THE CURSE OF PELADON

Episode One

The Curse of PeladonSue: So what’s Peladon, then? Is it a person or a place? Or an oil painting? Is it a cursed oil painting? Am I close?

She’s pointing at the model shot, which begins this story before the image eventually dissolves to…

Sue: And these are the corridors we’ll be running down later. I’ve seen better.

In Peladon’s throne room, the king is moderating an argument between two royal advisers.

Me: (Pointing at the king) Does this guy ring any bells?
Sue: Er… Roger Daltrey?

And then the TARDIS arrives.

Sue: So the Doctor’s allowed to pop off for a quick adventure, but he has to return to Earth when it’s over. What’s so terrible about that? Ian and Barbara would have loved that. He’s basically on parole, I guess.

Oh look, it’s Alpha Centauri.

Sue: Oh, purlease! What’s that supposed to be?

She’s struck dumb while her mind attempts to process the image. But she gets there in the end.

The Curse of PeladonSue: It’s a giant penis. No, wait. It’s a giant penis in a shower curtain.
Me: Just be thankful Alpha Centuari wasn’t pink. And imagine what it must have looked like without the shower curtain. That almost happened, believe it or not.
Sue: Please, Neil, don’t. Just don’t.
Me: At least the production team are trying to create something truly alien, and they aren’t just sticking bits of plastic on somebody’s forehead.

Sue perks up as soon as we go ‘outside’.

Sue: You’d never believe this was filmed in a TV studio. At first, I thought they’d gone to Mount Snowdon, or somewhere like that. I wish they’d filmed all the studio scenes like this. Film makes all the difference. And the sound effects are amazing, too.

The Doctor’s new outfit is subjected to Sue’s critical gaze.

Sue: The Doctor is beginning to remind me of John McCririck, and that can’t be a good thing. At least his cloak could double as a picnic blanket if he ever lands on a planet with some decent weather.

As the political situation on Peladon becomes clearer, Sue spots a parallel with events closer to home.

Sue: This is basically a story about the European Union.
Me: It would have been a big talking point in the early 1970s when this was broadcast.
Sue: I’m not talking about the 1970s, silly. I’m talking about right now. Peladon’s basically Greece.

The Curse of PeladonThe Doctor and Jo are drawn to a statue of Aggedor.

Sue: What’s that supposed to represent? A giant pig?
Me: A giant boar.
Sue: How appropriate.

But Sue, on the other hand, is drawn to the Pel’s costumes.

Sue: A purple skirt and thigh-length boots. Is he appearing in a pantomime later?
Me: Oh no he isn’t.
Sue: I like Jo’s dress, though. It’s a lot more modest than we’re used to, so we won’t be seeing her knickers this week.
Me: Although we might get to see the King’s, if we’re lucky.

And then the Ice Warriors turn up.

Sue: It’s all go this week! All these aliens squabbling among themselves reminds me of Babylon 5. Yes, it’s basically Babylon 5 meets Game of Thrones. But with less incest.

The episode concludes as Aggedor’s statue topples towards the Doctor.

Sue: That wasn’t a great cliffhanger. I can’t say I’m very impressed with this story so far.

 

Episode Two

The delegates are arguing about the pros and cons of Peladon joining the Federation.

Sue: I hope the Federation have brought the gift of trousers to Peladon.

At one point, the king declares: “There is no plot!”

Sue: I wouldn’t brag about that if I were you.

The Curse of PeladonWhen he isn’t running down the script, King Peladon is flirting outrageously with Jo.

Sue: She could do a lot worse. She’s supposed to be on a date with Mike Yates right now, and that obviously isn’t going to go anywhere, so why not? Is this Jo’s last story? Does she marry the king and stay on Peladon? I’m not sure how I feel about that.

But there is an upside:

Sue: The Doctor is a lot nicer to Jo this week. I can’t believe it’s taken him this long to thaw. Maybe he’s jealous?

Who tried to assassinate Arcturus? If only the delegates knew for sure…

Sue: Just ask the head in a box!

So they do. Repeatedly.

The Curse of PeladonSue: Arcturus reminds me of Davros. He even sounds like Davros. Is this where they got the idea from? And why are all the aliens green? Are they supposed to be colour coordinated? Or has the BBC bought a job lot of green paint?
Me: Like I said, just be thankful Alpha Centauri wasn’t pink.
Sue: At least Jo has plenty to do this week. It’s her last chance to shine, I suppose. I’m not convinced she’s actually doing this stunt, though. Her ankles are very fat in this close-up.

