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The Church and the Crown was the thirty-eighth monthly Doctor Who audio story produced by Big Finish Productions. It was, broadly, an historical examination of the era of the The Three Musketeers, although it featured original musketeers, rather than those created by Alexandre Dumas.

It featured Erimem's first journey in the TARDIS, and her second display of field-of-battle heroism. As with several other historicals in the first five years of Big Finish's main Doctor Who line, it was a so-called "pure" historical without any science fictional elements aside from the TARDIS.

It also gave Nicola Bryant an expanded acting opportunity, since it featured her as both Peri and Queen Anne. Like Romana I before her, Peri had an exact doppelgänger in a royal family.

Publisher's summary Edit

A nation divided...

A Queen's life at risk...

A net of conspiracy closing in...

Sometimes being a time travelling adventurer just isn't easy...

For a start there's a temperamental TARDIS that lands a few thousand years off course in 17th century Paris. But why shouldn't the Fifth Doctor, Peri and their travelling guest Erimem take a look around the city on the morning of King Louis' annual State Ball?

As Peri becomes embroiled in a plot to kill Queen Anne and smash the unity of the Church and the Crown, the Doctor finds himself duelling musketeers on the streets.

With Peri missing, Erimem catching King Louis' eye and a Musketeer's sword at your throat, could things get any worse?


Plot Edit

Part one Edit

In 1626 Paris, a skirmish takes place between the personal guards of the Cardinal Richelieu, led by Captain Morand, and the king’s Musketeers, Rouffet and Delmarre. The fight, which began with an insult by Morand against Queen Anne, ends with a wound for Delmarre, and death for Morand’s lieutenant. Meanwhile Richelieu and King Louis play chess in the palace, oblivious to the fight, which is only the latest in a growing line of such encounters. Richelieu, subtly drawing a parallel with the relationship of the Church to the Crown, checkmates the king. Elsewhere, in the TARDIS, the Doctor seeks to take Erimem to the Braxiatel Collection for further education. It seems the TARDIS and Erimem’s cat are conspiring against him, preventing him from landing there; and the TARDIS materialises instead in 17th-century Paris. Dressing in period-appropriate clothing, the group goes outside.

Marie de Chevreuse, lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne, is having an affair with the Duke of Buckingham. She meets with him, and he gives her a letter to pass on. She is not thrilled with the plot they are enacting, but he reassures her; and she is unaware that he is only using her. Meanwhile, Richelieu is preparing to leave, when Morand arrives with Rouffet and Delmarre. He accuses them of murder, but they claim they were defending the queen’s honour; Louis dismisses the charges. Richelieu and Morand storm out of the palace; the king gives a sovereign to each Musketeer, then sends them on the way. He sets about preparing for a state ball, to be conducted later—although his queen is curiously not present. In the city, the Doctor explains that Richelieu is not the villain that Alexandre Dumas famously portrayed him to be, but plans to unite France. Meanwhile, Peri feels she is being watched, and Erimem is taken with the city. The Doctor takes Erimem to see the Louvre—which in this century is still the palace, not a museum—while Peri, against the Doctor’s better judgement, strikes out on her own.

In his carriage, the angry Richelieu is distracted when he sees a woman walking in the street; he orders Morand to follow the woman and report back. Rouffet and Delmarre go to an alehouse, passing Madame de Chevreuse as she enters the palace. De Chevreuse finds the King instead of the Queen; when he realizes that she has a letter from one of the Queen’s suitors, he demands it, informing her that the Queen has not yet returned from Lyon. He is distracted by a footman, and de Chevreuse leaves him—but can’t deliver the letter, either.

