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Episode Guide
The Curse of Peladon
Production Code: MMM
Season 9, Story Number 61
Written by Brian Hayles
Directed by Lennie Mayne
No episode stills are currently available for this story.

Each episode is identified with date of transmission, duration, ratings in millions, and (for 1963-1974 only) archive status.

Episode 1
29 January 1972 | 24'32" | 10.3 | PAL 2" color videotape, 16mm B&W t/r
Episode 2
05 February 1972 | 24'33" | 11.0 | PAL 2" color videotape, 16mm B&W t/r
Episode 3
12 February 1972 | 24'21" | 7.8 | PAL 2" color videotape, 16mm B&W t/r
Episode 4
19 February 1972 | 24'16" | 8.4 | PAL 2" color videotape, 16mm B&W t/r
Archive Status: All four episodes exist in color as PAL conversions from NTSC 2" color videotape and in black & white as 16mm telerecordings recovered from BBC Enterprises in 1978. The NTSC 2" color videotapes were recovered from Canada in 1979; all NTSC recordings except episode 3 still exist in the Archives.
Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), David Troughton (Peladon), Geoffrey Toone (Hepesh), Henry Gilbert (Torbis), Alan Bennion (Izlyr), Sonny Caldinez (Ssorg), Stuart Fell (Alpha Centauri), Ysanne Churchman (Voice of Alpha Centauri), Murphy Grumbar (Arcturus), Terry Bale (Voice of Arcturus), Gordon St. Clair (Grun), Nick Hobbs (Aggedor), George Giles (Guard Captain), Wendy Danvers (Amazonia)
In a citadel on the planet Peladon, Chancellor Torbis (Henry Gilbert) reports to King Peladon (David Troughton) that the delegate from Alpha Centauri has arrived. Peladon wants the planet to join the Galactic Federation but Hepesh (Geoffrey Toone), his High Priest, is against such a move. Peladon has invited a committee of assessment to the planet to decide on the issue and all are now present, barring the chairman delegate from Earth. Torbis leaves to inform the other delegates of Alpha Centauri's arrival but he is attacked and killed by Aggedor (Nick Hobbs), the sacred and mythical beast of Peladon.

The TARDIS arrives on the slopes of the mountain on which the citadel is perched, and when the Doctor and Jo exit, it tumbles to the bottom of the mountain. Unable to descend, the Doctor and Jo struggle up the mountainside through rain and wind until Jo finds a cave which leads to a series of underground tunnels under the citadel. They find their way into the citadel and see an Ice Warrior lumber past just before they are caught and taken to the throne room.

There, they meet Peladon and the assembled delegates: Alpha Centauri (Stuart Fell; voice: Ysanne Churchman), Arcturus (Murphy Grumbar; voice: Terry Bale) and Martians Lord Izlyr (Alan Bennion) and his aide Ssorg (Sonny Caldinez). Izlyr assumes that the Doctor is the delegate from Earth and the others follow suit. The Doctor, not wishing to cause undue trouble, also plays along, introducing Jo as Princess Josephine of TARDIS. Peladon is very taken with Jo. While they are talking, Hepesh gestures to Grun (Gordon St. Clair), the King's champion, and he slips out of the throne room and positions himself to topple a statue of Aggedor onto the delegates as they leave the throne room.

Luckily, the Doctor sees the statue falling and pushes the delegates out of its path, saving their lives. Grun creeps back into the throne room and while Peladon tries to assure everyone that the planet is safe, Jo slips away and finds a piece of electronic equipment up by where the statue was originally standing. Later, the Doctor confirms that it is an electronic key made from trisilicate, which can be found only on Mars, home of the Ice Warriors.

Arcturus is attacked and the Doctor manages to re-route his circuits and stabilise his condition. Someone has taken a servo junction unit from his life support systems. Jo goes investigating and finds the missing unit in the Warriors' room. She is discovered by Ssorg, but escapes from the room by climbing out of the window and edging round to another room. She sees Aggedor in the corridors and, panicking, runs straight into Izlyr and Ssorg. She talks with the Martians and realises that they are innocent.

The Doctor has been lured into the tunnels under the citadel by Grun and is chased by Aggedor. He arrives at the sacred temple of Aggedor and Hepesh has him arrested for sacrilege, a crime for which there is only one punishment à death. Jo appeals to Peladon and he commutes the sentence to a battle to the death with Grun.

