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I've already sent word to the King: some minion has breathlessly informed him that you are behind a plot to use the Princes as figureheads for rebellion. Disgraced, you will be forced to flee to Wales. Richard will be persuaded that the Princes are too dangerous to live and will hopefully trump up a few charges to execute them publicly. All very satisfying. (I could go and tell-) You could... but he won't believe you. You're like a fly in amber, Henry. Crushed inside the pages of a history book like a flattened flower. Your insignificant fate is to betray the King and lose your head on a block of wood in Salisbury. Off you go then, Henry, second Duke of Buckingham! Fulfill your drab, pointless destiny!
~ Mr Seyton, gloating over "Bucko's" historical fate.

Mr. Seyton is the main antagonist of the Doctor Who Big Finish audio drama The Kingmaker. A time-travelling "soothsayer" in the service of Duke Richard of Gloucester, Seyton has pledged his allegiance to the ambition monarch and provided him with knowledge of future events - claiming that without his advice, England will be brought down from within by the scheming Woodvilles and eventually conquered by the French. However, Seyton is quite clearly using Richard for his own ends, and will not stop until he is certain that the Princes in the Tower have been killed.

He was voiced by Michael Fenton Stevenson.

Biography

In Defense Of Elizabeth

Renowned as England's greatest playwright and a legend throughout history, William Shakespeare was a good friend to the Doctor for many years prior to the events of the audio drama. However, though a great admirer of Shakespeare and his plays, the Doctor was not afraid to speak his mind concerning the historical accuracy of his friend's work, most notably Richard III.

Having set out to write a series of nonfiction books for children concerning famous historical mysteries (and having been reminded of the need to meet publishing deadlines by a heavily-armed publisher's robot from the future), the Time Lord decided to interview Shakespeare himself regarding one of the most persistent mysteries of King Richard III's reign, namely the murder of Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, AKA the Princes in the Tower. Over the course of the interview, the Doctor complained that most of the play was essentially propaganda glorifying the House of Tudor, primarily based on information contained in Thomas Moore's History of King Richard III (itself a notable work of propaganda in support of the Tudors). No evidence existed to confirm that King Richard was truly involved in the death of the Princes.

The interview soon escalated into a lengthy conversation over several ales, and after a happy evening spent getting drunk with Shakespeare, the Doctor made the mistake of revealing knowledge of the future to him, explaining that his work didn't stand up to scrutiny in the long term: by the 20th century, historians were beginning to question what reasons Richard would have for murdering the Princes, especially given that the two had already been deposed and posed no threat to him. Indeed, some even suspected Henry Tudor might have had the two assassinated in order to discredit Richard and seize his throne.

At the time, the Doctor believed that his explanation had resulted in another victory on the debating field and that his friend had been persuaded to see his point of view. In reality, however, Shakespeare was horrified. Following the death of his son and his wife turning "shrewish," the playwright had become obsessively devoted to his current patron, Queen Elizabeth I. Not only did he owe his career to her continued support, but he had even come to love her after a fashion, and the thought that his beloved queen's lineage would be slandered in future generations was simply too much for him to bear.

So, spiking the Doctor's ale with ginger beer, the playwright took advantage of the Doctor's ensuing disorientation to sneak into the TARDIS and conceal himself on board, determined to find a means of removing the blemish on Elizabeth's name via time travel. As soon as he was safely concealed, he went about raiding the Doctor's collections of alien memorabilia for weapons and equipment, including a Cyber-rifle, a Dalek mind control relay, a tape recorder and a Sontaran fragmetizing grenade (really the Doctor's electric toothbrush). Then, once the Doctor and his companions ventured into the past in order to learn the truth about the Princes in the Tower, Shakespeare followed them back to the 1480s with the goal of ensuring that Richard would commit the murders himself.

The Soothsayer

Due to a ginger beer-induced piloting mishap, the Doctor and his companions - Peri and Erimem - end up getting separated in time: the Doctor arrives in London, 1485, whereupon the TARDIS takes off again and deposits the two companions in Stony Stratford, 1483 - not far from the tavern where Duke Richard and Prince Edward V are staying for the night with their forces. Once Peri and Erimem have left the TARDIS in search of information, Shakespeare leaves and introduces himself to Richard's entourage as Mr Seyton, a time-travelling soothsayer. Initially concerned when he hears mention of "The Doctor" around the entourage, he is soon reassured that this was just a reference to Dr John Morton and the Time Lord isn't really involved in the proceedings.

Having secured an audience with Richard via his aide, Henry Stafford 2nd Duke of Buckingham, he regales the future king with a prophecy: with the aid of The Tragedy of Richard of Gloucester (a play he had written specifically for the occasion) he claims that Prince Edward will eventually be influenced by the Woodville family to have Richard imprisoned and executed, prompting enough unrest to allow the French to invade and seize control of the country; for the good of England, Edward V must never be allowed to ascend to the throne. Though skeptical of the "soothsayer's" advice, Richard later seems to reconsider and allows Seyton to serve as his adviser, granting the Bard further opportunities to persuade the duke to murder the Princes.

Over the course of the next few months, after conducting a number of high-profile executions and imprisonments throughout the aristocracy, Richard apparently takes Shakespeare's advice by having Edward and his brother declared bastards, imprisoning them in the Tower of London. As with established history, the duke ascends to the throne soon after, becoming King Richard III. However, Shakespeare insists that deposing the future monarchs is not enough, and the two princes have to be executed lest they be rescued by the Woodvilles. But Richard has no interest in murdering his nephews, and Shakespeare is forced to resort to alternate methods.

