The Doctor's Acquaintances

Alpha Centauri
 Name: Alpha Centauri

 Format: Television show, Book and Audio

 Time of Origin: Mid-nineteenth to forty-first century (likely); encountered The Doctor on Peladon.

 Appearances: "The Curse of Peladon", "The Prisoner of Peladon", "The Monster of Peladon", "Legacy" and "The Bride of Peladon"; likely cameo in "Empress of Mars".

 Doctors: Third Doctor, Fifth Doctor and Seventh Doctor; evidence suggests that the Twelfth Doctor witnessed a message from Alpha even if he didn’t talk directly to the ambassador.

 Companions: Jo Grant, Sarah Jane Smith, Peri, Erimem, Ace and Bernice Summerfield; evidence suggests that Bill Potts witnessed a message from Alpha even if the two didn’t meet directly.

The Curse of Peladon

The Curse of Peladon

 History: While The Doctor has only had a few meetings with Alpha Centauri, the Earth Federation Ambassador to Peladon has nevertheless proven to be a very good friend to The Doctor. Although officially a hermaphrodite alien with no gender and a female-sounding voice, The Doctor has referred to Alpha with male pronouns on occasion, but in practical terms Alpha could biologically be considered an 'it'. Despite its long history of interacting with humanoids, it would appear that Alpha still has some difficulty distinguishing genders and ages from visual cues, requiring clarification that Sarah Jane Smith was female when they first met (Although, in its defence, Sarah's short hair and trousers could have made identification trickier), and later easily accepted that the Fifth Doctor was an older version of the Third despite the Fifth looking considerably younger.

The Doctor first met Alpha Centauri when the Third Doctor and Jo Grant, taking a trip in the seemingly-repaired TARDIS ("The Curse of Peladon"), found themselves on the planet Peladon as it was intending to apply for membership to the Galactica Federation. Alpha Centauri was one of the members of the committee intended to assess the planet for membership, along with the partly-cybernetic Arcturus, a pair of Ice Warriors, and a chairman-delegate from Earth. However, the other delegates were unaware that there was a deeper conspiracy taking place between Hepesh, the high priest of Peladon, and Arcturus, with Arcturus manipulating Hepesh to discourage the idea of Peladon joining the Federation so that Arcturus's planet could use Peladon's resources for itself. This plan was interrupted when The Doctor was mistaken for the chairman delegate from Earth, allowing him to lead the other delegates in investigating a series of inexplicable attacks taking place on the planet.

Although the Ice Warrior delegates dismissed Alpha Centauri as a coward by instinct, they remained to help The Doctor investigate the conspiracy, allowing him to expose Hepesh and Arcturus's goals, with the Ice Warriors killing Arcturus to save The Doctor. Although Alpha initially wanted to remain neutral in the potential conflict due to the risk of violence, Jo and the Ice Warriors were able to convince it of the need to act while The Doctor searched for Aggedor and Hepesh, resulting in the Federation representatives declaring that they would do their best to aid Peladon in stabilising its internal affairs until the crisis was over. With Hepesh having been killed by Aggedor after The Doctor tamed the beast, The Doctor and Jo departed, realising that this trip had actually been arranged by the Time Lords to ensure that this crucial period of Peladon's history turned out for the best (It was later revealed that the Time Lords had calculated that Alpha would have been one of the casualties of Hepesh and Arcturus's plan if The Doctor had not been present to interrupt the conspiracy).

Five years later, King Peladon made Peladon available to refugees from New Mars during a civil war, with the Third Doctor helping King Peladon investigate the murder of one of the Ice Lords ("The Prisoner of Peladon"). During this investigaton, Alpha Centauri hid the Martian princess Lixgaar in the fabled chamber of the Prisoner of Peladon, able to open the room's four locks on its own due to its multiple arms, on the orders of the Federation Council. Following the resolution of this crisis, although Alpha offered to resign out of shame at its betrayal of the king, King Peladon instead suggested that Alpha be appointed the Federation's official ambassador on Peladon, recognising that Alpha's actions had been carried out with the best of intentions.

