Audio Review: Doctor Who and the Curse of Peladon

Doctor Who and the Curse of Peladon

Doctor Who and the Curse of Peladon - Credit: Archant

The Time Lord becomes embroiled in a plot to hold back the development of the feudal planet of Peladon


AS an allegory for the UK’s entry into the Common Market, this Third Doctor story is one of the first overtly politicised Who stories, showing how the pseudo-medieval and superstitious society of Peladon needs to enter the Galactic Federation in order to prosper and develop – hammering home the message of how we were viewed on the world stage at the time rather too hard perhaps?

The planet’s ruler, King Peladon, is trying to ease the passage into the Federation, but forces behind the scenes are striving to wreck these plans. When the Doctor and Jo arrive they assume the identities of the Earth ambassadorial party, and immediately try to uncover the conspirators behind the plot to undermine Peladon’s extraterrestrial progress.

With various representatives from other planets having their own agendas, the Doctor must put aside his prejudices in order to expose the true traitor, a task made all the more difficult given the presence of his old adversaries, the Martian Ice Warriors.

Although its sequel, The Monster of Peladon, was over-long and even less subtle with its message of industrial relations for miners, this original adventure is one of the stand-out stories of the Third Doctor’s era, and holds its own 40 years after its original broadcast.

Writer Brian Hayles weaves his world-shaping magic with even greater dexterity in his novelisation of his original TV script, fleshing out the society and history of Peladon and the characters of his protagonists to produce one of the all-time classic Who books.

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The recent return of the Ice Warriors in the current television series means this particular tale holds even greater resonance, especially as it presents the hulking armoured lizards in a new light for the first time.

Voice duties for the audiobook are provided by David Troughton, son of Second Doctor Patrick, who actually played King Peladon on screen, and he showcases his wide vocal range with first-rate performances for the wide variety of different humanoids and aliens.

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