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135o 'The Bride of Peladon'

CD audio adventure released January 2008, 4 episodes

Writer: Barnaby Edwards
Director: Barnaby Edwards

Roots: The opening scene evokes that of Hamlet (two guards, followed by a ghost appearing to a young prince on castle battlements at night demanding its death be avenged), the Doctor quotes from Walter de la Mare's The Listeners, and Henry V ('once more unto the breach...') Peri calls herself Nancy Drew. The legends of Jason and the Minotaur (a ball of string as a means to navigate a labyrinth) and Pandora (the Princess says she lives up to her name). The Doctor describes the Osirans as "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"

Intertextuality: Zixlyr's ceremonial sword (a facsimile of the Sword of Tuburr) first appeared in Adrian Rigelsford's Monsters book (and subsequently in Gary Russell's New Adventure Legacy and the Radio Times Eighth Doctor comic strip).

Fluffs: Zixlyr seems to say "sh-t" at the end of episode two.

Goofs: In Eye of the Scorpion Erimem says she doesn't believe in the gods, yet wears a talisman against Sekhmet in this story, and prays to Osiris to heal the Doctor (see: Continuity)

Technobabble: Zixlyr has a Xanthoid Volatiser (which is handy). Trisilicate is made up of negatively charged atoms (presumably 'atoms' means ions here)

Dialogue Triumphs: "I miss them all Peri. Everybody leaves."

Continuity: There are no lions on Peladon (in fact, the Doctor says lions are unique to earth in the entire universe.)

Peladon's citadel was carved out of Mount Megeshra's living rock a thousand years ago. Other features of Peladon described are its forests (where Aggedor roams - presumably it is her natural habitat), the Cargas Mountains (to the east of the Citadel) and Lake Vanashor, the latter two of which form the eastern and (presumably) western boundaries of the kingdom. It has more than one sun. There are battlements atop the Citadel and above the site of the coronation (the Throne Room?), patrolled by the Night Watch. The Citadel's "old" bell tower is, apparently, the highest point in the kingdom. The Hall of Portraits contains "hundreds of years" of historical artefacts including statues and a portrait of Queen Thalira - the last known Aggedor died saving her life "nearly a century ago" A secret passage behind a painting of Queen Elspera in the Hall of Portraits leads to labyrinthine underground passages and to a sealed chamber with doors marked with lioness heads. It would appear that the Hall and the Temple of Aggedor are adjacent to one another. The statue of Aggedor in the Temple weighs half a ton. The Doctor notes that the Citadel's Throne Room has been redecorated (at the order of the previous Queen) and is now brightly-lit and devoid of character. There is a quarry to the south of the Citadel, providing access to the mines.

The mother of Prince Pelleas and late Queen Elspera did away with the religion of the planet's old gods upon her accession to the throne, and died a week ago, allegedly in a fall from her mount whilst hunting.

The Queen Mother Beldonia (Elspera's mother in law) is of the Royal House of Peladon and was the wife of Pelleas' grandfather, the bearded Paladin the Great, who survived to see his grandson named but seemingly died shortly afterward. Pelleas' arranged would-be bride PrincessPandora was from an elected dynasty on Earth, their marriage was intended to secure trisilicate reserves for Earth as well as strengthen Peladon's presence in the Galactic Federation. Beldonia's comments suggest that this is Peladon's first royal marriage with an off-worlder since that of King Peladon's father.

Ghosts form part of local superstition. The 'witching hour' (midnight) is said to be the time when the ancients of Peladon pledged their souls to the Dark Beast (i.e. Aggedor).

Aggedors are a long lived species and gestate for nearly a century. The current Royal Beast is one hundred and fifty years old and the offspring of Thalira's Beast; it still joins in hunts, although its existence is an official secret.

