The Monster of Peladon was the fourth serial of season 11 of Doctor Who. It was written by Brian Hayles, directed by Lennie Mayne and featured Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor and Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith.
The Third Doctor's penultimate story, it is a sequel to The Curse of Peladon and establishes the Doctor's fondness for the planet of Peladon. Although it was the last televised story to take place on Peladon, and the last to feature the Ice Warriors until Cold War in 2013, the location and monsters were reused in other media. The story was highly politicised with pro-labour and pro-feminist themes.
The Doctor returns to Peladon, fifty years after his last visit, to find Queen Thalira, daughter of the late King Peladon, on the throne. A tense labour dispute between Pel nobility and miners is worsened when apparitions of their deity Aggedor attack and kill several miners. The Galactic Federation desperately needs trisilicate for its war against Galaxy 5 and sends in brutal Ice Warrior troopers to ensure production. The Doctor discovers a devious plot at the heart of Aggedor's appearances.
Four Peladonian miners, led by the hothead Ettis, move a machine called the sonic lance through one of the numerous mine tunnels. However, an apparition of Aggedor appears and kills one of the miners. The others run in terror. The miners run into two Galactic Federation miners — the human Eckersley and the alien Vega Nexos. Eckersley asks Ettis what's going on, and the miner replies that the spirit of Aggedor appeared and slew one of them.
The Doctor brings Sarah to the Citadel of Peladon to introduce her to his friend the King but accidentally arrives fifty years later to find his daughter Queen Thalira on the throne. He avoids arrest by the timely arrival of an old friend, Alpha Centauri, now the Federation Ambassador to Peladon, who vouches for the Doctor's identity despite the fact half a century has passed. It turns out that they have arrived during a very tense situation between the Galactic Federation, Pel miners, and Pel nobility. The Federation is at war with Galaxy 5 and desperately requires great amounts of the mineral trisilicate, a substance rich on Peladon, for the war effort. The miners feel exploited, their way of life having not improved in the half-century since Peladon joined the Federation. Leadership of the miners is divided between the centrist Gebek and Ettis.
Tensions rise further when the image of Aggedor begins to appear at random, attacking and killing different miners, including Vega Nexos. Chancellor Ortron takes this as a sign that their deity is displeased with alien intrusion in the affairs of Peladon.
Ettis convinces the miners to strike and seizes a Federation armoury, while Gebek appeals for calm and negotiation. The Doctor suspects that someone is creating the appearances of Aggedor, in order to further destabilise trisilicate production, but finds himself at odds with both the miners and Ortron, having only Alpha Centauri and Queen Thalira's recollection of her father's stories for support.
The Doctor and Blor, the Queen's champion, enter the tunnels to investigate Aggador's last appearance. They enter a cave and find a rich vein of trisilicate. Suddenly, a rock fall occurs, caused by Ettis. Aggedor then appears and kills Blor, then turns on the Doctor...
The apparition disappears after killing Blor. Gebek uses the sonic lance to destroy the rock fall, and the Doctor jumps out of the cave just as Aggedor appears. Gebek and the Doctor make a deal, but guards appear. The miners, with the help of the Doctor, fight them off.
Meanwhile, Sarah has learned there was an explosion in the caverns and comes in search of the Doctor. Sarah, lost in the tunnels, finds a closed room (the refinery) and sees someone in the refinery. She goes to open the door but accidentally triggers a defence system.
The Doctor convinces Gebek that the miners should return to work, but Ettis still plans an attack. Eckersley and Alpha Centauri rescue Sarah. She is unable to convince them there was somebody in the refinery.
Ortron convinces Thalira that the Doctor is in league with the miners and must be executed. Ettis attacks Eckersley and takes Sarah and Alpha Centauri to the control room to open the armoury doors. Other miners attack guards in the passageway. They reach the armoury.
Ettis takes Sarah with him as a hostage, but she escapes, only to be caught by guards. Ortron orders her taken to the temple. Ettis and the miners return to the tunnels, and Gebek promises the Doctor to keep an eye on them. The Doctor arrives at the temple. Ortron has the Doctor and Sarah thrown into the temple's pit, where a very real Aggedor is waiting for them...
The Doctor calms Aggedor with his Venusian lullaby as he did fifty years earlier. Queen Thalira orders the Doctor and Sarah be brought out of the pit, as they clearly have Aggedor's approval, and finally tries to assert herself against her Chancellor over his actions. The Doctor convinces Thalira to send for Gebek, and leaves Sarah with the Queen. Sarah urges Thalira to stand up for herself more against Peladon's male-dominated nobility: "There's nothing 'only' about being a girl", she tells her.
