9 February 2010

Manufacturer: BBC DVD / 2|Entertain

Written By: Brian Hayles

RRP: £29.99

Release Date: 18 th January 2010

Reviewed by: Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 9th February 2010

The Curse of Peladon

The Curse of Peladon, for many, is a textbook Doctor Who adventure. With a healthy mix of mystery, deception, villainy and suspense, the story is as entertaining as any new series offering, and has held up well to the test of time. With secret passages, allies who are villains and villains who are allies, there are more twists and turns than the underground tunnels of Peladon itself.

The selection of features for this release is adequate, and compared to previous DVD releases like 'Black Orchid', you can't help feeling there is more distance for extra content.

The 'Commentary' is moderated seamlessly by Toby Hadoke, who also provides some informative facts connected with the story. Joining Toby is Barry Letts (Producer), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Assistant). It proves to be a rather amusing commentary, with all parties contributing equally, together with a great selection of amusing and revealing stories.

'The Peladon Saga - Part One', is by far the highlight of the extras on this disc, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Curse of Peladon. Although it's not as in-depth as previous 'making of' documentaries, it looks at the production of the adventure as well as putting it in political context with the time.

'Warriors of Mars', gives us a history of The Ice Warriors. There's a chronological look at their appearances in Doctor Who, as well as the different classes of Ice Warrior. Narrated by Donald Gee, the feature provides interviews with Sonny Caldinez (Ice Warrior), Bernard Bresslaw (Ice Warrior), Sylvia James (Make-Up Supervisor) Michael Ferguson (Director), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor) Alan Bennion (Ice Lord), Barry Letts (Producer) and Brian Hodgson (BBC Radiophonic Workshop).

'Jon and Katy', looks at the pairing of Jon Pertwee (The Doctor) and Katy Manning (Jo Grant), with interviews from Katy Manning, Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts. In the feature, Katy looks back with genuine love for both her character, and John as an actor and friend.

The 'Storyboard Comparison' compares design sketches with the final shot, together with soundtrack excerpts that lead up to the clips.

As with previous DVD releases, there are the usual 'PDF Material', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Production Subtitles' included.

The Monster of Peladon

The Monster of Peladon heralds the second (and final) chapter in the Peladon Saga - albeit a slightly long-winded story, weighing in at six episodes. There's a wonderful sense of continuity mixed with enough fresh elements to rejuvenate the settings and situations, and with a rather feisty Sarah Jane Smith, helps add another level to the Doctor / Companion dynamic.

As with The Curse of Peladon, this release is a little feature light - even though there is one disc for the story and another for the features, that being said, the quality of the extras is in no way compromised, and adds value to an already worthwhile box-set.

The 'Commentary' is again moderated by Toby Hadoke, and features Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Barry Letts (Producer), Nina Thomas (Queen Thalira), Donald Gee (Eckersley), Ralph Watson (Ettis) and Stuart Fell (Alpha Centauri). Once more, Toby does a great job with the direction coupled with his Doctor Who knowledge, and both Terrance and Barry add some entertaining memories, but it can't help feeling a little overshadowed by the Curse commentary, owing to vacancy of Katy Manning and her boundless energy.

There's also a 'Fan Commentary' for episode Four of the story, featuring Rob Shearman, Mark Aldridge, Kate Du-Rose and Philip Newman. The commentary is well placed as it breaks up the pace and dynamic of the commentary thus far, and it's nice to hear a take on the story from a fans perspective - or in this case four!

'The Peladon Saga - Part Two', follows on from the previous part with additional interviews from Donald Gee (Eckersley), Nick Hobbs (Aggedor), Stuart Fell (Alpha Centauri), Sonny Caldinez (Ice Warrior) and Ralph Watson (Ettis the Miner). The second installment goes more into the production of the story, and we also learn from cast and crew what it was like working with Jon Pertwee. The crowning moment, though, has to be Terrance Dicks' hilarious breakdown of Alpha Centauri's physical appearance.

There's a 'Deleted Scene' in the form of photos and off-air recordings featuring Eckersley trying to convince Gebek to get the miners to continue mining for the trisilicate.

'Where are They Now?' features an interview with Ysanne Churchman, conducted by David Jacobs. Ysanne is asked about providing her voicework for the Hermaphrodite exopod; Alpha Centauri, before treating us to a rather alarming Birmingham accent!

'On Target: Terrance Dicks', offers an in-depth look at the writer's work off the screen, with the Doctor Who Book range. Featuring interviews with Alan Barnes (Ex Doctor Who Magazine Editor), Paul Cornell (Writer), as well as input from Terrance himself. This is the most significant feature on The Monster of Peladon disc, as everything about it from the titles, down to the concise information and text readings from Katy Manning, smacks of sheer quality.

As with previous DVD releases, there are the usual 'PDF Material', 'Photo Gallery' and 'Production Subtitles' included.

Peladon Tales is a great box-set, well worth the £29.99 RRP, but with 2|Entertain's previous history of quality extras, the bar has been raised so high, that the viewer is spoiled, and can’t help feeling a little deflated with anything less than two screens of features per story.

That being said, the quality of the features for both stories are as high as ever, and act as a great companion to the Peladon saga.

 

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