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Clara and the Ice Warrior
I saw this episode when I was staying overnight at a lodge hotel in Chiswick, London in April 2013. It was before I went to the ‘celebrate 50 – The Peter Davison Years’ event on the next day.
I had to put the subtitles on for the episode when I was watching it in Chiswick. This was due to the fact I was close to the tube stations where I was staying. There was a lot noise! Sad isn’t it?!
‘Cold War’ is an episode that features the return of one of the Doctor’s oldest enemies from the classic series. It’s the return of the Ice Warriors and they’re ‘Doctor Who’s take on the Martians.
This episode by Mark Gattis is set inside a Soviet Russian submarine in the North Pole of 1983 during the cold war. Matt Smith’s Doctor and Jenna Coleman’s Clara arrive there and find the submarine sinking really fast.
The submarine is sinking due to a large ‘something’ inside a block of ice that has been in the sea for over 5,000 years. This ‘something’ is really the Ice Warrior known as Grand Marshall Skaldak.
The Ice Warriors first appeared in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Ice Warriors’ with Patrick Troughton. Mark Gattis had the challenge of returning the Ice Warriors back into the new series.
It would have been nice to have seen more Ice Warriors in this episode as well as Skaldak. But I suppose that the Ice Warriors will soon make a return appearance again and I hope it’ll be soon.
This episode is also an introduction on what the Ice Warriors are in their new series and their codes of conduct. So it does make sense by featuring just one Ice Warrior appear in the episode.
Skaldak happens to be a war hero amongst his own Martian race. This is something that the Doctor is terrified about, since he knows Skaldak’s reputation and wonders how he’ll defeat him.
The Ice Warrior monster of Skaldak is played by Spencer Wilding in the episode. Skaldak is also voiced by Nicholas Briggs, who voices the Ice Warriors in the ‘Doctor Who’ audios by Big Finish.
The episode also features the true form of an Ice Warrior, as Skaldak reveals his face and strips off his Ice Warrior armour. The look of Skaldak is terrifying and unlike anything I’ve seen before.
Liam Cunningham guest stars as Captain Zhukov in the episode. I’ve seen Liam in the 2007 TV movie of ‘Northanger Abbey’ by Jane Austen and once was a contender to play the Eighth Doctor.
There’s also David Warner as Professor Grisenko. David has appeared in many ‘Doctor Who’ audios by Big Finish; appeared in two ‘Star Trek’ films (‘Star Trek V’ and ‘Star Trek VI’) and appeared in a two-parter in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’.
I’ve also met David at some ‘Doctor Who’ conventions in Swansea and Cardiff. David is a pleasant gentleman and I liked his appearance in this ‘Doctor Who’ episode with the Ice Warrior.
I recognised Tobias Menzies, who was in the 2007 TV movie of ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen, as Lieutenant Stepashin in this. Stepashin gets a rather sticky end when he gets caught by Skaldak.
‘Cold War’ is a really gripping ‘Doctor Who’ episode and is certainly something to enjoy with the return of an Ice Warrior. I hope there’ll be more stories with the Ice Warriors in the new series.
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 4 of ‘The Complete Series 7’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s the ‘Behind-The-Scenes: Cold War’ featurette featuring cast and crew interviews. There’s also a commentary with writer Mark Gatiss, visual effects supervisor Murray Barber and visual effects producer Jenna Powell.
‘Cold War’ rating – 8/10
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