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Doctor Who: The Monster of Peladon

"There's nothing 'only' about being a girl."

'The Curse of Peladon' is one of the great triumphs of its era. So it's no big surprise that Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks decided to make a sequel. To try and capture the same look and feel as 'Curse', they brought back writer Brian Hayles, director Lennie Mayne and designer Gloria Clayton. It was an attempt to bottle lighting twice. And it failed.

'Monster of Peladon' falls into the same trap that many sequels fall into. Rather than come up with something new, Hayles goes the lazy route and rehashes the plot of 'Curse'. To stretch the whole thing out, a dreary subplot about miner’s rights is shoved in, resulting in six episodes of our hero running around a bunch of boring caves with a lot of dull talking in between. This is everything I don't like about the Pertwee era. It's too long, overly talkie and features one crap action scene too many (and some very obvious stunt doubles in Jon Pertwee wigs).

This story would mark the Ice Warriors' final appearance on the series. Sadly, they have reverted back to being lumbering bad guys, undoing all the good work done in 'Curse'. Which is just a bloody shame. I like the Ice Warriors as uneasy allies. It's so much more interesting than just having them as out and out bad guys.

Worzel still looks like he couldn't be bothered anymore. I don't really blame him. Its hard to be enthusiastic when you're given material like this. The supporting characters are almost exactly the same as before, even if the names and actors (and in one case, gender) are different. Ortron is Hepesh all over again, while Queen Thalira is just as weak willed and indecisive as her father, completely incapable of making any decisions on her own. And, unlike her dad, she doesn't get to romance the Doctor's companion. Which I think was a seriously wasted opportunity. With no monarchs for her to romance, Hayles has no idea what do with Sarah Jane, leaving Elisabeth Sladen with almost nothing notable to do. When she's not worrying about the Doctor, she's being held hostage or forced to deliver excruciating speeches about Women’s Lib to Queen Thalira.


Notes and Quotes

--Whose bright idea was it that the miners should look like badgers?

--Peladon might be a technologically primitive culture, but that didn't stop them developing central heating for their mines.

--The Ice Warriors Azaxyr and Sskel are played by Alan Bennion and Sonny Caldinez, who also played Izlyr and Ssorg in 'Curse of Peladon'.

--The Doctor looks like he's dressed for St Patrick's Day.

--In the opening scene, the miners are all meant to be looking at an apparition of Aggedor, but they are looking in two completely different directions.

Sarah Jane Smith: "I still can't believe it. I can't believe that he's dead. You see, he was the most alive person I ever met."

The Doctor: "I've been meaning to pay a return visit to Peladon for ages."
Sarah Jane: "I can't think why."

Sarah: "You mean I had all that worry for nothing?"
The Doctor: "Don't sound so aggrieved. Anyone would think you prefer me dead."

Sarah: "You're sure you don't want to stay and take the job, Doctor? Civil service post. With a pension."
The Doctor: "In you get, Sarah. It's time I took you home."
Sarah: "I mean, I'd hate to stand in the way of your career."

Sarah Jane Smith: "It's another rotten, gloomy old tunnel."

Sarah Jane: “We're lost.”
The Doctor: “Mislaid. Possibly.”
Sarah Jane: “Oh, why don't we just go back to the TARDIS?”
The Doctor: “Well, for two good reasons. One, that I don't want to leave Peladon without having a word with my good friend, the King.”
Sarah Jane: “Name dropper.”
The Doctor: “And second...”
Sarah Jane: “What?”
The Doctor: “We are lost. Come on.”

Two out of four mines with central heating.
--
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

1 comment:

jimbo said...

i think the original is as boring as this, when i have a wan for re-watching, the Pertwee episodes they are 2 out about 3 or 4 that i skip over.