Kingdom of Lies was the two hundred and thirty-fourth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky and featured Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, Matthew Waterhouse as Adric, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa and Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka.
On the planet Cicero Prime, the kingdom of Cardenas is divided, with the whole population forced to swear allegiance to either the effete Duke or the fiery, hard-edged Duchess. This is a situation both parties have grown tired of. What use is half a kingdom when, thanks to a carefully engineered murder, you could have it all?
Surely, neither of them would be rash enough to summon the deadly off-world assassin the Scorpion to help with their problem? And surely, this terrifying figure wouldn’t arrive wearing a long cream coat and striped trousers…?
The TARDIS lands on the planet Cicero Prime, where the Duke and Duchess have just been married. However, a border separates their two kingdoms, clearly not showing unity between the two. The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa end up on one half of the line, with Tegan and Adric on the other. The Doctor meets the Duke of Cardenas, who mistakes the Doctor for assassin the Scorpion and Nyssa for his assistant (named Nyssa the Destroyer). Meanwhile, Tegan and Adric befriend the Duchess and her butler Tomek, who hires them as her bodyguards. The Doctor, as the Scorpion, is persuaded by the Duke's assistant Amelia to kill the Duchess on her way to the kingdom, but misses and supposedly kills Tegan and Adric.
The Doctor misses and blames it on a fault with the weapon. The Duchess turns the situation into an advantage to gain sympathy. The Duchess' parents, Lord Crozion and Lady Crozion, discuss their disgust about her husband on their way over for the anniversary celebration while the Doctor and Nyssa go to "scout their area" attempting to find Tegan and Adric when they spot the Duchess. The Doctor proposes a plan to which she agrees to help him get his friends back and give her what she wants.
The Duchess meets with Tomek and explains that the Doctor's plan to get her gunned down will allow her to expose her husband and have him executed. Tomek is, however, suspicious of the Doctor's plan. Tegan and Adric are searching for the Duchess' would-be assassin, unaware that it was the Doctor who shot at them. The Duke and Duchess next participate in a horse race while the Doctor and Nyssa spot Tegan and Adric. The two encounter Amelia who tells them where to find "The Scorpion" and "Nyssa the Destroyer" and they head over there. They find them in the tower and as the Doctor and Nyssa prepare to enact their plan, the Duchess, having won the race, gives a speech but is murdered right in the middle before the Doctor's plan can be carried out...
The four confusedly speculate what has happened and try to figure out what to do next, thinking the Duchess has been murdered for real. They are caught but thanks to Nyssa's distraction, Tegan and Adric get away while Nyssa and the Doctor escape. The Duke explains to the Doctor and Nyssa what his plan is and what has happened. Tegan and Adric suddenly run into the Duchess who reveals the Doctor's plan worked and she knows who he really is, then tricks the pair and taunts them, attempting to have them arrested.
The Duchess' parents arrive and the Doctor tries to explain to them what happened, angering Lord Crozion, but the Doctor explains it was just a facade and she's still alive. The Duchess reveals herself to her parents but Lord Crozion is adamant and exclaims that they will still be invading to take back the dowry by force but is distracted to go collect his reward from the betting stakes. Just then he spots Tegan and Adric and puts them under arrest but the Doctor dissuades him and convinces the four to come with him to the throne room for an impromptu "marriage council" session but to no avail as Lord Crozion refuses to budge, believing his son-in-law the Duke to be worthless. Outside Tegan Nyssa and Adric discuss something that's been bothering them and realize that Amelia and Tomek may be behind all this. The Doctor speaks with Adric who reveals his suspicions and he talks with the Duchess and has her summon Tomek and the Duke summon Amelia. They discover that Tomek was using a hologram projector and was manipulating both sides, pretending to be both servants. Tomek/Amelia is arrested but Nyssa is still suspicious. She reminds the Doctor that a laser bolt still hit the podium when the Duchess was "murdered" and someone would still have had to fire it.
Just then a of Sting ship arrives overhead carrying real assassins, in this case the real Scorpion who threatens to kill them all unless the real Duchess is brought to her...
The Doctor tries to reason with the Scorpion but she sees through his lies. The Duchess stupidly reveals herself and a chase ensues while the Doctor tries to stall her by negotiating. He manages to get away and finds the others while the Scorpion captures Lord Crozion in a stasis field. The Doctor realises they need the help of Tomek/Amelia and in his interrogation of Amelia-Tomek, he eventually discovers that the two-timer is called Zaina and that she hired the Scorpion. After some coercing from the Doctor she agrees to help. They reconvene with the others and make a plan to stop the Scorpion.
The Doctor has the others distract the Scorpion while he rescues Lord Crozion. They eventually get the Scorpion to fall right into the Doctor's "trap". He takes the Duke's credcard and offers all the credits on it and in exchange the Scorpion will leave them all in peace. The Scorpion accepts but murders the Duchess in cold blood anyway to preserve her reputation as "no job goes unfulfilled". The Doctor "threatens" the Scorpion with a gun but she calls his bluff and turns away, only for the Doctor to pull the trigger... but it is revealed he modified it to simply put a stasis field around the Scorpion. After a difficult decision, the Doctor lets the Scorpion go despite her crimes, believing that handing her over to Lord Crozion would be no better as he insists he will kill her anyway. As she leaves, it is revealed that the Doctor, Zaina and Duke Sebastian tricked them all, using the holographic projector and other technologies. The Doctor reveals that it was Sebastian who bravely volunteered to pose (and save) his wife and Sebastian and Miranda reconcile and she forbids her father from invading Cardenas.
The four head back to the TARDIS and take-off. It is revealed that the Duke and Duchess end up in another argument before they even get to bed.
- The Doctor - Peter Davison
- Adric - Matthew Waterhouse
- Nyssa - Sarah Sutton
- Tegan - Janet Fielding
- Sebastian Duke of Cardenas - Jonathan Firth
- Duchess Miranda - Charlotte Lucas
- Amelia - Harriet Thorpe
- Lord Crozion - Tim Bentinck
- Lady Crozion - Richenda Carey
- Tomek - Piotr Hatherer
- Mercenary - Patsy Kensit
- Additional Voices - Harry Smith
- The people of Cicero Prime place bets on the Battle of the Equinoids.
- Tegan mentions the dead reckoning on a 747.
- The Scorpion is the "most feared assassin in the sector" and the deadliest in the Seven Systems.
- Cicero Beta is another planet in the system.
- The Doctor has spoken with lord Tennyson and told him "kind hearts are worth more than coronets".
- The Duke's horse is named the "Cunning Little Vixen" after the soap operas of old Earth while the Duchess names hers "Dead Man Walking".
- The Scorpion uses a stasis field, also called a stasis bubble.
- Holodisguises disguise people and can also change the user's voice, similar to a hologram projector.
- A Sting ship is an interstellar craft from the Spadek system
- This story was recorded on 10 and 11 July 2017 at The Moat Studios, London.
- According to the script, the story had the working title Death and the Duchy.
- Patsy Kensit played the Scorpion in this story, but she is credited on the Big Finish website as "Mercenary".
- This story was originally released on CD and download.