To Play the King (1993)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Drama
8.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.4/10 from 1,702 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 5 critic

Francis Urquhart, unscrupulous but cunning Conservative politician, managed to become the British prime minister and crush all significant opposition. But his survival on the top is ... See full summary »

0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 26 Dec 2010
 
a list of 31 titles
created 21 May 2012
 
a list of 36 titles
created 11 Feb 2013
 
a list of 41 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 45 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: To Play the King (1993– )

To Play the King (1993– ) on IMDb 8.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of To Play the King.

Season:

1

Year:

1993
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

When Ruth Matthews's husband is killed in a fall at an archaeological dig, her daughter Sally handles her father's death in a very odd manner. As Sally's condition worsens, Ruth takes her ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Lessac
Stars: Kathleen Turner, Tommy Lee Jones, Asha Menina
House of Cards (TV Series 2013)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  

A Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him.

Stars: Kevin Spacey, Michael Gill, Robin Wright
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2/10 X  

An elite firm of assassins must face their own mortality as they are hunted down one by one by a mysterious assailant. Caught up in the drama is a disgraced journalist who is more connected to the assassins' world than he could ever know.

Director: Ian Chinsee
Stars: Benjamin Alldridge, Daniel Cason, Ian Chinsee
Borgen (TV Series 2010)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A political drama about a prime minister's rise to power, and how power changes a prime minister.

Stars: Sidse Babett Knudsen, Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Emil Poulsen
Final Cut (TV Mini-Series 2012)
Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Final Cut explores the dark side of Hollywood - telling the stories of people who arrived with their dreams but had their lives cut short by brutal and mysterious crimes.

Stars: Cesar D' La Torre, Reed Anthony, Sam Borowski
The Final Cut (TV Mini-Series 1995)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Francis Urquhart is too experienced a politician not to know that everything must end, even his long career as British prime minister. In order to secure his retirement and establish ... See full summary »

Stars: Ian Richardson, Diane Fletcher, Paul Freeman
House of Cards (TV Mini-Series 1990)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Francis Urquhart is the chief whip of the Conservative party. When Margaret Thatcher resigns as leader, he remains neutral and after a general election where the conservatives are returned ... See full summary »

Stars: Ian Richardson, Susannah Harker, Miles Anderson
The West Wing (1999–2006)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Inside the lives of staffers in the west wing of the White House.

Stars: Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney
Mad Men (TV Series 2007)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

A drama about one of New York's most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm's most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper.

Stars: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser
Homeland (TV Series 2011)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

When Marine Nicolas Brody is hailed as a hero after he returns home from eight years of captivity in Iraq, intelligence officer Carrie Mathison is the only one who suspects that he may have been "turned".

Stars: Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, Morena Baccarin
The Hour (TV Series 2011)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A behind-the-scenes drama and espionage thriller in Cold War-era England that centers on a journalist, a producer, and an anchorman for an investigative news programme.

Stars: Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw, Dominic West
The Borgias (2011–2013)
Crime | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The saga of a crime family in 1492 Italy.

Stars: Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger
Edit

Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Francis Urquhart (4 episodes, 1993)
...
 The King (4 episodes, 1993)
Kitty Aldridge ...
 Sarah Harding (4 episodes, 1993)
Colin Jeavons ...
 Tim Stamper (4 episodes, 1993)
Diane Fletcher ...
 Elizabeth Urquhart (4 episodes, 1993)
...
 David Mycroft (4 episodes, 1993)
...
 Chloe Carmichael (4 episodes, 1993)
Leonard Preston ...
 John Stroud (4 episodes, 1993)
Erika Hoffman ...
 The Lady (4 episodes, 1993)
Jack Fortune ...
 Ken Charterhouse (4 episodes, 1993)
...
 Corder (4 episodes, 1993)
...
 Mattie Storin (4 episodes, 1993)
Bernice Stegers ...
 Princess Charlotte (3 episodes, 1993)
...
 Sir Bruce Bullerby (3 episodes, 1993)
...
 Andrew Harding (3 episodes, 1993)
Frederick Treves ...
 Lord Quillington (3 episodes, 1993)
Tom Beasley ...
 Young Prince / ... (3 episodes, 1993)
...
 Graham Gaunt (3 episodes, 1993)
Paula Tilbrook ...
 Speaker (3 episodes, 1993)
John Bird ...
 Bryan Brynford-Jones (2 episodes, 1993)
Kate Ricketts ...
 Current Affairs Lady (2 episodes, 1993)
Merelina Kendall ...
 Hilda Cordwainer (2 episodes, 1993)
Anthony Smee ...
 John Staines (2 episodes, 1993)
John Paul Connolly ...
 Sturdy Beggar (2 episodes, 1993)
Soo Drouet ...
 Big Woman (2 episodes, 1993)
Edit

Storyline

Francis Urquhart, unscrupulous but cunning Conservative politician, managed to become the British prime minister and crush all significant opposition. But his survival on the top is threatened by a liberal monarch and some skeletons in the closet. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kongehuset  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(4 parts)