Hepesh offers to help the Doctor escape and gives him a map of the tunnels. He tells him that he does not stand alone in his desire to prevent the planet from joining the Federation. The Doctor fits a mirror to the top of his sonic screwdriver and leaves. In the tunnels, the map leads him to Aggedor. The Doctor hypnotises the beast with the spinning mirror and by crooning a Venusian lullaby. Jo, who has followed the Doctor, frightens Aggedor off with a flaming torch, and they return to tell Peladon that Aggedor is real. He does not believe them and the trial by combat takes place.

The Doctor wins out over Grun, but refuses to kill him. Arcturus points his laser weapon at the Doctor, but Ssorg destroys Arcturus before he can fire. Hepesh escapes into the tunnels and recruits the guard captain (George Giles) and some of the guards (Stewart Barry, Derek Chafer, Billy Dean, Royston Farrell, Mike Stevens, Chris Webb, Peter Brace, Bill Horrigan, Mike Horsburgh, Dinny Powell, Roy Street, Rocky Taylor, Terry Walsh) to fight against Peladon. The delegates discover that all their communicators have been destroyed and they are unable to summon help. The Doctor decides to find Aggedor.

Hepesh and his guards storm the throne room and fight with Peladon's guards. The Doctor hypnotises Aggedor and brings him to the throne room where he attacks Hepesh and kills him. With this, the guards surrender.

The Doctor and Jo find the TARDIS in one of the citadel rooms where it has been placed by Peladon's men. The Doctor thinks that the Time Lords may have brought them here at this time to help out. Peladon's coronation is about to take place and the Doctor and Jo are looking forward to it. However, the real delegate from Earth (Wendy Danvers), arrives and the Doctor and Jo are forced to make a swift exit.

Synopsis from Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Handbook by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, reprinted with permission; further reproduction is not permitted.

Production Team
Ros Anderson (Assistant Floor Manager), Barbara Lane (Costumes), Gloria Clayton (Designer), Terry Walsh (Fight Arranger), PROFILE (Fight Arranger), Fred Hamilton (Film Cameraman), Peter Sargent (Film Cameraman), Michael Sha-Dyan (Film Editor), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Sylvia James (Make-Up), Barry Letts (Producer), Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Assistant), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Brian Hodgson (Special Sounds), Howard King (Studio Lighting), Tony Millier (Studio Sound), Delia Derbyshire (Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Bernard Wilkie (Visual Effects), Ian Scoones (Visual Effects)
Story Notes
The first of two serials that took the third Doctor to the planet of the title, "The Curse of Peladon" is the second journey onscreen away from Earth since his exile began and has proven to be a popular tale over the years. Author Brian Hayles previously had created the Ice Warriors in both the story that bears their name as well as "The Seeds of Death," and had submitted two other storylines ("The Brain Dead" and "Shape of Terror") unsuccessfully before selling this script. An allegory to the UK entry into the Common Market, the story would later be followed by "The Monster of Peladon". The primary guest star, David Troughton, is the son of Patrick Troughton and had previously appeared in Doctor Who in "The Enemy of the World" and "The War Games". The story featured the only on-screen credit for Terry Walsh's short-lived stunt group PROFILE. Longtime extra Stuart Fell provided the body of Alpha Centauri, while Ysanne Churchman provided the voice of the hermaphrodite hexapod; both would return in the sequel story, along with Alan Bennion and Sonny Caldinez as the Ice Warriors. The working title for the serial was "The Curse". The novel "Face of the Enemy" by David McIntee recounts the time on Earth during which this serial takes place.
For more in-depth information about the contents of this story, a complete episode-by-episode detailed breakdown can be found at the Doctor Who Reference Guide.
Additional, more detailed information about the production of this story can be found at Shannon Patrick Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel).
Video release
Released as "The Curse of Peladon" in the UK [August 1993] and Australia/New Zealand [November 1993] (BBC catalog #4978), US/Canada [September 1995] (WHV catalog #E1297); episodic format, cover illustration by Andrew Skilleter.
Audio release
An abridged reading of the novelization by Jon Pertwee was released on cassette by BBC Worldwide in 1995. Rereleased on CD in July 2004 as part of "Tales From the Tardis: Volume 1," with MP3-CD versions of this and other works.
In Print
Novelised as "Doctor Who and the Curse of Peladon" by Brian Hayles (Target #13), first released in 1974 with cover art by Chris Achilleos and interior illustration by Alan Willow. Rereleased in 1980 in hardback with cover art by Bill Donohoe, and in 1992 with cover art by Alister Pearson.
For more details on the various novelizations of this story, with additional background material, artwork and details of both UK and foreign releases, visit On Target.