To Play the King (1993)

TV Mini-Series  |   |  Drama
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Francis Urquhart,the unscrupulous but cunning Conservative Prime Minister,has his survival threatened by a liberal monarch and an upcoming General Election.

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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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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 (archive footage) (4 episodes, 1993)
 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)


Francis Urquhart,the unscrupulous but cunning Conservative Prime Minister,has his survival threatened by a liberal monarch and an upcoming General Election. Written by Dragan Antulov <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kongehuset  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(4 parts)

Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Emma Bunton (the future "Baby Spice") has a tiny speaking part as a prostitute in Episode 2. See more »


Elizabeth Urquhart: Break him, Francis, bring him down. Break the lot of them.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits Ian Richardson is shown in close up saying "God save the King" See more »


Follows House of Cards (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

To Play the King
21 March 2003 | by See all my reviews

Although weaker than House of Cards, To Play the King is consistently entertaining, perhaps more so than the other parts of the trilogy, which ended with The Final Cut.

Francis Urquhart has been PM (played by the wonderful Ian Richardson) for some time now, and he now faces a challenge in the new King (a compelling impersonation of Princes Charles by Michael Kitchen), who's views on Britain conflict wildly with Urquhart's. Added to this, Urquhart is engaging in an affair with Sarah Harding (Kitty Aldridge), a pollster, and seriously getting on the wrong side of his oldest friend and Chief Whip/Party Chairman Tim Stamper (played by Colin Jeavons, who almost steals the show from Richardson), who has incriminating evidence concerning Urquhart's involvement in the death of journalist Mattie Storin.

To Play the King carries on the Urquhart trilogy with great confidence. Despite the fact that it came three years after House of Cards, all of the recurring cast slip back into their roles with ease. The location work and music are also outstanding. However, the real weakness with this production is that Andrew Davies' script goes over old ground. The dialogue is naturally superb, but Urquhart's relationship with Harding is thin compared to the one between him and Mattie, and the ending strangely lacks the emotional edges of the other two in the series.

That said, To Play the King is highly enjoyable, and worth checking out if you were a fan (and who wasn't) of House of Cards.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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