The Monster of Peladon

The Monster of Peladon

When The Doctor returned to Peladon fifty years later from Peladon's perspective ("The Monster of Peladon"), he was initially viewed with suspicion as he was found wandering through Peladon's mines while a strange manifestation that appeared to be the spirit of Aggedor was attacking the miners as they mined the trisilicate that the Federation needed for its current war with Galaxy Five. Although his initial attempts to introduce himself were dismissed as the tale of The Doctor was so well-known on Peladon that claiming to be The Doctor would be an obvious attempt to deceive the people, Alpha was able to quickly verify The Doctor's identity, The Doctor in return noting that his friend was the same as ever apart from being 'a bit grey around the tentacles'. With Alpha verifying his identity to clear The Doctor of the initial charges, The Doctor was able to investigate the miners' protests and expose this new conspiracy as the result of an attempted coup by Eckersley, and a group of renegade Ice Warriors led by Ice Lord Azaxyr, who sought to sell the trisilicate to the Federation's enemies in Galaxy Five. During this visit, Alpha bonded with Sarah Jane Smith, The Doctor's new companion, demonstrating a greater sense of courage when it stated that it would have been willing to endure threats against itself but couldn't countenance threats to another living being. Alpha later helped inspire Peladon's new queen Thalira to assert her authority while vouching for The Doctor as a person despite his ignorance of The Doctor's official position in the Federation, helping Sarah escape while they were being held prisoner by the Ice Warriors, and risking its life to inform Queen Thalira of the nature of the conspiracy (Although it was still fairly quick to admit the truth when threatened).

With its retirement approaching, one of Alpha's last duties was to escort Princess Pandora of Earth to marry King Pelleas to secure future relations between the two planets via a marriage contract, following the recent death of Pelleas's mother in a hunting accident. While preparations were being made for the marriage, the Fifth Doctor returned to Peladon when the TARDIS materialised on board the ship bringing Alpha's successor to Peladon, The Doctor subsequently meeting Alpha, Peladon's new royal family, and a descendant of the Aggedor who had died in his last visit. Alpha was able to play a part in solving the crisis by stunning and capturing Arctos, a renegade Arcturan who had been trying to steal some of Peladon's trisciliate for himself, although Alpha was apologetic at having to resort to violence to defeat Arctos. However, Arctos proved to be the lesser problem when The Doctor learned that Peladon faced another, greater peril in the form of a trapped Osiran ("Pyramids of Mars" and "The Sands of Time") Sekhmet, an ancient destroyer who sought to escape her captivity by deactivating the blood locks keeping her contained with the blood of four royal females. Although Sekhmet was able to deactivate three of the seals by killing Peladon's queen, Pandora, and the Martian ambassador Princess Alyxlyr, The Doctor's companion Erimem - a former Egyptian pharaoh who would have served to break the fourth seal - was able to stop Sekhmet escaping by poisoning her blood with a distillation of mandrake root, weakening the Osiran and allowing The Doctor and his allies to bury her once again. Although the deaths would require Alpha to remain in its position to smooth relations over, the mood was brightened with the discovery that the new Aggedor was pregnant with a new generation of Aggedors, the sight of the baby Aggedors bringing a tear to Alpha's eye.

Empress of Mars

Empress of Mars

Alpha encountered The Doctor again when the Seventh Doctor arrived on Peladon at a time when Peladon was considering withdrawing from the Federation after its mines had been exhausted ("Legacy"), tracking an ancient and dangerous relic that had been stolen and taken to Peladon. Although Alpha's role in the subsequent crisis was minimal, its friendship with The Doctor remained as strong as ever, being clearly affected when The Doctor was apparently executed as part of a plan by The Doctor and the Ice Warriors to expose the true villain. The Doctor's plan culminated in Peladon withdrawing from the Federation for a few years to consider its position in the absence of the mining industry, which had been his goal all along; with the Federation about to go to war with the Daleks in the future, Peladon would now be able to avoid the war.

While investigating evidence of humans on Mars in the nineteenth century ("Empress of Mars"), the Twelfth Doctor and Bill Potts were able to negotiate a truce between the British expedition that had travelled to Mars in a salvaged ship and the Ice Queen Iraxxa after she awoke from stasis, The Doctor subsequently sending out a message to the Galactic Federation that was responded to by what appeared to be Alpha Centauri itself, albeit a much younger Alpha.

Video - The Curse of Peladon
The Curse of Peladon
Video -
The Monster of Peladon
Video - Peladon Tales Box Set
Peladon Tales Box Set

Book - Legacy
(Gary Russell)
Audio - The Prisoner of Peladon
The Prisoner of Peladon
(Mark Wright & Cavan Scott)
Audio - The Bride of Peladon
The Bride of Peladon
(Barnaby Edwards)
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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