‘THE ICE WARRIORS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Ice Warriors with the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria
‘The Ice Warriors’ is complete at last on DVD!
This is the first appearance of a new breed of ‘Doctor Who’ monsters on TV! This is a take on the Martians from Mars in ‘Doctor Who’. They are the Ice Warriors, and they’re giant lizards that hiss a lot. I enjoyed this story with Patrick Troughton and pleased the missing episodes are now animated!
‘The Ice Warriors’ is a six-part adventure by Brian Hayles, who would later write ‘The Moon Stallion’ in 1978 with Sarah Sutton in it! I love ‘The Moon Stallion’! Anyway, this is Brian Hayles’ second contribution to ‘Doctor Who’, having written ‘The Celestial Toymaker’ with William Hartnell’s Doctor.
The story was released on DVD in 2013 as a 2-disc DVD set. Disc 1 contains the story, whilst Disc 2 contains special features. I remember purchasing this DVD on a summer’s day in August. I was pleased to watch another TV adventure with Victoria, as at the time, most of her stories were wiped.
‘The Ice Warriors’ takes place in the far future on Earth, during its Second Ice Age (okay, I’m thinking of the ‘Ice Age’ computer-animated movies here! 😀 ). At a base in Britain, scientists are trying to use an ioniser to slow the progress of a glacier. The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive and try to help out.
Meanwhile, a block of ice with a ‘man’ inside has been recovered and taken back to the base. The ice melts and it turns out to be an Ice Warrior, a Martian from the planet Mars. He’s called Varga and he kidnaps Victoria. He takes her with him to the glacier where he hopes to revive four other warriors.
Now I need to be honest about this. I found ‘The Ice Warriors’ rather slow! Don’t get me wrong, the story is good and it’s interesting by Brian Hayles. But I’m afraid I didn’t find the story as action-packed or pacey enough compared to other Ice Warrior stories including the second one, ‘The Seeds of Death’.
Even the animated episodes didn’t help me to get that excited about ‘The Ice Warriors’ as I was with ‘The Invasion’. Don’t get me wrong, the animation is great! I’m pleased with how they animated the Doctor, Jamie, Victoria, Clent, Penley and Varga. But I did find it a struggle to watch those episodes.
Also, I need to make something clear. I’m not a fan of the Ice Warriors as monsters. They are good creations and they’re an interesting take on the Martians from Mars. But I’m afraid I sometimes find the Ice Warriors dull and boring, compared to other ‘Doctor Who’ monsters like the Daleks and Cybermen.
They also hiss a lot, which tended to get on my nerves. This was something Bernard Bresslaw, who played Varga, developed when creating the Ice Warriors in their first story. I found it hard to enjoy these Ice Warriors when they talked and they did sound like Sidney the Snake from ‘Spot the Dog’.
Lately, I have enjoyed the Ice Warriors in audio dramas by Big Finish and I do like ‘The Seeds of Death’ as a story with the Ice Warriors in it. But these monsters are hit and miss for me sometimes. I can’t say I’m that impressed but writing a ‘Doctor Who’ story with Ice Warriors may change my mind.
As I said before, Bernard Bresslaw guest stars as Varga, the leader of the Ice Warriors in this story. Bernard Bresslaw is actually a comedian from the ‘Carry On’ films. Why he would be chosen to play a ‘Doctor Who’ monster and not be seen on screen is a mystery to me. But he must have enjoyed it.
There are moments when the Ice Warriors can be quite threatening when they use their sonic guns. I don’t know why they have to be so unreasonable when threatening to kill the humans. Also, I find the Ice Warriors by simply turning the heat levels up. How they came back to the series is a mystery.
As well as Bernard Bresslaw as Varga, there are other Ice Warriors in this story. There’s Roger Jones as Zondal; Sonny Caldinez as Turoc; Michael Attwell as Isbur and Tony Harwood as Rintan. Sometimes the Ice Warriors look impressive when in the glacier, but I didn’t find them so exciting.
Patrick Troughton delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this adventure. I like that Patrick’s Doctor challenges Clent and his leadership skills, despite offering to help when they’re using the ioniser at the base. The Doctor also gets curious about the Ice Warriors once Varga gets revived first.
I liked it when Patrick’s Doctor gets concerned for his companions Victoria and Jamie when he’s out in the glacier. I was anxious for the Doctor when he’s about to get killed by Ice Warriors in their base airlock. The Doctor is clever in working out a solution to defeat the Ice Warriors and to save the day.
