Friday 2 December 2011

375 The Monster of Peladon Part Six

EPISODE: The Monster of Peladon Part Six
TRANSMITTED: 27 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 Doctor uses the Aggedor apparition and heat ray to attack the Ice Warriors, destroying all bar Sskel. Aggedor appears before the miners convincing them to side with Gebek. Eckersley deploys the refinery's security system against the Doctor. He sends Sarah to warn Gebek. Eckersley steps the system up to maximum as Azaxyr prepares to ambush the miners, but the Doctor uses Aggedor to kill the remainder of Azaxyr's troops causing him to flee. The Doctor is overcome by the security system and collapses. Sarah forces Eckersley to deactivate the alarm but he escapes. Azaxyr and Sskel hold the queen hostage, but are overcome by the miners and killed. The Queen is taken hostage by Eckersley as he flees to a hidden shuttle. Sarah goes to the refinery and discovers the Doctor is still alive. He fetches Aggedor to track Eckersley & the Queen. Thalira attempts to escape, allowing Aggedor to attack Eckersley but both are killed. Thalira asks the Doctor to stay and become her new chancellor but he declines and nominates Gebek. Alpha Centauri announces that when news of Azaxyr & Eckersley's scheme's collapse was received Galaxy Five sued for peace. Gebek's miners locate the Tardis for the Doctor allowing him & Sarah to leave.

I enjoyed that. Sure it's standard enough fare as the people rise up and overthrow their oppressors with a little help from the Doctor but that's what you want to see a lot of the time. I approached Monster of Peladon with some trepidation due to it's reputation of being Curse's poorer cousin but once again watching episodically reveals that the first three episodes are what drags the story down and that the last three are quite good, albeit pretty standard fight the monsters fare.

Max Faulkner, a regular actor and stuntman, receives his second on-screen credit in this episode as a Miner following The Ambassadors of Death where he was a UNIT soldier. He'll be back as on of the Guard Captains in the next story, the Planet of the Spiders, a Thal guard in Genesis of the Daleks, as Corporal Adams in The Android Invasion and as Nesbin in The Invasion of Time. He's also the Fight Arranger on The Hand of Fear.

This is the last Doctor Who script from Brian Hayles, who died on October 30th, 1978. In between this story and his death he novelised the Ice Warriors & Curse of Peladon, while Monster of Peladon was eventually novelised by Terrance Dicks in February 1980. Monster of Peladon was the last Pertwee novel released until 1984. I can remember seeking this book out as a youngster, probably soon after I'd seen Curse on the television in the Doctor Who & The Monsters repeat season. Some of Hayles' work I struggled with: Celestial Toymaker and bits of the Ice Warriors & Seeds of Death. But I loves the Smugglers, one of the better historical tales, and Curse of Peladon, with it's playing with you expectations for the Ice Warriors. In addition to it being Hayles' last script it's also the last appearance for both Alan Bennion, who's played every "Ice Lord" a term that never is heard on screen, and Sonny Caldinez who's been in every Ice Warrior story as a hulking presence in the background. It's the last time we see Hayles' Martian creations too but we'll visit their home shortly in The Pyramids Of Mars.

Monster of Peladon was a double pack video release and later was released on DVD in the Doctor Who - Peladon Tales boxset with Curse of Peladon, one of the more sensible boxset pairings in recent years.

Join us tomorrow as we start the last Jon Pertwee story: The Planet Of The Spiders.

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