Having recognized that Stafford is beginning to chafe under Richard's leadership, he begins spying on him in the hope of finding some means of using the duke's discontent to his advantage: as such, when Stafford finds Peri and Erimem discussing the necessity of the Princes' deaths and mistakes them for fellow malcontents, Shakespeare immediately overhears the Duke of Buckingham recruiting them for the task of poisoning the troublesome prisoners. After ensuring that the recording of the conversation reaches the King, he intercepts Stafford and the two "wenches" on their way to the tower, and strikes up a temporary alliance with the treacherous duke: the new plan is to convince Peri and Erimem that they are really there to rescue the Princes, only to raise the alarm, get the two arrested as Woodville spies and use the incident as evidence that the Princes are too dangerous to leave alive.

Unfortunately, Peri and Erimem overhear the plan and - after mistaking Seyton for the Master - escape. So, Shakespeare decides instead to use Stafford's rebellion against the crown as a means of persuading Richard to kill the Princes, having already ensured that the Duke of Buckingham is doomed no matter what part he plays in the scheme. Unfortunately, Shakespeare's gloating over the unfortunate duke's fate gives Stafford the opportunity to steal his cyber-rifle and shoot the soothsayer in the knee, before promptly making his escape with the tower guards hot on his heels.

Limping back to the King's side, Shakespeare uses this incident as further proof that the Princes must be executed, whereupon Richard reveals that he's finally decided to act on the soothsayer's advice - namely by having Shakespeare executed for treason. Over the playwright's terrified protests, Sir James Tyrell drags him back into the depths of the Tower to "do unpleasant things to him."

Publishing Deadline

As it happens, Shakespeare's manipulations were completely ineffectual: Richard already knew of his future reputation as a villain, thanks to a constant stream of time-travelling tourists pestering him about the murder of the Princes throughout his lifetime, and had no intention of murdering his nephews. For good measure, most of these alien time-travelers were afraid of the Doctor, and the slightest mention of him - or anyone referred to as "the doctor" - was enough to get them to flee in terror. As such, as soon as Richard determined that Shakespeare was another time-traveler out to profit from his "murder" of the Princes and quite clearly afraid of being stopped by the Doctor, the King decided to string him along until he'd learned all he could in conversation - and then torture a confession out of him.

Over the course of his time in prison, Shakespeare tells Richard everything he knows about the Doctor; eventually, this allows the King to set a trap for the Doctor in 1485, arresting him and imprisoning him in the tower as well - where he intends to make him pay for the unwanted interference in his personal timeline. Once the Doctor is secured, he orders his guards to quietly execute Mr Seyton; unfortunately, the ambiguously-worded order only results in the extremely literal-minded guards releasing Shakespeare from captivity.

After retrieving the cyber-rifle and tagging several guards with Dalek mind-control relays, he then finds Peri and Erimem also imprisoned in the Tower - Richard having hired them as body-doubles for the missing Princes. Then, with a small army and two hostages in tow, he descends into the dungeons and confronts Richard and the Doctor in person. Here, Mr Seyton's true identity is chronologically revealed to both Peri and the audience, much to her confusion. Once Shakespeare has had a chance to rant at length about his motives and shoo out the two serving girls that had been "visiting" the dungeon, he captures Richard and the Doctor, forcing them into the TARDIS at gunpoint - now intent on having the legendarily villainous King tried for the murder of the Princes in the court of Queen Elizabeth herself.

But when Shakespeare demands to know where the bodies of the Princes have been hidden, Richard reveals that there never were any Princes in the tower: Edward V and his brother are actually Princesses, having been raised as boys in an attempt to avoid a power struggle over the primogeniture; the reason why Richard had them deposed and imprisoned was because the two "Princes" could no longer effectively maintain their disguise thanks to the onset of puberty. Having no desire to harm his nieces, Richard had hired Peri and Erimem as body doubles in order to keep up the pretense that the Princes were still alive and well within the Tower; the ex-princes were then set free and allowed to live out their rest of their days as Judith and Susan - the serving girls that Shakespeare had let slip past him back in the dungeons.

Incredulous, Shakespeare demands that they return for the two Princesses, believing that their testimony would discredit Richard for all time. At this point, however, the TARDIS finally lands in 1597 - at the Globe Theater, right in the middle of a performance of Richard III. Desperate to save the production, Shakespeare hurries out in an attempt to manage his actors, only for a very real and extremely angry Richard to storm out after him, having taken issue with his portrayal in the play; worse still, the cyber-rifle is out of power.

After being chased through the streets of London by a sword-wielding Richard, Shakespeare eventually manages to double back and lose his pursuer in the city's alleys. Making his way back to the TARDIS, he arms himself with the Sontaran grenade (still unaware that it's just the Doctor's electric toothbrush) and takes Erimem hostage in an attempt to force the Doctor to return him to 1483. However, this only results in Erimem breaking Shakespeare's arm.

It is here that the publisher's robot reappears in the TARDIS, but thanks to the Doctor's earlier sabotage, the robot is now targeting Shakespeare and demanding a second draft of The Tempest. Bewildered and terror-stricken, Shakespeare exits the TARDIS with the robot in hot pursuit - only to find that thanks to another ginger beer-induced mishap, the TARDIS has re-materialized at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, the site of Richard III's death. With his limp and broken arm, Shakespeare is immediately mistaken for Richard and promptly hacked to pieces by enemy troops.

With Shakespeare's place in history vacant, the still-living Richard III is required to assume his position, the Doctor allowing the King-turned-playwright and his nieces to make a new life for themselves in 1597.


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