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The Curse of Peladon
Brian Hayles had created an enduring race of Martian Reptiles in "The Ice Warriors" and so for the start of the ninth season, Letts and Dicks wanted to bring back some classic foes from the past. The Ice Warriors, en route became part of these plans. In The Curse of Peladon we see a story about an unprepared King facing decisions that will either make or break his planet. Its a wonderful story, there is a menagerie of monsters old and new, a brilliantly cast David Troughton as King Peladon and of course Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning at the height of their Saturday teatime power. The story exudes atmosphere, the dark and echoing corridors of the citadel look fantastic. Director Lennie Mayne does some pretty brilliant direction here, the story is very well made and considering that this story was made in 1972, it boasts some remarkable production standards.

At the heart of this tale are more of those Pertwee era political undertones, this time its the EEC. Great Britain was facing some dilemmas of its own back in the early 70's concerning the future of the country and its position in the EU, and so these dilemmas and choices certainly shine through in this adventure. The people of Peladon are not too happy about joining the Galactic Federation {EEC} and the King must decide what is best for his people, not let their primitive superstition dictate the planets future. A King must lead and lead courageously. Unfortunately for the good King, his desire to see Peladon as a great world amongst the community of neighboring planets are continually objected to by Hepesh, the High Priest. Over the duration of this cracking adventure, Hepesh is unmasked as the traitor and killed by his "God" Aggedor.

Overall this is a brilliant little 4 parter from the middle of Jon Pertwee's reign as the titular Time Lord. There's some great incidental music from Dudley Simpson, David Troughton's acting is superb and the direction is exquisite. A Must for any Pertwee era fan and highly recommended to even the casual viewer. 10/10.

The Monster of Peladon
1974's The Monster of Peladon is a not too different a beast to "Curse", here we have another young and inexperienced monarch not really ready to lead, Ice Warriors, a meddling High Priest, great directing from Lennie Mayne, great design work and of course Jon Pertwee returning for seconds. Except this time there's no Katy, Jo Grant having by this point left the series and handed the role of companion over to Sarah Jane Smith {Liz Sladen}. Like Curse, Monster has underlying political themes, this time its not the EEC its the miners strike of 74'. The costumes are not the greatest the series has ever produced, the badger like hair style of the miners is quite odd compared to everybody else's normal hair-dew.

Donald Gee puts in a brilliant performance as the galaxy 5 agent Eckersley, funny thing really that Donald has appeared in both Pat Troughton and Jon Pertwee's penultimate serials. Alan Bennion returns for his third time as an Ice Lord, this time playing Azaxyr. Alan's portrayal of the Ice Lord is brilliant and adds that bit more atmosphere to the serial. This story marks the last time that Brian Hayles wrote for the series and the last appearance of The Ice Warriors. They are hopefully set to make a return in the new series in 2012, but this is just a rumour at present. Overall a very enjoyable 6 part romp with Jon Pertwee and Liz Sladen. 10/10.

So, two great Jon Pertwee serials finally released on to the ever expanding range of Doctor Who DVD's. Both these adventures have been lovingly restored and remastered by the Doctor Who Restoration Team for their release on to DVD. The BBC have seen fit to release both serials packed with bonus content, both stories feature a half-hour documentary about Peladon and the themes and politics involved in each. As ever, these documentaries are fascinating and highly entertaining so I suggest that when you have finished watching these Pertwee classics, you take a look and enjoy. Highly recommended release.

Many thanks for your time, its greatly appreciated.

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on 18 January 2010
After a fairly long absence, there's a sudden burst of Jon Pertwee stories getting released on DVD. After last year's rather excellent DALEK WAR set comes this collection of two stories set on the world of Peladon, separated by two years in production terms and fifty years in plot terms. THE CURSE OF PELADON is the second story of the 1972 series and finds the Doctor, (whilst still exiled to Earth) managing to get his TARDIS working just long enough to drag Jo Grant (Katy Manning) away from the prospect of a night out with Mike Yates and land her halfway up a mountain in a thunderstorm on an alien planet. Four episodes of political intrigue ensue on the rather feudal planet Peladon which still worships the furry terror that is Aggedor whilst being in negotiation for entry into the Galactic Federation, a situation that doesn't make certain members of the population very happy and is in absolutely no way reflecting a certain small nation's issues about entry into the "common market" that were happening at the same time. Ahem!

