Which One : The Federation conference.
Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Jo : Katy Manning
King Peladon : David Troughton
Chancellor Torbis : Henry Gilbert
Hepesh : Geoffrey Toone
Grun : Gordon St. Clair
Guard Captain : George Giles
Aggedor : Nick Hobbs
Alpha Centauri : Stuart Fell/Ysanne Churchman
Izlyr : Alan Bennion
Ssorg : Sonny Caldinez
Arcturus : Murphy Grumbar/Terry Bale
Amazonia : Wendy Danvers
Written By : Brian Hayles.
Produced By : Barry Letts
First UK Broadcast : 29 January–19 February 1972.
Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Doctor and Jo land the Tardis on Peladon, right in the middle of a conference between the King Of Peladon and delegates of The Federation. The Doctor is mistaken for the Earth delegate and saboteurs are afoot, to prevent Peladon joining the Federation.
Whats good : It’s a twisty who-dunnit. The delegate aliens are well designed. Agaddor statue.
Whats bad : Peladon is not as uniquely styled as it should be – with Roman and Saxon type cast off get ups and bland tunnels lit by torchlight.
Review With Spoilers : Curse Of Peladon is the 2nd episode of season 9 of Who. It also had an indirect sequel with Monster Of Peladon – 2 years later.
The obvious aspertion which can be cast, about the similarities between the Federation in this – and the one from Star Trek – are not without foundation.
Indeed, much of Curse Of Peladon seems to exactly paraphrase the events from the original episode of Star Trek – Journey To Babel.
We have a diplomatic mission, a plot to sabotage events by murder and a bunch of motivationally questionable delegates – of various alien backgrounds.
The Doctor is mistaken for the Earth delegate (who hasn’t arrived) and plays along – due to sensing a conspiracy. We also have a green, one eyed Alpha Centaurian bug – with 6 arms called Alpha Centauri. Ice Warriors – as Mars delegates and a head in a life support box – called Arcturus.
Peladonian Traditionalist are looking to sabotage the conference with some help from rogue Federation delegates. To prevent Peladon from joining the Federation and becoming hi-tech. To achieve this, they summon a big hairy beast from Peladonian legend – Aggedor, to kill.
Aggedor is – as you would expect a bit questionable looking. Indeed his statue is actually more menacing than the actual real man-in-a-suit beastie itself.
Thankfully though, Aggedor’s part in this story is mercifully small which helps not to detract from proceedings (too much) and actually turns out to be more a benevolent pet, once the Doctor has hypnotised it with Venusian lullabies – that is.
The delegates are, in contrast – well designed and memorable aliens. Especially Alpha Centauri and Arcturus is particularly bizarre looking. The Ice Warriors are also effective, looking the part also – with their lizardy covered faces and raspy whispery voices.
[About pardoning the Doctor of a death sentence] “No, but a King can. You asked me once if I believed in you. I want to believe in you, and here is your opportunity to show that you are a civilised King!” Jo
The stylings of Peladon are a bit bland though and seem to consist of Roman and Saxon the armour and weapons. The castle although impressively standing on the rocky outcrop, is full of bland generic passagesways lit with torches. Which is a shame because the story deserved better styling than this.
King Peladon is played by David Troughton, the son of Pertwee’s Doctor predecessor – Patrick Troughton. He develops a bit of a thing for Jo (who pretends to be an Earth princess accompanying the Doctor’s fake Earth delegate).
It seemed that writers didn’t always know what to do with Jo’s character, usually plugging in a similarly aged love interest for her – as if to continually reinforce that the Doctor and Jo’s relationship was father and daughter.
It wasn’t until The Green Death that Jo got a decent storyline to compliment her characters motivations but by this point she was leaving – and it was due to another love interest.
The Doctor gets to show off his action bent too, in an entertaining fight-to-the-death with the Kings Champion Grun – in a pit when he is wrongly accused of being the saboteur. Due to the saboteurs framing both the Doctor and the Ice Warriors.
When the show has a go at the Who-who-dunnit. It usually comes up trumps and Curse Of Peladon is no different, in an entertaining and moderately twisty – enough, who-dunnit piece; which pits the Doctor in the role of Poirot (or Marple), whilst attempting to uncover who is behind the Peladon saboteurs and wrongly being implicated himself. It makes for an entertaining episode of Who.