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Doctor Who Peladon DVDs

Sunday, 24 January 2010 10:44

Set on the developing planet of Peladon, Doctor Who Peladon Tales includes two adventures featuring the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee – “The Curse of Peladon” and “The Monster of Peladon”, with the adventures set 50 years apart.  In “The Curse of Peladon” from 1972, the Doctor and Jo Grant make an inelegant landing on the planet Peladon whilst on a test flight in the TARDIS. Mistaken for representatives from Earth, the Doctor soon finds himself chairing the committee of alien delegates assessing Peladon’s petition to join the Galactic Federation. When one of the King’s advisers is killed, the High Priest fears the ancients Curse of Aggedor is at work, but the Doctor suspects his old enemies the Ice Warriors are to blame. Can the Doctor and Jo uncover the identity of the saboteurs before a major diplomatic incident plunges them into war?

In “The Monster of Peladon” from 1974, the TARDIS arrives on Peladon half a century after his previous visit. The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith discover a troubled planet ruled by the late King’s daughter. Peladon is at the centre of a war – and the Galactic Federation desperately need a mineral found in the mines. But why is the ghost of Aggedor killing miners, and why can’t anyone be trusted? Queen Thalira needs the Doctor’s help to find out…

Doctor Who - Peladon TalesThe earlier Peladon story was a nightmare for this release – all the episodes were destroyed in the BBC tape ‘junking’ of the 1970s. What was left with the Beeb were monochrome film recordings. However, colour copies were found a couple of decades ago in the vaults of the Canadian broadcaster TV Ontario, although they had been converted to the American NTSC system, which doesn’t weld well with our UK PAL format.

However, a Reverse Standards Conversion technique had been used to good effect on similar previously recovered releases, so this came into play again. The next problem was that the tape of episode three was in a very poor condition, clogging and breaking on the machinery’s replay heads. To combat this meant carrying out the operation in sections, then re-editing the new recordings together allowed the episode to be re-assembled.  

What remained was a muddy and blurred version of the pictures. However, that NTSC was kept safe, and the Restoration Team decided to go back to it for a better audio track.  However, following putting the recording through a “tape baking” process, which helps reduce moisture and reduces the shedding and clogging that had happened in the past, something of a miracle happened.  The tape played surprisingly well, allowing a new recovery of both sound and vision, and one far superior to that done all those years ago. The process was repeated for the other three episodes after such terrific results.

“The Monster of Peladon” had fewer problems, but true aficionados will notice that episode one's cliffhanger, and its reprise at the start of episode two, originally had Jon Pertwee silently mouth, in close-up, ‘what the blazes is that?’ at the appearance of Aggedor. As a complete set of location audio spools existed for the story, Jon's words were extracted from the rushes so that it is now heard.  It’s that attention to detail that makes these releases the very best they can be.

Another find on the location audio recordings was a deleted scene from part one, where Eckersley and Gebek discuss the death of Vega Nexos. The accompanying pictures are lost, of course, but for this DVD it is presented as a deleted scene, with a photographic reconstruction of it.

Other extras for this release include:

“The Curse of Peladon”

  • Commentary with Katy Manning, producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks and production assistant Chris D'Oyly-John. Moderated by Toby Hadoke.
  • “The Peladon Saga” - Part One (23' 24") - Cast and crew recall the making of both Peladon stories in this two part documentary from John Kelly. Part one opens with a look at the socio-political climate in the UK in the early seventies and its influence on the storylines. With actors Katy Manning, Donald Gee, Nina Thomas and Ralph Watson, producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks, production assistant Chris D'Oyly-John, sound designer Brian Hodgson, visual effects designer Peter Day, costume designer Sylvia James and make-up supervisor Elizabeth Moss. Narrated by David Hamilton.
  • “Warriors of Mars” (14' 54") - a brief history of the Ice Warriors in Doctor Who by the people who designed and brought them to life. With actors Sonny Caldinez, Alan Bennion and Bernard Bresslaw (voice only), producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks, director Michael Ferguson, make-up designer Sylvia James, sound designer Brian Hodgson and visual effects designer Peter Day. Narrated by Donald Gee.
  • “Jon and Katy” (7' 06") - looking back at one of the most fondly remembered Doctor / Companion pairings in the show's history - Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor and Katy Manning's UNIT agent, Jo Grant. With Katy Manning, Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks.
  • “Storyboard Comparison” (2' 16") - Comparing visual effects designer Ian Scoones' hand-drawn storyboards for the story's opening sequence with the finished version as seen on screen.

“The Monster of Peladon”

  • Commentary with Nina Thomas, Donald Gee, Ralph Watson and Stuart Fell, producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks and, for episode four only, a commentary by fans Rob Shearman, Mark Aldridge, Kate Du-Rose and Philip Newman. Moderated by Toby Hadoke.
  • “The Peladon Saga” - Part Two (22' 08") – This looks at the characters and monsters featured in the stories. With actors Katy Manning, Donald Gee, Nina Thomas, Ralph Watson, Stuart Fell, Sonny Caldinez and Nick Hobbs, producer Barry Letts, script editor Terrance Dicks, production assistant Chris D'Oyly-John, sound designer Brian Hodgson and make-up supervisor Elizabeth Moss. Narrated by David Hamilton.
  • “Deleted Scene” (1' 42") - a recreation of a deleted scene as noted above.
  • “Where Are They Now?” (2' 27") - David Jacobs interviews actress Ysanne Churchman, who provided the voice for alien ambassador Alpha Centauri in both Peladon stories, in this extract from the 1980 television series.
  • “On Target - Terrance Dicks” (21' 25") - writer and script editor Terrance Dicks novelised many Doctor Who stories for the Target book range over the years. With Terrance Dicks, writers Paul Cornell, Gareth Roberts and David J Howe, and former Doctor Who Magazine editor Alan Barnes. Featuring readings by Caroline John, Katy Manning and David Troughton.
  • PDF materials, Coming Soon trailer, Programme Subtitles, Subtitle Production Notes and Photo Galleries.

A must have for any Classic Doctor Who collection, both stories feature ancient curses, mythological beasts and shows the Earth Federation plundering the valuable resources of Peladon and the consequences of such actions.

Packed with extras, Doctor Who Peladon Tales is available on DVD now, priced at £29.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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