As Aggedor pursues Jo through Peladon’s catacombs, a trailing leg makes contact with the set and a ‘stone’ wall slides across the floor. Sue makes me rewind the DVD so she can watch it again.

Sue: It’s a bloody good job that wasn’t a supporting wall. They’d be dead if it was.

The Doctor assumes the Ice Warriors must be the bad guys, and when it turns out they aren’t, Sue isn’t very happy to put it mildly.

UK GoldSue: That makes the Doctor a little bit racist, doesn’t it? I expect a lot more from him, frankly. It should be him convincing everyone else that they’re prejudiced, not the other way round. That’s not good at all.
Me: I don’t care what you say, this episode is still very important to me. This is the episode that was playing on UK Gold the night you brought me home to meet Nicol. It was Tuesday April 13th 1993.
Sue: What was she wearing?
Me: I beg your pardon?
Sue: What was Nicol wearing?
Me: I have no idea.
Sue: So you can remember which episode of Doctor Who was on telly that night, but you can’t remember what Nicol was wearing when you met her. Why am I not surprised?

 

Episode Three

Sue still can’t get her head around the Pel’s costumes.

The Curse of PeladonSue: I can imagine Eddie Izzard walking around in the king’s outfit. Or maybe Pat Butcher. It’s a difficult look to pull off.
Me: This story is very Christmassy, don’t you think? All those reds, greens and purples…
Sue: Well, it’s a pantomime, I suppose.
Me: Oh no it isn’t.
Sue: Why is the guard who can’t talk called Grunt? Isn’t that a bit insensitive?
Me: He’s called Grun.
Sue: Oh, well, then. That’s much better.

It’s Aggedor’s turn to take the stage.

Sue: They were getting away with it when it was hidden in the shadows, but now that it’s out in the open… Oh dear. It’s too fluffy, like a huge teddy bear. They should have roughed it up a bit. It should be caked in shit. It shouldn’t look like it’s just been blow-dried.

The Doctor advances on Aggedor, armed with a spinning mirror and a Venusian lullaby.

The Curse of PeladonSue: Just stick your fingers on its chest! Hang on, is the Doctor singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen?
Me: I told you this was Christmassy. I’ve been planning this for months.
Sue: Have you really?
Me: No.

Aggedor falls under the Doctor’s spell.

Sue: He’s cute. Is he housetrained?

The Doctor is sentenced to trial by combat, and King Peladon isn’t swayed by Jo pleas for clemency.

Sue: She’s never going to sleep with him now. He’s blown it.

The Doctor is lowered into a pit to face the mighty Grun.

Sue: Is that Jon Pertwee? I don’t think it is, you know. His hair looks even more fake than usual.

The Curse of PeladonGrun and the Doctor fight to the death.

Sue: Just stick your finger on his ****ing chest!

The episode concludes with Arcturus and the Ice Warriors simultaneously drawing their weapons and firing.

Sue: That was a very confusing cliffhanger. What the hell?

 

Episode Four

Immediately prior to watching this episode, we appeared on Bob Fischer’s radio show on BBC Tees to talk about our increasingly ridiculous quest to watch every episode of Doctor Who together. Here’s how we prepared for that encounter…

Sue: What do you think Bob will ask me?
Me: Well, he’ll probably ask you about the episode you’ve just seen.
Sue: I didn’t know I’d have to revise for this. I’ve been busy.
Me: We only saw it last night! Come on, Sue – The Curse of…?
Sue: Peladon. Yes, that’s right. Anything else?
Me: It would be great if you could slip the words ‘hermaphrodite hexapod’ into the conversation. That might get a laugh.
Sue: And how am I supposed to do that, exactly?
Me: Alpha Centauri, remember?
Sue: That’s a planet, isn’t it?
Me: It’s a giant penis!
Sue: Oh yes, the penis in the shower curtain. Okay, I’ll try….

Me: I told you to drop ‘hermaphrodite hexapod’ into the conversation, not ‘penis in a shower curtain’!
Sue: Sorry, I was confused!

And then we drove home in silence to watch the final episode of The Curse of Peladon.

Sue: Nice rugs.

At first I think she’s referring to the Pels’ wigs, but no, it’s the fabric on the citadel’s walls that’s grabbed her attention. She’s also noticed the sets have become very smoky indeed, and when I tell her the production team got a bollocking for bringing burning torches into the studio, and the cameras had to be stripped down later so all the soot could be removed, she still thinks it was a price worth paying.

Sue: It’s the only realistic thing about this story.

Grun slips into the tunnels to attack Hepesh for betraying his people, but the old man manages to overpower him.

