The Ice Warriors

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS tumbles into the world’s new ice age, in the third millennium. The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria find themselves surrounded by snow and ice, with a human outpost led by a man named Clent. Clent’s staff are Britain’s last defense against an advancing ice shelf, but some of his men are preoccupied with something else they’ve found in the ice – an enormous armored body, larger than most humans. They bring it into the outpost to thaw it out, and when it does, it turns out that the creature is still alive. The so-called Ice Warrior

Order this story on audio CDwritten by Brian Hayles
directed by Derek Martinus
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Wendy Gifford (Miss Garrett), Peter Barkworth (Clent), George Waring (Arden), Malcolm Taylor (Walters), Peter Diamond (Davis), Angus Lennie (Storr), Peter Sallis (Penley), Bernard Bresslaw (Varga), Roy Skelton (Computer voice), Roger Jones (Zondal), Sonny Caldinez (Turoc), Tony Harwood (Rintan), Michael Attwell (Ishur)

Broadcast from November 11 through December 16, 1967

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: By this point in Troughton’s era, it wasn’t a matter of which episodes were going to feature a small group of humans besieged by an even smaller group of alien menaces who were merely the first hint of a foothold before an invasion – almost all of the stories from this era followed that basic framework. The real question was: who would the baddies be? In this case, it was the creation for which writer Brian Hayles is best remembered by Doctor Who fans: the towering, hissing Ice Warriors. As tall as a refrigerator, about as bulky and about as cold, the Ice Warriors are one of the very few Doctor Who monsters to have made the jump from the show’s B&W years to the color era, appearing one more time alongside Troughton and then twice with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor.

I’ve always thought that a big part of the Ice Warrior mystique is down to their voices. Rather than the variety of electromechanical audio treatments that have graced the Daleks and the Cybermen, the Ice Warriors are a good old-fashioned menacing stage hiss. The Ice Warriors have inspired everything from novels to audio dramas to action figures, and yet on screen they’re almost so laughable in their lumbering around that one wonders how they caught on – I’m sticking by my theory that it’s all about the voice.

In their introductory story, it’s certainly not about the supporting cast. As with many a Troughton siege story, you’ve got stock characters aplenty, and here they’re all wearing heavy duty “futuristic” tunics with abstract paisley-esque patterns that say “1960s” more than they say “31st century”. From the Hardass Base Commander Who Refuses To Believe Anything’s Wrong to the other archetypes of this kind of story, they’re all here.

In the 1990s, the BBC released this story on VHS with an incredibly inventive device for covering the action of the two missing segments. In addition to a CD containing the audio of the two missing episodes, the most important plot points and dialogue scenes are condensed into a 15-minute selection of stills with minor animation effects, introduced with an ingenious device that works the lack of full video into the storyline. Considering that, at its original six-part length, this cuts down on the Troughton-era staples of Escaping And Getting Captured, and the other old standby, Characters Arguing Among Themselves, it’s actually a bit of a mercy. The Ice Warriors really comes across as a middle-of-the-road story…with some great monsters.