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The Ice Warriors

story 39 | season 5 | serial oo
Eddy Wolverson

The Ice Warriors are one of the best-known monsters in Doctor Who but somehow, up until today, I had managed to see (or hear) every single episode of Doctor Who except the original Ice Warriors story! Now, thanks to the BBC Video boxset, my Doctor Who collection is complete and I can hold my hands up and say “I’ve seen ‘em all!” Born of the same year as the Yeti, the Ice Warriors would make an immediate impact on viewers, putting a brand new spin on the done-to-death science fiction cliché of ‘Martians.’

Inspired by a news report about a woolly mammoth found preserved in a Russian glacier, Bryan Hayles set his serial in the far future (3000AD I believe), where thanks to mans’ ingenious idea of getting rid of most plant life, the excess carbon dioxide has blocked out the sun and caused a second ice age. A team of scientists, charged with halting the flow of a dangerous glacier, find a single Martian – Varga - entombed in the ice and set him free…

Sadly, “TWO” and “THREE” are both still missing from the BBC Archives, but the Restoration Team have once again done a fantastic job in bridging the gap with a fifteen-minute reconstruction of the missing episodes. They’ve even worked it into the narrative as an ‘interruption of service’ caused by the events of the story! By virtue of this, we can now actually see Varga as we hear his rasping voice for the first time in “TWO”! Originally intended to appear far more Cybernetic, the Martians ended up being realised as reptilian humanoids and interestingly, the ones that we see in this story (who are christened ‘Ice Warriors’ by the scientists; it is not their ‘real’ name) are all ‘regular’ Ice Warriors – even Bernard Breslaw’s Varga who seems to be their leader.

I have to say though, I wasn’t all that impressed with things. There are some good things about “The Ice Warriors” – Miss Garrett and the rest of the women’s costumes, for example! – but I didn’t find the story to be worth all the hype. Varga and his men want to conquer the world, so the Doctor uses the scientists’ glacier-stopping ioniser to blow up their spaceship, and that’s about it.

There are some great performances in there, not only from the regulars but also from the unusually sinister looking Peter Sallis, who plays the amiable scientist Penley (with a drawn on beard? I’m still not sure); Peter Barkworth as the chief scientist Clent; and also Angus Lennie (who I recognised from “Terror of the Zygons”) as Storr. Moreover, some of the stock footage of the snow and the glaciers looks brilliant; they could get away with using tons of stock footage in the black and white days and it would still look great! In all though, it’s not a patch on “The Seeds of Death” or the Peladon stories, but if for nothing else, this story is worth watching for the short skirts and unique TARDIS landing!

Ed Martin

To an extent The Ice Warriors is Doctor Who done very much by-the-book, and if it wasn’t for its legacy of introducing one of the show’s biggest and most iconic monsters outside top-level ones such as Daleks and Cybermen then I’m not convinced that it would be remembered particularly. Indeed, it is rarely seen as being one of the defining moments of its season, which contains such heavyweights as The Tomb Of The Cybermen and The Web Of Fear, even though it is the story with the most material existing outside of Tomb. As such The Ice Warriors is a good, solidly entertaining tale, but contains little that elevates it to greatness.

The first thing that strikes me immediately is the bespoke titles. They are good, helped by a suitably atmospheric score for them (although, as I mentioned in my review of The Keys Of Marinus, there is the old cliché of having a woman wailing “ooooooeeeeooee” like a banshee whenever there’s a hint of snow in the air). At this stage I quite like them: ask me again in six episodes time and I might want to kick the screen in. On the whole though the music is pretty good, with Dudley Simpson providing a score that, while distinctive, is totally appropriate to the story.

In design terms this story is very good, with the sophisticated scientific base being set in an old manor house being an extremely innovative idea, making for some pleasing and atmospheric sets outside of the main control room itself. The computer looks good, although computers are often the items that date 1960s stories the most. Roy Skelton provides a decent voice, although it is sometimes difficult to hear what he is actually saying. It’s not important most of the time though, sticking to reeling off a load of facts and figures; the cast use it here to set up the plot by namedropping the ioniser at every opportunity. Funniest of all though are the fashions, which are decidedly sike-ay-delic despite the story being set in the year 3000. Not that I’m complaining or anything, but the idea that in a thousand years time the women scientists would be going round in miniskirts and beehive hairdos never fails to raise a smile. At this rate they’ll still be in 21st Century fashions in the year 200 000.

