The Curse of Peladon

Doctor WhoThe Doctor, with Jo in tow, tries another of his experiments in getting the TARDIS working – and to both of their astonishment, the time machine roars into life and dematerializes, taking the two to the stormy planet of Peladon. On the eve of its admission into the Federation that includes Earth, Peladon receives delegates from Federation member planets Arcturus, Alpha Centauri – and Earth itself, a delegation for which the Doctor and Jo are mistaken. Also present are the Doctor’s old enemies, the Ice Warriors, though the motives for their presence may not be as sinister as the Doctor fears – and yet when both the delegates and the royal house of Peladon come under attack, the Doctor can suspect no one else.

written by Brian Hayles
directed by Lennie Mayne
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Henry Gilbert (Torbis), David Troughton (Peladon), Geoffrey Toone (Hepesh), Gordon St. Clair (Grun), Nick Hobbs (Aggedor), Stuart Fell (Alpha Centauri), Ysanne Churchman (voice of Alpha Centauri), Murphy Grumbar (Arcturus), Terry Bale (voice of Arcturus), Sonny Caldinez (Sworg), Alan Bennion (Izlyr), George Giles (Captain), Wendy Danvers (Amazonia)

Broadcast from January 29 through February 19, 1972

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: Surely one of the defining moments in the Pertwee era and of Doctor Who in general, The Curse Of Peladon turns the tables and makes a long-standing adversary a good guy – and all without resorting to a been-there, done-that retread of the already well-worn “Enemy Mine” formula. Now, I have nothing but love for the original “Enemy Mine”, but it’s been used as the basis for so many The Curse Of Peladonother stories down through the years, especially in TV, that I loved how Brian Hayles – who did, after all, create the Ice Warriors – managed to give his creations credibility, honor, and benevolence here.

David Troughton is the other jewel in the crown here, literally. As the confused young King, he shines, exuding worry, confidence, and at appropriate times a complete lack of confidence. He’s a young man thrust into a difficult position – and surely the actor of the previous Doctor, Patrick Troughton, can appreciate that. (He also roomed with future Doctor Who star Colin Baker, but that’s a whole set of ribald tales best left to Mr. Baker’s numerous convention appearances!)

And the other alien creations are just as inspired – Aggedor is one of the best man-in-suit creatures ever put together by the BBC costume department, Alpha Centauri is a delightful character, and Arcturus, while hideous to look at, is well-executed – and since he’s ugly he’s naturally the perfect red herring. Or is he? Also at the heart of Peladon is a ripping good mystery. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to spoil it for you if you haven’t already seen it. Please, BBC, put this story high on the list of Doctor Who adventures crying out for that wonderful DVD treatment.