Gebek tries to convince the miners to strike rather than rebel. The Doctor is angry on learning that Alpha Centauri has called in Federation troops. Ortron appears and confines the Doctor to the Citadel. After he catches the Doctor in the corridors, he orders him placed in the dungeon.
Eckersley sets up the sonic lance in the tunnels. Sarah sneaks out and warns Eckersley that the rebels will try to capture it. Thalira can't convince Ortron to release the Doctor but orders him to let Sarah remain free; he agrees to since, as a woman, she's harmless.
In the tunnels, the miners attack. Eckersley uses the sonic lance against them, but Gebek stops him. Sarah gives Gebek a message from the Doctor that the queen is willing to meet with him. Gebek lets Sarah and Eckersley go free, but without the sonic lance. Thalira and Ortron are alarmed to hear that Federation troops are on the way.
Sarah heads for the dungeon to find the Doctor, and Gebek sneaks into the citadel to meet with the Queen. They encounter each other and Gebek sends Sarah back, offering to release the Doctor himself. The Doctor and Gebek head for the refinery, where something suspicious is going on. Eckersley and Alpha Centauri see them on camera, and Sarah has to admit that they think the Aggedor trick is operated from the refinery.
Ortron addresses the miners, trying to convince them to cooperate in order to show the Federation troops that all is well. As the miners return to work, the Aggedor apparition appears, killing a miner. They head in the direction of the refinery. The Doctor gets the refinery door open, revealing an Ice Warrior!
Azaxyr meets with all interested parties. He has no interest in the situation on Peladon and only wants the trisilicate to be mined. He orders the miners back to work under armed guard and threat of death.
Meanwhile, a group of miners is planning a rescue of Gebek. They storm the throne room but are killed by the Ice Warriors. Ettis is the only survivor and runs away.
Azaxyr wants to execute the Doctor, but Sarah, Alpha Centauri and Eckersley convince him that only the Doctor can convince Gebek to get the miners back to work. The Doctor suspects that their guard, Sskel, was the figure that Sarah saw at the refinery earlier, and Sarah confirms it. The Doctor and Alpha Centauri realise that Ice Warrior troops were on Peladon before Alpha Centauri sent for them.
The Doctor returns to the throne room to convince Gebek to start work, but the Pels are finally united against the Ice Warriors. The Doctor explains that he wants them to pretend to go back to work so he can work out a way to deal with the invaders. The miners return to work, pleasing Azaxyr, though he still doesn't trust the Doctor. He has good reason to, as it turns out; the Doctor raises the temperature in the mines, which will weaken the heat-sensitive Ice Warriors and give Gebek and his men a real chance of defeating them.
Ettis returns to the mines but can't be convinced that Gebek has a plan to defeat the Ice Warriors. Now insane, he wants to use the sonic lance to destroy the Citadel.
Azaxyr has not been fooled. He informs Thalira that he will wait on the situation before allowing her to contact Federation authorities.
The miners and Pel guards attack the Ice Warriors, who have been weakened by the raised temperatures in the mines. Gebek learns that Ettis intends to blow up the Citadel with the sonic lance; the Doctor will try to stop him. Sarah, looking after Rima, the miner that Ettis stabbed, to get to the lance, is captured by an Ice Warrior and brought to Azaxyr. The Doctor reaches Ettis and fights with him to stop him using the lance. Azaxyr informs Sarah and Alpha Centauri that the sonic lance has a self-destruct that will engage if Ettis tries to use it. Ettis defeats the Doctor and starts the sonic lance. It explodes...
Sarah is distraught at the Doctor's apparent death. Azaxyr orders Eckersley to return the temperature to normal and turn off the ventilation in the mines.
The Doctor, having survived the blast, returns to the mines. Gebek informs him that the Ice Warriors will soon be entering the mine and that the air is getting stale. The Doctor heads for the refinery, where the ventilation controls are. Gebek also informs the Doctor that Sarah is no longer in the mines.
Alpha Centauri informs Thalira, Ortron and Sarah that Azaxyr has imposed martial law on Peladon; Thalira will rule in name only. They plan their escape. They distract Sskel, and he is too slow to chase them. However, Ortron is killed while trying to protect his Queen, and Azaxyr returns in time to stop Thalira from escaping.
The Doctor and Gebek reach the refinery. Inside the refinery, Azaxyr and Eckersley gloat that their plans are working. Sarah and Alpha Centauri are in the communication room, where Alpha Centauri sends a general distress signal. Sarah discovers that Eckersley is really in league with the Ice Warriors. Eckersley sends out the Aggedor apparition — a matter projection of a statue of the Royal Beast armed with a directional heat ray — to scare first the miners, then the Pel guards. Sarah, on discovering the Doctor is alive, runs to join him, leaving Alpha Centauri on their own in the communications room.