Sue: How did Hepesh pick up that boulder? That’s ridiculous. Jon Pertwee struggled to pick a rock that was less than half that size. Do the people of Peladon have superhuman strength? Have I missed something important?

The Curse of PeladonThe Ice Warriors, Jo and Alpha Centauri take a vote on whether to side with King Peladon or not. Alpha Centauri prevaricates (“Just poke her in her eye!”), but the others finally persuade it to raise its hand(s) in agreement.

Sue: Does that count as one vote or three?

Civil war breaks out on Peladon, but even scantily clad men fighting each other to the death can’t stir Sue.

Sue: This isn’t exactly 300. In fact, it’s probably closer to 30.

King Peladon is heartbroken when Aggedor kills Hepesh in a fit of pique.

Sue: Where’s the music gone? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really miss the music when it isn’t there. It doesn’t feel right. Is Dudley on a three-day week or something?

And then the real delegates from Earth turn up.

Sue: Good. I was beginning to worry about them. I thought they’d been smashed to pieces on the side of the mountain… Ooh, nice use of the ‘Doctor who?’ joke, there. It takes a lot of skill to do that without it sounding shit.

The Doctor believes the Time Lords were behind his trip to Peladon.

Sue: A likely bloody story. They’re just trying to make this seem more important than it really was.
Me: How do you feel about Jo not staying behind with the king?
Sue: I’m relieved. He was a bit wet. And who’d want to live on a shit hole like Peladon?

 

The Score

Sue: That was definitely below average. The production values weren’t very good – some of it was very cheap, actually. Except for that bit on the mountain. They should have filmed the whole thing like that. Some of the alien costumes were a joke, the direction was flat, and the plot didn’t excite me. The only good thing I can say about the story is that at least Jo had something to do for a change. And it was only four parts; I can’t imagine what it would have been like if they’d dragged it out to six.

4/10

 

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Comments

  1. Francesca  December 23, 2011

    Awww, no recognition for David?! Shame. Cause here’s where he really shines, after all.

  2. Huw Davies  December 23, 2011

    At last a sane comment on this overrated story! When it came out on DVD in 2010 ‘Curse’ received numerous good reviews (not least from the usually bang-on DWM), whereas I have never liked it. Sue’s right – it has peaked by the time the TARDIS careers down the Peladon cliffs about 5 minutes into Episode 1!

  3. BestBrian  December 23, 2011

    Merry Christmas.

  4. Dave Sanders  December 23, 2011

    Bah, typical Pelosceptic. It was 1972 Sue, EVERYONE was a three-day week.

  5. Alex_The_Geek  December 23, 2011

    How many people actually read The Wife In Space?

  6. Noodles  December 23, 2011

    Aaaaaa-ge-dor, dor, dor, push pinapple, shake the tree, Aggedor, dor, dor, push pinapple, grind coffee, to the left, to the right, jump up and down and to the knees, come and dance every night, sing with a hula melody…

    Just me, then?

    • John Callaghan  December 24, 2011

      Just you – although we’re trying to make it look like we’re too cool to be dancing, we’re actually just jealous of your mad skills.

      I’m trying to think of a song with Hepesh in the title, but can’t.

    • PolarityReversed  December 24, 2011

      Far better in the original Venusian, of course…
      Not one of my favourites, but I rather enjoyed the “menagerie” nature of this one.
      Thanks for the entertainment and providing a home for the deeply uncool and proud of it!

      May your days be earthlike, Neil and Sue,
      And may all your Metabelis crystals be blue.

  7. Andrew Myers  December 23, 2011

    I’ve just finished my sojourn through the classic series. I rather enjoyed watching this one. I liked Pertwee’s diplomacy/singing. I particularly liked his fight scene. You cannot imagine any other Doctor fighting like that. Brilliant.

  8. Lewis  December 23, 2011

    I rather love the fact that when the experiment resumes in January, Sue’s going to be treated to… Spoiler removed.

    • Lewis  December 25, 2011

      …treated to Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor making a cameo 😉

      Hint: Not really. It’s Tennant.

  9. Loki  December 23, 2011

    Huh. I’ve always liked Curse of Peladon. It’s one of the better Pertwee stories for me- of course the whole “penis in a curtain” never came to me. Though I’ve liked this story, I’ve never recommended it as one of the better Pertwee stories. It’s good but it’s missing something. So I’d give it a 6.

    • Loki  December 23, 2011

      Okay maybe I should fix that. It’s one of the better as in “good” stories, but not one of the better as in “recommend to a friend and put it in a Top 5 list”.

