Wednesday 30 November 2011

373 The Monster of Peladon Part Four

EPISODE: The Monster of Peladon Part Four
TRANSMITTED: 13 April 1974
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: 625 video

The Ice Warrior commander Azaxyr arrives and declares martial law. He threatens to kill the miners if they do not work and takes hostages to force them. Ettis leads his miners into the citadel. They storm the throne room but all bar Ettis are killed by the Ice Warriors. The Doctor is sent to negotiate with Gebek to persuade the miners back to work. Sarah is convinced she saw Azaxyr's lieutenant Sskel in the refinery before the Ice Warriors were meant to have landed making them suspicious of the Ice Warriors. Alpha Centauri finds their communications jammed while the miners are persuaded to pretend to cooperate while the Doctor deals with the Martian troops. Locked in the communications room the Doctor increases the heat in the mines to incapacitate the Ice Warriors. The miners rebel against the Martians. The Doctor goes to stop the unhinged Ettis from firing the sonic lance to destroy the citadel. Azaxyr sets the sonic lance to self destruct remotely when activated causing an explosion when Ettis attempts to fire it.

Ah that's better, the arrival of the Ice Warriors instantly adds a spark to proceedings as the fall out with the Doctor and unite the Pels against them. But I thought the Ice Warriors were meant to be the good guys now?

It's good to see lots of warriors on the screen together: at one stage there's Azaxyr plus four warriors in the throne room. Sskel is using the Vaaga suit that Sonny Caldinez has used since Seeds of Death but it's be interesting to try to work out which warrior in the Ice Warriors the other costumes are from, some of which appear to be in some disrepair. The warrior behind Gebek at 17:10 into the episode appears to have a flat face where most of the others have make up covering the actor's lower face whereas the one visible at 18:50 appear to have just solid armour covering the lower face which I'm not sure any of the others did before. And just why are the Ice Warriors using these odd upright hand weapons? They've still got the sonic disrupters built into the forearms of the costumes and these new weapons produce the same effect these always did. The Ice Warrior armour looks like it's had a repaint too and is very bright green.

I did enjoy Azaxyr's Judge Dredd impersonation with "here on Peladon, I Am The Law". Come to think of it there is a certain similarity in design between the helmets of the Mega City Lawman and the Ice Lord.....

So the Ice Warriors are back and that means two familiar acting names are back with us. Alan Bennion plays Commander Azaxyr just as he played Slaar in The Seeds of Death & Izlyr in The Curse of Peladon. His chief lieutenant Sskel is played by Sonny Caldinez who's been in every Ice Warrior story playing Turoc in The Ice Warriors, an Ice Warrior in The Seeds of Death and Ssorg in The Curse of Peladon as well as the mute Kemel in The Evil of the Daleks. Both are making their final Doctor Who appearances in this story. As per Ssorg in the Curse of Peladon, Sskel's fleeting lines aren't delivered by the actor in the costume but rather by, uncredited, Doctor who's producer Barry Letts. Listen to Ssorg/Sskel, it's obvious when you realise, especially if you've ever heard Sonny Caldinez interviewed on the DVDs!

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