Eckersley and Azaxyr head back to the citadel, leaving a guard behind. Sarah appears, which distracts the guard long enough for the Doctor and Gebek to dispatch him. Azaxyr and Eckersley return to the communications room, and Azaxyr realises a distress call has been sent; he sends Alpha Centauri to the throne room.
Alpha Centauri tells Thalira that Azaxyr and Eckersley are really working for the Federation's enemy, Galaxy 5. Alpha Centauri accidentally gives away that Sarah is on the loose and is forced under threat of death to tell Azaxyr that Sarah and the Doctor are at the refinery. Azaxyr sends Sskel to the refinery; when he reaches it, the Doctor, Gebek and Sarah are already inside. He begins to blast the door. Two other Ice Warriors join him while the Doctor works furiously at the controls...
The Doctor gains control of the mechanism creating the Aggedor apparitions and uses it against the Ice Warriors. Only Sskel survives and returns to Azaxyr. The Doctor sends Gebek back to his miners with a plan — he'll control the Aggedor apparitions to get the miners back on side.
Eckersley communicates with the Doctor. He turns the security system on at the low level, warning the Doctor to surrender. The Doctor sends Sarah out to warn Gebek. Azaxyr prepares his warriors to attack the miners. An Ice Warrior approaches a group of miners, but Aggedor appears and kills him. Eckersley turns up the intensity on the security system.
Azaxyr prepares an ambush for the miners and guards who are approaching the citadel.
The Doctor sends the Aggedor apparitions to the Citadel, where it kills more Ice Warriors. The miners and guards head for the throne room. The Doctor collapses, finally overcome by the security system. Sarah finds a gun on a dead Pel and threatens Eckersley to make him turn off the security system. He shows her on the monitor that the Doctor is already dead, but when she looks, he takes the gun from her. He locks her in the communication room.
The miners and guards storm the throne room, where Azaxyr holds his weapon on Queen Thalira. The Pels drop their weapons but attack the much slower Ice Warriors instead; in the resulting melee, Azaxyr, Sskel and all their men are killed.
Sarah is freed from the communication room by Alpha Centauri and heads for the refinery and the seemingly dead Doctor.
Eckersley, his allies now dead, heads for the throne room and takes Thalira hostage. They head through the tunnels.
Sarah learns that the Doctor is not dead after all; he had placed himself in sensory withdrawal to avoid the effects of Eckersley's security system. The miners and guards learn that Queen Thalira has been captured and inform the Doctor. He decides to get Aggedor's help.
That "help" is provided by the real Aggedor, who the Doctor has used to track down the Queen by her scent. Aggedor attacks and kills Eckersley but is himself killed in the process. Checking it for a pulse, the Doctor mourns the beast's death.
As everyone recovers in the throne room, Alpha Centauri excitedly announces that Galaxy Five has sued for peace, now that their gambit on Peladon has been defeated. Thalira and her new Chancellor, Gebek, commit themselves to a new beginning for Peladon, while the Doctor and Sarah slip away to the TARDIS. Sarah insists that the Doctor reconsider the queen's offer to stay on Peladon as her chancellor, but the Doctor quells her, "In you get, Sarah." When she tries to persuade him again just to bug him, the Doctor humours her. He looks her in the eye, and firmly repeats his command. "In you get." Sarah gives up, and the two depart from Peladon.
- Doctor Who - Jon Pertwee
- Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
- Thalira - Nina Thomas
- Eckersley - Donald Gee
- Ortron - Frank Gatliff
- Gebek - Rex Robinson
- Azaxyr - Alan Bennion
- Sskel - Sonny Caldinez
- 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
- Miner - Roy Evans
- Miner - Max Faulkner
- Handmaiden - Frances Pidgeon (DWM 216)
- Ice Warriors - David Cleeve, Kevin Moran, Terence Denville, Alan Lenoir (DWM 216)
- Assistant Floor Manager - Roselyn Parker
- Costumes - Barbara Kidd
- Designer - Gloria Clayton
- Film Cameraman - Keith Hopper
- Film Editor - William Symon
- Film Sound - John Gatland
- Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson
- Make-Up - Elisabeth Moss
- Producer - Barry Letts
- Production Assistant - Marcia Wheeler
- Production Unit Manager - George Gallaccio
- Script Editor - Terrance Dicks
- Special Sounds - Dick Mills
- Studio Lighting - Ralph Walton
- Studio Sound - Tony Millier
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - Peter Day
to be added
- This story had the working title Return to Peladon.
- Elisabeth Sladen is credited as "Sarah Jane" in Radio Times for parts two, four and five.