On the street, Peri is accosted by the Duke of Buckingham, who acts as though he knows her—intimately, it seems. While she tries to get away from him, men dressed in the uniforms of Richelieu’s guards kidnap her, wounding Buckingham in the process. Morand and his men—the real guards—try to rescue her, but are driven off by the attackers, who escape with Peri. The Doctor and Erimem hear the commotion, and rush to help, but only catch a glimpse of the kidnappers. The Doctor accidentally bumps into Delmarre, knocking him down; Delmarre takes it as an insult, and challenges him to a duel. However, they are interrupted by fanfare and a passing carriage—with Peri inside! Or so it appears—and the Doctor realizes with dismay that Peri is an exact double of Queen Anne.

Part two Edit

The Doctor and Erimem try to slip away. The Doctor recognises the uniforms, but can’t imagine why the Cardinal would kidnap the Queen—although he realizes they captured Peri by mistake. Delmarre chases him down to continue the duel, but Erimem changes his course by challenging him, on his honour as a Musketeer, to get them an audience with the King. The Musketeers agree, happy to prove themselves to a lady. Meanwhile Peri’s captors take her to an empty château outside Paris. She tries to escape, but is caught by Buckingham, who reveals that the men are his, and his wound was faked. He refers to her as “your Majesty”, and has his men lock her up before disposing of their uniforms; he implies that they have had a relationship in the past, and treats her accent as a joke. They lock her in a cell in the dungeon. Meanwhile, the real Anne arrives at the palace, and argues with Louis over the upcoming ball, as well as over the true power in France. She claims that Richelieu retains power; Louis counters by claiming that Anne is still having an affair with the Duke of Buckingham. In the midst of this, Delmarre and Rouffet arrive with the Doctor and Erimem. Erimem again buys them entrance by announcing herself as the Princess Erimem of Karnak, and the Doctor as her vizier. The Doctor explains their situation; in the middle of his conversation, Richelieu arrives, having heard Morand’s report of the kidnapping. Richelieu is surprised to find Anne unharmed, but reveals that he saw her—Peri, actually—in the company of the Duke, sparking another argument with Louis. The Doctor hastily explains to Erimem about the rumours of a past affair between the Queen and the Duke, who is also the Prime Minister of England. More worrisome is the ball tonight; the timing of the kidnapping attempt could not be a coincidence.

Richelieu claims that the Musketeers are after his guards, having quickly heard of the kidnapping. The King, already bored with the situation, authorizes the Doctor to investigate. At his word, Rouffet and Delmarre take the Doctor and Erimem to meet an informant, “Blind Maurice”, a beggar who is not truly blind—he’s simply cornered a market on sympathy. The Doctor pays him in gold dust, and he reveals the location of the château, which has harboured some suspicious doings of late. The Doctor sends Erimem back to the palace, in part to manage appearances, but also to keep an eye on Louis, and he goes with the Musketeers to the château. Meanwhile Buckingham receives a message from Marie, stating that his captive is not the Queen. He goes to confront Peri, but finds she has smashed a window and escaped. At the same time, the Doctor and the Musketeers arrive, but the Doctor makes a mistake and is captured; the grounds are swarming with armed men. He is taken for questioning; meanwhile the Musketeers hide and look for an opportunity to rescue both the Doctor and Peri. At the Palace, Marie suggests to the Queen that she should eliminate Louis and then deal directly with Richelieu. Anne sends Marie out, then asks Erimem’s opinion. During the conversation, Erimem shocks Anne by admitting she genuinely trusts the Doctor; Anne trusts no one, not even Marie. Indeed, she keeps Marie close so as to watch her, and to obtain gossip she would not otherwise hear. And yet, she trusts Richelieu even less; and Erimem, remembering corrupt priests in her homeland, begins to suspect Richelieu might actually be involved with the kidnapping.

