The King of Golden Death was the eighth and final story in the 1968 Doctor Who Annual. Like the only other Earthbound story in the volume, it was a pure historical. Its theme was one that would occasionally feature in Doctor Who fiction. It asked whether time travellers have the right to take things from one time period which they know will be valuable in another.
Summary[edit | edit source]
Ben exits the TARDIS into a darkened world. He beckons for Polly and the Second Doctor to join him. Gradually, as light is literally thrown onto their environs, the Doctor deduces they are in the tomb of Pharaoh Tut-Ankh-Amen, the boy king whose rich tomb survived unmolested into the 20th century. The two companions marvel at the riches around them. Polly suggests that they take some of the gold-plated excess back with them in the TARDIS. Ben agrees, but the Doctor most forcefully counters their suggestions of theft. As they argue, they hear actual grave robbers entering the tomb. Disappointed, the Doctor realises they can't be in Tut's tomb, since it was never plundered. Still, he wants to find out what these robbers are up to, even though his two companions are ready to leave before they get killed by the raiders.
Ben counters with a deal: he'll go scare off the grave robbers if the Doctor will take Polly back to the TARDIS and get ready for immediate departure. In return, the Doctor will agree to allow Ben and Polly to take one souvenir each from the tomb. The Doctor doesn't disagree to the plan, so Ben is off like a shot into the darkness. He grabs the golden facemask of King Tut and owing to the fact that he bears an uncanny resemblance to Tut, slips it over his facial features easily. When he encounters the robbers, he flashes his torch onto his now-golden face and lets loose an unholy wail. Spooked, the raiders depart the tomb so hurriedly they cause a minor cave-in which seals the entrance to the tomb. Ben races back to the TARDIS and comes to the realisation that this must be the tomb of a young king after all. Having seen the raiders personally, he judges they must be in ancient Egypt. The Doctor is right: this is King Tut's tomb, and he's only recently died. Ben realises it would be wrong to steal anything from the tomb, so he drops the golden mask and jumps into the TARDIS.
Characters[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor mentions 20th century archaeologist Howard Carter, and that Carter would discover King Tut's tomb in 1923.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Like many early Doctor Who print stories, both comic and prose, the Doctor is referred to as "Doctor Who" or "Dr. Who". The word "doctor" is not even seen as a proper noun here when used on its own to refer to the character. Also, "the TARDIS" is always styled "the Tardis", as if it weren't an acronym, but a ship name.
- As with other stories in the 1968 annual, the Second Doctor refers to Ben and Polly as "my children", or, individually, "my child", "my girl", or "my boy". Uncharacteristic of the Second Doctor, this seems to be a hold-over from the First Doctor interpretation; there was simply too little time between when Patrick Troughton took over and this annual had to go to print for the annual's editors to understand Troughton's approach to the role.
- As in other illustrated stories throughout the annual, the Doctor is shown here wearing his stovepipe hat. Despite the fact that the Second Doctor never actually wore the hat after The Underwater Menace, World Distributors (Manchester), Ltd depicted him wearing the hat in every annual in which he appeared.
- Ben's language is peppered with far greater nautical expressions than was the case on television.
- This story was read by Anneke Wills in The Doctor Who Audio Annual. On 13 May 2020 the reading was released in full on the official Doctor Who Youtube channel.
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- Ben claims that the Doctor doesn't have the ability to tell the time period in which the TARDIS materialises. The Doctor shows an inability to precisely know when he's landed in a number of televised stories, including: TV: The Reign of Terror, The Visitation and The Unquiet Dead.
- Polly suggests they rob the tomb of its riches. Ben is amenable to the notion. The Doctor, as would be expected, is morally outraged at the notion. Though only a proposed abuse of time travel in this instance, other people actually took advantage of the time travel afforded by the TARDIS. The Doctor's earlier incarnation had taken the Monk to task for just this sort of plundering of the past's riches. (TV: The Time Meddler) Much later, Anji Kapoor used information about future business trends, which Trix MacMillan passed to her from the TARDIS to carry out successful investments in the early 21st century. (PROSE: The Gallifrey Chronicles) The Doctor's ninth incarnation would throw Adam Mitchell out of the TARDIS for abusing time travel to use information about the development of computers for his own personal gain. (TV: The Long Game) The Doctor's tenth incarnation would himself abuse his privileges as a time traveller to give Donna Noble a winning lottery ticket as a wedding present. (TV: The End of Time)
- During his seventh incarnation, the Doctor met Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt in 1902. (AUDIO: False Gods)