‘LORDS OF THE RED PLANET’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Ice Warriors on Mars with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe
This is a true gem of a lost ‘Doctor Who’ story from Big Finish!
We’ve had origin stories for many monsters in ‘Doctor Who’. These include the Daleks in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’; the Cybermen in ‘Spare Parts’ and the Sontarans in ‘The First Sontarans’. But never have we had the origins story of the popular Martians in ‘Doctor Who’ – the Ice Warriors. Until now that is.
‘Lords of the Red Planet’ is another of ‘The Lost Stories’ in ‘Doctor Who’ from Big Finish with the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. I knew about this story already from watching the ‘Lords of the Red Planet’ DVD documentary on the Special Edition DVD of ‘The Seeds of Death’. I looked forward to hearing this.
This is a 6-part story spread across a 3-disc CD set and is pretty exciting. I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Lord of the Red Planet’ signed by the lovely Wendy Padbury at a convention at ‘Timey-Wimey 1’ convention in Brighton, November 2014. It recall joy meeting Wendy Padbury at these ‘Doctor Who’ conventions.
‘Lords of the Red Planet’ was a story originally developed by Brian Hayles, writer and creator of the Ice Warriors. It was meant to be a story in the slot for Season 6 of ‘Doctor Who’. However, due to script and production issues, the story never got made. It was shelved in favour of ‘The Seeds of Death’.
Years later in 2013, Big Finish went for producing this story by Brian Hayles into an audio drama of ‘Doctor Who’. It was pretty exciting and John Dorney was chosen to adapt Brian Hayles’ original story into an audio drama. Surprisingly, John worked from two drafts of the original story from Brian Hayles.
With a dose of watching ‘The Seeds of Death’ and many Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe stories over and over again, John delivers an engaging and exciting Ice Warriors story that fans deserve on knowing where these Martians came from and what their origins could have been like had it been made for TV.
‘Lords of the Red Planet’ has the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arriving on the planet Mars. By this time, the Ice Warriors aren’t the rulers of the planet yet and the Doctor thinks they won’t exist during this time. But the Doctor’s wrong about this, for deep below underground the Ice Warriors are about to be born.
An evil ruler and dictator called Zaadur is intent on wreaking havoc and using the new Ice Warriors to conquer the universe, starting off with conquering the planet Earth. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe have to stop the evil Zaadur’s insane plans and save Mars before it gets completely blown up and destroyed.
The Ice Warriors made their first ‘Doctor Who’ appearance in ‘The Ice Warriors’ and have since then appeared in more stories on TV including two recent ones – ‘Cold War’ and ‘Empress of Mars’. They’ve also appeared in numerous Big Finish audios, comics and novels. They have become popular monsters!
I wouldn’t say the Ice Warriors are my favourite monsters as they lack something for me. But I’ve enjoyed listening to them in this story. I found there are a number of Ice Warriors characters with interesting stories. They don’t necessarily have to be evil and some have admirable, honourable traits.
I enjoyed the tale’s setting on Mars. If this were made for TV, it would have been the first ‘Doctor Who’ story to be set on the red planet before ‘The Waters of Mars’. I’m curious and surprised John Dorney did not add in the Flood or explain why the Ice Warriors froze the Flood on Mars in the very first place.
I liked how this story depicts the original Martian society and introduces the Gandorans of Gandor, who are a reptilian species before they became cyborgs. It emphasises how life on Mars was ancient back then and seemingly legendary before that planet seemed to die out of life as we know of it today.
Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury are back again to narrate this marvellously encapsulating six-part story. Frazer plays both Jamie and the Doctor whilst Wendy plays Zoe. Both Frazer and Wendy are engaging and easy to listen to as narrators. I enjoyed listening to them in this tale with the Ice Warriors.
The Doctor is well-performed by Frazer who does a really good interpretation of Patrick Troughton. I enjoyed those moments when Patrick’s Doctor gets to be very quirky, impish and funny as we know him to be. That moment when the Doctor is going through his pockets is one of my favourite moments.
I liked the Doctor’s scenes with Quendril when they’re both sharing scientific knowledge. I also liked the Doctor’s confrontation with Zaadur when he’s resisting to give her information about Earth. I liked it when the Doctor tries to back an Ice Warrior off by saying, “Nice Ice Warrior” or something like that.
Jamie is great to listen to and is being pretty heroic as ever. Jamie is the one who realises they are on the Ice Warriors’ planet and is doubtfut of the Doctor’s claims that they’re not on Mars. I liked it when Jamie’s alone and he runs into Princess Veltreena’s chambers where he seemingly likes her as a ‘lassie’.