A range of alien ambassadors of various types (and successfulness) from the frankly disturbing face in a box called Arcturus to the rather endearing Alpha Centauri (who has to be seen to be believed) also have their own agendas, and a familiar set of foes from the Patrick Troughton era, the Ice Warriors are also along for the ride and this time around add a great deal of depth to a race of creatures raising their status to the realm of rather "classic" monsters. They are all given strong support by a fine set of character actors including Geoffrey Toone as the zealous High Priest Hepesh and a very young David Troughton as the naïve young King Peladon of Peladon who takes a bit of a shine to Jo (and why not?). Along the way, Jon Pertwee gets to sing and have a big fight and play up to his role as an intergalactic gentleman, all part of the charm that he adds to his very special and fondly remembered portrayal of the Doctor.

We are returned to Peladon some fifty years later in Jon Pertwee's penultimate story, made in 1974 and called THE MONSTER OF PELADON which, happily, is also in this set. Six episodes this time around revolving around the battle over a source of valuable minerals and unrest amongst the workers in the mines. This does of course in absolutely no way reflect a certain small nation's issues about miner's strikes that were happening around the same time. Ahem!! The expanded episode count does make the story a bit slower this time around, but Alpha Centauri and the Ice Warriors both return, as does Aggedor and this time we get to see more of the "ordinary people" of Peladon, although there's nothing ordinary about their hair. Nina Thomas plays the Queen - the daughter of King Peladon - who is still having trouble with her latest High Priest (the excellent Frank Gatliff). Some chats about "women's lib" from Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen - here in her first series playing the part) soon put her right about a few things. Another fine set of character actors including Rex Robinson and Donald Gee give convincing performances again and Jon Pertwee's Doctor gets a right old kicking before heading off to his fateful visit to THE PLANET OF THE SPIDERS.

The commentary on the first story is interesting enough, with the production team of Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks and Chris D'Oyly-John alongside actress Katy Manning (and her numerous alternative voices...Hmmm...) being moderated by Toby Hadoke. Sadly two of these contributors have died since they made the recordings which makes their comments seem just a little bit more poignant. Half the world - including a group of enthusiastic professional fans in part four - seems to turn up for commentary duties on the second story, but that's a good thing as it keeps the chat rattling along without going over old ground too much.

The usual range of extras like photo galleries, pdf material and loosely related clips from other shows are included alongside a solid set of documentaries including a two part "making of", a brief look at the history of the Ice Warriors, a short piece called "Jon and Katy" - which rather decribes itself - and a rather excellent piece on the writings of Terrance Dicks which will hopefully go some way in raising his profile as one of the best writers of children's fiction that there has ever been.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 June 2015
Monarchs and miners, priests and chancellors, a galaxy of aliens and one hairy monster fight for power on the planet of Peladon. May the Just prevail! - with some help from a debonair Doctor and two remarkable women from Earth ... 5*

All hail Brian Hayles!, creator of Peladon, for these royal gifts from the Pertwee era. The writer who gave us the Ice Warriors brings his famous creations back into action in two tales of intrigue and conflict, as the feudal swords-and-sandals society of Peladon meets the technological aliens of the Galactic Federation. Should the Pels hold firm to their ancient traditions and their god Aggedor, or should they embrace change and join life in the wider Galaxy? And what will be the cost of their choice?

`The Curse of Peladon' has always been one of my favourite Third Doctor stories, like one of the old historicals in its tale of a king, his people and power struggles in a vast, gloomy Citadel - plus visitors from the stars. `Curse' has been likened to `Hamlet with aliens' and that's not a bad summary for the quality and style of the drama. Brilliant. 5*

`The Monster of Peladon', set 50 years later, is too often considered a poor sequel, but I think it's much better than that reputation suggests. The first three episodes are sometimes too slow and repetitive but the second half of the six-part story is very good indeed, there are some great effects and fight scenes and the Ice Warriors are back ... 4*

(This review has grown into a bit of a `Monster' so please don't `Curse' its length and thanks if you reach the end!)

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Curse of Peladon: 5* (4 Episodes)

King Peladon of Peladon (David Troughton) is an enlightened ruler, keen to take Peladon into the Galactic Federation for the benefit of his people, as advised by Chancellor Torbis (Henry Gilbert). But he is also young, inexperienced and mindful of the old traditions of his world, as taught by Hepesh, High Priest of Aggedor (Geoffrey Toone). The opening scene defines this story with three excellent, dramatic guest performances that set the standard lived up to by the whole cast. Their argument is bitter and fundamental: In or Out? Should Peladon join the Federation or not?

Into this tense situation come the Doctor and Jo Grant, taking the TARDIS for a test flight. But the first death has occurred before they even arrive ... can it really be true, as Hepesh says, that the presence of aliens will bring down the Curse of Aggedor upon them all ... ? There follow four episodes of a well-scripted `whodunit' - it's obvious Hepesh is opposed to joining the Federation, fearing exploitation of their mineral wealth by alien powers, but how far will he go and does he have help - from his god Aggedor or from beyond the stars ... ?