The landing of that TARDIS is quite annoying, not because of the supposed goof of it landing on its side and dematerialising upright – it’s only seen at the beginning and at the end, anything could have happened to it – but because of that good-time comedy troupe of Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling mucking about pretending they’re treading on each other’s hands and similar silliness. The frequent references to The Abominable Snowmen seem strange to me for no very good reason given that nobody has really seen very much of it these days (obviously), and referencing a much better story (Snowmen being one of my favourite Troughtons) just makes me wish I was able to watch that instead (no disrespect to this story).

The regulars stroll into the main control room (as you do) and sort out the broken computer, in my favourite scene in the story. Okay so it’s scientific nonsense but the average viewer in 1967 might not have known that and it showcases the Guv’nor in all his manic splendour. There’s a lot of technobabble present but it’s not there to provide some naff plot resolution: the scene is a character piece, and it shows the beginnings of a very interesting idea of the scientists being over-reliant on their technology in the face of advancing nature, especially given that their technology caused the new ice age to begin in the first place. The vibro-chair is another very late 60s concept, and I must admit to a raised eyebrow or two. Lastly this scene shows how great an actor Peter Barkworth is as Clent, the slightly pompous leader who is fundamentally a good egg but who’s reliance on computers comes across as slightly unhealthy sometimes. On the subject of the guest cast Peter Sallis is equally good as the cynical but compassionate Penley, although Angus Lennie camps it up a bit as Storr. His anti-science characterisation is all well and good but it does get taken a little too far when he starts refusing medical aid; Penley is the superior character, both in terms of writing and acting.

The concept of people finding an alien trapped in ice is certainly not new, but is one of those stock concepts that’ll remain cool forever and ever. The avalanche is brilliantly executed, with stock footage mixed seamlessly in with studio action (not possible, I hear you say? In any other story I’d agree) through quick and assured editing; it’s the kind of scene that reminds me that Derek Martinus was the director on this story.

Victoria’s horror at the thought of being evacuated to Africa is a great nod to the Anglo-centric world view of a certain breed upper-class Victorians, although in my more cynical moments I’d say that social commentary works best on societies not a century out of date, which could make it seem simply like Brian Hayles was having a pop at Africa. Fortunately I’m not in a cynical mood today so the line is good.

The forty-five second scene is a great way of providing exposition, where the Doctor has to explain the backstory of the episode without hesitation, repetition or deviation. It does make for a surprisingly exciting way to deliver the plot, and it seems very knowing of Hayles to put such a twist on the exposition in such a way that earns the episode serious points. The episode is well written in general with the dialogue always listenable and diverting, although Victoria’s line of “I still don’t understand” is irritating and shows her up as the exposition-cipher she is in this story that almost undoes all that I’ve just said. The picture Clent paints of the eternal winter is stunning though, although I half expect a lone violin to start playing when he says the incredibly cheesy line of “and then, one year, there was no spring…”

The computer’s role of calculating the ionisation programme at a snail’s pace shows up the general lack of understanding their was of computers at that time. Is it me, or is Miss Garrett’s pious speech of “all decisions, all actions, must conform to the common good” a commentary on Communism? Normally I wouldn’t read so much into it but the Doctor’s look of utter disgust when she says the line makes me wonder.

There is a direct sexual connotation between Jamie and Victoria here when Jamie suggests she might like to dress up in the female scientists’ uniforms; some would say this episode has a lot to answer for, not least female scientists. Meanwhile, behind them, the ice is melting. The cliffhanger is pretty good but had been waving a flag on the horizon ever since the warrior was found earlier on.

I’ve got this episode on The Ice Warriors Collection box-set that the BBC released back in 1998 meaning that for their reconstruction of the missing episodes all fifty minutes are condensed down into just fifteen. That’s why I’m ignoring it completely and whacking on the audio CD – although I’ll just say that all that “engineer reports power failure” guff that precedes the reconstruction as a caption is annoying and condescending; I’d much rather a caption came up saying “so anyway, we screwed up back in the ‘70s, so…”

Anyway, on with episode two, which begins with the Doctor portentously announcing that the creature’s helmet has electronic connections, which would be great if we hadn’t seen Varga clomping around in all his glory already (Okay, so I had to imagine it, but run with me. It’s not my fault it’s missing.). The music that accompanies Varga is really quite strange, a romantic theme from Simpson that seems to imply we should be feeling sympathetic for this poor little reptile-monster that’s holding Victoria hostage. It’s not a bad score exactly, it just sounds like Simpson was working on the wrong programme. All this is in the background while Varga graphically explains how his gun will “burst your brain with noise” to Victoria. Delightful.

