Doctor Who: Season 9, Episode 8

The Curse of Peladon: Episode Four (19 Feb. 1972)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Family
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 118 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

Hepesh's plan has been exposed but he is still determined to prevent Peladon joining the Galactic Federation by leading a rebellion against the King.

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Title: The Curse of Peladon: Episode Four (19 Feb 1972)

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David Troughton ...
Geoffrey Toone ...
Alan Bennion ...
Sonny Caldinez ...
Stuart Fell ...
Ysanne Churchman ...
George Giles ...
Wendy Danvers ...
Gordon Stothard ...
Grun (as Gordon St Clair)
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Hepesh's plan has been exposed but he is still determined to prevent Peladon joining the Galactic Federation by leading a rebellion against the King.

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19 February 1972 (UK)  »

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This episode was watched by 8.4 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »

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S9: The Curse of Peladon: Good change of pace with solid plot, commentary, and creatures as characters rather than simple monsters
18 November 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

An interesting change of pace to the series in this serial; not only does the Doctor get out and about in his Tardis (which he has only done a few times of late) but this serial doesn't involve the usual set- up of the Doctor trying to stop some form of monster. Well, it sort of does, but it is very much a part of the bigger story. By chance the Doctor and Jo end up on the planet Peladon – just as an delegation of different planets from the Galactic Federation turn up to deliver the final decision on whether the planet can join their overall Federation Passing themselves off as Earth's delegation, the Doctor and Jo are accepted into the meetings. However no sooner have they started than the High Priest of the Peladon court, declares that they are cursed if they give up their independence and traditions; this is coincidently followed up by a murder committed by the spirit of the royal best of Aggedor. While the delegation are ready to pack up there and then, it is not clear to the Doctor that the beast is real – or that a mythical curse is really behind the murder.

So, yes there is a monster and aliens kicking around, but the base of this story appears to be about the clinging effect of religion when offered the chance to move forward with advances and other cultures and religions. It is a story that can be played today and still be relevant since the battle of religion v science is still valid, as indeed is the question of whether or not a planet (country) with its own identity and Royalty should join some form of union made up of people not 'their kind'. It perhaps is not quite as barbed or satirical as this may suggest, but it is still interesting and I did find the whole story to be pretty good – yes it was a lot of talking, but it was interesting talking.

There are other interesting ideas in here too. One of the most notable is the way that the Ice Warriors (those big green things that talk with a hiss) are not presented as villains. This does two things; firstly it makes us suspect them because we only know them in one light, but it also means that we see that old enemies can change their colors (which if you extend this to the modern and endless debate over Europe, it reminds us that the Germans are no longer 'those' Germans). In addition to them we have of course the humanoid characters but also two creatures who are characters first and creatures later – a head in a glass box being one, but the other being the wonderfully hysterical Alpha Centauri – a real 'one eyed monster' if you will. Having these creatures be characters and not villains or monsters is a nice change and a good move. The human cast are mostly good and the only character that is really disappointing is the King – he is too weak within his role in the story and he is not as compelling as he needed to be.

Despite this though, it is a good serial that is something a bit different – creatures as characters, commentary rather than running gun battles, and monsters as part of the story rather than the whole deal. Oh, and what appears to be a green penis losing her mind whenever even the slightest little thing goes wrong.


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