The BBC has released a pair of theme related Doctor Who adventures over
region one land: The Curse of Peladon
(read my review of that story here)
and its sequel The Monster of Peladon. The first was a great Pertwee era story that
was firing on all cylinders. This follow
up doesn't quite live up to the standard set by the first story, but it
solid entry into the series that would have been helped by cutting it
Two years after his first trip to Peladon, the Doctor (Jon
Pertwee) decides to take his new companion, Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth
back for a visit. He plans to land
inside the main compound, but the TARDIS, as always, doesn't quite get
right. He ends up on a cliff near the
castle but 50 years after he meant to arrive.
Peladon is now ruled by King daughter
Thalira (Nina Thomas). Like her father,
she's weak-willed and easily
pushed around by her advisors.
Peladon is now a full-fledged member of the Federation,
which is good for the organization since Peladon is rich in
that compound is desperately needed. The
Galactic Federation is at war with Galaxy Five and Tirsilicate is what
the engine of war. Unfortunately the
miners on Peladon are distrustful of the new mining technology that the
Federation is willing to give them. They're
a traditional people and feel that using technology to increase
wrong. When an image of their god Agador
appears and kills a miner, the rest of the workers fear that they've
Agador and stop working.
Of course it's into this atmosphere of distrust that the
Doctor appears. Luckily he's recognized
by his old friend, the egg-headed Federation representative Alpha
the tale of his earlier visit has become legend. He
needs to discover who is behind the
sabotage in the mines and get the miners back to work before the
sends in troops to force them to dig.
This is an interesting series, with the tone of the adventure
changing half way thought. That's a nice
touch which keeps the story interesting but even with that plot trick
is just a bit too long. If they had cut
it down to five, or even four, episodes this adventure would be just as
as the first, but as it is Monster is
a bit weaker. The main problems are
and repetition. It seems like some of
the sub-plots are included just to fill in the six-episode schedule and
that they include several variations on the same theme.
The miners attack the citadel a few times,
the leader of the minors gives a speech to calm everyone down only to
rival incite everyone more than once, and there's a lot of time spent
monitoring room, well... just looking at screens.
The first half of the story also seems to be an exact repeat
of the earlier story; the weak ruler is pushed around by his top
(who distrusts the Doctor and all outsiders) amidst sightings of the
who is apparently killing people. Yeah,
we did that. Luckily the plot takes a
swift swerve at the end of episode three and things get mixed up a bit.
The show isn't a total loss however and when all is said and
done the positives outweigh the negatives.
Jon Pertwee does a good job as always, and Elisabeth Sladen
great companion. She's feisty but at the
same time she realizes that she's out of her depth dealing with
intrigue and such. The scene where she
gives the queen a lecture on Women's Lib dates the show a bit, but it's
priceless. It was also nice to see Alpha
once again (though you wonder how someone so easily manipulated and
lacking in intelligence
became an ambassador. I guess it gave a
lot of money to the right political campaign.
The action certainly picks up in the second half and the
story gets more interesting then too. The
battle between the miners and the villains of the story is great, and
conclusion works well. It's just too bad
that they couldn't have edited the show a bit tighter.
That's the only thing keeping this story from
being a classic.
This release is a two-disc affair. The six episode story is
on disc one while the second one is reserved for the bulk of the
This show comes with the original mono soundtrack that fits the show
fine. The dynamic range is nothing to write home about, but the
generally crisp and clear and there is no background noise, tape hiss,
distortion or dropouts. There are optional subtitles in English.
The full frame image looks good. The
Team did their usual fine job and this story is even a bit sharper than
companion, The Curse of Peladon. (That's
because all six episodes of this
series still survive on the original VTRs, as where the earlier story's
original tapes were wiped and the restoration had to be performed on
from Canada.) The colors are nice and the fine detail is
good. The blacks are pretty strong too,
but there is some detail lost in bright, white areas in a few scenes. It's not a big deal though.
This looks very comparable to the other Who
releases from this time frame, which means your getting a pretty solid
This disc has some great extras included, as is the standard for Doctor
releases. There is a commentary track for all episodes, five of
hosted by Toby Hadoke. He is joined by
Dicks (Script Editor), Barry Letts (Producer), Nina Thomas (Queen
Donald Gee (Eckersley), Ralph Watson (Ettis) and Stuart
Fell (Alpha Centauri). While this wasn't
as fun as the track for Curse of Peladon, it was very
informative and Hadoke does a good job of keeping the discussion going
lively. There's also a 'fan commentary'
episode four conducted by Rob Shearman, Mark Aldridge, Kate Du-Rose and
Newman. While this is certainly a dream
come true for the people involved, you can tell they're extremely
excited to be
recording the track, their comments are a bit obvious.
They talk about how exciting, and surprising
it was to see the Ice Warriors appear at the end of Chapter Three back
show was first aired (they're on the cover, so my revelation of that
much of a spoiler) and discuss what they enjoyed about this story and
as a whole. It wasn't bad, but
afterwards I didn't feel like I had any more knowledge than I did going
Most of the bonus material is found on disc two. The
Peladon Saga - Part Two gives a
behind the scenes look at the two Peledon stories (the other one is The
of Peledon, which was released on DVD at the same time as this
it talks about both stories, and this one focuses on the characters
production. There's a two-minute deleted scene which only the
survives. The video is recreated with
stills. There's a 2 ½ minute
from an interview with Ysanne Churchman (who voiced Alpha Centauri)
from a show
'Where are They Now?', and a very nice 20+ minute look at that Doctor
novelizations that Taraget books released in England.
This one focuses on Terrance Dicks who penned
many of the books, and I particularly enjoyed this featurette. I remember discovering three of these British
paperbacks in a used bookstore back in the mid 70's.
It was like discovering gold. Who
stories that I had only seen mentioned in
passing could now be experience, albeit not in the form that they were
originally intended. In those pre-VCR
days it was amazing and I spent a lot of time and money tracking down
Target editions. The featurette includes
some of the old cast members reading excerpts from these books, and
In addition there is a pop-up informational text option
which is very informative as always. It does give some dry
statistics, like how many people viewed each episode, but there are
interesting notes such as script changes that were made and background
information on the supporting characters. The extras are rounded
storyboard comparison, a trailer for the story, a photo gallery, and
listing from the Radio Times in .pdf format.
While this isn't as exciting as the first Peladon story, it does have
great moments and is well worth watching.
The story is good, though a bit repetitive in parts, and Pertwee
wonderful job. It was also nice to see
Elisabeth Sladen in an early Sarah Jane appearance.
this one down and check it out.