Richelieu, meanwhile, is arguing with the King again, wanting him to cancel the ball and stabilise the now-chaotic city. When the Queen arrives, Richelieu says that the King is threatening the unity of the country; Louis insists this ball will bring the nobility together and unify the country—in the name of the King, not the Church. Richelieu returns to his own palace, and Erimem follows. Meanwhile Peri encounters Delmarre and Rouffet in the château's stables; they explain that the Doctor has been captured. The Doctor is brought to Buckingham, who reveals he is aware of the Musketeers that came with him. He intends to torture the Doctor to learn why he is there. Meanwhile Richelieu orders Morand to arm all of his guards; they must protect themselves in the absence of help from the King. He then discovers Erimem, and demands to know why she is spying on him. At that time, Morand opens the palace door—and it explodes in his face.

Part three Edit

Erimem has never seen an explosion before. She soon recovers, but Morand is dead and several guards are injured. The Cardinal attributes the bomb to the Musketeers, and returns to the Louvre, taking Erimem with him; he still doesn’t know her identity, but he accepts that she is honourable. As they travel, they see Musketeers fighting with his guards in the streets. Meanwhile Peri insists on rescuing the Doctor; Delmarre and Rouffet reluctantly agree. They find all the château entrances guarded, but manage to overpower three of Buckingham’s men, and take their uniforms. They head for the château, but the size of the force here is intimidating—and disconcerting, when so close to Paris. Inside, Buckingham tortures the Doctor, believing him to be a spy for another government that plans to invade England. He does not gain any useful information, but leaves the Doctor to die.

Louis and Richelieu cannot come to an agreement; Richelieu demands justice, but the King refuses to credit his guards with the bomb. He also refuses to cancel the ball, believing it would send the wrong message to the visiting dignitaries. He leaves to change for the ball, and tells Richelieu to do the same, ignoring the blood on Richelieu’s robes—blood from his guards. He begs Anne to sway the King’s mind; Marie scoffs at this, sending him into a rage, and Anne sends her out. However, she cannot change the King’s mind—he has not forgiven her for her affair, or her inability to give him an heir.

Marie helps Erimem to dress for the ball, and gossips while she does so; she claims the Cardinal desires the Queen, and that the dream of a united France is foolish. Erimem silences her. When she rejoins the others, she discovers that Richelieu is now threatening to excommunicate the King if he does not call off the ball and arrest the Musketeers. Louis has the Cardinal arrested and locked up, spurning the idea that this may lead to religious war. Anne grows angry at Louis, and retreats to her quarters, taking Erimem with her.

Peri and the Musketeers see Buckingham leaving, and make their move on the château. The Musketeers are confronted by a guard captain, and engage him in combat while Peri slips inside. She finds the wounded Doctor and frees him. He is recovering, albeit slowly; and in the dining room, he finds racks of well-maintained weapons. They flee, meeting up with Delmarre and Rouffet, and are forced to fight their way free. Buckingham responds by moving up the timetable of his attack—he orders his captain to attack at once. The Duke, it seems, is invading France—and his army is pursuing the Doctor and his friends toward Paris.

Part four Edit

Louis forces his way into Anne’s rooms to order her to attend the ball with him. She loses her temper and sends him out. Their childish behaviour is a shock to Erimem, who confronts them about it; Anne accepts her words, but Louis declares that after the ball, Erimem will be escorted out, and exiled from France. He then tells Anne that if she does not attend, she will join the Cardinal in a cell. Reluctantly, Anne agrees; and Erimem goes to find the Doctor. The Doctor and his friends, at that time, are arriving in Paris, where bodies lie in the streets. Buckingham’s plan—to set the factions at war by kidnapping the Queen—is working despite Anne’s continued freedom; the English army will face little opposition. Erimem finds him, and exchanges stories with him. He then sends her with Delmarre and Rouffet to rouse the French soldiers, while he and Peri go to warn Louis and Richelieu.

The ball is underway, and Anne is telling the guests that the Cardinal is ill. Louis’s plan for unity seems to be working, and he gloats about it to Anne, who realizes that all along he has been trying to impress her with strength. However, they remain unaware of the approaching army. The Doctor could tell them, but without Erimem, he can’t convince the guards to admit him; and so he and Peri sneak in through the storm drains. Peri questions their work, insisting that history shows that Buckingham fails; but the Doctor explains that they must play their part in order to guarantee that outcome. Arriving in the dungeons, they free Richelieu, who wants revenge; they then go to confront the King.

