Power to the people

- Rhian Drinkwater

RELEASED OUT NOW! 311 minutes | Cd/download Publisher Big Finish

It’s 50 years since Peladon first appeared in Doctor Who, and Big Finish is celebratin­g with a set of four stories based on the planet.

“The Order Of Peladon” sees David Troughton return as King Peladon, chasing stories of a holy man who is gaining popular support. Even after decades of rule he still makes one bad decision after another, and it’s hard to feel sympathy for a ruler so far removed from his people. There are some interestin­g characters, but it very much feels like a set-up rather than a story.

“The Poison Of Peladon” moves on a generation to Peladon’s daughter Thalira, previously seen on-screen in “The Monster Of Peladon” receiving advice from Sarah-jane. This time it’s River Song’s turn as she buddies up with Alpha Centauri. There’s some interestin­g pronoun chat – “It really all depends who I’m with” flirts River when asked for hers – but once again the monarch seems almost wilfully clueless as to what’s going on in her kingdom.

“The Death Of Peladon”, starring Colin Baker, dives further into the issues of Peladon’s beleaguere­d peasant class as revolution beckons. It’s a frustratin­g listen, as the Doctor never quite reaches the righteous anger we’d expect, instead insisting the people remain calm and continue to defer to a ruling family that seem happy to ignore their suffering.

Wrapping things up is “The Truth Of Peladon”, a very different story in which Eighth Doctor Paul Mcgann takes on an apprentice­ship to a Pel seamstress. It’s a morally complex tale in which the Doctor forces us to confront our own complicity in the evils of a society we live in, and a satisfying finish to a set that’s covered everything from environmen­tal disasters to workhouses.

The concept of this Peladon set is based on The Crown – a look at a royal family through decades of change.

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