Serial Review: The Monster of Peladon (Season 11)
Having really enjoyed Brian Hayles’ previous story “The Curse of Peladon” so much, I was pretty excited to come up to this story. I was gleeful in knowing there would be more of the ridiculous Alpha Centauri, as well as having Sarah Jane in the mix rather than the frequently irritating Jo Grant. Unfortunately, this is an example of a story that does live up to its hype: it is terrible, and pretty much agonizing to watch.
The Doctor finds himself on Peladon again, on purpose, this time with Sarah Jane in tow. The Doctor apparently had been meaning to return, despite the fact that he was forced to flee at the end of his last visit when his cover was blown. They appear to have forgotten this, though, and Alpha Centauri is there to vouch for the Doctor being a-okay. Apparently, the King that the Doctor had become friends with has passed away, leaving his daughter as the new ruler of Peladon. She’s a pretty useless monarch, basically doing whatever she is told by advisers and the like until the predictable end when she finally decides things need to change just a smidge.
Things kind of immediately spiral into ridiculousness. This story essentially does everything to show all the worst parts of classic Doctor Who; constant capturing and re-capturing, running through corridors, terrible acting from the featured extras and most of the supporting cast, a plot that is paper thin, and some rough costume design. The best part about this serial was actually turning on the Radio Free Skaro commentary starting at Part 3, as their making fun of it was the only thing that actually got me through. This is the first story to feature the Ice Warriors to get bad marks from me.
There are some bad stories that are still kinda fun because they have a little charm (“The War Machines” comes to mind), but “The Monster of Peladon” is terrible without really any redeeming qualities whatsoever. I’ve never actually given a Doctor Who story an F before, but this one wins that prestige. This really turns out to be, unfortunately, the worst serial of Pertwee’s run as the Doctor, and the worst serial of classic Who that I have seen so far. Not to mention that season eleven is also Pertwee’s worst season. Sad to see him go out like that, but I still at least found enjoyment in “Invasion of the Dinosaurs” and “Planet of the Spiders.”