The Curse Of Peladon
The Doctor and Jo are sent by the Time Lords to Peladon, a planet
attempting join the interstellar Federation. Someone is sabotaging the
negotiations, however, and the Doctor suspects it is the Ice Warrior
delegates. But as the mystery deepens and the body count mounts, the
Doctor may prove to be disastrously mistaken.
In the spring of 1971, Brian Hayles submitted two story ideas to the
Doctor Who production office. Hayles had last written for the
programme two years earlier, with The Seeds Of
Death being broadcast toward the end of Season Six. Unfortunately,
script editor Terrance Dicks was underwhelmed by both of Hayles'
submissions, “The Brain-Dead” and “The Shape Of
Terror”. Nonetheless, Dicks did like elements of both -- the
presence of the Ice Warriors in “The Brain-Dead” and the
“closed-door mystery” nature of “The Shape Of
Terror”. Following a meeting between Hayles, Dicks and producer
Barry Letts, a new storyline which combined these aspects was devised.
Originally called “The Curse” and then “Curse Of The
Peladons”, the scripts for the story were commissioned under the
title The Curse Of Peladon on May 14th.
In crafting The Curse Of Peladon, Hayles, Dicks and Letts had come
up with the idea of confounding audience expectations by revealing that
the Ice Warriors were not the villains of the piece after all. Hayles was
also asked to keep the story relatively inexpensive, as it was anticipated
that The Sea Devils -- the story which would
precede The Curse Of Peladon into production, but follow it in the
transmission order -- would be very costly. As such, The Curse Of
Peladon (accorded the production code Serial MMM) would be the first
story since Second Doctor Patrick Troughton's penultimate adventure, The Space Pirates, to feature no location
Cast as King Peladon was David Troughton, the son of
the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton
The director assigned to The Curse Of Peladon was Lennie Mayne.
Originally a dancer, Mayne had subsequently moved into television, earning
directing credits on programmes such as The Troubleshooters and
Vendetta. A key casting decision made by Mayne was to allocate the
role of King Peladon to David Troughton. Troughton was the son of
Patrick Troughton, who had played the Second Doctor; he had previously
appeared in small roles in two of his father's Doctor Who
stories, The Enemy Of The World and The War Games.
Work on The Curse Of Peladon got started with three days of model
filming at the BBC Television Centre Puppet Theatre, from December 15th to
17th. The latter two days also saw filming take place at the Ealing
Television Film Studios, for material on the cliffs as well as the fight
between the Doctor and Grun. Subsequently, it was noted that Katy
Manning's costume was more formal than Jo's usual garb, and so Dicks added
dialogue to part one explaining that she was getting ready for a date with
Mike Yates. Another line was inserted later in the episode commenting on
the “weird” storm on Peladon which featured lightning but no
rain. This was felt necessary to account for the fact that no rainmaking
machine had been pressed into service at Ealing; the segment was later
excised during editing, however.
Production resumed following New Year 1972 with the first recording
session in Television Centre Studio 4; this spanned Monday, January 17th
(covering episode one) and Tuesday the 18th (for episode two). During
rehearsals, Mayne was appalled to discover what the costume department had
constructed for Alpha Centauri, believing it to be obviously phallic.
Costume designer Barbara Lane elected to outfit Centauri in a yellow cloak
to mask the body shape. Meanwhile, although Hayles had conceived of
Aggedor as ape-like, the finished costume was more ursine in
The second taping session occurred exactly two weeks later, this time in
TC3; again, each day was devoted to one episode. As scripted, the scene
where the Doctor soothes Aggedor was to feature the Doctor intoning the
Tibetan chant “Om mane padme hum”, but it was decided to
instead use an expanded version of the Venusian nursery rhyme
“Kokleda partha mennin klatch” introduced in The Daemons at the end of the previous season.
Pertwee sang this to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.
- Doctor Who: The Handbook: The Third Doctor by David J Howe and
Stephen James Walker (1996), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 0 426 20486 7.
- Doctor Who: The Seventies by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and
Stephen James Walker (1994), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 1 85227 444 1.
- Doctor Who Magazine #215, 3rd August 1994, “Archive: The
Curse Of Peladon” by Andrew Pixley, Marvel Comics UK Ltd.
- Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #2, 5th September 2002,
“Family Affair” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.
||29th Jan 1972
||5th Feb 1972
||12th Feb 1972
||19th Feb 1972
|Voice of Alpha Centauri|
|Voice of Arcturus|
|Gordon St Clair|
|Title Music by|
|Ron Grainer and|
|BBC Radiophonic Workshop|
|Incidental music by|
|Special Sounds by|
|Fight Arranged by|
|Curse Of The Peladons|