Brave New Worlds – Doctor Who – tape 1472

First on this tape, from Channel 4, Brave new Worlds, a documentary tying in with their Movie Nightmares season. There’s contributions from:

Robert Silverberg

Robert Silverberg

Paul Verhoeven

Paul Verhoeven

Arthur C Clarke

Arthur C Clarke

A very young Mark Kermode, sporting a Georgetown sweatshirt in honour of his beloved Exorcist.

Mark Kermode

Geoff Ryman

Geoff Ryman

John Clute

John Clute

Brian Aldiss

Brian Aldiss

Dick Jude of Forbidden Planet tries to argue that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was better than Blade Runner. Nice try, but I’m not buying it.

Dick Jude

JG Ballard

JG Ballard

Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson

Author Karen Joy Fowler praised Star Trek for showing women that they didn’t have to know anything about science in order to write science fiction – which is insulting in several ways, but not in the implication that Star Trek doesn’t really contain much science.

Karen Joy Fowler

Octavia Butler talks about diversity, or the lack of it when she started writing.

Octavia Butler

Dan O’Bannon

Dan O'Bannon

Film prop collector and maker Bob Burns – I remember reading a long article in Starburst magazine about the elaborate Halloween shows he’d put on in his back yard, inspired by great SF and Horror movies. That’s the original George Pal time machine behind him.

Bob Burns

Here’s the much loved and sorely missed John Brosnan, whose columns for Starburst were a highlight of the magazine, and who wrote some of the seminal books about the genre. Of course he’s smoking a fag.

John Brosnan

Effects maestros Steven Begg and Angus Bickerton

Steven Begg and Angus Bickerton

Robert Wise

Robert Wise

In a discussion about Alien, effects artists Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff

Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff

Doesn’t William Gibson look young?

William Gibson

Neal Stephenson talks about Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson

This is a nice show, well researched with some good talking heads. Mark Kermode and John Clute were programme consultants, by the way.

Programme Consultants

After this, recording switches to UK Gold (after a brief glimpse of BBC2 that could have been anything). And we have Doctor Who – The Curse of Peladon.

Now, this is definitely my inaugural era of Doctor Who. I’m fairly sure I would have watched this at the time, and I definitely had the Target novelisation.

Jon Pertwee is The Doctor, with Katy Manning as Jo Grant, in a story which opens with a nice model (or is it a matte painting?)

Peladon

According to the blurb at the Doctor Who Shop, this story was “Shown just as Britain was entering the Common Market, this excellent adventure is set on a planet joining the Galactic Federation.” So it’s timely, with the EU referendum happening any day now.

We meet Peladon, ruler of his planet, and he’s played by David Troughton, son of Patrick, which is a nice family connection to the show.

David Troughton

Like much 70s Who, it opens somewhere alien, with lots of people with funny looking hair arguing about things we don’t yet understand.

But after they’ve argued, one of them leaves the chamber, only to be attacked by a giant hairy creature. No, not Andrew Neil. It’s Aggedor. The Curse of Peladon is upon them.

The Tardis lands near the castle, but rather precariously.

Precarious Tardis

The Doctor an Jo exit carefully – this looks fabulous, as it’s shot on film.

Cliffhanger

Then the Tardis falls over the edge, rather stranding our heroes. The Tardis is indestructible (a fact occasionally ignored by later stories) but there’s no way to reach it. So it’s up to the castle. “Ooh, looks a bit doomy” says Jo. I’d forgotten how funny she could be.

Back to the throneroom, and here’s the delegate from Alpha Centauri, whom I’ve always just called Alpha Centauri. He’s voiced by Ysanne Churchman in a wonderful high-pitched squeal. This was a favourite alien design from my early years.

Alpha Centauri

Also present is the delegate from Arcturus, a head in a bowl. Not quite as memorable to my seven year old self.

Arcturus

Alpha Centauri and Arcturus are worried about the news that someone died recently. They’re very concerned for their safety, although Arcturus has a small dish which can destroy pottery, so he’s safe enough.

The other delegates are Ice Warriors, from Mars. I don’t quite understand how creatures with such a rudimentary claw could have developed high technology.

Ice Warriors

Peladon’s High Priest believes the Curse of Peladon is at work. “A stranger will appear in the land, bringing peril to Peladon, and great tribulation to his kingdom.”

Cue the Doctor and Jo being brought in by guards.

But the Ice Warrior greets him as the delegate from Earth. And Jo is Princess Josephine. All without psychic paper.

The High Priest, Hepesh, clearly doesn’t want Peladon to join the federation, and tries to scare the delegates off, but Peladon wants to join. He gets friendly with Jo, hoping to persuade her, but she’s not interested in a political alliance.

Someone tries to kill Arcturus by sabotaging his life support. Jo searches the rooms of the other delegates, and finds the module in the Ice Warriors’ room, but they accuse her of planting it.

The Doctor is taken underground by Hepesh’s mute guard, who intends to kill him, but he’s frightened off by the noise of Aggedor. The Doctor follows the tunnels and finds the shrine to Aggedor, and touches it, which according to the planet’s religious laws is punishable by death.

But the Doctor is given the option of trial by combat. And while he’s waiting, he builds a hypnotic device.

Hypnotic

Which he uses to hypnotize Aggedor along with a Venusian lullaby.

Naroon Naroon Naroon

After the Doctor wins in his trial by combat, Arcturus tries to kill him, but the Ice Warriors kill Arcturus – he was the conspirator with Hepesh, trying to blame the Ice Warriors for the collapse of talks, and start a war. Hepesh tried to stage a palace coup, but when the Doctor brings a hypnotized Aggedor to show that he’s real, and not some magical creature, Hepesh tries to control him, and gets killed for his troubles.

I have a great fondness for this show which, I have to admit, is mostly nostalgic.

After this, recording continues for a bit with a movie, Green For Danger which is in black & white. Then the tape ends.

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5 comments

  1. I wish he’d seen the issue of “Starburst” with Harlan Ellison complaining about John Brosnan’s good review of “Gremlins”…. and that I still had the ” Starlog ” piece where Dan O’Bannon was very scathing about Walter Hill, David Giler re “Alien” and John Badham re “Blue Thunder” not to mention Ronald Shusett about “Dead And Buried.”

    1. I’ve probably still got that Starlog. Ellison’s reviews were startlingly reactionary. I remember one of his criticisms of Gremlins was that Phoebe Cates was unsuitable as a female lead in a movie aimed at younger people because she’d played the lead in ‘Lace’.

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