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To Play the King 

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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Series cast summary:
Ian Richardson ...  Francis Urquhart 4 episodes, 1993
Michael Kitchen ...  The King 4 episodes, 1993
Kitty Aldridge ...  Sarah Harding 4 episodes, 1993
Colin Jeavons ...  Tim Stamper 4 episodes, 1993
Diane Fletcher Diane Fletcher ...  Elizabeth Urquhart 4 episodes, 1993
Nicholas Farrell ...  David Mycroft 4 episodes, 1993
Rowena King ...  Chloe Carmichael 4 episodes, 1993
Leonard Preston Leonard Preston ...  John Stroud 4 episodes, 1993
Erika Hoffman Erika Hoffman ...  The Lady 4 episodes, 1993
Jack Fortune Jack Fortune ...  Ken Charterhouse 4 episodes, 1993
Nick Brimble ...  Corder 4 episodes, 1993
Bernice Stegers ...  Princess Charlotte 3 episodes, 1993
David Ryall ...  Sir Bruce Bullerby 3 episodes, 1993
Pip Torrens ...  Andrew Harding 3 episodes, 1993
Frederick Treves ...  Lord Quillington 3 episodes, 1993
Tom Beasley Tom Beasley ...  Young Prince / ... 3 episodes, 1993
Don Warrington ...  Graham Gaunt 3 episodes, 1993
Paula Tilbrook Paula Tilbrook ...  Speaker 3 episodes, 1993
John Bird John Bird ...  Bryan Brynford-Jones 2 episodes, 1993
Kate Ricketts Kate Ricketts ...  Current Affairs Lady 2 episodes, 1993
Merelina Kendall ...  Hilda Cordwainer 2 episodes, 1993
Anthony Smee Anthony Smee ...  John Staines 2 episodes, 1993
John Paul Connolly John Paul Connolly ...  Sturdy Beggar 2 episodes, 1993
Soo Drouet 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 <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

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Release Date:

8 October 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To Play the King See more »

Company Credits

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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 »


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

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User Reviews

Deeper, richer, with a surprising emotional core
31 August 2010 | by Edmund_BloxamSee all my reviews

There is much more drama here, much deeper character development and, of course, the whole story has a whole new depth than that of its predecessor 'House of Cards', which everyone seems to prefer. That was mostly humorous, very light entertainment.

I found this one far more rewarding due to the above. Gone was the inevitability and lack of challenge of 'H.O.C.'. Here the main character has to plum to real depths to achieve his aims.

Onto the gripes: Primarily, the pacing is a real problem. It struck me that the first three episodes were little more than exposition, establishing the situations of the story, a three-hour Act One. Nothing really happens, story-wise, until the final episode.

The presentation of the homeless was at times a little trite, although it was amusing to confirm my suspicions about Emma Bunton's acting skills.

I did not find the ending forced at all. In fact, the means are far more convincing and difficult to pull off than any of the maneuverings of 'H.O.C.'

What carries this serial through really is the relationship between Urquhart and Harding. Although clearly an echo of that of with Storrin in 'H.O.C', it does not seem out of place; here is something with strange, emotional, dark and disturbing undertones.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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