Number : Season 11, serial 4 of 5.
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 episodes.
Plot : The Doctor returns to planet Peladon; 50 years after the events of Curse Of Peladon. Peladon have now joined the Galactic Federation. However, the miners are in revolt – over poor working conditions and the “ghost” of Aggedor, is killing them – one-by-one.
Whats good : It’s a sequel to one of the best inter-galactic political thrillers, that Doctor Who has ever mustered. It is nice to return to the aftermath of a previous Doctor adventure. 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 miner’s wierd ‘bumblebee’ hair?
Review With Spoilers : The Monster Of Peladon is the 4th serial of season 11 – and a direct sequel to the events of 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 busy extracting rich deposits of ‘Trisilicate’ – which is underpinning the Federations war-effort against the Galaxy-5 quadrant. So the Federation deem it critical, that the Tricilate is mined; regardless of events on Peladon.
However, the impoverished miners are disgruntled at their perceived lack of Federation membership benefits – and are also frightened about the appearances of Aggedor. Meanwhile, the old Peladon noble hierarchy continue to oppress the miners. Therefore, enter the Doctor – to try to resolve things – once again.
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 adventures (aside from the usual planet Skaro revisit). It gives us a sense that the Doctor’s 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 return (in their final classic series appearance) – to the villainous side of the story (from being Galactic peace keepers); where they are definitely more effective as a monster.
“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 that 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 attempted sabotaged – by Peladon traditionalists.
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 1970’s unionism – and indeed 70’s Britain was similarly crippled by striking public servants; which again leaves Doctor Who – doing a clever nod to some real-life topical events.
Sarah-Jane Smith – 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 Grant did in Curse. This is due to her education of the Queen, in the Earth ‘feminism’ 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.
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