I love this story and it's perfect for Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor, who looks totally at home hobnobbing in the throne room of the Citadel (impersonating the Chairman of the Federation committee), hunting the legendary royal beast of Peladon through labyrinthine tunnels, singing a Venusian lullaby(!) and (helped by stuntman Terry Walsh) wielding assorted weaponry in a great fight scene. Katy Manning has an excellent, adventurous and romantic story as Jo Grant, and it's no surprise that King Peladon falls in love at the first sight of "Princess Josephine of TARDIS", seeing her looking especially beautiful, "all dolled up for a night on the town with Mike Yates!" (Poor Captain Yates always missed out!)

Together they solve the mystery, helped and hindered by the Pels and the delegates of the Committee - logical Arcturus (a green weed-like creature in a life-support unit); the ultra-pacifist Alpha Centauri and the Ice Warriors Lord Izlyr and his Martian muscle man Ssorg. Alan Bennion is superb as Izlyr and its great to see Sonny Caldinez back in the carapace as Ssorg - but can they really be peaceful diplomats? The Doctor has met the Ice Warriors before and has his doubts ... Alpha Centauri defies description but it is the ultimate `bug-eyed monster', a delightful creation brilliantly played by a woman AND a man - most appropriate for this "hermaphrodite hexapod"! Ysanne Churchman is the voice and Stuart Fell the body and they work so perfectly together that it's easy to forget it's a double act.

Peladon looks excellent; this all-studio production designed by Gloria Clayton created a huge, gloomy Citadel of long corridors and secret passages filled with dim light and smoky shadow by genuine flaming torches (which caused serious problems with soot!) and daringly low lighting by Howard King that gives the show great atmosphere and reality. Some very impressive model work gives us the `exterior' world of storm-wracked mountains and sheer cliffs and with Lennie Mayne's great direction and some well-placed filming on the larger stages at Ealing, this feels a bigger production that its studio setting would suggest. The restored picture quality is quite soft compared with some stories, but that really doesn't hurt this tale of smoke-filled rooms and ominous shadows.

As the Doctor investigates, the plotters' scheme unravels with their ever-more desperate attempts to hold power and brilliantly staged sword-fights reaching the throne room itself - before the Doctor's final, decisive intervention with a most surprising ally ... A victorious ending then for Peladon's new future in the Federation and we must be pleased, but it's a sad ending too, for in this cleverly written tale of progress versus tradition and belief, a man may act wrongly for sincerely-held motives. And who knows? Perhaps he was right all along ... but that's the next story ...

SPOILER NOTE: The cliff-hanger for episode 3 is brilliant and designed to leave us wondering what happened, but the editing of the start of episode 4 doesn't make it that clear (no doubt to avoid showing too much `goo' at Saturday teatime.) It's obvious if you are watching closely - Arcturus fires his heat ray at the Doctor but Ssorg saves him, turning Arcturus to pulp with his sonic gun. Go Ice Warriors!

DVD Special Features:
The commentary is chatty and great fun, with Katy Manning, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks proving a lively and informative trio as usual, this time also joined with enjoyable comments from production manager Chris D'Oyly John.
NOTE: Most of the special features cover both Peladon Tales, so if you don't know `Monster', leave them until you've seen both stories to avoid spoilers. And, as usual, the main menu background clips give too much away so press `Play' quickly if you don't know the details already!

`The Peladon Saga - Part One' (24 min) - an enjoyable `making of' documentary, though you might not agree with the nostalgic hopes for 1970s Britain that some express in the rather politics-heavy first half - I never saw the last two episodes of this fantastic story in 1972 because of power cuts caused by strikes and only found out how it finished by reading the `Target' book three years later!! The second part of the feature is much better, looking at the production of the two Peladon stories.
`Warriors of Mars' (15 min) - the four classic-series appearances of the Ice Warriors, good, but inevitably duplicates interviews etc. from other DVDs.
`Jon and Katy' (7 min) - a short feature paying tribute to this splendid Doctor and companion pairing, a nice thought but too short for any depth.
`Storyboard Comparison (2 min) - how the model work progressed from plan to screen.
`Photo Gallery' (7 min) - a large photo gallery but the bright flash lighting means nothing looks as good as in the actual production. Note the early version of Aggedor with small eyes and long eyelashes!

