The Curse of Peladon bookcover

The Curse of Peladon

"Now, we reject violence."
Izlyr, Episode Two

The Story:
Peladon, 3885. The storm racked planet of Peladon is about to usher in a new era. The planet’s leader, King Peladon has just applied for membership to the Galactic Federation. Only one of his two counselors, Chancellor Torbis, favors the union. High Priest Hepesh does not. The three argue, but finally decide to delay a final decision on the matter until after the King meets with delegates from the Federation. That night Torbis is mysteriously killed. Aggedor, a sacred, legendary monster, is blamed.

The Third Doctor, believing he has freed the TARDIS from Time Lord control, has taken Jo Grant on a proving flight. He announces a perfect landing and steps outside, only to discover that the TARDIS has landed on the edge of a cliff. The Doctor rescues Jo, but the TARDIS tumbles over the edge and down into a deep ravine. Jo discovers an entrance in the side of the cliff that leads to a system of tunnels. After stumbling around in the tunnels, the pair find themselves in the passages of the Citadel. Guards discover them and take them to the throne room, but not before the Doctor and Jo spy an Ice Warrior walking down the passageway.

King Peladon
King Peladon

In the throne room the delegates have arrived. There is the delegate from Alpha Centauri, a hermaphrodite hexapod, the delegate from Arcturus, a strange creature inside a "box of tricks", and the representatives from Mars; delegate Izlyr and sub-delegate Ssorg. The Doctor and Jo are brought into the room. The Doctor is taken for the Earth delegate and he introduces Jo as, "Princess Josephine, of Tardis" . King Peladon shows much interest in the "royal observer".

As the delegates withdraw to deliberate Peladon’s acceptance, a stone statue of Aggedor falls towards them. Acting quickly, the Doctor pushes Lord Izlyr out of the way, there by saving his life. Hepesh states that the spirit of Aggedor has been merciful, but the Doctor suspects a more tangible suspect and demands an investigation.

Izlyr and Ssorg
Ssorg and Izlyr

Jo is able to slip away from the group and find evidence that the statue was pushed and a piece of alien gadgetry. The delegates leave as she returns to the King’s chamber. The King asks her to remain behind. He tells Jo that his mother comes from Earth, and Jo says she believes in his desire to become a member of the Federation. The King asks her to plead his case with the delegates. Feeling manipulated, Jo leaves. She finds the Doctor and presents him with the piece of gadgetry. The Doctor identifies it as an electronic key used by the Ice Warriors. The Doctor doesn’t trust the Warriors, and he believes they are behind the troubles on Peladon.

An alarm sounds in Arcturus’ room. The Doctor and Jo rush to investigate and find that someone has removed a vital unit of circuitry from Arcturus's life support system. Acting on the Doctor’s suspicions about the Warriors, Jo searches the Martians’ room. There she finds the unit, but is discovered by Ssorg, who takes the unit but leaves Jo locked in the room. She escapes only to encounter a real Aggedor creature in the corridor. She runs away from the creature and into Izlyr and Ssorg. She tells them about Aggedor, but they can’t find the creature. In his room the Ice Lord denies removing the unit from Arcturus (who says he doesn’t remember his attacker), and informs Jo that the sabotage would have only caused Arcturus discomfort, not death. He also tells her that Martians are no longer war-like. Jo believes them. Now they must figure out who is behind all that has happened.

Meanwhile, Grun, the King’s champion has dragged the Doctor into the tunnels, indicating to the Time Lord that Jo is trouble. After traveling for quite a while, Grun becomes frightened by the roar of an animal and leaves the Doctor. Moments later Aggedor appears! The Doctor runs away and finds a secret entrance to Aggedor’s shrine. Hepesh is there and he accuses the Doctor of sacrilege. The only punishment for which is death.

King Peladon and Jo
King Peladon and Jo

Jo pleads with Peladon to save the Doctor, but the King is powerless to act. He does however grant the Doctor an alternative: trial by combat with Grun. The Doctor agrees. Alone with Jo Peladon suggests that a union between Peladon and Earth might be beneficial. Jo is incensed; one minute the King is condemning the Doctor to death, the next he is proposing to her. Unable to accept the contradiction, Jo leaves.

