Big Finish Folly, Part 48 – The Bride of Peladon, by Barnaby Edwards
Ah, Peladon, how we have missed thee. Home to Aggedor and a seemingly endless strain of troublesome industrial relations, it’s a familiar setting with a few familiar characters too. And a strange place to take leave of Erimem, but we’ll get to that later. Meanwhile, let’s join the crew as they fall to Peladon in a damaged Ice Warrior starship, the Tardis inconveniently jettisoned into orbit by accident – there’s a coronation to attend, monsters to avoid, and somebody wants to corner the market in trisilicate…. so, business as usual on Peladon…!
Both the Curse of Peladon and the Monster of Peladon featured similar themes and plot devices, relying on subterfuge, sabotage and the Aggador to propel Jon Pertwee’s Doctor through the stories. Because the first story’s broadcast was interrupted by power cuts, the sequel assimilated striking miners and themes of civil unrest into its plot. Those themes run into Bride of Peladon too, with the workforce manipulated heavily and then mercilessly destroyed by the Bad Guys. Aggador also makes a comeback, and so does the character of Alpha Centauri (possibly the only alien ever to sound like it is sitting on top of a washing machine and enjoying it). The Ice Warriors are again an integral part of the plot – so is this a virtual retread of the two TV tales?
Not exactly. Trisilicate is still part of the equation – it’s the reason that soon-to-be-King Pelleas and Earth’s Princess Pandora are getting married, to be sure, and there’s a subplot involving miners and a greedy offworlder, but the main villain is actually a transplant from another TV serial – a ghost in the castle’s machine, a siren calling for royal blood…
It isn’t bad. Peri gets to verbally spar with an Ice Warrior, while Phyllida Law’s Beldonia gets the best arch dialogue. Jenny Agutter’s presence is less overwhelming – at least until the final episode. The plot is a little pedestrian though, and it’s all too obvious, once Pandora bows out, exactly who is the titular Bride. Which brings me to the main problem with the story: Pelleas effectively brains Erimem halfway through,yet she still decides to stay and marry him. Either she’s suffering from an undiagnosed concussion, or there’s a bit of off writing from Edwards, because the leap from Tardis traveller to Bride of Peladon is too unconvincing for me. The reasoning is logical, sure, but there’s no real connection between Erimem and Pelleas (aside from that thump) and Peladon itself seems to pass her by almost until the last few minutes. As departures go, it’s somewhat underwhelming.
Nevertheless, that’s it from our Egyptian heroine – she’s off to rule over an alien world, leaving Peri and the Doctor to travel onwards towards Androzani. Neither a bang nor a whimper.