‘THE BRIDE OF PELADON’
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Peladon with the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem
This is a great sequel to two classic ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the 1970s!
‘The Bride of Peladon’ is a thrilling, exciting audio adventure that is a great follow-up to two TV stories including ‘The Curse of Peladon’ and ‘The Monster of Peladon’ with Jon Pertwee. I listened to the two TV stories beforehand and was looking forward to find out what Peladon was like on audio.
I purchased this audio story on CD in 2013 to celebrate the Fifth Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ with Peter Davison, during the celebrations for the 50th anniversary. I’m pleased to have purchased this audio drama as I found it very engaging, full of suspense and drama as well as nostalgia for Peladon.
This four-part adventure was written and directed by Barnaby Edwards. I’ve listened to many ‘Doctor Who’ audios directed by Barnaby and I’ve enjoyed them a lot. The tales directed by Barnaby include ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’ (‘Castle of Fear’; ‘The Eternal Summer’ and ‘Plague of the Daleks’).
Barnaby Edwards has also written and directed another ‘Doctor Who’ story called ‘The Emerald Tiger’, which is one of my favourites. For this story, Barnaby looked back to fond memories of his first viewing of ‘Doctor Who’ with the Peladon tales, making him a good man to write and direct this.
Just to give you a bit of background information, the Doctor has visited Peladon a few times before in his third incarnation as Jon Pertwee. These include when he was with Jo Grant for ‘The Curse of Peladon’, on his own for ‘The Prisoner of Peladon’ and with Sarah Jane for ‘The Monster of Peladon’.
The Peladon stories are mostly socio-political stories that deal and reflect on changing times in the UK during the 1970s. It was interesting to hear this story evoking that atmosphere and tone for an audio medium and it was so exciting to hear with Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor with Peri and Erimem.
In ‘The Bride of Peladon’, the TARDIS responds to a distress call on an Ice Warrior ship pilot by Prince Zixlyr. The ship crashes onto Peladon and most of the group are separated before they soon reach the Citadel. It transpires a wedding is about to occur between a Peladon king and an Earth princess.
But despite the happy day preparations, something malicious and evil wants to bring Peladon crumbling down to ruin. Will the Doctor and his friends be able to find out what’s going on and what the clues are? It isn’t too long until this ancient threat becomes far deadly than anyone else realises.
Peter Davison is excellent as the Doctor in this adventure. I enjoyed how Peter’s Doctor carried forward his experiences from Jon Pertwee’s Doctor of Peladon in this adventure. Peter’s Doctor is able to deal with a crisis on Peladon smoothly, since his recollections of the planet return back to him.
I liked the moment when Peter’s Doctor gets to tame the Aggedor beast like Jon Pertwee did in the TV stories. Peter’s singing of the lullaby is tamer than Jon Pertwee’s, but it was still exciting to listen to. I also like how he interacts with his companions Peri and Erimem when he shows concern for him.
Nicola Bryant is equally good as Peri in this audio adventure. Peri’s pretty feisty during this adventure, especially when she shares scenes with Zixlyr as well as with the Doctor and Erimem. Peri gets to spend a lot of time with Zixlyr and comes to realises why he’s on Peladon to look for his sister.
I liked those moments when Peri persuades Zixlyr to not think about vengeance and even berates him when he’s ‘hell bent’ on doing it. Peri’s wit and humour come across in this adventure and she truly cares for the Doctor and Erimem. She refuses to let the Doctor when they defeat the villainess.
Phyllida Law guest stars as Beldonia, the Mother Queen on Peladon and grandmother of King Pelleas. Phyllida also appeared in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ story, ‘Eye of the Gorgon’, as well as appear in Series 4, Episode 2 of ‘Monarch of the Glen’. It was great to hear her in this audio tale!
Beldonia is a rather formidable woman when the Doctor and friends meet her. She has her beliefs in Aggedor and is very much against the arranged marriage between her grandson Pelleas and the Earth princess Pandora. Beldonia hides more than she lets on, before the Doctor questions her later.
There’s also Jenny Agutter as ‘the Voice’ in this story. I’ve seen Jenny Agutter in a TV adaptation of ‘The Railway Children’ and she’s well-known nowadays in ‘Call the Midwife’. It was a delight to hear her in this adventure and I wondered who her character was as the story progressed towards the climax.
It turns out ‘the Voice’ that Jenny Agutter is playing happens to be the villainous Sekhmet, queen of the Osirans. This was a nice link to ‘Pyramids of Mars’. It especially concerned Erimem, since Sekhmet was an enemy that her people faced before in Ancient Egypt and is a personal connection.