- Radio Times credits Stuart Fell (Body of Alpha Centauri) as "Alpha Centauri", Ysanne Churchman (Voice of Alpha Centauri) as "Alpha Centauri's Voice", and Roy Evans (Miner) as "Rima".
- This is the last on-screen appearance of the Ice Warriors for thirty-nine years, though they did reappear in various novels (Legacy, Theatre of War, Happy Endings, GodEngine, The Dying Days) and audio dramas (Red Dawn, Frozen Time, The Dance of the Dead) to name a few. They reappeared in the BBC Wales series 2013 episode Cold War.
- In parts one to four and six, Thalira's handmaiden was played by Frances Pidgeon, the wife of director Lennie Mayne. She remained uncredited both on-screen and in Radio Times.
- In an attempt to recapture the feel of The Curse of Peladon, the same director and designer were assigned to this story, and many of the props that still existed (including the Alpha Centauri and Aggedor costumes) were re-used. The Ice Warrior costumes were all originally made for the 1960s episodes.
- To reflect the fact that Alpha Centauri was now the Federation Ambassador to Peladon, the character was given a new, smarter-looking cloak: the original yellow garment with the frilly collar was replaced by a light green version with a high collar.
- Part one - 9.2 million viewers
- Part two - 6.8 million viewers
- Part three - 7.4 million viewers
- Part four - 7.2 million viewers
- Part five - 7.5 million viewers
- Part six - 8.1 million viewers
- Azaxyr is an "Ice Lord". (The term is never used.)
- Five days at the Ealing Television Film Studios from Monday 14 to Friday 18 January 1974 filming footage set in the mines.
- Two day session in BBC Television Centre Studio 8 from Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 January 1974 filming footage set in the temple and the pit.
- In part four, we get a clear look at Jon Pertwee's regular stunt double Terry Walsh when, as the Doctor, he throws Ettis during the fight at the end of the episode, and again when he is punched away from the sonic Lance, just before it explodes.
- In part six, the hole in the door vanishes along with the Aggedor statue.
- When Aggedor dies, Nick Hobbs's skin shows as the trousers detach from the boots. Also in the same scene, Donald Gee's character of Eckersley can be seen breathing when he's supposedly dead.
- Alpha Centauri's costume has many problems. The inner-lining is frequently visible, the actor's neck is repeatedly shown, and in part one the actor's feet come out from underneath.
- The Doctor returns to Peladon, a generation later than his previous visit. (TV: The Curse of Peladon) In that visit, the Ice Warriors were suspected of being behind the troubles he encountered, because of their past war-like ways. (TV: The Ice Warriors, The Seeds of Death) Here, a splinter group of the Ice Warriors unexpectedly actually are the culprits.
- The Ice Warriors use hand-held sonic weapons similar to the built-in weapons they had in previous encounters with the Second Doctor. (TV: The Ice Warriors, The Seeds of Death)
- While Sarah believes the Doctor is dead, as she speaks with Thalira and Ortron, she refers to a previous conversation she had with the Doctor. "That's what the Doctor used to say. There's always a chance. That while there's life..." Unable to finish, Sarah walks away. The Doctor again says these words to her, as his final before regenerating into his fourth incarnation. (TV: Planet of the Spiders)
- Like King Peladon's champion Grun, Queen Thalira's champion Blor appears to be mute. (TV: The Curse of Peladon)
Home video and audio releases
- This story was first released on DVD in the UK on 4 January 2010 as part of the Peladon Tales Boxset. The two disc set includes a restored version of the story, as well as the following special features:
- Commentary by Nina Thomas (Queen Thalira), Donald Gee (Eckersley), Ralph Watson (Ettis), Stuart Fell (Alpha Centauri), Barry Letts (Producer), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor) and Toby Hadoke (Moderator). The commentary is notable for Letts mentioning receiving a fan letter from a young man named Peter Capaldi.
- Commentary by Rob Shearman (Fan/Writer), Mark Aldridge (Fan), Kate Du-Rose (Fan) and Philip Newman (Fan).
- The Peladon Saga – Part Two
- On Target – Terrance Dicks
- Deleted Scene
- Where Are They Now?
- Coming Soon Trailer
- Radio Times Billings
- Production Subtitles
- Photo Gallery
- Easter Egg: 32-second clip from BBC News 27 May 1973, "Jon Pertwee Races Lord Montagu." To access this hidden feature, press left at Where Are They Now? on the bonus disc menu.
- Editing for the DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
This story is available:
CD releaseA CD of the original television soundtrack was released by BBC Audio in March 2008, with linking narration by Elisabeth Sladen.
- The Monster of Peladon at the BBC's official site
- The Monster of Peladon at BroaDWcast
- The Monster of Peladon at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)