The Doctor says Osirans ruled "Millions of years" before humans, and are the only other race who wrote in hieroglyphs. The Osiran Sekhmet is also known as The Avenger, the Eye of Ra and Queen of the Osirans. She first visited Erimem's people during a time when the sun god Ra lived among them as a human. As he aged Ra's rivals plotted against him, so he summoned his divine eye which transformed into Sekhmet the Powerful One. On her arrival Sekhmet slaughtered Ra's enemies, wading in their blood, and began slaughtering every living thing in an orgy of killing. Ra ordered his High Priest at Heliopolis to pour out seven thousand jars of beer, dyed red with pomegranate juice. Seeing the lake of 'blood' Sekhment drank deep until stupefied by alcohol, she was captured and imprisoned forever in a spaceship (i.e. tomb) of salt on Peladon; the negative charge of the planet's trisilicate (the hardest salt in the galaxy) around her saps her energy while she is imprisoned. Osiran blood-locks are four-dimensional and among the strongest bonds in the Universe; only a specific type of blood (in this instance that of four Royal females) can unlock them.

The name Zixlyr means 'twin of the ice' - perhaps his sister's name Alyxlyr is the feminine version? Martian ambassadors carry ceremonial swords (see: Intertextuality). The Princess Alyxlyr was the previous Martin Ambassador on Peladon. A memory harp is a Martian recording device that resembles a necklace.

The Arcturan criminal Arktos is known as the Scourge of the Nine Worlds, the Silver Assassin and the Death Merchant; he was believed incarcerated on Arcturus.

Erimem wears a signet ring with an emblem of Sekhmet on it as a talisman against the god (perhaps she's more intuitive than we thought?). inside is distilled mandrake root - a fatal poison.

The Doctor's claim that the TARDIS controls are isomorphic is seen as a "transparent lie" by Sekhmet. He drinks coffee with Peri at the close of the story. When a Time Lord body is injured or close to death temporal platelets coalesce around the wound, holding off the need to regenerate - an otherwise "costly process", according to the Doctor.

Links: The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon (Thalira, Elkin is a Vega Nexon), Pyramids of Mars, Peri refers to having already met Ice Warriors (in Red Dawn) and (once again) refers to her step-father (Planet of Fire). Erimem's first glimpse of the Citadel reminds her of Castle Dracula (Son of the Dragon). Peri's joke about not leaving the Doctor to marry an alien king prefigures The Trial of a Time Lord episodes 5-8.

Location: The Citadel, Peladon, almost a century after the events of The Monster of Peladon.

The Bottom Line: 'There is a dark secret at the heart of Peladon. A secret that kills...'

If Bride is the result of a shopping list - and every Peladon sequel thus far has been in one way or another, then it's a pretty well-followed one, not only managing to tick boxes for two televised stories, but bringing in an Osiran (without the fan cliché of Ice Warriors worshipping them) and convincingly writing out a companion to boot. The cast seems huge, having to juggle these various plot elements, but it works for the most part - Arktos' subplot is perhaps the only dead end, seemingly an excuse to include an Arcturan and little more. Faithful, nostalgic, and fun.


There have been many occasions where the Doctor's intervention has saved the lives of others, and notable among these are when the Doctor's own physiology has been a key element in that rescue. We can assume that Gallifreyan physiology is probably unique and almost certainly miraculous due to the phenomenon of regeneration; but even before this critical phase is engineered, it is evident in a few stories that a Time Lord's blood and immune system are not only miracle workers for their host himself, but can also lifesavers for the Doctor's friends. Presumably a Time Lord's physiology and capacity to heal is affected by their ability to regenerate - the two may be closely linked: in Bride of Peladon the Doctor puts his quick recovery down to "temporal platelets" in his blood, activating around areas of injury to heal and possibly rejuvenate his tissue (the Sixth Doctor claims to perform a similar feat on Peri using his sonic lance in Song of Megaptera.) It is likely that this regenerative ability is locked into Time Lord DNA which, resembling vampire DNA, is able to attack and overcome the latter, as the Seventh Doctor proves in Project Destiny. By Scaredy Cat he believes his Eighth body heals even faster than his previous incarnation.

To the good fortune of his human companions, the Doctor's immune system works in harmony with that of a human's, a trait which Project Destiny implies is a Time Lord trait, and so may not be connected to the Doctor's possible human ancestry. In Her Final Flight it is explained that the Doctor's physiology allows him to create antibodies that are compatible with that of a human, whilst in Thicker Than Water the Doctor's immune system is instrumental in saving Evelyn's life. This would also explain why the Doctor's blood transfusion with Erimem in Bride of Peladon successfully cures her of her belladonna root poisoning.

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