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Monster of Peladon: 4* (6 Episodes)

Fifty years have passed when the Doctor returns to Peladon with new companion Sarah Jane Smith. Queen Thalira, the late king's daughter (Nina Thomas), is on the throne and the Federation is at war with Galaxy 5. Peladon's minerals are needed urgently, but the fears of Hepesh have proved true - little wealth has come to the people of Peladon, the Spirit of Aggedor is on the rampage and the miners are on strike ...

This story is all about division: it divides fan opinion, it's a tale of a divided society and it's divided into a bad half and a good half! The strong second half is very good indeed, though not quite in the same league as `Curse', but I'll get the negatives out of the way first (though I don't like criticising one of `my' Doctor's stories.)

`Monster' looks like a clear example of a strong 4-parter being stretched out to make a weaker 6-parter. In this case, all the `padding' is in the first three episodes (which could have been condensed into one) and so it's a bit of a beast to watch to begin with. But stay with it because things improve hugely at half-time and it's great (as it was in 1974) to see some familiar `faces' return for the sequel.

A major problem is that `Monster' is over-lit compared with `Curse'. The flaming torches are still there but now the studio sets look like studio sets and not the mysterious, shadowy Citadel of Peladon. The stripy-haired miners have been likened to a colony of badgers and the hairpieces certainly do distract from their story.

The plot of the first three episodes is repetitive, going over and over traditionalist, power-hungry High Priest Ortron's suspicions about the Doctor and the dispute with the miners. The Doctor is condemned as a spy, then recognised as an old friend, then condemned to death, then it's OK and he and Sarah are having tea with the Queen, then he's imprisoned again ... The miners are striking, then negotiating, then revolting, then negotiating AND revolting and so it goes on. Part of this is because the miners are divided and so are the nobility, but mostly it looks like padding and is rather dull.

Earth engineer Eckersley (Donald Gee, an excellent performance) wants mineral production back on line and is urging Ambassador Alpha Centauri to take some decisive action. Sarah is trying to convince young Queen Thalira to assert her royal authority as Queen, and thinks something nasty is lurking in the refinery control room ...

Elisabeth Sladen played Sarah wonderfully from her first appearance, and she does again here, but she's being asked to give two very different performances in one story. For much of the first three episodes the writing makes Sarah unusually loud and tactless, even recklessly so when the Doctor is trying to talk their way out of trouble. I think it was a rather unsuccessful attempt to write `feminism' into the character, but not nearly as well done as Robert Holmes' writing for her in `The Time Warrior'. It's well played but a very different Sarah from the surrounding stories or later seasons - then partway through episode 3 she abruptly changes back into the familiar Sarah Jane, independent and with a clever scheme to help the Pels and the Doctor, but sensitive to the situation and their surroundings - and one of my favourite companions from any Doctor's era.

That point in episode 3 is where the whole story switches round into an excellent and worthy sequel to `Curse'. Sarah is of course right, there IS something nasty in the refinery and it's giving little away to say the Ice Warriors are back and they're a lot less diplomatic this time! Alan Bennion is brilliant again, this time as Ice Lord Azaxyr, with a whole green gang of Martian thugs to back him up. What exactly he's up to and who is with him makes up the rest of the story and I won't spoil it here, but just say it's a very good story as the Doctor and Sarah try to work out who can be trusted and how to save Peladon.

After the dull first half, episode 4 is a transformation, full of tense moments and action, it seems to fly by, culminating in probably the most brutal fight scene the Doctor was ever involved in (mostly and quite visibly played by stuntman Terry Walsh). Miner Ettis (Ralph Watson) has gone from class war agitator to murderous revolutionary over the three episodes and this is where his story ends, great special effects too. By contrast, the miners' real leader Gebek (Rex Robinson) has grown from simply negotiating about `pay and conditions' into a statesman working with Ortron (Frank Gatliff) and the Queen to save Peladon - with some help from the Doctor of course. `Monster' has sometimes been called `Socialist' but looking at the fates of Ettis and Gebek, to me it seems like normal `Doctor Who' meritocracy - the good and wise almost always come out on top, the bad and violent meet a sticky end.

With the Doctor invoking `the spirit of Aggedor' to help them, victory is won after a few more exciting twists and turns - but at a cost that leaves me feeling rather sad even at this age! However, with the changes Queen Thalira makes at the royal court, it perhaps symbolises the end of the old era on Peladon and the true start of the new future King Peladon dreamed of fifty years before.

(Thanks very much for reading if you made it this far!)

DVD Special Features:
On Disk 1: The commentary is very entertaining through all six episodes thanks to a gallery of contributors. Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks are joined for various episodes by Nina Thomas, Donald Gee, Ralph Watson and Stuart Fell. Some well-known fans commentate on episode 4, which is probably the best episode of the story, so lucky them!

