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Serial YYY:
The Monster Of Peladon

Plot

The TARDIS returns to Peladon fifty years after its first visit, and the Doctor and Sarah Jane find the planet in disorder once again. The Federation desperately needs trisilicate -- in which Peladon is rich -- in order to wage a war against the oppressive Galaxy Five. But this has lead to claims amongst the natives of Peladon that the Federation is raping their planet. To make matters worse, the ghost of Aggedor, the Sacred Beast of Peladon, has been appearing, apparently condemning the Federation. Once again it seems as if the Ice Warriors are to blame. Can the Doctor be wrong twice?

Production

Brian Hayles' The Curse Of Peladon, broadcast in early 1972, had proved popular with both the Doctor Who production crew and audiences alike. Script editor Terrance Dicks therefore decided at an early stage to feature a sequel as part of the programme's eleventh season. Hayles was commissioned to write a storyline under the title “Return To Peladon” on January 4th, 1973. Dicks and producer Barry Letts asked Hayles to include both a feminist element and some political relevance, as both felt that Doctor Who was a valuable vehicle for social commentary.

Hayles originally approached “Return To Peladon” as a direct sequel to the previous adventure, taking place only slightly later in the reign of that serial's King Peladon. In this version of the story, Ortron and Eckersley are working together to turn Peladon into an independent world reaping the profit from the demand for trisilicate. Thalira is one of the king's advisors -- who had been due to marry him but rejected him following his affair with Jo Grant in The Curse Of Peladon -- and Sarah and Eckersley are romantically involved. Hayles' six scripts were commissioned on July 12th.

However, Letts and Dicks soon grew concerned that “Return To Peladon” was becoming too complex, and Hayles worked with them to streamline the plot. In the process, the setting was shifted forward fifty years, with Thalira becoming the late King Peladon's heir; Serial YYY was renamed The Monster Of Peladon. By late November, Dicks was still unhappy with Hayles' work, and given that the writer had now produced two radically different versions of the scripts, it was agreed that Hayles would be paid for his work and Dicks would complete the serial himself. The Monster Of Peladon consequently underwent numerous alterations -- for instance, the Ice Warriors were originally defeated when the Doctor manage to transmit word of their treachery to the Federation, who blockade and threaten to destroy the Ice Warrior planet.

Letts made a conscious effort to reassemble as much of the crew of The Curse Of Peladon as possible for The Monster Of Peladon. Most notably, Lennie Mayne returned as director, having also helmed The Three Doctors in between. Many of the sets, props and costumes from the earlier Peladon story were also reused, resulting in tight continuity between the two serials.

Work on The Monster Of Peladon began in 1974 with five days at the Ealing Television Film Studios from January 14th to 18th, filming material set in the mines. Studio recording then began with a two-day session in BBC Television Centre Studio 8. Spanning Monday, January 28th and Tuesday the 29th, this covered all the material for the first two episodes, as well as the scenes set in the temple and the pit from part three. Shortly thereafter, on February 8th, it was revealed to the press that Jon Pertwee would be leaving Doctor Who at the end of Season Eleven.

Taping resumed with another Monday/Tuesday block on February 11th and 12th, this time in TC6, covering most of the remaining material for the third and fourth installments. The Monster Of Peladon was completed on Tuesday, February 26th and Wednesday the 27th, again in TC6. This brought to a close Brian Hayles' involvement in televised Doctor Who. He made further submissions to the production office which went unproduced, and continued writing novelisations for Target's line of Doctor Who books. Hayles also scripted a number of films and television programmes, including the supernatural children's drama The Moon Stallion, as well as the radio series The Archers. Brian Hayles died on October 30th, 1978.

Meanwhile, Letts and Dicks had been hastily searching for a Fourth Doctor in consultation with new Head of Serials Bill Slater. After considering David Warner (at the time most renowned for his Shakespearean work, and who felt that Doctor Who would be a backwards step for his career; he later played an alternate Doctor in the Doctor Who Unbound audio play Sympathy For The Devil from Big Finish Productions) and Ron Moody (who had also been approached in 1969 to succeed Patrick Troughton), the production team next thought about casting an older actor, in the vein of the original Doctor, William Hartnell.