Jamie learns more about Veltreena and the culture on Mars. Despite being out of his depth, Jamie takes an interest. He shares mini-adventures with the Doctor and Zoe simultaneously when the group split up. Jamie finds himself with the Doctor under a ceiling after one bomb’s destroying Gandor’s city.
I enjoyed listening to Zoe in this adventure. I’ve recently enjoyed watching a ‘Myth Makers’ interview with Wendy and it’s pretty clear that the Ice Warriors are her favourite monsters. I liked Zoe’s scenes in this audio, especially when she gets horrified by Quendril’s experiments on the Ice Lord called Aslor.
Zoe stops the experiment on Aslor out of true compassion before panic and trouble is caused. Zoe manages to connect to Aslor before he’s about to kill her. She also gets to stop him killing the Doctor. Zoe soon becomes Alsor’s mistress and gets to do things for her that rescue her, the Doctor and Jamie.
The guest cast is more than one person and it feels more like a full-cast audio drama than a division of narration and performance as is usually the case with ‘Lost Stories’ and ‘Companion Chronicles’. One of Patrick’s sons and one of Wendy’s daughters appears in this story. Keeping it in the family, hey?! 😀
Michael Troughton guest stars as Quendril, the scientist on the planet Mars. Michael is one of four sons of Patrick Troughton. Michael has written an autobiography on his dad; has done a number of Big Finish audios with Tom Baker and has appeared in the episode ‘Last Christmas’ with Peter Capaldi.
It was really nice to hear Michael and sometimes he sounds like his dad when Patrick Troughton speaking. I had a problem when there were scenes between the Doctor and Qundril. I couldn’t tell who was who. :D. Quendril is a troubled scientist working with Zaadur. He’s appalled by her behaviour.
Abigail Thaw guest stars as Zaadur, the villainess of this adventure. Zaadur is an insane despot in charge of the city of Gandor and of Quendril who works for her. She’s an amoral person who is pretty gleeful and sadistic. Zaadur wants to create an army of warriors to conquer other planets and galaxies.
Zaadur is determined to have her own way even if it means threatening the Doctor or killing Princess Veltreena in front of Quendril. Zaadur leads her army of Ice Warriors on a ship making its way to Earth. She blows up the city of Gandor behind her once they have left Mars. Zaadur is a pretty nasty villainess!
Charlie Hayes guest stars as Princess Veltreena. Charlie is one of Wendy Padbury’s daughters and she’s done a number of Big Finish audios including some audios with her mum; one with Lisa Bowerman’s Bernice Summerfield and she has also played Jenny in the audio adaptation of ‘Seven Keys to Doomsday’.
Veltreena is a princess on Mars who sounds pretty much like a modern-day princess that gets bored and sulky. She wants some attention from people who visit her like the Doctor and Jamie. She gets obsessed with something called the ‘life-drink’. She has too much of it when Zaadur gives it to kill her.
Nicholas Briggs returns as the Ice Warriors in this adventure. Nick is a versatile voice actor for ‘Doctor Who’ both on TV and audio, especially when it comes to the monsters. He enjoys the Ice Warriors and certainly has a knack for them. He also plays Aslor the Ice Lord who wakes up when Zoe has freed him.
Nick also plays Risor, a semi-Ice Warrior-like Martian that works for Quendril and Zaadur. Risor has feelings for the princess Veltreena. She doesn’t return them back. When Zaadur kills Veltreena, Risor is far from happy and he goes out to get the one who killed his beloved princess and sacrifices himself.
The Ice Warriors are pretty well-defined and well-rounded characters in this ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure. They’re not the two-dimensional hissing and snarling lizards that stomp about the place as they sometimes tend to be. I’m glad the Big Finish audios allow the Ice Warriors to be better monsters.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of each of the 3 discs, there is a selection of behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew. These include interviews with Frazer Hines; Wendy Padbury; Michael Troughton; Abigail Thaw; Charlie Hayes and writer John Dorney.
I enjoyed how Frazer Hines and Michael Troughton interact with each other, talking about Patrick Troughton and comparing notes on Frazer’s performance as Michael’s daddy. I also like Charlie talking about her mum and being made to watch some of the ‘Doctor Who’ stories she was in. That’s amusing.
‘Lords of the Red Planet’ has been a great audio adventure to listen to and is a fitting origins story for the Ice Warriors. I enjoyed listening to Frazer and Wendy’s performances and the story is well adapted by John Dorney from Brian Hayles’ original tale. I highly recommend this one to add to your collection!
‘Lords of the Red Planet’ rating – 10/10
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