Number : Season 9, serial 2 of 5.
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 episodes.
Plot : The Doctor and Jo, land on planet Peladon. Right in the middle of a conference between the Peladons – 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 alien delegates are well designed. Agaddor statue.
Whats bad : Peladon is not as uniquely styled – as it should be; with Roman and Saxon type get-ups and bland dark tunnels – lit by torchlight.
Review With Spoilers : Curse Of Peladon is the second serial of season 9. It also had an indirect sequel; with Monster Of Peladon – 2 years later; which set events 50-years later; in Peladon’s future.
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 and a plot to sabotage events; by murder. Overseen by a bunch of ‘motivationally questionable’ delegates; of various alien backgrounds – any one of which, could be suspects.
The Doctor is mistaken, for the Earth delegate (who hasn’t arrived). The Doctor duly plays along; due to sensing a conspiracy – being a foot. We also have a memorable green, one-eyed ‘Alpha-Centaurian’ bug; with six arms – also called ‘Alpha Centauri’. Ice Warriors are also present; as Mars delegates. An alien ‘head-in-a-box’ called Arcturus – is also present.
Peladon-ian Traditionalists (are also looking to sabotage the conference), with some help; from ‘rogue’ Federation delegates. To prevent Peladon from joining the Federation – and becoming a hi-tech culture. To achieve this aim, they summon forth a big hairy beast from Peladonian legend; ‘Aggedor’, to kill their opponents.
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 beast – itself.
Thankfully though, Aggedor’s part in this story – is mercifully small; which helps not to detract from proceedings (too much). It actually turns out, to be more a benevolent pet; once the Doctor has hypnotised it with Venusian lullabies!
The delegates are – in contrast – well designed, different and memorable aliens. Especially Alpha Centauri – and Arcturus (is particularly bizarre looking). The Ice Warriors are also effectively presented – 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 planet Peladon – are a bit bland, though and seem to consist of Roman and Saxon – armour and weapons. The castle; although impressively perched – on the rocky outcrop. Is full of bland and generic passagesways lit with medieval 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 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 character – but by this point she was leaving anyway – and it was due to another love interest.
The Doctor gets to show-off fighting-skills too, in an entertaining fight-to-the-death; with the King’s Champion – ‘Grun’. The fights takes place – in a pit, when the Doctor 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-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 sabotage. Even wrongly being implicated as a conspirator. It makes for an entertaining and suspenseful; episode of Who.
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