This episode does highlight why the Ice Warriors are so well regarded even though they only appeared in four stories, the last of which was in 1974: I know they look and sound fantastic but that has to be weighed against the fact that they’re probably the slowest, most ungainly creation the series made up to that point. Also, the concept of green men from Mars is a very dated and clichéd one. All this points to the Warriors not being so well regarded in modern times: they work so well though because Hayles is so careful not to portray them as simple lurching brutes that do nothing but go on about how they’re going to take over the world, etcetera. Varga is an intelligent and rational being, albeit completely ruthless and cold-hearted, and this is a major factor in their success. It was lost, I think, on the sequel The Seeds Of Death but taken to great heights in The Curse Of Peladon.

Barkworth continues to shine as Clent, with his driven nature steadily increasing into a fixation with rigidity and conformity that suggests to me that Hayles might have been giving faint praise to the burgeoning counterculture scene (or maybe I’m just reading too much in again). Clent’s obsession is made slightly less obtuse by the Doctor’s diatribe on individualism: this is a well-written piece, telling everyone what they need to know without being patronising and is a good example of the series being accessible to the entire spectrum of its audience. When the Doctor talks to Penley he appears to take a strong moral stance for the human race – sounding like Pertwee’s Doctor – and I’m not sure how this relates to the very black-and-white morals of the second Doctor, who usually subscribed to the simple philosophy that Evil Must Be Destroyed, which is all very well until he starts blasting the human base with the Warriors’ sonic cannon (in a couple of episodes time) even though there’s a considerable risk of killing everyone. Oh, and Penley talks about “the parting of the ways”. I just thought I’d mention it.

Episode three kicks off along much the same lines, with Clent showing a human side over Arden’s guilt that contrasts (in a good way) with his aforementioned obsession with formulaic logical perfection. However, maybe it’s the lack of visuals, but the story does seem to be slowing down quite considerably. For example, more than eight and a half minutes in the other Ice Warriors are still being released despite that being the cliffhanger to the previous episode; Clent is still going on about the risks of using the ioniser on the alien ship; people are still trying to persuade Penley to rejoin the scientists. Nevertheless, the dialogue remains well-written and listenable, and as much character-driven as plot.

Arden’s killing is a deeply jolting scene in audio format, given Brian Hodgson’s spectacular sound effects work and Victoria’s screams; she can be annoying, I’m not going to deny that, but her histrionics do occasionally have a place. The rest of the episode is more of the same, with the cliffhanger being fine in a low-key way. I know I just repeated myself there, but if they can do it then so can I.

With episode four we are again privileged with moving pictures (and lots of boom mike shadows as a consequence) and so this is the first time we can see that the Warrior’s mouths aren’t in synch with their speech. It’s not really a problem though as it gives them a surreal alien quality (worse is the fact that you can see the actor’s mouths in the close-ups; this worked for the Cybermen but they were meant to have people trapped inside them) and in any case with all this talk of missing episodes Sod’s law will hopefully find the episodes and render this review out of date.

Clent pressurising Victoria to tell him about the engines of the Warriors’ ship is a good scene as it deals with the fact that Victoria has been transplanted into a completely unknown time. It is followed by the H2O scene (you’ll know it if you’ve seen it) which shows the Doctor at his very coolest. This is naturally followed by the Doctor ordering some ammonium sulphide to use against the Warriors; this is only a minor contrivance though, and works quite well.

The chase scene with Victoria and Turoc the Ice Warrior is a well shot and directed scene, and Varga’s grief at his comrade’s death sets him far above other monsters. In fact many of the deaths in this story are poignant (for example Storr’s, if only as his character is so pathetic) and the surprisingly high mortality rate of 69.2% comes from the fact that the Warriors are so fleshed out as characters, as usually I don’t count underling monsters and other generic cannon fodder.

The set up of the story is interesting: both parties are effectively in a position of weakness and need to know each other’s capabilities. At this stage that is an unusual and original plot, but overall the story drags it out too far. The cliffhanger is good and exciting, although on the whole this has been a very padded episode. What I’ve said about it has been positive, but there hasn’t really been that much to say as there’s been so little development since previous instalments.

The film set of the forest is very good, with more quality direction from Derek Martinus. However, the live bear that they hired could have been better used, as more of an effort to make it look less like stock footage might have helped.

The Doctor’s confrontation with the Warriors is good and dramatic, and parallels one between Clent and Miss Garret over the ioniser. However, this is the reason why the episode falls down: they were discussing the risks of using the ioniser back in the third episode. As both the monsters and the heroes spend most of their time in a position of stalemate, I wonder if six episodes were really necessary; if this was a four parter then I might not be making these complaints. They are quite major complaints however, as despite many good points this story has moved at a crushingly slow rate since the second episode. Again, the confrontation with Penley goes over the problem yet again, telling us nothing new. What was an interesting set up is now becoming tiresome.

