Though not often necessarily discussed these days, John Pertwee's portrayal of the Third Doctor on Doctor Who still ranks among fan favorites. A poll available on the BBC's website indicates that Pertwee ranks number four, with 11% of the total vote (he is currently behind David Tennant, Tom Baker, and Christopher Eccleston). Pertwee's Doctor was the first one whose episodes were in color, and despite (or maybe because of) the fact that the Doctor was stuck on Earth for an extended period of time during his tenure, his stories seem to have resonated with the audience.
Released at the beginning of May of this year, a classic Pertwee Doctor story, "The Curse of Peladon" has been digitally remastered and released to DVD. The first of two Peladon tales in the television series (the other, "The Monster of Peladon," is also a Pertwee tale).
The story, like so many other Doctor stories, finds the Time Lord along with his current companion, Jo Grant (Katy Manning), landing in a completely unexpected location – in this case halfway up the side of a mountain on Peladon. Again, as happens just about every go-round, the Doctor finds himself in the midst of a crisis on the planet. Specifically, this time, the King of Peladon wishes to enter the Galactic Federation, and members of the Federation council are present to evaluate the planet's request. All is not well in the kingdom however as an ancient mythical beast, Aggedor, has surfaced and killed one of the King's trusted advisors. It falls – again, as it always does – to the Doctor and his companion to work out just what is happening and save the day.
Essentially, the story boils down to one about the fear of change, the fear of progress. One faction of Peladon is not for joining the Galactic Federation, believing that the kingdom should follow the traditional ways and those alone, whereas the other believes that for the people and kingdom to reach their full potential they need to expand their horizons.
In short, it is a classic Doctor Who story. Told over the course of four episodes, the tale features both obvious bad guys and less than obvious ones as well as some great Who aliens like the Ice Warriors (aliens from Mars). Pertwee and Manning make the trip to Peladon an enjoyable one, although it is not spectacular. Fans of the Whoniverse will most likely find "The Curse of Peladon" more of a comfort-food tale than anything hugely brilliant. The number of common tropes of Who stories contained within it are numerous, but if those tropes didn't work, Doctor Who wouldn't be the long-running, incredibly popular juggernaut that it is today.