Erimem and the Musketeers can’t do much by themselves, but Erimem recalls the explosion. Delmarre and Rouffet retrieve explosives from the armoury, and set them off, not to harm anyone, but to draw attention. Erimem then addresses the crowd, chastising both sides for falling for this distraction; chastened, they vow to fight for their city along with her, in the name of both the Church and the Crown. They manage to assemble a defence in time to surround Buckingham’s army as it reaches the gates; and Buckingham, with too much invested to surrender, joins battle. Inside, the Doctor, Peri, and the Cardinal confront the King in the midst of the ball. He can no longer ignore their warnings; and with the entire nobility gathered here, the entire leadership of France could fall at once. Louis tries to focus on the smaller situation, believing that Buckingham has come for Anne, but the Doctor refuses to allow his jealousy to trump his judgement. If Buckingham wins here, England may rule the entire continent soon enough. At last, the King orders the ball cancelled and the palace sealed off.

Erimem leads the French troops into battle, routing the English army. Buckingham tries to personally take her hostage, but is unable to do so; instead, he rushes off. Erimem, Delmarre, and Rouffet follow; a word from Blind Maurice reveals that Buckingham is heading for the palace. Indeed, he kills the gate guard and slips inside. Meanwhile, Richelieu and Louis try to calm the nobles, and Anne plans to return to her quarters; but at Marie’s urging, she stays. The Doctor, meanwhile, is concerned for Erimem’s safety. Buckingham bursts in, and takes the King hostage, holding a gun to his head. Richelieu tries to save the King, but Marie draws a gun on him, revealing her part in the plot. The Doctor distracts Marie by throwing a sword at Buckingham; Peri knocks the gun from Marie’s hand. Buckingham tries to kill the Doctor; Louis tosses the Doctor a sword, and the two duel. As Erimem and the Musketeers arrive, the Doctor pins Buckingham to the wall—not harming him, but pinning his clothes, as a butterfly’s wings—prompting Delmarre to admit he is glad that he didn’t duel with the Doctor after all.

As the army is mopped up, the Doctor reveals what he found in the château: A letter which detailed Buckingham’s plans. Richelieu tears up the letter, choosing to cover the scandal and avoid the war with England that would result. Erimem wants Buckingham executed, but Richelieu recommends exile instead, and suggests allowing King Charles of England to determine his fate. Louis also expels Marie from the palace; and Buckingham rejects her as well, leaving her without recourse. Peri is upset at Buckingham’s easy fate, but the Doctor assures her that history records that he will be killed in a few years.

The next day, the King and the Cardinal press the Doctor to accept honorary commissions in both the Musketeers and the Cardinal’s guards. Delmarre and Rouffet then escort the Doctor and his friends to the TARDIS. Delmarre apologizes to the Doctor for his initial rudeness; the Doctor accepts the apology, but is unable to inspire the catchphrase “All for one and one for all!”. In the TARDIS, the Doctor offers Erimem a new course: instead of going to the Braxiatel Collection now, she can stay if she likes, and see what adventures await them. She accepts at once. The only hitch, in the Doctor’s view, is her wretched cat, whom she names Antranak in memory of her former mentor.

Cast Edit

References Edit

The Doctor Edit

  • The Doctor tells Erimem that, earlier in his personal timeline, he met an older version of Louis XIII in 1638.
  • The Doctor has a lifetime membership to the Marylebone Cricket Club.
  • The Doctor claims to have once met a Visigoth with a sword.

Foods and beverages Edit

Individuals Edit

Locations Edit

  • The Doctor has visited the Louvre.
DWM illistration The Church and the Crown

The comic preview for this story. (DWM 324)

Notes Edit

Continuity Edit

External links Edit

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