Wednesday, January 20, 2010

REVIEW - "Peladon Tales" DVD Box Set

Release Date: Out now

RRP: £29.99

Duration: 250 mins (approx)

Stories included:
The Curse Of Peladon
and
The Monster of Peladon


Extras:
See below



STORIES
The Curse Of Peladon gets a good name in fandom and it's not hard to see why. At the heart of this futuristic, yet at the same time historical, looking tale is a simple Agatha Christie~style whodunnit?. Though some of the cast may come across as rather po~faced (bizarre considering their ridiculous hairstyles and outfits - not to mention a huge cock~in~a~cloak trundling about) it's countered by the warmth and humour of The Doctor and Jo. She's was getting "dolled up" for a night out with Mike Yates (her words, not mine) and finds herself at the groin~grabbing attention of Peladon himself, played so stoutly by David Troughton.


There are also a few laughs to be found to be found in the choices the production team made with regards to some of the characters' voices and outfits. Although beloved by some, Alpha Centauri will either have you sending the kids out the room in disgust or laughing in delight. And the voice? Blimey. And to think some people have a problem with farting Slitheen!

Anyway, if you get on board, Curse a genuine corker of a classic and the fight scene in Episode Three is particularly worth highlighting - magnificent direction and editing there. Sadly the words 'corker' and 'classic' cannot be applied to the follow up story, The Monster of Peladon. At six episodes, it's about five too long. There's nothing bad about it particularly (apart from some more ridiculous hairstyles and Aggedor), but Monster does not engage in nearly the same that Curse did.


A metaphor for the UK miner strike (with a bit of "women's lib" thrown in for good measure) may be worthy but it's dull as hell and by the end you'll find it hard to care about any of these characters. The miners come off as bland and passionless and their masters are all beards and poses with only the Queen attracting any attention. (Though she is distractingly blinky - go on, check it out!) It's a pity as the first episode starts very well with a good sense of pace, but Monster just didn't have anywhere to go.


EXTRAS
Spanning two parts, the main documentary accompanying this feature, The Peladon Saga, covers all bases with all the major players. Thankfully everyone seems to remember what went on (I can barely remember what happened at Christmas) and they do so with some relish - particularly when the cast and crew were introduced to Alpha Centauri. Terrance Dicks proclaims, "looks like a giant dick!" leading to a costume change for the one~eyed 'monster' only to be faced with "looks like a giant dick with a cloak on." Won't someone please think of the children??


Throw in some political shenanigans from the UK scene in the 70s and casual drug abuse and you've got yourself an engaging docco. Warriors of Mars is a neat overview of The Ice Warriors history in Doctor Who and features some excellent archival audio from Bernard Bresslaw. Where Are They Now? is a short interview with Ysanne Churchman (the voice of the aforementioned cloaked cock) conducted in 1980. It's not essential viewing but certain members of the audience may audibly gasp when she describes Alpha Centauri as a "homosexual civil servant."

The On Target series continues superbly with a look at Terrance Dicks and his contribution to the published world of Doctor Who. It's full of great warmth and humour as discussion turns to the origins of "pleasant open face" (his 'classic' description of The Fifth Doctor). There's more larfs to be had in the Easter Eggs - I won't spoil them for you but get ready to hear Jon Pertwee confused, singing and then swear~bleeped. Great stuff.


The commentaries are a packed affair, perhaps one too many people involved for my liking, with some great interplay between Barry Letts and the aforementioned Dicks (though he seems to think that Ice Warriors are as popular as the Cyberman - hardly Terry). Letts also reveals his disdain for celebrity appearances ("Ken Dodd for god's sake!"), his fondness for Fulton McKay as The Doctor (Doctor Who's loss was Fraggle Rock's gain) and his anger for the question marks on the Time Lord's (future) outfits. Katy Manning is lively though one did slightly tire of her various 'voices'. Thankfully, for both stories, the contributors are well informed and stay on topic (an important feature for me). Add to these a Storyboard Comparison, Photo Gallery, Coming Soon and Production Notes and, as always, there's enough VAMs to keep even the most Value~Added~Material hungry fan satiated.


BLOGTOR RATING 8/10

Thanks to 2|entertain

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