‘THE SEEDS OF DEATH’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Best of the Doctor with the Ice Warriors
The Ice Warriors are back to cause trouble in their second TV outing in ‘Doctor Who’!
I can’t remember exactly when in the late 2000s, but my Dad went on conference trips to London when at work. He would come back and get me new classic ‘Doctor Who’ stories on DVD for me to enjoy. One was the original 2-disc DVD of ‘The Seeds of Death’ featuring Patrick Troughton’s Doctor.
I enjoyed ‘The Seeds of Death’ very much, although I was disappointed by the quality of special features provided on the original 2-disc DVD edition. The original DVD release of ‘The Seeds of Death’ was in 2003. It is amazing how much time has changed since that first DVD release of the six-parter.
Now I have the 2-disc Special Edition DVD of ‘The Seeds of Death’ which was released in 2011 as part of the ‘Revisitations 2’ DVD box set that also features ‘Carnival of Monsters’ with Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning as well as ‘Resurrection of the Daleks’ with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson. The new DVD has those original DVD special features as well as some new additional ones.
‘The Seeds of Death’ is a six-part story originally by Brian Hayles, who created the Ice Warriors in their first TV story called…um, ‘The Ice Warriors’. These ‘Doctor Who’ monsters became so popular in the first outing, both by the production team and the public, that it was natural they’d come back.
Brian Hayles was originally going to do a different ‘Doctor Who’ story featuring the Ice Warriors compared to ‘The Seeds of Death’. That would have been ‘Lords of the Red Planet’ which featured the Ice Warriors on Mars. Sadly it didn’t happen, though the tale got made onto audio by Big Finish.
When Brian Hayles wrote ‘The Seeds of Death’ for TV instead, there were some production issues regarding the story. Script-editor Terrance Dicks decided to rewrite most of the story from ‘Episode Three to Six’ without Brian Hayles consent, though Terrance has profusely apologised to Brian for it.
‘The Seeds of Death’ takes place in the late 21st century. It depicts an Earth that has become totally dependent on T-Mat. T-Mat can teleport people and medicines around the world in an instant. The idea sounds very sound and good for a future scenario, but there are no rockets used in this setting.
The T-Mat system then breaks down which cripples the Earth. The cause of this is at the relay station on the Moon. Little known fact: this story was transmitted in the same year Apollo 11 landed on the moon. This relay station has been taken over by the Ice Warriors who intend to invade planet Earth.
The Ice Warriors intend to use seed pods to spread a deadly fungus on the planet Earth. They’ve hijacked T-Mat in order to achieve this. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe come to Earth at this time and travel in a rocket to get to the Moon to sort out the Ice Warriors. Will they get to defeat these foes?
I have to be honest with you. I’m not a big fan of the Ice Warriors as a ‘Doctor Who’ monster. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed their stories and it is fun that they are the Martians of the ‘Doctor Who’ universe. But I’m not as excited about them as other fans are. They also hiss and breathe a lot.
It’s just as well that I saw ‘The Seeds of Death’ first before any other Ice Warriors story in the TV series. It was slow starting at first, but then it got exciting by the time we got to the last four episodes of the story. It may have to do with Terrance Dicks’ rewrites, no disrespect to Brian Hayles.
The tension builds up well when the Doctor and his companions are trying to stop the Ice Warriors on the relay station when on the moon. The Ice Warriors’ invasion for Earth becomes clearer when they spread the seed pods across varying cities on the planet, creating foam-like fungus everywhere.
Patrick Troughton excels as the Doctor in this story. I like how he balances both the comedy and drama of his performance in the character. He can be funny when he’s running away from the Ice Warriors. But he can also be so serious and cunning when he confronts the Ice Lord Slarr in the tale.
The Doctor unfortunately gets knocked by a seed pod when he holds one in his hand and he’s absent for most of ‘Episode Four’. Fortunately he comes back into the fold and helps to save the day. I like when he gets anxious for Jamie and Zoe and he tries to reach them at the Weather Bureau building.
Frazer Hines is equally great in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure as Jamie. There are times when Jamie’s out of his depth, especially when he’s in a futuristic setting. But Jamie is determined to help out and is fiercely loyal to the Doctor and Zoe, especially as they go into space in a rocket towards the Moon.
