The Curse of Peladon

Brian Hayles

peladon 1

‘I thought you would bring me the crown of kingship. Are you going to bring me death instead?’ King Peladon

29th January – 19th February 1972

The 500 Year Diary

15th September 3885 eve

Took Jo for what she called a ‘joyride’. She was all dolled up for a night out with Mike Yates. Lucky really, considering what happened next. Anyway, the interstitial beam synthesiser had a tiny fault; perhaps that’s what caused the TARDIS to land on the edge of a mountain and fall down to the bottom. Thankfully the TARDIS is indestructible, but we need help getting it so up we go to the citadel at the top of the mountain.

Eventually, we find out way into King Peladon’s throne room where we’re confused with an Earth delegation. Jo has to become Princess of TARDIS and snootily makes comments about my landing! Anyway, a lot of bickering ensues as the delegates – an Ice Warrior called Izlyr, Alpha Centauri, Arcturus and High Priest Hepesh are arguing over Peladon’s entry into the Galactic Federation.

As we leave the throne room to go to the conference room, the statue of their royal beast Aggador topples to the floor…


15th September 3885 night

Manage to push everyone out of the way so no-one is hurt, but this no accident. Hepesh seems to think it’s the curse of Peladon, but after some investigation, we find a trisilicate device. The Ice Warriors. I knew it! And how did I get involved in all this?

Next thing, Arcturus is attacked. Manage to save him. Again, Hepesh goes on about Aggador, but I’m sure it’s the Ice Warriors.

I’m grabbed by Grun, the King’s Champion, who leads me through the tunnels under the citadel until he abandons me at the sound of roars. I wander for a bit chased by this beast until I find myself in the inner sanctum of the temple of Aggador. The crime for this desecration is death!


16th September 3885 am

The King changes the sentences to trial by combat. With Grun. Oh dear!

I’ve realised that Hepesh might be behind all of this. He’d rather live in a cave than have Peladon join the Federation. So he helps me to ‘escape’ into the tunnels.

Prior to leaving, I’ve prepared my sonic screwdriver to become a hypnotiser. When I come across the beast, I use it to calm it along with a Venusian lullaby. The whole thing nearly puts Jo under too!

Rather than escape, we go to King Peladon to tell him the truth about ‘Aggador’ and the tunnels (that he doesn’t know exist?). However, my trial must continue as I fight Grun in a cage. Of course, I win, but then Arcturus powers up his weapon…


16th September 3885 pm

So Hepesh and Arcturus were in it together. It was Ssorg, the other Ice Warrior, who saved me. The King seems a bit lost without him. But he must be decisive or Hepesh will destroy everything.

I go off to follow my new best friend Grun into the tunnels whilst leaving Jo in charge of the conference. Things must be desperate!  Anyway, I come across Grun – he was attacked by Hepesh . Once again, I come across the beast and hypnotise him with more singing.

I lead him into the throne room for a final confrontation with Hepesh, who has taken over. True to his beliefs up to the end, he is killed by his Aggador. Shame really. It’s very fond of me now; it’d make a good pet.

So we’re ready for the King’s coronation – my first since Elizabeth I (or was it Victoria?). Leave the King and Jo alone… I think they’ve taken a bit of a shine to each other. As we’re about to join the procession, it appears the real Earth delegate has arrived. Luckily, the TARDIS has been retrieved and we make a quick getaway. I have a feeling that once again the Time Lords ‘flew’ me here to sort out a crisis.

peladon 2

Time Space Visualiser

Cue BBC sound effects of a storm, if you are around my age, you know the one I mean, and let’s throw some rice at a model of a castle on a mountain. It is a strange start to a Pertwee story, to have a couple of either ancient or alien people (we don’t really know at this stage) arguing with each other. This is happening because the Doctor is taking Jo for a quick spin in the TARDIS before dropping her of as she is ‘all dolled up for a night on the town with Mike Yates.’ So is she boffing him then? I am suddenly reminded of Capaldi and Clara.

The TARDIS is going, it lands on said ricey mountain top, then it falls. Ok it is clearly a model but quite a good sequence. As the Doctor and Jo begin a mountain climb we learn that the arguing pair at the start of the story were Hepesh and Torbis, a priest and a chancellor, advisors to King Peladon. The argument that inspired the story, should we join the Common Market (now the EU) has not gone away. In this case though it is about Peladon joining the Galactic Federation. An imaginative array of delegates have arrived on Peladon, including the Suzie like Alpha Centuri. Sarah and I loved her.

Arcturus is a delegate from, well, Arcturus from what we can tell. He gets the conference off to a great start by destroying an artefact! Also joining them are the Ice Warriors, for the first time in colour and back with their sixties music. Only persons of royal blood may enter the Throne Room so Jo is introduced as Princess Josephine of TARDIS. One flash of Peladon’s eyes in her direction though and Mike Yates is soon forgotten. Love the King’s thigh high boots and hot pants.

Jo investigates footprints behind the Throne Room. The story is full of secret tunnels and passages with torch levers behind curtains. This was the highlight of the story for me as a child and was the focus of Doctor Who games. The rest of the story focuses on suspicion and accusation, hypnotising Aggedor and lots of hiding or being imprisoned in the secret passages. Not quite sure how the torch mechanism works. The Doctor closes the door with a torch that Gum kept open with a rock. Why was the rock needed?

The Ice Warriors seem to have the Hand of Omega in their room. They also seem to share a bed. They start as villains and end as heroes. Jo holds a vote and everyone raises their hand. Does Alpha Centuri have six votes? Hepesh finally goes megalomaniacal and shouts at everyone but Aggedor, finally released from his control kills him. There is some very touching nonverbal communication between the Doctor and Jo when Hepesh dies. The TARDIS is returned, there is a coronation, a quick ‘Doctor Who’ joke and they leave.

It would be interesting to go back to Peladon in a few hundred years to see what happened after! The story probably does drag a little in places, but the races on display here are some of the most imaginative for a while and there is genuine diversity in their design and motivation.

peladon 3

Cliché Counter

Good old Hepesh. Like so many before and after, the old ways are the best. Progress is bad. Science is wrong and as for the Federation, Aggedor be praised. ‘You’re a wily old bird, aren’t old you, Hepesh?’

Notable Firsts

The first trip to Peladon.

Son of Patrick, David Troughton makes his first notable appearance in Doctor Who. He was in Enemy of the World and The War Games, though these were only minor roles and I missed them so thought it worth mentioning here.

Enlightening Dialogue of the Week

King Peladon: There is no plot! I am being completely honest with you!

False Hair Moment of the Week

It is not facial hair this time, but Dickie Davies style stripy wigs. Also worth mentioning that Jo seems to get her hands on a pair of hair straighteners before climbing back into the citadel.

peladon 4

Five Word Lords

Imaginative aliens and plot twists




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