In the Doctor's cell Hepesh gives the Time Lord a map and says that he will be allowed to escape. The priest says he wants only for the aliens to leave Peladon alone. He cherishes the traditions of his planet and fears that the Federation will strip Peladon for all its mineral wealth and leave it bare. The Doctor says the Federation won't destroy but help the people of Peladon. The Doctor also points out that superstition and Aggedor will not be enough to stop the Federation if it is forced to act. Hepesh replies, “we do not stand alone...“

The delegates meet to discuss the Doctor’s predicament. Centauri and Arcturus are unwilling to help. Izlyr, however is not. He remembers the Doctor saved his life when the statue fell. He and Jo hatch a plan to rescue the Doctor and escape. The plan is overheard by Arcturus, who has been monitoring the entire conversation.

The Doctor, meanwhile, has escaped to the tunnels. There he meets up the Aggedor creature. Using a light, a spinning mirror and an old Venusian lullaby, the Doctor is able to tame the beast. Jo comes upon them at that moment. Believing the Doctor is about to be killed; Jo uses a torch to frighten Aggedor away. The Doctor and Jo the Citadel. The Doctor attempts to tell King Peladon the truth about Aggedor, but Hepesh accuses him of further sacrilege and says that the trial by combat must continue. Without proof of Aggedor the King acquiesces.

The battle begins. But, neither Grun nor the Doctor want to kill. After much scuffling about, the Doctor gets the upper hand and the declares the fight over. At that moment, Arcturus extends a gun from his machine to fire at the Doctor. Ssorg uses a sonic cannon and destroys Arcturus


Everything now is clear. Arcturus is the one who filled Hepesh’s mind with fears about the Federation in order to weaken the membership petition. In return the alien hoped to make a separate deal with the priest. The world of Arcturus is in desperate need of minerals that Peladon could provide. Hepesh, and his agent Grun, faked Arcturus’ emergency, planted evidence in Izlyr’s room, and caused the statue to fall. The Doctor also theorizes that Hepesh found one of the Aggedor creatures and trained it to act as a ghost-like manifestation. The Doctor suggests to the King that he replace Hepesh. The King is hesitant to do so, fearing the shame would break the old priest He asks for backing from the Federation.

In the tunnels below the Citadel, Hepesh meets with the captain of the guard. He plans to take over the planet and force the aliens to leave Peladon. Grun objects to this, so Hepesh is forced to knock him out. All is prepared.

Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri

The delegates meet to discuss King’s request for Federation support. The one hold-out against involvement is Centauri. The Doctor leaves Izlyr and Jo to convince the hexapod, while he goes to the tunnels to find Aggedor. After much convincing, Centauri votes to help Peladon. But, it is too late, Hepesh leads his men into the Citadel. The Alpha Centauri, Jo and the Ice Warriors are in the throne room with King Peladon when Hepesh arrives.

The priest tells the aliens to go in peace, but to go now. At that moment the doors to the room are thrown open. Framed in the doorway is the Doctor, and behind him is Aggedor! Hepesh tries to control the beast, but Aggedor attacks and kills him. With their leader dead, King Peladon orders that the guard captain and his men lay down their arms. He pardons them all and says that all records of this day shall be wiped from history.

The Doctor and Jo decide to stay for King Peladon’s coronation. Peladon asks Jo to marry him, but she refuses sadly. The TARDIS has been found and brought to the Citadel. The Doctor guesses that he never had control of the machine, that the Time Lords sent him to Peladon on yet another of their missions. How else could he and Jo arrive on Peladon at this precise point in time?

Just as the coronation is about to begin, the real delegate from Earth arrives. The Doctor and Jo leave quickly.. Much to the amazement delegate Amazonia of Earth.

Story Code: MMM -- Four Episodes
Originally Transmitted: 29 January to 19 February 1972

Cast and Credits:
Doctor Who:
Jon Pertwee \ Jo Grant: Katy Manning
King Peladon: David Troughton \ Hepesh: Geoffrey Toone \ Izlyr: Alan Bennion
Alpha Centauri: Stuart Fell \ Voice of Alpha Centauri: Ysanne Churchman
Grun: Gordon StClair \ Ssorg: Sonny Caldinez
Written by: Brian Hayles
Directed by: Lennie Mayne
Produced by: Barry Letts

Sequels: The Monster of Peladon and Legacy


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