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Audio Drama Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who

The Bride of Peladon


Starring: Peter Davison
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 289 0
Available 30 January 2008

“Peladon will bathe in oceans of blood!” A mysterious voice, a missing girl and a murdered queen. The Royal House of Peladon is once again plunged into intrigue, terror and death. The Doctor is reunited with some familiar faces, but nevertheless he, Peri and Erimem must negotiate their way through a treacherous labyrinth of lies if they are to distinguish friend from foe before it is too late. For deep beneath the Citadel of Peladon, something infinitely ancient and immeasurably powerful is stirring...

Big Finish keeps writing out its companions! Absolution witnessed the demise of the Eighth Doctor companion C’rizz; The Girl Who Never Was marked the departure of his fellow traveller Charley Pollard; and now The Bride of Peladon sees Erimem (Caroline Morris) making her exit.

Regular listeners will already know that her days aboard the TARDIS are numbered, having learned of her absence in the single-part adventure, Mission of the Viyrans. In that story, the Doctor (Peter Davison), Peri (Nicola Bryant) and writer Nicholas Briggs remained secretive about Erimem’s fate, thus leaving plenty of room for mystery here. Bride’s writer/director Barnaby Edwards takes advantage of this, keeping us guessing as to the character’s ultimate destiny (though not to the fiendish extent to which Alan Barnes toyed with our expectations in The Girl Who Never Was). For instance, you might think that the nature of Erimem’s departure is apparent from the production’s title, but this assumption is thrown into doubt almost immediately when Earth princess Pandora (Yasmin Bannerman) enters the story as the intended of the new Peladonian king, Pelleas (Christian Coulson).

However, as a sequel to the Jon Pertwee serials The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon, Bride is as much about familiarity as it is about mystery. Set almost a century after Monster, the production features all the established species, including an Ice Warrior (Zixlyr, played by Nicholas Briggs), an Arcturan (Arktos, Briggs again) and a miner from Vega Nexos (Elkin, Peter Sowerbutts). Of course, no trip to Peladon would be complete without an appearance by the one-eyed hermaphrodite hexapod, Alpha Centauri, and in this role Jane Goddard provides an impeccable impersonation of the squeaky voice of Ysanne Churchman. And these are not the only species familiar from the classic series...

The Doctor has visited Peladon on one other occasion: in the New Adventures novel Legacy. I haven’t read that book, so I’m not in a position to say whether the audio drama and the novel contradict each other, but Bride is set about fifty years later than Legacy, from the point of view of Peladon.

The production is buoyed by a starry cast including the aforementioned Yasmin Bannerman (Hollyoaks, the Doctor Who episode The End of the World), Phyllida Law (Peter’s Friends, the Sarah Jane Adventures story Eye of the Gorgon) and Jenny Agutter (The Railway Children, Logan’s Run, An American Werewolf in London).

An eagerly awaited release, The Bride of Peladon does not disappoint. Big Finish can justifiably feel pride for its Bride.


Richard McGinlay

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