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

On the DVD commentary, Ian Richardson says he felt that Nicholas Farrell (David Mycroft) had one of the hardest roles in the trilogy, due to Mycroft's bisexuality. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Francis Urquhart: You do trust me don't you? Yes, of course you do.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Drama Connections: House of Cards (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Francis Urquhart Vs. The King Of England
27 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Francis Urquhart has risen through the ranks of Britain's Conservative Party and its political ranks to become Prime Minister. Now a new King is being crowned who stands opposed to everything Urquhart stands for. What happens when a liberally minded King and a conservative Prime Minister meet head to head in a battle for control of the UK's political life? That is the question that lies at the heart of To Play The King, the second miniseries in the House Of Cards trilogy.

Like its predecessor, if there is any single element that makes this miniseries as much of a success as it is, it is lead character, Francis Urquhart as played by actor Ian Richardson. Richardson plays Urquhart as a modern day (modern day being an alternate version of early 1990's UK) version of Shakespeare's Richard III as much as he did originally. Urquhart might be at the top, but he's determined to stay there at whatever cost as he tries first to use and then do battle with the King. Yet we begin to see the human side of this man as he haunted by the events at the end of House Of Cards and must face the possibility of treason by those closest to him. Once again, Richardson makes all this work incredibly well and makes Urquhart a man who is ruthless yet immensely charming and likable nonetheless. It is a compliment to Richardson and his skills that he can make it all work, especially the soliloquies, while being evil yet charming all at the same time.

Opposing Urquhart is the new King played by actor Michael Kitchen. Kitchen's King is a likable, charming liberally minded monarch who wants to use his place in the nation to help improve his country. When any and all of his ideas are tossed aside, the king is forced into a head to head confrontation with the Prime Minister. Kitchen plays the King as a man of principle who is really a simple man. In fact it his the King hopes that right equals might in taking on Urquhart that makes him a perfect antagonist and a worthy opponent indeed.

Backing both Richardson and Kitchen is once again a fine supporting cast. Returning from House Of Cards are Diane Fletcher as Urquhart's wife plus Colin Jeavons as Tim Stamper, who finds himself increasingly compromised and frustrated by Urquhart, who both give strong performances. Kitty Aldridge joins the cast as Sarah Harding who becomes a communications aide to Urquhart and while she gives a good performance, the relationship between her and Urquhart pushed believability in my mind. There's also Nicholas Farrell and Rowena King as the King's aides David Mycroft and Chloe Carmichael, respectively, who both find themselves having the help the King do battle and face becoming causalities themselves. There's also Nick Brimble as security man Corder and Bernice Stegers as the estranged Princess Charlotte who leave quite an impression with their brief appearances. Not forgetting Susannah Harker as Mattie Storin who, while only appearing in sound and film clips from House Of Cards, still looms large over the events that unfold. Like its predecessor, this miniseries is blessed by a fine cast backing its two leading men.

There's the production values as well. Many of those who worked on House Of Cards returned to this miniseries and their work is just as good here. Once again there's fine production design by Ken Ledsham who creates the worlds ranging from 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and beyond. There's also the cinematography of Jim Fyans and Ian Punter which once again brings a fine sense of atmosphere to the world of the miniseries. Last but not least here is once again the music by Jim Parker, especially with the main title and end title pieces which serve as a perfect start and closing to the four episodes of the miniseries. All of this, once again under the direction of Paul Seed, helps to make the miniseries stand up against its predecessor well indeed.

Which brings us to the script. Once again Andrew Davies adapts Michael Dobbs novel into a script that is less a political thriller then a political parable if not satire at times. Davies looks at what happens when the two opposing mind sets of a liberally minded King and a conservative Prime Minister meet head to head. The result is a battle of wits as the two men attempt through their various lieutenants to help their cause come out on top. It is a story about the modern process of media control and how that can clash with both the idealistic and the cynical alike. It is also a story that looks at how power effects those who hold it as Urquhart is haunted by the events at the end of House Of Cards and must face the possibility of treason by two of those closest to him. There's also a fair bit of satire as well covering the scandals of the royal family in the early 1990's and the media's reactions to them as well. The result is a script that isn't quite as gripping as House Of Cards but more thought provoking.

To Play The King is a fine successor to House Of Cards. From the performances of Richardson and Kitchen in the lead roles, a fine supporting cast, good production values and a well written script as well. While it is not the thriller the original was and is somewhat less gripping as a result, To Play The King works as something else instead. It is a parable about what happens when the liberally minded and the conservatively minded face each other head on. The result is thought provoking indeed.


8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Abdication? zboston3
Was Stamper a closeted gay? dmyriounis
Princess Charlotte Clunie7
Lack of leadership by the King dazzyboy2004
Childrens' choral thingy Khedive214
Something the King Said to Assistant clomax-1
Discuss To Play the King (1993) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?