DVD Extras include:
SHAKESPEARE IN SPACEIt is interesting to note how the modern-day monarchy of planet Peladon resembles a court out of a Shakespearean play. Hepesh and Torbis are hard to tell apart in their first scene, in appearance, mannerisms, or even philosophy for that matter, but none of this really matters beyond the first scene anyway, does it?
The gathering of aliens interacting with the "Shakespeare" characters is largely what makes the Peladon stories so enjoyable and memorable. In all the conflict and mystery and suspicion, peaceful solutions are sought out as well. In this one, the Doctor has to overcome some prejudice against the Ice Warriors, which is a nice touch. I particularly enjoy Arcturus as well - the background sound effect his presence always brings to the mix is quite effective in creating a tense and creepy atmosphere (a crisper variation of something heard back in the second episode of "The Keys of Marinus" [story no. 5] ). Some have said he is a poor Dalek wannabe, but I find his voice and laser effects are miles ahead of what we got from the Daleks in the previous story (before its special edition made vast improvements). There are only two laser shots in this story, just as the Daleks are only seen to fire twice in the previous story, and here the effects are much more carefully directed and give more satisfying results.
King Peladon is a real weenie. Luckily, the script allows Jo to notice this as well, so audience reaction against the king can still work with the story. But what is the point of being king if you can't rip down laws that your predecessors left you which make your stomach churn, and introduce new ones that reflect your own values and allow you to govern at peace with your own conscience?! King Peladon too easily tries to defend his inability to lead by his conscience, which is the epitome of a weenie in my opinion. King, eh? Well I didn't vote for him! Apparently one does vote for Queens on the planet Naboo in the Star Wars universe, but that's another story.
Episode three is the Doctor's mandatory captivity episode, yet this does the story no real harm in actuality. We know from the start that it's only temporary until he gets into that anticipated traditional fight with Grun. And after one scene in the cell going over suspicions and the mystery at hand, his jailor taunts him with an open door, allowing him to explore the tunnels and the mysteries of the beast Aggedor. Follow this with the fight itself, and a tense, revealing cliffhanger, and the episode remains strong.
The final conclusion of the story seems a bit too simplistic on paper, but the director and his actors do such a fine job of pulling all the right dramatic moods out of every moment of the finish, that "The Curse of Peladon" shines really bright, a fine gem of a story, well worth the sequel it eventually got.
The split-screen dematerialization at the end is first rate, seamlessly allowing actors opposite the TARDIS at the end to continue moving and talking naturally. I'd say it was the first time this effect was ever used, although Richard Martin did pull off something similar in Susan's final scene with an inlay of the TARDIS.
This story has become available on DVD and VHS video.
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