There’s also Christian Coulson as King Pelleas of Peladon. Christian Coulson has appeared in another ‘Doctor Who’ audio story with Peter Davison called ‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’. It was nice to hear Christian in this adventure and to hear him play a romantic character in the form of the King.
Pelleas is a noble man who wishes to secure the lifespan of Peladon and is determined to see his wedding and marriage to Pandora go well. It becomes clear that Pelleas and Pandora hardly know each other. It also turns out that Pelleas can hear what he believes is his mother’s voice in the story.
Yasmin Bannerman guest stars as Pandora, the Earth princess. Yasmin has appeared a number of times in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe including the TV episode ‘The End of the World’ with Christopher Eccleston. She’s well-known nowadays for playing Roz Forrester, companion of the Seventh Doctor.
I enjoyed Yasmin’s performance as Pandora in this story. Pandora’s rather reluctant to marry Pelleas, since she barely knows him and is only doing this to ease tensions between Earth and Peladon. Pandora hears the voice of Sekhmet calling out to her and she gets a sticky end when she faces her.
There is only one Ice Warrior in this Peladon story and that is Nicholas Briggs as Zixlyr. Nick Briggs is well-known as the voice of the Daleks, Cybermen and Judoon in the new TV series and Big Finish audios. Nick has also played Ice Warriors in a number of ‘Doctor Who’ stories for both TV and audio.
Zixlyr is an interesting Ice Warrior character. Through the hissing and aggressive tones, Zixlyr comes across as a noble character instead of a stereotypical villain like many Ice Warriors seem to be. I enjoyed his scenes with Peri and found it interesting how he set out on vengeance for his lost sister.
Jane Goddard guest stars as Alpha Centauri in this story. I was delighted to hear Alpha Centauri in this audio story and Jane’s high-pitched voice for him works really well. Jane Goddard is married to new series writer Robert Shearman and she’s also worked with Katy Manning in ‘The Doll of Death’.
As I said, Jane Goddard’s voice for Alpha Centauri sounds exactly like Ysanne Churchman’s in the TV series. Alpha Centauri escorts Pandora on her way to Peladon. He reunites with the Doctor, surprised by his change of appearance, as well as stopping the villainous Arktos of Arcturus escaping.
The Aggedor beast that appears in this story is actually the daughter of the original Aggedor in the two TV stories with Jon Pertwee. This was interesting as Peter Davison’s Doctor discovered this from Beldonia. The female Aggedor helps the Doctor out in ‘Part Four’ before it’s revealed she’s pregnant.
Just a bit of trivia information for you, Thomas Brodie-Sangster appears in this story as a young miner on Peladon. Thomas is well-known in ‘Doctor Who’ circles for appearing in ‘Human Nature’/’The Family of Blood’ with David Tennant. He also starred in the kids’ film, ‘Nanny McPhee’.
This story also features the last appearance of Caroline Morris as Erimem, companion of the Fifth Doctor with Peri. This was a decent end to Erimem’s journey aboard the TARDIS with the Doctor and Erimem. I’ve enjoyed the audio adventures I’ve heard with Erimem in them. She’s great in this one!
I did feel though that her exit was slightly weak when she decided to stay on Peladon to rule with King Pelleas as his wife. Although Erimem and Pelleas did share some nice scenes together, it didn’t develop into a proper romance as you would expect. Peri wasn’t convinced with Erimem’s decision to leave.
But it did lead to an emotional farewell between Erimem with the Doctor and Peri, as they said goodbye to each other. Who knows, Erimem may return to the Doctor and Peri’s lives when they come to visit Peladon again. I wonder what has become of Peladon under Erimem’s rule these days.
I like that last scene in the TARDIS between the Doctor and Peri when they reflect on missing Erimem. Peri assures the Doctor that she won’t leave him because of marrying ‘some alien king’. How ironic that is considering what happens to Peri when she exits in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’, hey?
The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a trailer for ‘Dead London’ with Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith. At the end of Discs 1 and 2, there are some behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew including Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant, Caroline Morris, Phyllida Law, Jenny Agutter, etc. There are also trailers for two ‘Doctor Who’ stories with Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and Caroline Morris. These include ‘The Mind’s Eye’ and ‘Son of the Dragon’.
‘The Bride of Peladon’ is a great sequel to the two Peladon tales from the TV series of ‘Doctor Who’. It’s well-written and well-directed by Barnaby Edwards and features a decent departure for Caroline Morris as Erimem. It was a pleasure hearing this tale and has some nice twists and turns throughout.
‘The Bride of Peladon’ rating – 9/10
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