Deborah Watling shines as Victoria for me in ‘The Ice Warriors’. Sometimes I find Victoria poorly developed in ‘Doctor Who’. But I like that she has her own adventure when she gets kidnapped by Varga and taken to the glacier to revive the Ice Warriors. Sometimes she can get very weepy in this.
But also Victoria can sometimes be very brave when she’s running away from the Ice Warriors base and is being chased by Turoc. I liked it when he reunites with the Doctor and that moment when she’s about to be killed and she begs the Doctor not to tell them anything was very defining for her.
I like how some of Victoria’s ‘Victorian’ attitudes are touched on in this story, especially when she and her friends arrive at the base and she remarks on it being like home. I loved that scene between Jamie and Victoria when they talk about women’s clothing in the future and Jamie teases her on it.
Frazer Hines stars as Jamie in ‘The Ice Warriors’. I liked Frazer’s performance as Jamie although I don’t think he’s greatly developed as a character in this one. Sometimes Jamie gets badly hit by Ice Warriors. He’s even paralysed when he gets shot by one of the Ice Warriors’ sonic guns in the open.
Jamie gets be carried around on a stretcher by Penley when they try to reach the base to get some medical attention. I liked it when Jamie shows concern for Victoria and he truly is fond of her, even when he’s teasing her a times. Jamie demonstrates how fiercely loyal he is when helping the Doctor.
The guest cast includes Peter Barkworth as Clent. I’ve seen Peter before in an episode of one of ‘Morecambe & Wise’s Christmas shows. It was good to see him as an actor in this ‘Doctor Who’ story. Clent is a highly strung and obstinate man who commands the base and relies on a computer.
Peter Sallis guest stars as scientist Penley. For me, Peter voices Wallace in the ‘Wallace & Gromit’ films. I enjoyed Peter’s performance as Penley in this, although he doesn’t sound like Wallace at all. Penley is a rejected scientist who tries to live out in the glacier that’s away from Clent and the base.
Wendy Gifford guest stars as Miss Garrett, Clent’s right-hand woman at the base. Miss Garrett is a pleasant, attractive lady who is very loyal to her commander. Sometimes she questions the computer’s decisions that it makes, but it doesn’t stop her from disobeying orders from her leader.
Angus Lennie guest stars as Storr, a scavenger who accompanies Penley in the glacier. I’ve seen Angus in ‘Terror of the Zygons’ and he also played Badger in ‘Monarch of the Glen’. Storr hates scientists. He willingly joins Penley and he opposes what the scientists are actually doing at the base.
The base computer is voiced by Roy Skelton (who voices the Daleks in many ‘Doctor Who’ stories of the classic series). I didn’t care much for the computer and found it annoying even when it spoke. Everybody seems to rely on the computer to make a decision and it seems to answer, ‘Do nothing!’
The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a commentary on ‘Episodes One, Four, Five and Six’ with Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling, Sonny Caldinez, designer Jeremy Davies and grams operator, Pat Heigham, moderated by Toby Hadoke.
There’s also a commentary on the animated ‘Episode Two’, featuring archive recordings of Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Barkworth, Wendy Glifford, writer Brian Hayles, director Derek Martinus; costume designer Martin Baugh and make-up supervisor Sylvia James.
And there’s a commentary on the animated ‘Episode Three’ featuring ‘Part One’ of an interview with Patrick Troughton’s son, Michael Troughton (‘Part Two’ is on ‘The Underwater Menace’ DVD). There’s also an info-text commentary option to enjoy.
On Disc 2, there’s a making-of documentary called ‘Cold Fusion’, featuring behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There’s also ‘Beneath the Ice’, a behind-the-scenes look on the animated episodes of ‘The Ice Warriors’. And there are the ‘VHS Links’ on ‘Episodes Two and Three’ of the story.
There’s the ‘Blue Peter – Design-A-Monster’ item; a 2003 interview with Frazer Hines called ‘Doctor Who Stories – Frazer Hines (Part Two)’ with him looking back on his time in ‘Doctor Who’ (‘Part One’ is on ‘The Krotons’ DVD), a photo gallery and the original trailer for ‘The Ice Warriors’ now animated.
There’s also a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story that can be accessed on a computer/laptop. There’s also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘Scream of the Shalka’ with Richard E. Grant as the Doctor.
I enjoyed ‘The Ice Warriors’ on DVD! The Ice Warriors aren’t my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ monsters, but I’m pleased to have seen this story, especially with the second and third episodes now animated. I enjoyed the performances of Patrick Troughton; Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling throughout this.
‘The Ice Warriors’ rating – 6/10
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