    The King

  • Colin Jeavons

    Tim Stamper

  • Ian Richardson

    Francis Urquhart

  • Kitty Aldridge

    Sarah Harding

  • Diane Fletcher

    Elizabeth Urquhart

  • show Description
  • A new Conservative politican, Francis Urquhart, is appointed to Prime Minister and the series follows him as he tries to crush all opposition, including the newly crowned king. The drama is an adaptation of Michael Dobbs' novel of the same name, the second part of the House of Cards trilogy.

  • Top Contributor
  • francklloyd

    User Score: 100

    EDITOR

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (11)

    • King: You're a clever man, Mr Urquhart.

      Francis Urquhart: You're too kind, sir. I'd rather be remembered as a wise man than a clever one. But I think that sound man is the highest praise I can expect.

    • Tim Stamper: Do we need opinion pollsters? It's what you are, isn't it?

      Sarah Harding: People seem to think I'm worth the money.

      Tim Stamper: Get the answers wrong, though.

      Sarah Harding: I can get you any answer you like, Mr Stamper. That's why I'm in such demand.

    • Sarah Harding: It's contradictory, isn't it? Socialism has collapsed all over the world and now the King of England is proposing to revive it.

    • Sarah Harding: Why all this bogus secrecy? Why, for example, do you see me in your bedroom? Why not wherever you see everyone else?

      Francis Urquhart: Sometimes it's better if people get the wrong impression, see you not as a potential politicial rival, but as something less threatening.

    • Francis Urquhart: Under the show, the struggle for power. Deep down below it all, deeper than honour, deeper than pride, deeper than lust and deeper than love, is the getting of it all. The seizing and the holding on. The jaws locked, biting into power and holding on.

    • Francis Urquhart: (about the King) What I prefer, of course, is that he'd give up thinking all together. Kings aren't supposed to think. It was always a great mistake sending him to university and letting him talk to all those architects, philosophers and comely, young, black activists.

    • Francis Urquhart: Prime Minister Question Time. Very frightening, ... like being mugged by a guinea pig.

    • Francis Urquhart: Many of you will deplore, as I do, the prevalence of muckraking in our tabloid press. But for muckraking to happen, there has to be muck to be raked. And, sadly, this commodity is not in short supply amongst the English society.

    Show More Quotes

    Notes (1)

    • The scenes set in Buckingham Palace were filmed in Ragley Hall, a stately home outside Stratford-upon-Avon.

    Trivia (2)

    • When Ian Richardson read the script for this series he had some doubts about doing it. He was afraid the depiction of the Royal Family might shock the viewers.

    • About 12 minutes into the episode, the King's car is approached by a young prostitute. She is played by none other than "Baby Spice" Emma Bunton.

    Allusions (5)

    • Francis Urquhart: These days an hour can be a long time in politics. An allusion to the famous statement by Prime Minister Harold Wilson (1916-1995) that "a week is a long time in politics", suggesting that a lot can change in a short time.

    • Brynford-Jones: (about his scandal) I could have fought the case for a year and still have lost. Every paper would have given me a Melloring. A reference to British politician David Mellor who was hounded out of office in 1992 after an extra-marital affair became public. The press took great delight in publishing every detail of the scandal.

    • Francis Urquhart: Next to a small war, there's nothing quite like a general election to stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood.

    • Tim Stamper: FU's on the warpath and the price of coffins is gonna raise. Stamper quotes from Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In the twenty-first chapter Boggs, a drunk in Bricksville, shouts "I'm on the waw-path, and the price uv coffins is a-gwyne to raise."

    • Francis Urquhart: I am in blood steeped so far. The Prime Minister slightly misquotes Shakespeare (Macbeth, Act 3, Scene 4): "I am in blood, Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more."

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