The bluff scene with Zondal is fun, but Victoria’s false crying gets on the nerves very fast and the Doctor’s theatrical nose-blowing sound effect is silly. It does lead to probably the best cliffhanger of the story though, and it is very interesting to see how Zondal is presented as a much more sadistic and bloodthirsty character than his superior.

Walters’s diatribe against the machines is great, as Clent’s horror at the idea of his idealistic technocratic utopia being undermined (the computer is almost deified) blossoms into full-blown hysteria, providing that character’s catharsis. Please don’t send that in to the Pseuds’ Corner section of Private Eye.

The Doctor’s mucking about with the sonic cannon is something of a contrivance: it isn’t bad in itself as it is convincing and well-explained (after all, science-fiction has to have science-fiction stuff in it at some point), but Victoria’s exposition-feed dialogue threatens to push the scene over the edge. The resolution is the expected one: in fact it’s so formulaic that I can’t really think of anything intelligent to say about it. However, the final reconciliation between Clent and Penley is an excellent scene.

After a very strong beginning The Ice Warriors goes downhill, meaning that I can only really give it an average rating (it falls just short of being above average). It’s problem is that it is badly overlong, and would have worked much better with two less episodes. The two factions spend most of the story going over the plot again and again and arguing amongst themselves, and the only character with any real initiative (the Doctor) is stuck on the Warrior’s spacecraft for much of the second half; even Penley doesn’t really do anything practical. This is a real shame, as the story does have many good points: the characterisation is excellent and the monsters are absolutely wonderful.

Paul Clarke

‘The Ice Warriors’ is a story with which I am surprisingly unfamiliar, due purely to its archive status; whilst I obtained bootleg recordings of many missing episodes some years ago, including most of Season Five, I only had audio recordings of the two missing episodes of ‘The Ice Warriors’ and only saw the surviving episodes when they were released on video fairly recently. I’d read the novelisation a couple of times in the past, but however good some of them are they are rarely an adequate substitute. This may be why I love ‘The Ice Warriors’ so much; it was unseen Troughton and having reached it during my ongoing series-watching odyssey, I was watching it for only the second time. In terms of availability, it rivals ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ for my affections, since two-thirds of it are happily in existence in their original form, allowing us an all-too infrequent chance to experience Troughton’s performance as the Doctor complete with facial expressions. More importantly, in terms of plot, acting and production, it more than holds its own.

‘The Ice Warriors’ benefits from excellent production values. The snow-bound sets are extremely convincing and seldom look artificial, unlike the similar sets in ‘The Tenth Planet’; the ice cliffs and the various blocks that fall whenever the glacier advances manage to avoid looking like polystyrene. The scenes in which Penley hauls Jamie across the ice are well done and look like they are actually shot outside; the footage of the Bear helps to create this illusion. The Ice Base also looks effective, probably because it has been built within a converted mansion, and the BBC have always been good at period set pieces; in addition, the juxtaposition of the advanced technology of the ioniser controls and the wood-paneled wall is rather memorable. The only slightly disappointing set is the interior of the Ice Warrior spaceship, which is minimalist to the point of being dull although I probably wouldn’t have noticed so much if it weren’t for the recent impressive sets of the Dalek city on Skaro (‘The Evil of the Daleks’) and the Cybertombs on Telos (‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’). Such are the bizarre side effects of watching the series in broadcast order… The costumes of the guest cast are also effective; I’ll discuss the Warriors themselves below, but it’s worth mentioning that the futuristic costumes worn by the base personnel, although clearly products of the sixties, manage not to look absurd, which is of course not always the case with humans from the future in the series. In addition, Penley and Storr look authentically scruffy. I also feel that the unusual opening sequences of each episode are of note.

The chilling unearthly wailing of the incidental score over shots of icy tundra nicely sets the tone at the start of each episode.

The Ice Warriors themselves are hugely impressive. The costumes are distinctive and memorable, and the use of large actors coupled with this makes them physically imposing. I gather that Brian Hayles’s description of them in his script was vaguely similar to that of the Cybermen, but the decision to make them reptilian instead was a good one. Their bulbous armoured torsos, clamp-like hands and the copious tufts of hair at their joints combine to achieve a great visual effect. The fact that they are essentially armour plated also avoids the need for entirely flexible rubber costumes for the actors, which seldom look entirely convincing, since they tend to obviously crease at the joints. The Warriors also look and sound convincingly alien and this is helped considerably by the make-up around the actors mouths; Terrance Dicks’ stock description for Ice Warrior mouths in his novelisations of ‘The Seeds of Death’ and ‘The Monster of Peladon’ is “lipless slit”, and here it is certainly true. In close up, Varga’s mouth has no definition, it is simply a lopsided gash in his face, which is strangely disturbing and makes him seem truly non-human.

