Wednesday 28 September 2011

310 The Curse of Peladon: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Curse of Peladon: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 12 February 1972
WRITER: Brian Hayles
DIRECTOR: Lennie Mayne
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Peladon Tales: Curse of Peladon & Monster of Peladon
Episode Format: 525 video RSC

The Doctor is sentenced to trial by combat fighting Grun. Hepesh helps him escape into the tunnels on the condition that he leaves the planet. Izlyr tells Jo that he is honour bound to help the Doctor because the Doctor saved his life, but their conversation is bugged by Arcturus. The Doctor encounter Aggedor in the tunnels and hypnotically subdues him until Jo interrupts driving Aggedor away. The Doctor is taken to the combat arena and beats Grun, but refuses to kill him. As the delegates watch the contest Arcturus reveals a gun concealed in his life support system and a shot rings out....

This episode provoked some great debate in the Ayres household. Firstly there's the matter of the Doctor's Venusian lullaby. The lyrics were first heard in The Dæmons as the Doctor attempts to sooth Bok, but here they're set to music. It's quite well known that the tune Pertwee uses is "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" but my good lady wife was certain that it wasn't. Then at the end of the episode I turned to Liz and said "I've never noticed before how obvious it is that it isn't Arcturus shooting" because watching it on DVD I thought it was painstakingly obvious that it was Ssorg standing behind the blast. Liz however was sure from what she could see that it was Arcturus who fired.

Curse of Peladon was the third Pertwee story I saw and the first story featuring the Ice Warriors. I'd seen The Carnival of Monsters and the Three Doctors in late 1981 as part of The Five Faces of Doctor Who repeat season. In 1982 the BBC found themselves with a sudden 50 minute hole in their Monday night BBC1 schedules. My memory of the situation was a James Garner series, either The Rockford Files or Brett Maverick, had finished early. A repeat of three older Doctor Who stories was scheduled with each story spotlighting one of the three main monsters in Doctor Who & shown as 2 fifty minute episodes. The stories shown were The Curse of Peladon on 12 & 19th July featuring The Ice Warriors, Genesis of the Daleks on 26th July & 2nd August featuring the Daleks & Earthshock on 9 to 16 August 1982 featuring the Cybermen. 525 line colour copies of Curse of Peladon, which only existed in black & white films in the BBC archives, were returned from BBC Toronto in 1981. The first two episodes played with no problems but episode 3 turned out to be a nightmare with the tape sticking & breaking necessitating it's playback & copying in sections with the sections being assembled into a complete episode. The BBC retained the copy, which was a PAL recording converted to NTSC and then converted using 1981 techniques back to what was a poorer quality PAL copy. The BBC deemed the original tape unbroadcastable and decided to junk it but Ian Levene, who'd gone to a lot of trouble to retrieve the episodes in the first place, retained the tape. In the early 2000s the Reverse Standards Conversion was developed to produce high quality conversions back to PAL by unpicking the original conversion. The original 525 line was "baked", to reduce it's moisture content, and then played back in sections, assembled and converted resulting in the good quality copy we have today. For more details see The Restoration Team Website article for more details.

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