Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Ice Warriors

As Jamie says at the very start of this story – ‘Oh Doctor, you've just landed us farther up the same mountain’ or something similar. A very interesting choice from the production team to have two stories in a row with such similar settings/location, although in fairness there was little to no snow in ‘The Abominable Snowmen’.
Victoria screams her lungs out chased by an Ice Warrior.

‘The Ice Warriors’ has only two of the six episodes missing. Episodes two and three possibly see the most pace so it will be great when the DVD release is out later this year and they are represented with animation. As it stands in May 2013, I have had to watch the reconstructions from Loose Canon, who have done a great job with these two episodes.
As a story it’s a step up from the previous one. There are some interesting characters and some interesting paradigms presented. The setting is interesting too – in the future, the world has been plunged into a second ‘ice age’. To achieve the appearance of living in a snowy winterland the production team did really well on its limited budget. Yes, there was a reliance on poly styrene, and there are moments where it looks very dodgy, but on the whole it held up quite well.
The discovery of this new creature, dubbed the “Ice Warrior” in the ice is a great little idea, even if it is a bit ‘Quatermass’ again. There is a lot going on over these six parts, a battle between the importance of authority and science – and in this story science and scientists like the Doctor and Penly are almost painted as artists who need their space to be creative and can’t comply with society’s rules.
The action centres around the Ioniser and the base from which it operates. Cleverly located in an old house of some historic value, meaning they didn’t have to create a futuristic control room which may have turned out dodgy. Again, we are presented with a base-under-siege combined with monsters situation. The Ioniser is of course essential to the safety and well being of Earth, much liked the Gravitron in ‘The Moonbase’ was.
The Leader of the base, Leader Cleg, is a dyed to the wool autocrat, and will only act if instructed by a computer. Another theme is man’s reliance on machines. Patrick Troughton is simply wonderful here, his Doctor is even more anti-establishment than Hartnell’s was. Victoria gets a but to do in this story, which is nice for Deborah Watling, but poor Jamie is paralysed from the legs down in episode three and spends two or more episodes lying down or being pulled through the snow by Penly. Still, it probably wasn’t too taxing on Fraser Hines.
Angus Lennie (left) as Storr.

Angus Lennie plays Storr, the crazed scavenger who has rejected all of scientific ways with a wonderfully over the top accent. As was the character. Leader Clegg was perfectly cast too. Peter Barkworth does a great job and the limping was a nice touch. And then we have Bernard Bresslaw, veteran of so many Carry On films, as Varga, the Ice Warrior leader. This means we never see his face, he is hidden under the huge armour which must have made the Ice Warrior costumes as uncomfortable as any for a Doctor Who monster. I like the way they speak like a snake hissing, but sadly a fair bit of dialogue is very hard to hear. I hope the DVD release can clean that up.
Patrick Troughton and Peter Barkworth.

All in all, it’s a pretty epic story which will make more sense to viewers once the two missing episodes are animated because a lot goes on there. The Doctor and Victoria are trapped in the Ice Warrior space ship for the remainder of the story, but the pacing is still pretty decent over the six episodes, unlike the previous story.


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