I was a bit wary coming into this story. The season has felt a bit different at times, and at others (such as ‘Death to the Daleks’) it felt like it was just going through the motions, so when I was faced with a story featuring the return to Peladon, the return of Alpha Centauri and the like, and I knew it was going to be six parts, I was a little sceptical. Then my friend Andrew, watching all the stories with me, but unlike me not for the first time, said it was a pretty slow and difficult story to get through. I was not looking forward to ‘The Monster of Peladon’.
|Donald Gee and Elizabeth Sladen with Alpha Centauri and an Ice Warrior.|
But hey, it was ok! I watched it in two installments of around three episodes each, and although it never reaches great heights it moved ok with an interesting-enough story and some decent characters. I was disappointed that the Ice Warriors again had been cast as villains, and I thought Aggedor could have had a bit more to do, but a solid six parts with interesting ideas and wonderful performances from Elizabeth Sladen and Jon Pertwee. Some of the acting by Liz Sladen when she thinks the Doctor dead was really moving. I was very impressed. And it’s a classic case of the Doctor putting himself before everyone else to stop the Ice Warriors’ scheme.
A good guest cast as well. Nina Thomas is perhaps cuter than you’d expect from a Queen, but she does a great job as Thalira, and there’s some really good stuff between her and Sarah. Then there is Rex Robinson in for his second Doctor Who adventure in two years – he played Doctor Tyler in ‘The Three Doctors’. He plays the leader of the miners here, Gebek, and despite the fact that all the miners have ridiculous hair, does a good job.
|Jon Pertwee gives his service to the Queen.|
Also returning to Doctor Who is Donaled Gee, as the co-conspirator, Eckersly. It’s a good character, one the audience doesn’t suspect really until the truth is revealed. Not an earth-shattering performance, but a good job. Frank Gatliff is Chancellor Ortron. This is a good character too. Unlike Hepesh (in ‘The Curse of Peladon’) Ortron is true to his Queen. However, there is a class warfare going on on Peladon, the Royalty versus the miners. Again, Brian Hayles’ script has political connotations, more so than the previous story.
Sadly, although it is Aggedor who gets Eckersly in the end, the poor beast pays the price and is killed. Although it’s not the most convincing monster in the world, it’s still a sad end to the tale.
|Jon Pertwee shows Liz Sladen a statue of Aggador.|
It’s slow in places, and the hair is just bizarre for the miners, some of the dialogue is purely functional and it seems to tread over old ground with the Ice Warriors, but still I enjoyed this story enough to be surprised.