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Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles - The Prisoner Of Peladon by Cavan Scott & Mark Wright

1/01/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles - The Prisoner Of Peladon in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles - The Prisoner Of Peladon in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 60 minute story plus extras CD. Price: CD: 14.99 (UK); Download: 12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-426-9) cast: David Troughton and Nicholas Briggs.

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The ruler of Peladon reads his child a bedtime story. It's about the time a friend and protector returned to the planet of Peladon. A man called the Doctor

It's a time of war but not on Peladon. It offers safe haven to refugees from the planet Mars where the lizard-like race later known as the Ice Warriors are fighting a bitter internal war. There's nothing civil about it. As a new ship arrives, the violence of Mars starts to erupt on Peladon. The King is desperate to ensure that the unrest doesn't spread. Strangely, the Doctor doesn't seem very helpful. If anything he seems arrogant and distracted. The King of Peladon is saddened by the change he sees in his old mentor and doesn't feel able to confide in him. Perhaps, he muses, it is because Princess Jo of the TARDIS no longer travels with him.

Alpha Centauri, the one-eyed hexapod, the representative of the Federation is still on Peladon but again it is not clear what agenda it might be working to. A murder in the Palace confirms the King's fear that something is very wrong. The legends say that there is a prisoner in the castle and if it escapes then dark times approach for Peladon. It seems the legend might be true.

This marks the return of David Troughton to the role he played in the TV series as King of Peladon. He puts every effort into reproducing all the other voices but as he admits himself, the falsetto of Alpha Centauri is rather a stretch these days. Even so I thought at first there was an additional actor involved. No, just David with a sore throat at the end.

I wasn't overly taken with the story as it seemed a well-used plot. However, its execution and presentation by Troughton lifted it from the mundane. Visually, it would have been unexciting but the thoughts and actions of the ruler put more intrigue and mystery into it. I did feel that we were left with unexplained actions at the end but I am wondering if this is deliberate as it seems there may yet be another story from Peladon.

Once again the extras at the end of the audio are a great addition to the package as a whole. Indeed, Big Finish excels itself with its freely available podcasts and freebies such as the on-line magazine 'Vortex' - always worth a read and not just to find out what is coming out next.

Sue Davies

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