Several names were put forward and finally rejected: Carry On star Jim Dale, who was interested but unavailable; Richard Hearne, who thought Letts wanted him to play the Doctor in the vein of the Mister Pastry character he had been portraying since 1949's Helter Skelter; Michael Bentine of The Goon Show, who withdrew when he learned he would not have script input; and Graham Crowden (later Soldeed in The Horns Of Nimon), who did not want to make a longterm commitment to the series.

Letts and Dicks were seriously considering offering the role to Fulton Mackay (who had played Dr Quinn in The Silurians) when Slater received a letter on February 5th from an actor named Tom Baker, with whom he had worked on an episode of Play Of The Month. Baker had a variety of minor roles on his resume, including episodes of Z Cars and the movies Nicholas And Alexandra and Vault Of Horror, but had recently found himself out of work and making ends meet as a construction labourer.

Thinking that Baker might be a suitable choice to play the new Doctor, Slater encouraged Letts and Dicks to see the actor in the film The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad. So impressed with Baker was Letts that he discarded the “older Doctor” idea on the spot and quickly offered Baker the starring role in Doctor Who. Baker was unveiled to the press on February 15th; he was formally contracted for 26 episodes four days later.

Sources
  • 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 #216, 31st August 1994, “Archive: The Monster Of Peladon” by Andrew Pixley, Marvel Comics UK Ltd.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #2, 5th September 2002, “The Show Must Go On” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.

Original Transmission
Episode 1
Date 23rd Mar 1974
Time 5.30pm
Duration 24'59"
Viewers (more) 9.2m (23rd)
· BBC1 9.2m
Episode 2
Date 30th Mar 1974
Time 5.30pm
Duration 23'26"
Viewers (more) 6.8m (55th)
· BBC1 6.8m
Episode 3
Date 6th Apr 1974
Time 5.30pm
Duration 24'47"
Viewers (more) 7.4m (42nd)
· BBC1 7.4m
Appreciation 64%
Episode 4
Date 13th Apr 1974
Time 5.30pm
Duration 24'50"
Viewers (more) 7.2m (37th)
· BBC1 7.2m
Episode 5
Date 20th Apr 1974
Time 5.31pm
Duration 23'56"
Viewers (more) 7.5m (42nd)
· BBC1 7.5m
Episode 6
Date 27th Apr 1974
Time 5.31pm
Duration 23'48"
Viewers (more) 8.1m (30th)
· BBC1 8.1m


Cast
Doctor Who
Jon Pertwee
Sarah Jane Smith
Elisabeth Sladen
Eckersley
Donald Gee
(more)
Thalira
Nina Thomas
Ortron
Frank Gatliff
Gebek
Rex Robinson
Ettis
Ralph Watson
Voice of Alpha Centauri
Ysanne Churchman
Body of Alpha Centauri
Stuart Fell
Vega Nexos
Gerald Taylor
Preba
Graeme Eton
Blor
Michael Crane
Guard Captain
Terry Walsh
Aggedor
Nick Hobbs
Miners
Roy Evans
Max Faulkner
Azaxyr
Alan Bennion
Sskel
Sonny Caldinez


Crew
Written by
Brian Hayles
Directed by
Lennie Mayne
Produced by
Barry Letts
(more)

Fight Arranger
Terry Walsh
Title Music by
Ron Grainer &
BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Title Sequence
Bernard Lodge
Incidental Music by
Dudley Simpson
Special Sound
Dick Mills
Film Cameraman
Keith Hopper
Film Sound
John Gatland
Film Editor
William Symon
Visual Effects Designer
Peter Day
Costume Designer
Barbara Kidd
Make Up
Elizabeth Moss
Studio Lighting
Ralph Walton
Studio Sound
Tony Millier
Script Editor
Terrance Dicks
Designer
Gloria Clayton


Working Titles
Return To Peladon


Media
DVD Releases
Doctor Who: The Monster Of Peladon (2010)
Buy: Canada · USA
Doctor Who: Peladon Tales (boxed set; 2010)
Buy: UK
Audio Release
Doctor Who: The Monster Of Peladon narrated by Elisabeth Sladen (2008)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Novelisation
Doctor Who and The Monster Of Peladon by Terrance Dicks (1980)

Updated 10th February 2010