Doctor Who – The Monster of Peladon

Doctor Who - The Monster of Peladon
Doctor Who – The Monster of Peladon

“The Monster of Peladon” is an adventure of the eleventh season of “Doctor Who” classic series which aired in 1974. It follows “Death to the Daleks“, it’s a sequel to “The Curse of Peladon” and it’s a six parts adventure written by Brian Hayles and directed by Lennie Mayne.

The story

The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) returns to the planet Peladon, this time along with Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen), but arrives fifty years after his previous visit. King Peladon is dead and the on the throne there’s Queen Thalira, his only daughter. Luckily for him, the Doctor is recognized by Alpha Centauri.

The planet Peladon has long been part of the Galactic Federation and is important for its abundance of trisilicate, a mineral vital in the production of electronic circuits and other products. However, only the planet’s aristocracy got rich while the miners conditions haven’t improved and this has led them to strike. When aliens equipment and workers come to go on with the mining, vital because the Federation is at war with another galaxy, Aggedor starts appearing in the tunnels, killing natives and aliens and Chancellor Ortron claims that it’s a punishment for the presence of aliens on the planet.

Extras

This DVD contains a good amount of extras: in fact it’s a two DVDs edition. There are typical contents such as production subtitles, Radio Times Listings, a trailer about the next DVDs to be released and a gallery of pictures from this adventure.

There are comments in the adventure alternative audio track moderated by Toby Hadoke by actors Nina Thomas, Donald Gee, Ralph Watson and Stuart Fell, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks.

The Peladon Saga – Part Two. The second part of a documentary about the adventures set on the planet Peladon.

Deleted Scenes. A cut scene recreated using the survived audio.

Where Are They Now? An interview for 1980 to Ysanne Churchman, the voice of Alpha Centauri in the two Peladon adventures.

On Target – Terrance Dicks. A documentary on the role of Terrance Dicks in the production of “Doctor Who” novels. It’s not an extra connected directly to the Peladon adventures so it’s more interesting to fans, especially those who read “Doctor Who” books.

More PDF Material. BBC material relating to this adventure, including a drawing of one of the sets.

“The Curse of Peladon” had been a success so it was decided to produce a sequel with the same crew, the same sets and props to reproduce the atmosphere of that adventure the best way. “The Monster of Peladon” is again inspired by the chronicles of the time, in this case to the British miners’ strike of 1973.

Unfortunately ,the result wasn’t the same. Reproducing the atmosphere of “The Curse of Peladon” was a good idea, the problem is that there are too many similarities in the plot of the two adventures, especially in the first half of “The Monster of Peladon”, and when the plot of the second serial is different it doesn’t always works well.

In “The Monster of Peladon” Thalira is the young Queen, who’s trying to do the good of the planet like her father fifty years before, but she struggles to assert the power that her position in theory gives her. Even worse, she’s a girl and the planet is still chauvinistic so conservative Chancellor Ortron often does what he wants. The novelty is that in this case Sarah Jane, who’s a young independent woman, tries to encourage her with feminist ideas.

As in “The Curse of Peladon”, the Doctor must discover who’s behind the appearances of Aggedor and he meet the true royal beast, hypnotizes it and sings it a venusian lullaby.

The main new feature in “The Monster of Peladon” is the struggle of Peladon’s miners to obtain better conditions. Within their group there’s the contrast between the moderate leader Gebek, who seeks an agreement with the Queen, and the hot-headed Ettis, who encourages an open rebellion.

Unfortunately, a good part of this adventure is made ​​of people who go back and forth among the tunnels or between the mines and the throne chamber, which is conveniently just minutes away. This is a feature of the various adventures of the classic “Doctor Who” series which at times were made longer this way. “The Monster of Peladon” would work better if it had been a little shorter but in those years the adventures were composed of 4 or 6 episodes.

Because of its flaws, “The Monster of Peladon” has made a quite negative reputation among fans. In my opinion it’s not so bad after all. Sure, it’s far from a masterpiece and is definitely not as good as “The Curse of Peladon” but overall I think it’s a decent adventure.

In recent years, Big Finish has produced two audio adventures set on the planet Peladon. “The Bride of Peladon” – available on Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon U.S.A. – features the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison), Peri (Nicola Bryant) and Erimem (Caroline Morris). In the series “The Companion Chronicles” there’s the adventure “The Prisoner of Peladon” – available on Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon U.S.A. – in which David Troughton reprises his role as King Peladon.

In Region 2 and Region 4 countries this DVD is part of the “Peladon Tales” box set – available on Amazon UK – and even in Region 1 DVDs the documentary “The Peladon Saga” is split in two parts between “The Curse of Peladon” and “The Monster of Pelandon” DVDs making them an unofficial box set. The boxset contains an excellent adventure and a lesser one with extras that overall are good. For fans, this is a boxset to have anyway, for others it may be interesting to know the Third Doctor, also because there are two different companions. If you buy the two DVDs separately, I recommend “The Curse of Peladon” while you can buy “The Monster of Peladon” if you find it at a bargain price.

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