On Disk 2:
`The Peladon Saga - Part Two' (22 min) - this much better half of the `making of' documentary looks at the actors and how the various aliens were created, including Nick Hobbs on playing Aggedor.
`On Target - Terrance Dicks' (21 min) - an excellent feature about the king of `Doctor Who' novelisations, with many interviews and readings including by Caroline John and Katy Manning. (My personal favourite of all `Target' books is his `Day of the Daleks', a classic.)
`Deleted Scenes' (2 min) - two short scenes, one with audio and stills only.
`Where Are They Now?' (2 min) - Ysanne Churchman interviewed by David Jacobs, describing her original brief for the voice of Alpha Centauri!
`Photo Gallery' (8 min) - extensive photo collection but again, the bright flash lighting doesn't do any favours.
Two Easter eggs - a fun BBC news item found from the Menu screen, and another one sneakily hidden on the PDF info page! It's a 5 minute `behind the scenes' compilation from the filming at Ealing - audio only but still very interesting for fans.
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on 28 July 2013

So the TARDIS is kinda working, is it, and Jo's got her best frock on? Uh huh. Now we're halfway up a mountain.

Meanwhile, we've got a more or less absolute monarchy, and the more or less absolute monarch looks a great deal like his dad (is that Peladon of Peladon, or the Second Doctor?), his progressive chancellor is mysteriously dead, and his conservative high priest is trying to force the royal hand against alliance with - well - aliens, and all this in a quasi medieval society, where the weapon of choice is the sword.

First among the aliens is Alpha Centauri, one of the most idiosyncratic characters of 1970s Who - one eye, six arms, with little Stuart Fell inside it, and Ysanne Churchman providing the voice - the hermaphrodite hexapod imbued with a nervous disposition and near terminal goodwill.

Next, Arcturus; a tentacled skull in a tank, with stroppy personality, trusts nobody, his own life-supporting travel machine with built in gun - hard to think well of anything that seems so like a Dalek, except...

The other delegate is a big green scaly brute from Mars, the Ice Warrior, Lord Izlyr with a similar green heavy named Ssorg. This pair are going to be trouble.

It's against this backdrop that Jo Grant pulls off her best ever entrance `Josephine, Princess of Tardis', and that is just to set the ball rolling, because it's now up to the Dr to solve the mystery of who did for the poor chancellor in order to keep Peladon out of the Galactic Federation.

It's a fine idea, and if it gets a little mired in itself (occasionally) over the next two episodes, that's forgivable. Alan Bennion and Sonny Caldinez (should that be Ssonny Caldinez?) do sterling work as the honourable Ice Warriors, while Geoffrey Toone presents an intelligent view of a man driven to villainy by the highest motives, and David Troughton plays an engagingly maladroit young king. It's only the arrival of the real Earth delegate that stops Jo marrying him. This is a lovely story.

My only quibble is the end of Episode 3, when the whole question of `who shot who?' is never made properly clear, because we never properly see Arcturus get blown up, and that's a pity.



Let's go see King Peladon again, there's a good idea, except...

Peladon is dead, and his daughter Thalira is on the throne, and the High Priest is another vexing conservative (Frank Gatliff this time), and the miners, headed by Rex Robinson as Gebek, are getting stroppy about this new Galactic Federation thing. The first story being `Shall we join the EEC?' this is about `What happens now we have?' - slavery to the aliens?

Initially, the aliens are represented as two very reasonable engineers - Vega Nexos and that nice Mr Eckersley (well played, Donald Gee) - while the miners are the malcontents, with High Priest/Chancellor making things worse whenever possible, and the whole thing could be wrapped up in three episodes (if that), but for the Ice Warriors appearing at the end of Part Three. Silly Alpha Centauri! (He gets much more to do in this) Why did you think of summoning Federation troops? Didn't they teach you anything about peace-keeping forces in the Diplomatic Corps? It's not just the Pels that can be reactionary, the Ice Warriors can too, and when they go bad it's with a lot more firepower - this time under Commander Azaxyr - great name - and another delightfully nuanced performance from Mr Bennion; I do like the way that when Azaxyr finally gets killed, it's with a sword, not a blaster.