  10. Alisaunder  December 23, 2011

    4 seems low to me, at least a 5 or 6. I rather liked the King’s Elizabethanesque outfit and the Ice Warriors. It could have been better though. Its not one Id invite a friend to watch but not bad.

  11. John Callaghan  December 24, 2011

    Thanks for a year of entertainment, Neil and Sue – and Nichol and Gary too. Have a cool Yule a fab new year. See you on the other side!

  12. Longtime Listener  December 24, 2011

    Talk about an open-and-shut case on the T-shirt front…

    • BestBrian  December 24, 2011

      Yeah, not much mystery this week. 🙂

      • Jazza1971  December 24, 2011

        My two favourite quotes would perhaps not make it to a t-shirt. I suspect that one of them is the same one you are referring to.

        Score wise I think Sue got it absolutely spot on. “Peladon Tales” are certainly not the best.

        • Jazza1971  December 24, 2011

          Oh, and incidentally, a happy Christmas to all of you at home!

    • PolarityReversed  December 24, 2011

      Hmm. wonder if Neil is getting antibiotics for Christmas…

  13. Marty  December 24, 2011

    No mention of the word to the Doctor’s Venusian lullaby:
    “Kokleda partha mennin clatch. Aroon aroon aroon…” I’d listen to carollers if they broke out a bit of the Venusian lullaby.

    I’m fairly indifferent to Curse of Peladon, I probably wouldn’t give it a 4, mostly because anything with Pertwee in it deserves at least a 5.

    Well you two rest, recuperate, have a break from classic Doctor Who by watching new Doctor Who and return in the new year, new faces, new bodies…actually, no that’s regeneration…return anyways refreshed.

    • Jazza1971  December 24, 2011

      I thought this referred to the lullaby:- ” Hang on, isn’t he singing ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’?”

  14. sparklepunk  December 24, 2011

    I did quite like this ep but I can see where it wouldn’t be to everyones taste.

    The radio bit was bsolutely great! and on that note I should probably point out, since I missed the appearent survey, that I am one of the fairly hard core female fans you guys were talking about (I’m only not counting myself as completely hard core because I have a sense of humour about my fave show and have never been offended when Sue disagreed. hah oh and cause you can only be so hard core from Canada, I for example had never heard of that John Pertwee song until now). I’ve loved it since I was about 7 and I probably don’t have anywhere near the encyclopedic knowledge that you guys have, but it is up there. Not that I thought you were serious about that or anything, more that I thought it was too bad I had missed the survey, I must say it’s kind of fun to still be counted as one of the young ones in a group too. hah

    Oh and thanks so much for the entertainment have a great holiday! 😀

  15. Aggedors magic codpiece  December 24, 2011

    you make Aggedor sad.

  16. BWT  December 24, 2011

    “Babylon 5 crossed with Game of Thrones. But with less incest.” – Put it on a T-shirt. Now.

    Oh, and afterward… Have a fantastic Christmas! Race ya to the drinks cabinet…!

  17. John G  December 24, 2011

    “And if was four parts. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if they’d dragged it out to six.”

    Just you wait Sue, just you wait… Mind you, I think Sue has been a bit Scrooge-like with this one. It is quite stagy, admittedly, but I like the Agatha Christieish feel to it and the Ice Warriors turning out to be good guys is a nice twist. It’s great to see the Doctor and Jo getting on so well too, and three cheers to Jo for resisting the King’s advances, not that I can see what she ever saw in the drip anyway! Incidentally Neil, did Sue discover who the actor playing Peladon was? The credits would soon have put her out of her misery, assuming she cared at all in the first place…

    Anyway, thanks very much for all the entertainment you two have provided during the course of the year, and I eagerly await the continuation of the experiment in 2012. In the meantime, a very merry Christmas to you both!

  18. Matt Sharp  December 24, 2011

    ‘This will be our 300th episode of Doctor Who. Yes, I know it’s not the 300th episode of Doctor Who (that’s the middle of The Daemons) but we condensed some of the recons very early on (a fact that continues to haunt us) and so this is our 300th episode.’

    You also skipped an episode of ‘The Abominable Snowmen’ in favour of the Target book reading, so that would actually make twelve recons you missed so the three hundredth episode would be part one of ‘The Sea Devils’.

  19. Nigel  December 24, 2011

    You know, I did predict all this. Now, where are the archives?

  20. Richard Lyth  December 24, 2011

    Better not let Sue on the radio after she’s seen the Vervoids…

    • Lewis  December 25, 2011

      Erato first!