I liked it when Jamie gets to distract an Ice Warriors by jumping right in front of him and running away in order for Zoe to get to the Weather Bureau door to let the Doctor in. I also liked it when Jamie decides to go up to the Moon via T-Mat and he helps save the Doctor by fighting Ice Warriors.
Wendy Padbury is lovely as Zoe in this adventure. I’ve met Wendy and Frazer at conventions and find them to be really nice people. Zoe clearly demonstrates her skills as a companion in this story, especially when she gets to be smart. She even has her own cliff-hanger at the end of ‘Episode Four’.
There’s a moment when Zoe lets the Doctor into the Weather Bureau and he’s covered in foam-like fungus stuff. The scene was filmed at Ealing Studios. Wendy couldn’t help it. She simply laughed once she saw Patrick Troughton enter in and he’d slipped onto the floor. We forgive you, Wendy. 😀
The Ice Warriors are led by Alan Bennion as Ice Lord Slaar. Slarr is a different type of Ice Warrior compared to the others, as he’s sleeker and agile in design. He also seems pretty ruthless and merciless as are the other Ice Warriors, played by Steve Petters, Tony Harwood and Sonny Caldinez.
On Earth, there’s Ronald Leigh Hunt as Commander Radnor. He’s in charge of the T-Mat operations that take place in the UK reception area. Radnor is a fiercely determined, good-hearted man who wants to see T-Mat functioning again, sort out the mess with the Ice Warriors and to save the Earth.
There’s also Louise Pajo as Gia Kelly, the manager of T-Mat Earth Control in London. Miss Kelly is pretty, young woman who is fiercely efficient in her job. She knows her stuff in T-Mat and shows no-nonsense. She also has this charm about her and clearly on the good side when sorting out trouble.
There’s also Philip Ray as Professor Eldred. Eldred is an old rocket scientist, who’s dismayed about Earth being dependent on T-Mat and not using rockets. He’s called in to help which he grudgingly adheres to. Eldred mostly helps on Earth once the seed pods begin to attack the planet in an instant.
The cast also includes Terry Scully as Fewsham, a weak man who helps the Ice Warriors and betrays his people, simply because he wants to live. There’s also Ric Felgate as Brent; Harry Towb as Osgood; Christopher Coll as Phipps; Hugh Morton as Sir James Gregson and John Witty as the Computer Voice.
The DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1 of the 2-disc Special Edition DVD, there’s a commentary with Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, director Michael Ferguson and script-editor Terrance Dicks. There’s also an info-text commentary to option to enjoy and a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘Planet of the Spiders’ with Jon Pertwee and Elisabeth Sladen.
On Disc 2, there’s the making-of documentary, ‘Lords of the Red Planet’, with behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews. There’s also ‘Sssowing the Ssseedsss’ which features interviews with Sonny Caldinez and Alan Bennion who played the Ice Warriors as well as make-up designer Sylvia James. There’s also ‘Monster Masterclass’ with director Michael Ferguson and the ‘Monsters Who Came Back For More!’ featurette with Nicholas Briggs and ‘Doctor Who Magazine’ assistant editor Peter Ware. There’s also a photo gallery of the story and the ‘TARDIS-Cam No. 6’ CGI model sequence. There’s also PDF Materials including a ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story. There’s also an Easter Egg to look for on this which is a behind-the-scenes look of the DVD commentary with Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Michael Ferguson and Terrance Dicks. It focuses on Wendy’s laughter in the story.
‘The Seeds of Death’ is a very enjoyable ‘Doctor Who’ story with the Ice Warriors and featuring Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury as the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. I’m glad I saw this. The Ice Warriors might not be my favourites, but I gained personal enjoyment of this adventure.
‘The Seeds of Death’ rating – 8/10
|The previous story
For the Second Doctor was
For Jamie was
For Zoe was
|The next story
For the Second Doctor is
For Jamie is
For Zoe is
|Return to The Second Doctor’s Timeline|
|Return to Jamie’s Timeline|
|Return to Zoe’s Timeline|
|Return to The Doctors’ Timelines Index|
|Return to The Companions’ Timelines Index|
|Return to Doctor Who Timelines|
|Return to Doctor Who|
|Return to Sci-Fi|