(Not sure what was adrift with the Ice Warrior costumes, but they are not the identical trio they were in Seeds of Death; one head's too big, one's heads too small, and the result looks a bit silly)

It's a worthy sequel, if not quite as exciting as the original; the plot treads water in Episodes Three and Four - the only major development being the arrival of the warriors as the cliffhanger of Ep 3. Both stories are political allegories, and as such both bear the wear of time, each being more useful in their own day. The role of companion alters neatly between the two; Jo is the princess, while Sarah is the Feminist councilor. The Ice Warriors are diplomats in the first tale, gangsters in the second; ultimately only Alpha Centauri and Aggedor himself are unchanged by the years. The sacrifice of Aggedor at the end seems a bit gratuitous.

In the current climate of UKIP and EDL, I think Peladon might be ripe for another visit, but of course they won't do it.

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Neither of the stories in this set are highlights of Jon Pertwee's tenure as the Doctor, but both are unusually political ones drawing on the UK's uncertain state in the early 70s. The Curse of Peladon sees the Doctor finally released from his exile on Earth and getting the TARDIS working again only to find himself in the forbidding fortress palace of Peladon on a dark and stormy night, where there's much debate among alien delegates as to whether the planet should be allowed to join the Galactic Federation. If this is not a million light-years away from the debate over whether the UK should join the Common Market, at least Ted Heath didn't have to deal with homicidal saboteurs and the not-so mythical royal beast of Peladon, Agador...

In many ways it's The Old Dark House with aliens, a gothic number with the Ice Warriors now on the side of the angels, former Doctor Patrick Troughton's son David Troughton on the throne and Pertwee displaying both his pitfighting skills and his ability to sooth the savage beast with a Venusian lullaby. It's a good story but a surprising one to generate a direct sequel, even if it does move the story ahead a generation.

Six-parter The Monster of Peladon is interesting for the even more political (and often overtly Socialist) slant the script takes. Whereas social revolutions have been a staple of science fiction even before H.G. Wells wrote The Time Machine, it's rare for a film or television entry in the genre to focus on labour relations and class warfare so explicitly. Just as Frank Herbert's Dune saga was an allegory for the Middle East's political tensions during the oil boom, The Monster of Peladon is an allegory of its own time and place. 70s Britain is now almost ancient history, so many of the references will be lost on a new generation of viewers, but for those who lived through it, watching this show again brings it all back.

For Peladon, standing on the brink of great wealth or even greater disaster, read Britain, for its coveted rare minerals, read North Sea Oil. Joining the Federation (read the Common Market) has not improved the lot of the workers, only the rich; the miners striking for improved wages and conditions (read any of the militant trade unions of the early 70s) are dismissed as bolshie rebels by rulers who would rather confront them than negotiate; while outside enemies manipulate their divisions not so much for conquest as for profit (read the growing trade deficit that saw Britain hover on the verge of bankruptcy). Add a subplot where the Doctor's assistant urges the figurehead Queen of Peladon to seize power by explaining something they have on Earth called Women's Lib, and you've got a perfect reflection for the concerns and paranoias facing 70s Britain - that dark, depressing time of strikes, power cuts, IRA bombing campaigns, the three-day week and inept government.

As drama, it works well enough, but as social history, it's positively fascinating, and the documentaries on the decent extras package go into the parallels with 70s Britain in some depth. It's a shame that the Doctor Who restoration team aren't fond of the Jon Pertwee era despite it being every bit as much a part of the series' golden age as Tom Baker's: the Pertwee episodes tend to need more restoration work than most but always seem to be something of a low priority, and consequently The Monster of Peladon certainly doesn't have as good picture quality as the presumably better stored Curse.
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on 7 February 2014
The Curse of Peladon is one of the best Pertwee era stories and would have rated 5 stars in itself. The production values are fantastic and the special feature explains how the production crew broke several rules to make it, and how many of the tricks they used would be banned today under Health and Safety. The story is top quality and the performers at their best. Katy Manning's Jo Grant is in superb form as an Earth princess, and the return of the Ice Warriors is done very cleverly so as to leave the viewer uncertain as to their intentions.

The Monster of Peladon has a good basic plot, and a subtle twist with the Ice Warriors, but the badger hair of the miners and the fact that Sarah Jane never seemed to work as well as a companion with Pertwee as she would with Tom Baker make this story more of a decent 3 star one.

Overall 4 stars, and the added features are all fantastic!
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on 12 April 2013
I remember these stories when they were first shown on the BBC way back when they were very apt for the time i.e. Britain's entry into the EEC and the miners strike and subsequent power cuts. The extras are very good on this set and complement the stories very well. Jon and Katy are in good form in Curse and the wonderful array of monsters on show is classic Who. Elisabeth and Jon worked well together and it was shame they only had one season together. Good to seem them reunited in the 5 Doctors and other radio serials but thats another thing. I give this 5 stars because of the value for money.
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on 24 January 2011
The Curse of Peladon

The Curse of Peladon, for many, is a textbook Doctor Who adventure. With a healthy mix of mystery, deception, villainy and suspense, the story is as entertaining as any new series offering, and has held up well to the test of time. With secret passages, allies who are villains and villains who are allies, there are more twists and turns than the underground tunnels of Peladon itself.

