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Published on January 13th, 2010 | by James Whittington

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Doctor Who: Peladon Tales

The two Jon Pertwee stories that were set on the planet of Peladon have been packaged together in this neat 3-disc box set. A good idea as these aren’t really the finest examples of Third Doctor’s era and rely heavily on script padding.

Disc 1:

The Curse Of Peladon

The Doctor and Jo make an inelegant landing on the planet Peladon whilst on a test flight in the TARDIS. Mistaken for representatives from Earth, the Doctor soon finds himself chairing the committee of alien delegates assessing Peladon’s petition to join the Galactic Federation. When one of the king’s advisors is killed, the High Priest fears the ancients Curse of Aggedor is at work, but the Doctor suspects his old enemies the Ice Warriors are to blame. Can the Doctor and Jo uncover the identity of the saboteurs before a diplomatic incident plunges them into war?

Jon Pertwee stars in the Peladon Tales DVD boxsetTopical for its time, The Curse of Peladon is a melodramatic piece of Doctor Who that gets swallowed up by its ever-disappointing storyline. Peladon is a place ruled by fears of legend and curse, which is a great starting point but the over reliance on politics to forward the narrative drags it down. This was the Doctor’s first flight after being exiled on Earth, also Jo’s first trip that makes me wonder why such a pedestrian story was chosen. Even the rock-face sequence at the start lacks any real suspense. On the plus side The Ice Warriors are always good value for money, shame the other alien creatures are so poorly realised that, even for its time, these would be considered poor effects.

The supporting cast, which includes the impeccable David Troughton and Geoffrey Toone do their best but on the whole this is one of the weaker 3rd Doctor stories.

Extras Disc 1:

Commentary - Katy Manning, Barry Letts, Terrence Dicks and Chris D’Oyly-John all contribute to this upbeat gag track.

The Peladon Saga Part 1 – The Markets and the Minors: Charting the changes Doctor Who was going through at the time (the show was moving away from Earth bound stories) Barry Letts and Terrence Dicks (amongst others) chat happily about the first Peladon story, how it was created and possibly inspired by the political happenings of the early ’70′s. A solid extra with loads of new information.

Warriors of Mars – This 15-minute, educational extra charts the history of these very underused characters from classic Doctor Who. Created by Brian Hayles, I’d love to see these characters in the new series.

Jon and Katy – Pertwee and Manning were a winning combination, their on-screen chemistry was there from their very first adventure and this affectionate piece celebrates their winning acting combination. Katy is on hand to chat about their professional relationship but I just wish Jon was still here to share thoughts on their work.

Storyboard Comparison – Click here to see Visual Effects Designer Ian Scoones’ hand drawn storyboards and how his ideas were realised on The Curse Of Peladon.

Info Text – Yes the old favourite is here in all its educational and fun-filled glory. A great extra.

Photo Gallery – A huge selection of production shots that really will only interest the more hardcore fans out there.

Coming Soon – A promo for the rip-roaring Tom Baker adventure The Masque Of Mandragora.

PDF Materials – Contained on the ROM section are BBC Enterprises Sales Literature and Radio Times Listings.

Disc 2:

The Monster Of Peladon

The TARDIS arrives on the planet of Peladon half a century after the Doctor’s first visit. The Doctor and Sarah discover a troubled planet ruled by the late King’s daughter. Peladon is at the centre of a war – and the Galactic Federation desperately need a mineral found in the mines. But why is the ghost of Aggedor killing miners and why can’t everyone be trusted? Queen Thalira needs the Doctor’s help to find out.

Faster paced than the previous adventure (even though this is a six part story), The Monster Of Peladon is a far more enjoyable piece than its predecessor. Packed with plenty of worthy dialogue and Pertwee firing on all chin-rubbing cylinders, it’s a wonderful reminder of his time as the Doctor. His delivery is soulful and packed with knowledge and wit. His conversations with Sarah Jane are not just here to keep the audience up to speed, but filled with humour and heart.

Peladon is still worried about the legend of Aggador but this time it’s more real with the political side story being continuously pushed to one side. Its fear of new technology may have been a sign of the times, engineering was turning more and more away from manual work and machines were taking over. It has basically the same plot as the previous story but it has more depth to it, more worthy dialogue and though many fans think this is a weaker piece I disagree and find it a more rewarding story.

Extras Disc 2:

Commentary - Actors Nina Thomas, Donald Gee, Ralph Watson and Stuart Fell, producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks and, for episode four only, a commentary by fans Rob Shearman, Mark Aldridge, Kate Du-Rose and Philip Newman. Moderated by Toby Hadoke (who was only a month old when the story was made) this is a great collection of anecdotes and memories.

Extras Disc 3:

The Peladon Saga Part 2 - The Monsters and the Monarchs: As good as the first instalment this focuses on the aliens used especially Aggedor. Nick Hobbs, who played this hairy beast, recounts his time under such a heavy-duty costume. Did you know his roar was a culmination of many things including a Corgi’s bark?

Deleted Scene – Sarah Jane Smith and the Doctor chat in front of a statue of Aggador which links into an audio piece that has been reconstructed for this release. A nice extra and even though it doesn’t really flesh the story.

Where Are The Now? – Ysanne Churchman pops up here to discuss her voice work on the Peladon stories as the hermaphrodite hexapod Alpha Centauri with radio legend David Jacobs. Light and slightly upper class it’s an innocent but short interview that is charming in its own way.

On Target: Terrance Dicks - Alan Barnes, Paul Cornell and David J. Howe and Dicks himself celebrate those Target books that kept us older fans enthralled until stories were repeated and the invention of VHS! Best extra on the disc, it benefits from short examples of Howe’s amazing knowledge of the range which isn’t called upon half as much as it should have been. For me this could have been much longer.

Photo Gallery – Another large collection of production shots from the archives.

Coming Soon – The same trailer as on Disc 1 for The Masque Of Mandragora.

PDF Materials - BBC Enterprises, Radio Times Listings and Studio Floor plan are all here in the ROM section.

Easter Egg – A great piece of research this one, not saying what though!

Peladon Tales is a good set saved by a solid selection of extras. Maybe new Who could revisit this mysterious planet and let us see what 21st century effects could do for it.

Available in shops now with an RRP of £29.99, Peladon Tales is currently available from Amazon for just £17.98!

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About the Author

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James has been a Doctor Who fan for as long as he can recall. A child of the 70s and 80s, he weathered all the storms and controversies the show encountered, though he didn’t buy the “Doctor In Distress” single.




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