  21. Dave Sanders  December 24, 2011

    Coming up next, twelve episodes of Radiophonic sound. After that is the six more of fury, told by an idiot and signifying nothing.

    • Frankymole  December 28, 2011

      Bit harsh on Barry Letts! Still, it is like a bad rehash of The Daemons. Better than his radio scripts though.

    • Rollocks  December 28, 2011

      Coming next two of my favourite scores of the entire classic Who era. And Tristram Cary scored story 4 series 9 not the Radiophonic Workshop.

      However we can both agree that story 5 series 9 is a bit sh*t on most counts.

  22. Emily  December 26, 2011

    This is the first classic episode i’d ever seen, and all I can really remember is arguing with my friend regarding whether or not the king’s bottoms were shorts or a skirt. When we finally agreed, we did in fact try to see if he was wearing underwear or not. And I disagree with Sue; I think Jo should’ve stayed with the king. She could’ve been a queen! And it’s not as if the Doctor has been all that great to her… but those are just my two cents. I’ve been waiting for this episode forever! And now I’ll go sit in the corner and be quiet again. Merry Christmas though!

  23. Melody  December 26, 2011

    I’m actually a bit disappointed, as this is one of my favorites. I thought the Ice Warriors were nasty folks, so it was a pleasant surprise when they turned out to be the good guys. It reminded me of the way the Klingons were developed. At least she had fun with Alpha Centauri.

    Also, I’ve never thought Pertwee was that harsh with Jo. He did treat her like a child, but that always seemed properly in character.

  24. Simon Harries  December 27, 2011

    I remember being hugely excited when this story was repeated in July 1982 – and utterly absorbed by the story of its restoration in the October 1982 edition of Dr Who Monthly. The story of how episode 3 required dozens and dozens of replays, stopping en route to clean and re-lace the tape heads, as shed-loads of oxide gunged up the mechanics. It’s probably what aroused my interest in TV technology. Thirty years on, The Curse of Peladon can often be tepid – but if I was made to choose between this one and its sequel, well, I think we all know what my answer would be. And now, I really can’t wait to see what Sue makes of LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL…. 😉

  25. Daru  January 3, 2012

    Well done Neil and Sue on reaching YOUR 300 and the upcoming year!

    I kind of like this tale – nice and enclosed in its atmosphere – just as well its only 4 episodes though! I agree with Sue – love the decor in it.

    Happy New Year folks

  26. Farsighted99  January 24, 2012

    This episode had a good story, but was poorly directed. And it’s the worst group of aliens I’ve ever seen! Who what about that sentiment asparagus outfit (did Sue really call it a giant penis in a shower curtain??? LOL!). And her voice was so annoying. My ears are still smarting. And what about that muppet head alien in a planetarium. Really, that was the best they could come up with at the time? Maybe they spent all the money on the torches? Just dreadful.

    Was Peladon really David Troughton? Wasn’t he also in Midnight? Wow. THAT was a long time ago! He looked real Hamlet-y here. And there was a bit of a Shakespearean tragedy in this story. Well, sort of. His parents were dead; the evil advisor almost destroying the King, but dies in his arms, etc. etc. Nice try.

    And the Doctor singing? And fighting? I can’t remember seeing the Doctor in such a brawl. For awhile there, I thought he might actually kill the goon.

    Anyway, I liked the end where Jo was sort-of falling for the King, and then they left when the real Earth delegate showed up. It was a clever ending. And NO Master. Though I think he pops up again soon…

    And I was wondering if Jo was actually going to stay on that planet and marry the King. She certainly did consider it.

    Best Sue Quote:
    Sue: I’m relieved. He [the King] was a bit wet. And who’d want to live on a shit-hole like Peladon?

    I really wish that Jo had told the King the truth about herself and the Doctor… she just shrugged and said “you wouldn’t believe it” and then told him she wasn’t really a princess….

    4/10. I gave it an extra point for the Doctor Who joke. well done.

  27. Huw  April 19, 2012

    I haven’t seen any Pertwee since they were first broadcast. This is another one that I had fond memories of (I think part of that was that it dodn’t feature the Master, and I was getting bored by him) and, way back then, I was impressed that the Ice Monsters were now good, and the array of aliens on offer. Since reading this my view has changed, radically:

    Me: I told you to drop ‘hermaphrodite hexapod’ into the conversation, not ‘penis in a shower curtain’!
    Sue: Sorry! I got confused.
    Me: Well that’s something else you can scratch off your bucket list: you said the word ‘penis’ on local radio. Well done.

    I spat coffee over the monitor as a result of that! And now, I really must go out and do some errands. This site is so good it is very hard to break free.