Sunday 27 November 2011

370 The Monster of Peladon Part One

EPISODE: The Monster of Peladon Part One
TRANSMITTED: 23 March 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

We're back on DVD for this episode and indeed will be for the next 32 episodes and seven stories.

On the planet Peladon miners are menaced by the spirit of Aggedor and Federation mining expert Vega Nexos is slain. The miners, fearing Aggedor, refuse to work and use Federation equipment which the Federation need them to use to mine enough Trisilicate to win their war with Galaxy Five. The Doctor & Sarah arrive and are chased by guards who think they're spies and then are arrested for violating the temple of Aggedor. They are taken to the throne room of Queen Thalira, the daughter of King Peladon, where they are recognised by the Doctor's old friend Alpha Centauri who vouches for them. Disgruntled miner Gebek comes to the citadel to speak with the Queen to put his view that the aliens should be sent home. Militant miner Ettis leads miners to the citadel to try and seize Federation weapons. They take engineer Eckersley hostage but the Doctor frees him and takes the captive Ettis to the Queen. Chancellor Ortron demands Ettis & Gebek's execution but the Doctor allows them to escape. The Doctor believes Aggedor's appearances are caused by trickery and asks to investigate. The Queen's champion Blor takes the Doctor to where the apparitions were seen but the miner Ettis sets off explosives sealing them in a cave. Aggedor appears and disintegrates Blor.

Back to Peladon we go. Same tunnels as before, but a new Queen on the throne and some disorder amongst the miners. Is this the first time that Doctor Who has done a direct sequel to a story? Not just brought the monsters back, but the same location and some of the same characters? Hmmm. No. Web of Fear is a sequel to the Abominable Snowman (Yeti & Travers) and The Invasion is in turn a direct sequel to Web of Fear.

So as you'd expect there's some returning personnel: Director Lennie Mayne & Writer Brian Hayles were both present for the earlier Curse of Peladon as were Stuart Fell, who is inside Alpha Centauri and Ysanne Churchman who provides the voice, while Terry Walsh, who's the Guard Captain here, was fight arranger on the earlier story.

Shall we say we'll be seeing some more of Curse's cast before this story is out and leave it at that for now ;-)

Alpha Centauri's engineer friend Eckersley is played by Donald Gee who was Major Ian Warne in the awful Space Pirates, coincidentally the penultimate second Doctor story as this one is the penultimate Third Doctor story. The slain Federation miner Vega Nexos, made famous by the Doctor Whocards given away with Weetabix in the 1970s is played by Gerald Taylor here making his final Doctor Who appearance. He'd previously been a Dalek Operator in The Daleks, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Chase, Mission to the Unknown, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Power of the Daleks & The Evil of the Daleks plus the Doctor Who & The Daleks feature film, a Zarbi in The Web Planet, the Machine Operator in The War Machines, Damon's Assistant in The Underwater Menace and the Baker's Man in The Dæmons. We've also seen both main Peladon miners before: Ettis is played by Ralph Watson who was the Generator Scientist, also in The Underwater Menace, Captain Knight in The Web of Fear and will be Ben in Horror of Fang Rock while Rex Robinson plays Gebek. He was Dr. Tyler in The Three Doctors, and will be Dr. Carter in The Hand of Fear. Both were directed by Lennie Mayne who helms this story.

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