The selection of features for this release is adequate, and compared to previous DVD releases like 'Black Orchid', you can't help feeling there is more distance for extra content.

The 'Commentary' is moderated seamlessly by Toby Hadoke, who also provides some informative facts connected with the story. Joining Toby is Barry Letts (Producer), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Assistant). It proves to be a rather amusing commentary, with all parties contributing equally, together with a great selection of amusing and revealing stories.

'The Peladon Saga - Part One', is by far the highlight of the extras on this disc, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Curse of Peladon. Although it's not as in-depth as previous 'making of' documentaries, it looks at the production of the adventure as well as putting it in political context with the time.

'Warriors of Mars', gives us a history of The Ice Warriors. There's a chronological look at their appearances in Doctor Who, as well as the different classes of Ice Warrior. Narrated by Donald Gee, the feature provides interviews with Sonny Caldinez (Ice Warrior), Bernard Bresslaw (Ice Warrior), Sylvia James (Make-Up Supervisor) Michael Ferguson (Director), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor) Alan Bennion (Ice Lord), Barry Letts (Producer) and Brian Hodgson (BBC Radiophonic Workshop).

'Jon and Katy', looks at the pairing of Jon Pertwee (The Doctor) and Katy Manning (Jo Grant), with interviews from Katy Manning, Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts. In the feature, Katy looks back with genuine love for both her character, and John as an actor and friend.

The 'Storyboard Comparison' compares design sketches with the final shot, together with soundtrack excerpts that lead up to the clips.

As with previous DVD releases, there are the usual 'PDF Material', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Production Subtitles' included.

The Monster of Peladon

The Monster of Peladon heralds the second (and final) chapter in the Peladon Saga - albeit a slightly long-winded story, weighing in at six episodes. There's a wonderful sense of continuity mixed with enough fresh elements to rejuvenate the settings and situations, and with a rather feisty Sarah Jane Smith, helps add another level to the Doctor / Companion dynamic.

As with The Curse of Peladon, this release is a little feature light - even though there is one disc for the story and another for the features, that being said, the quality of the extras is in no way compromised, and adds value to an already worthwhile box-set.

The 'Commentary' is again moderated by Toby Hadoke, and features Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Barry Letts (Producer), Nina Thomas (Queen Thalira), Donald Gee (Eckersley), Ralph Watson (Ettis) and Stuart Fell (Alpha Centauri). Once more, Toby does a great job with the direction coupled with his Doctor Who knowledge, and both Terrance and Barry add some entertaining memories, but it can't help feeling a little overshadowed by the Curse commentary, owing to vacancy of Katy Manning and her boundless energy.

There's also a 'Fan Commentary' for episode Four of the story, featuring Rob Shearman, Mark Aldridge, Kate Du-Rose and Philip Newman. The commentary is well placed as it breaks up the pace and dynamic of the commentary thus far, and it's nice to hear a take on the story from a fans perspective - or in this case four!

'The Peladon Saga - Part Two', follows on from the previous part with additional interviews from Donald Gee (Eckersley), Nick Hobbs (Aggedor), Stuart Fell (Alpha Centauri), Sonny Caldinez (Ice Warrior) and Ralph Watson (Ettis the Miner). The second installment goes more into the production of the story, and we also learn from cast and crew what it was like working with Jon Pertwee. The crowning moment, though, has to be Terrance Dicks' hilarious breakdown of Alpha Centauri's physical appearance.

There's a 'Deleted Scene' in the form of photos and off-air recordings featuring Eckersley trying to convince Gebek to get the miners to continue mining for the trisilicate.

'Where are They Now?' features an interview with Ysanne Churchman, conducted by David Jacobs. Ysanne is asked about providing her voicework for the Hermaphrodite exopod; Alpha Centauri, before treating us to a rather alarming Birmingham accent!

'On Target: Terrance Dicks', offers an in-depth look at the writer's work off the screen, with the Doctor Who Book range. Featuring interviews with Alan Barnes (Ex Doctor Who Magazine Editor), Paul Cornell (Writer), as well as input from Terrance himself. This is the most significant feature on The Monster of Peladon disc, as everything about it from the titles, down to the concise information and text readings from Katy Manning, smacks of sheer quality.

