Which One : Return to Peladon.
Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Sarah-Jane : Liz Sladen
Queen Thalira : Nina Thomas
Chancellor Ortron : Frank Gatliff
Gebek : Rex Robinson
Ettis : Ralph Watson
Preba : Graeme Eton
Blor : Michael Crane
Guard Captain : Terry Walsh
Aggedor : Nick Hobbs
Eckersley : Donald Gee
Alpha Centauri : Stuart Fell/Ysanne Churchman
Azaxyr : Alan Bennion
Sskel : Sonny Caldinez
Vega Nexos : Gerald Taylor
Written By : Brian Hayles
Produced By : Barry Letts
First UK Broadcast : 23 March – 27 April 1974.
Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Doctor returns to planet Peladon; 50 years after the events of Curse Of Peladon. Peladon have now joined the Galactic Federation but the miners are in revolt over poor working conditions and the “ghost” of Aggedor who is killing them, one-by-one.
Whats good : It’s a sequel to one of the best inter-galactic political thrillers that Who has ever mustered. The Aggedor heat weapon is pretty nifty. Post feminist movement edge to Sarah-Jane. The Ice Warriors and their weapons. Eckersley. Azaxyr.
Whats bad : Small thing – but what’s with the miners bumblebee hair look?
Review With Spoilers : The Monster Of Peladon is the 4th episode of season 11 and a direct sequel to the events of season 9’s – Curse Of Peladon.
Having helped guide Peladon into joining the Galactic Federation – 50 years earlier, the Doctor returns; only to find the planet in disarray; a young inexperienced Queen on the throne, a planet in Federation revolt and the ghost of Aggedor killing Peladonian miners.
The miners are extarcting rich deposits of Trisilicate – which is underpinning the Federations war-effort against the Galaxy-5 quadrant. So the Federation deems it to be critical that the Tricilate is mined – regardless.
However, the impoverished miners are disgruntled at their perceived lack of Federation membership benefit and are also frightened about the appearances of Aggedor. Meanwhile, the old Peladon noble hierarchy continue to oppress the miners – enter the Doctor to try to resolve things.
The Monster Of Peladon displays all of the clever, twisty socio-political subtext of its predecessor, whilst nicely continuing the Peladon story to a conclusion. It’s also nice to see the Doctor return to the scene of one of his previous lesser adventures (aside from Skaro and Telos) and it gives us a sense that his meddling in other races affairs, (although well intentioned) does not always work out for the best.
Alpha Centauri – the green one eyed bug is back aswell as the Ice Warriors. However, in a nice twist on the previous story. The Ice Warriors (in their final classic series appearance) return to the villainous side of the story (from being Galactic peace keepers) – where they are definitely more effective.
“The Federation must have the trisilicate. If we refuse to work, they will put pressure on Ortron to grant our demands!” Gebek
“Nonsense, Gebek. They don’t need us. The Federation will import alien workers and mine the ore with their new machines!” Ettis
Initially, the Ice Warriors come into this under the Federation banner – but we learn they are infact a breakaway group, in collusion – with Galaxy-5 and Chief Federation mining expert – Eckersley. Who is abley underplayed, as a scheming Federation turncoat – by Donald Gee.
In Curse Of Peladon, the story centred around Peladon’s attempts to better itself – by joining the Galactic Federation, which was undermined by traditionalists; who wanted to sabotage the conference and prevent Peladon’s advancement.
The traditionalists undermining proceedings in Monster Of Peladon, are second place to the Ice Warrior occupation but the subtext is much more emotive here; due to the viewer getting to know the subservient underclass; the Miners.
Their collective refusal to work, smacks of a nod to Unionism and indeed 70’s Britain was similarly crippled by striking public servants – which again leaves Who doing a clever nod to some real-life topical events of the time.
Sarah-Jane is not a bystander to proceedings either, which is nice and she is allowed to display a much stronger influence in the plot than Jo did in Curse – due to her education of the Queen in the Earth feminist movement.
Monster Of Peladon is a more effective episode than Curse Of Peladon. Whilst Curse did a good job of setting up the rich backstory of Peladon. Monster is allowed to take it through to its natural conclusion. It feels nice to drop in on Peladon again with the Doctor – just like revisiting old friends.