Thursday, 11 August 2011

Martian Mania: The Ice Warriors

The Ice Warriors first appeared in the story of the same name during the Patrick Troughton tenure of Doctor Who!  In a period which has since become known as the Monster era.  The creatures made one further appearance alongside the Second Doctor, in an adventure called The Seeds of Death.  Unfortunately whilst The Seeds of Death is complete in the BBC Archives, their debut adventure The Ice Warriors is not!  Only episodes one, four, five and six exist, two and three are missing, casualties of the systematic junking which occurred in the seventies, and long before the realisation for the potential of Doctor Who on the home video, and later the DVD, market!

Carry On Film Star Bernard Bresslaw played the principle Ice Warrior Varga in this adventure.  It wasn't until Jon Pertwee became the Third Doctor when the show moved into colour, that we finally saw the Ice Warriors the way nature intended. 

Frankly I think they look magnificent, and their debut adventure in colour The Curse of Peladon was a landmark story for them in many ways.  Whilst their previous adventure had introduced us to a different caste, the Ice Lord, we didn't get to see him in glorious colour! They still look suitably menacing! But for anyone who thinks that stories look more atmospheric in black and white, they really need to give The Curse of Peladon another look!  This adventure reeks of atmosphere!  And what a tale too!  It's political undertones, as well as romantic entanglements between Jo and King Peladon enhance the basic storyline of the Ice Warriors duplicity, except there's a brilliant plot twist which I won't reveal for someone who hasn't seen the story!

Their final appearance is the sequel to Curse and called The Monster of Peladon, it is very much a Peladon story rather than an Ice Warrior story, although the Martians are quite central to the plot in this adventure.  Elisabeth Sladen turns in an excellent performance as Sarah Jane Smith in this story.

Had the 1985 hiatus not occurred we may have been treated to an adventure called Mission to Magnus, where the Ice Warriors may have returned to the series alongside the villainous Sil.  Unfortunately the adventure was scrapped when the show was taken off the air by BBC1 Controller Michael Grade! At least the story was published as a Missing Adventure by Target! A shame that they have not yet returned to the New Series, although their was an oblique reference to them in The Waters of Mars.

Perhaps we may yet get to see Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor appear in a new adventure with the creatures, fingers firmly crossed.

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