As with previous DVD releases, there are the usual 'PDF Material', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Production Subtitles' included.

Peladon Tales is a great box-set, well worth the £29.99 RRP, but with 2|Entertain's previous history of quality extras, the bar has been raised so high, that the viewer is spoiled, and can't help feeling a little deflated with anything less than two screens of features per story.

That being said, the quality of the features for both stories are as high as ever, and act as a great companion to the Peladon saga.
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on 5 June 2014
Like many people I find John Pertwee the greatest Dr Who, which is no mean achievement when you look at the competition. The stories are darker than many other Dr Who actors, but that is a bonus.

If you want superb stories, wonderful acting and the definitive Dr Who then this is a must for your collection.
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Two stories from jon pertwee's time as the doctor come to dvd in one box set. Each gets it's own box.

The curse of peladon was shown in 1972 and the monster of peladon comes from two years later. Jo grant was companion in the first story and sarah jane smith in the second.

The curse of peladon is a four part tale that sees the doctor - at that time in the show still exiled on earth - sent to gallifrey on a mission for the time lords. a feudal planet with a monarchy, and a castle on the side of a mountain, the planet is considering entering the galactic federation. alien delegates are visiting. the young king is troubled by doubt. The high priest is meddling. and an ancient monster has apparently killed someone.

Can the doctor find what's really going on?

An entirely studio bound story this uses a fair few aliens, and presents the doctor's old enemies the ice warriors in an interestingly different way. Alien alpha centauri, a hermaphrodite hexapod with a high pitched voice is a quite wonderfully appealing character, and the production does manage to create the image of an alien world with lots of alien visitors without ever leaving the studio.

It's not the most spectacular story ever, being more talk than action, but it's good solid doctor who all in all. There are parallels with the plans for britain to enter the common market that were being discussed when the story was shown, but they don't get in the way of the storytelling.

the monster of peladon is set a fair few years later for the people on the planet, and a bit has changed. there's a new monarch but they're equally unsure of themselves. and the local miners are unhappy. the planet is the only source of a rare mineral needed for a galactic war effort. but something is killing the miners.

again with the parallels, this time of the miners strike of the early 70's, and presenting some pretty good villainy in the shape of both alien and humans foes, this story also brings back alpha centauri. but it's a six parter and like many of those it does take a while to get going as a result. It does also rather revisit old glories. but like it's predecessor, it's not the most exciting tale ever, but it's solid and entertaining enough. if perhaps a little too long.

The monster of peladon has two discs, with the episodes on disc one and the extras on disc two.

Both stories have subtitles and a language track in english and audio captioning.

both contain commentaries from cast and crew, both of which are moderated by an actor who once performed his own doctor who stage show.

both also have a trailer for the forthcoming next release in the doctor who dvd range, a photo gallery of stills from the stories and their production, the radio times billings for each available as pdf files accessible by accessing the disc via computer, and production information subtitles that give you further information about the stories whilst watching them.

there's a two part making of documentary, each part running twenty two minutes, one to each story. these are good and well up to the usual standard of the making ofs on this range but by focusing on the two stories together rather than individally they can be slightly unfocused at points.

on the curse of peladon there's also:

warriors of mars: a fifteen minute long feature about the ice warriors. covering their continuity and apperances - and the one that never happened - and also featuring interviews with actors who played them this packs a lot into fifteen minutes and is really very good.

Jon and katy is a short six minute feature about the on screen relationship between the doctor and jo, both in the forms of the characters and the actors. initially a little unfocused by virtue of concentrating on just the curse of peladon, it then comes good by virtue of excellent contributions from katy manning [jo] and producer barry letts.

storyboard comparison shows the first two minutes of episode one as they were on screen and as they were storyboarded. Which is only mildly interesting but the feature is short so doesn't outstay it's welcome.

on the monster of peladon:

a fan commentary for episode four. done by some fans of the show including writer rob shearman who wrote for the ninth doctor on tv.

deleted scene: a minute long recreation of a deleted scene using stills and the soundtrack. it's a short character moment of no great consequence but it's short so it's worth watching.

where are they now? a two minute long clip from a bbc show from 1980 where actress ysanne churchman, who voiced alpha centauri, was interviewed.

On target - terrance dicks. a twenty minute long feature about the work of terrance dicks, script editor of the pertwee years, on how he wrote novels based on the show for many years. these are beloved of many fans who grew up on them, and it's a nice tribute to a very good writer.

the pdf files on this one also include a studio floor plan and bbc enterprises sales literature.

See the comment on this review as to where to find easter eggs.

but all in all a good release for a pair of good stories
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