Continuing their releases of restored Doctor Who stories,
the BBC put out a couple of adventures staring Jon Pertwee, the third
play the long-lived time-traveler that are linked:
The Curse of Peladon and the follow up story
(made a couple of years later) The Monster of Peladon.
I'll tackle the first one in this review, and
should have the other one up in a week or so.
Taking a test flight in the TARDIS, the Doctor and Jo think
they've landed on Earth, but when they leave their vessel they discover
they're actually on Peladon, a mineral-rich planet that has a
of technology but a forward looking king who wants to join the Galactic
Federation. The only problem is that the
high priest, Hepesh, fears that the Federation is going to rape the
its minerals and that the people, seduced by cheap technological
abandon their culture and way of life.
When the Doctor and Jo show up, the King assumes that he's
the representative of the Galactic Federation from Earth.
Along with a pair of Ice Warriors from Mars, a
head encased in a glass bowl from Arcturus, and a giant eye-headed
Alpha Centauri, the Doctor has to determine if Peladon qualifies for
The King's chief advisor is killed mysteriously and soon
after the Doctor arrives a large statue of the local god, Aggedor,
nearly kills a representative. Hepesh
says these are signs that Aggedor is angry with the people and that
shouldn't join the Federation. The king
isn't sure. He wants to join, but he
doesn't want to anger his old friend Hepesh (and the fact that the King
crush on Jo just confuses him even more.)
The Doctor suspects that one of the representatives is actually
the attacks, and he's pretty sure that his old nemesis the Ice Warriors
This was a great Who
adventure. It has everything that a fan
could want: some interesting aliens, old
adversaries, a solid mystery, a good amount of action, and a healthy
humor. It's not secret that Pertwee is
'my' Doctor, and this story is a prime example of why.
Pertwee is a bit arrogant in parts, humorous
in others, and comes across as realistic yet alien at the same time. Katy Manning is excellent as Jo, as always. She's bubbly and cheerful, not to mention
cute as a button, yet she's willing to do dangerous things when the
circumstances require it.
As for the other characters, I really disliked the King
(played by Patrick Troughton's son David) and though he was the weakest
in the story. He's too much of a wimp to
be an effective leader and indecisive to boot.
There was supposed to be a budding romance between he and Jo,
one that occurred Planet of the Daleks,
but it just wasn't believable. I just
never bought that she was really interesting in the wet rag.
Hepesh, on the other hand, was an excellent character.
He wasn't undermining the talks just to be a
villain or evil, he honestly thought his planet and especially his
culture was in dire danger. You could
see his point, and understand why he took the steps that he did. The story as a whole can be seen as an
allegory between the constant conflict between religion and science,
that is still plaguing the US
Another highlight of this story was the many alien creatures
that appeared. Yeah, I know, the classic
Doctor Who monsters always look silly, and that's true here to some
they went the extra distance to make them be a bit more alien than some
creatures that the Doctor has run across.
Arcturus was the most interesting, being a head on top of a box,
a cross between a Dalek and Commander Pike for the original Star Trek. He was definitely not a six foot tall biped,
as many of the Who creatures turn out
to be. They also put some effort into
making Alpha Centauri look alien with the huge eye-head, multiple arms,
especially the high-pitched voice. It
was an admirable attempt and made the story more interesting.
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, with the Restoration Team performing
more magic. The original video tapes for
these episodes were wiped in the 70's, so the Team worked with color
broadcast tapes that turned up in Canada.
The tape for the third episode was in pretty
rough shape apparently, but the work done on that installment brings it
up to the level of the others on this disc.
As it is, Episode Three is a bit softer than the others but it's
drastic and my kids didn't notice it while we were screening the show. The colors are nice and the fine detail is
good but the show is a little on the soft side. This looks
comparable to the other Who releases from this time frame, which means
getting a pretty solid transfer.
This disc has some great extras included, as is the standard for Doctor Who releases. There
is a commentary track with Katy Manning
(Jo Grant), Barry Letts (Producer), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor) and
D'Oyly-John (Production Assistant) which is hosted by Toby Hadoke. It was informative and chatty.
The Peladon Saga -
Part One gives a behind the scenes look at the two Peledon stories
other one is The Monster of Peledon,
which was released on DVD at the same time as this story) and it
focuses on the
first adventure though the second one is mentioned a few times. Warriors
of Mars is a short history of the Ice Warriors.
The featurette also talks with the people who
helped design and bring the creatures to life. Jon and Katy is a short
it were longer) featurette that discusses the two actors and how the
interacted. It was especially fun to
hear Katy Manning talking about her relationship with Pertwee. It sounds like he was a great guy.
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
on the supporting characters. The extras are rounded off with
comparison, a trailer for the story, a photo gallery, and the listing
Radio Times in .pdf format.
This wouldn't be a great introduction to the world of Doctor
Who, but if you have at least a
little bit of knowledge about the show this adventure comes Highly
Recommended. It's witty, action packed
and filled with
some great monsters. I really liked the
villain too. In a lot of ways he was the
most sympathetic and well rounded characters in the story.
Who fans will really enjoy this one.