Friday, September 4, 2009

MMM2 - The Curse of Peladon 2

Not only is this story unusual for a Jon Pertwee story, it's also a remarkably claustrophobic one. The sets are very introverted, looking perhaps even smaller than they actually are, and the lack of electric lights serve to enhance that image. And it is never apparent that Peladon is a place teeming with life - only a handful of guards and King Peladon's personal confidants inhabit the palace, and the list of visitors that are the Federation delegates is also a small one.

Director Lennie Mayne accentuates this claustrophobia by shooting many scenes in tight closeup, which is great to see the actors' expressions, but variable in its success when it comes to the non-Earth delegates. Arcturus looks even more ludicrous from close up, but the extraordinary makeup job on Alan Bennion as Izlyr is shown in all its glory (as you can see from the pic above). Any shot of Alpha Centauri would make the creature look ludicrous, although not half as much as having to hear its voice for several minutes on end...

And you can almost feel the love in the scene between The Doctor and Jo early in this episode where take stock of the mess that they're in but revel in how much they're enjoying themselves. The standard Doctor/single companion relationship has been the norm for quite some time now in Doctor Who (especially in the new series), but it's important to remember that The Doctor and Jo were essentially the first such pairing in the show's history. The Doctor had either been surrounded by either two or three companions, and even when he managed to pare it down to one (Liz Shaw), she was more than often surrounded by the various members of UNIT during her brief tenure on the show. Apart from Colony in Space, which often saw The Doctor and Jo separated for much of the proceedings, The Curse of Peladon is the first story ever, nine years after it all started, to feature a close knit Doctor/companion relationship.


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