In terms of characterisation, the Ice Warriors are made sufficiently distinct, despite the fact that only Varga and Zondall have many lines. It has become common to criticize Season Five for using the same basic “base-under-siege” plotline, and whilst this is to an extent true, it is also slightly unfair. So far this season, ‘The Abominable Snowmen’ is one such story whilst ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ is not really. I’ll discuss the recurrence of this plot type again when I get to other such stories, but for now I simply want to contrast ‘The Ice Warriors’ with its immediate predecessor. In ‘The Abominable Snowmen’, the base in question is Det-Sen monastery. It is indeed under siege from a powerful threat that is already establishing itself outside by the time the Doctor arrives, is motivated entirely by a desire for conquest, and secretly lurks within the base itself. In ‘The Ice Warriors’, the base is the Ice Base (the name is a real giveaway), and it is under siege, but primarily from the glacier. The Ice Warriors themselves have very different motivations from the Great Intelligence, and it is this that, for me, makes this story distinct, rather than just another base-under-siege story. The Ice Warriors are desperate; their ship is trapped in ice and needs power, there are only a handful of them, and they need to survive. True, Varga talks of conquering Earth if returning to Mars is not a viable option, but his immediate priority is to save his warriors and his ship. Only once, in episode five, do they actually attack the base, and this is in an attempt to obtain mercury isotopes for their reactor. For the most part, the threat they represent to the base is the danger of their reactor exploding if the ioniser is used at full strength, and the threat of the glaciers if the ioniser is consequently not used. It is worth noting of course, that although survival is the motivation, they are hardly sympathetic, and it is this more than their appearance that casts them as “monsters”. Varga is not only ruthless, but also a bully; he seems to take grim satisfaction in picking on Victoria especially, and his brutal, out-of-hand slaying of Storr is utterly callous. Storr presents no threat to the Ice Warriors; he is merely of no use to them. Zondall is even worse than his leader, and is positively sadistic, most notably when he tells Victoria that she will have cause to cry when Varga returns. This then, is why I think that the Ice Warriors work so well as monsters in this story; they look great, they have a logical motivation, and they are decidedly villainous.

The Ice Warriors are not the sole reason for the success of this story however; the rest of the guest cast is uniformly excellent. Worthy of particular note are Peter Barkworth as Clent, and Peter Sallis as Penley. Clent is a superb character and very well acted. Another criticism of the Troughton era is that it is filled with unstable base commanders; in fact, I can only think of two and they are Robson (‘Fury From the Deep’) and Jarvis Bennett (‘The Wheel in Space’). Hobson (‘The Moonbase’) hardly qualifies as unstable, and neither I submit, does Clent. It is established in episode one that he hasn’t slept for nearly two days, and throughout the story he is placed under tremendous strain, the entire safety of human civilization literally in his hands, since the success of the ionization programme overall depends on every single base. Moreover, the only solutions which either the Doctor or Penley can come up with (and which eventually work) contradict the orders of World Control, who he is let us remember supposed to obey. In fact, the worst that Clent does is near the verge of panic in episode six; aside from that he is tense and irritable, but understandably so. In addition, he listens to reason; although he finds dealing with Penley especially difficult, he is won over by the Doctor’s arguments several times and it is worth noting that in episode five he realises, despite the objections of Miss Garrett, that the computer cannot help them with the situation they face. Ultimately, he allows Penley to use the ioniser at full strength in episode six, take the risk of destroying them all, and ultimately save the base from both the Ice Warriors and the glacier. He’s proud, arrogant, stubborn and bad-tempered, and spends the entire story under enormous stress, but I don’t agree that he’s unstable. And his finest moment is when he apologizes to Penley at the end.

Peter Sallis puts in an impressive performance as Penley. He is of course crucial to the story because he represents the rebellious side of human nature; he is basically a decent human being and an excellent scientist, but he abandons the Ice Base because when he can no longer cope with the authority and regulations represented by Clent. He is also a likeable and sympathetic character, having formed a friendship with the otherwise scientist-hating Storr and also easily befriending both Jamie and the Doctor, the latter of whom is in many ways a kindred spirit. He is motivated largely by conscience; he helps Jamie because he is wounded, despite Storr’s protestations at bringing a stranger back to the cave, and he helps against the Ice Warriors because he has seen that they are killers. This presents him with a problem; by abandoning the base, which is in desperate need of his expertise, he not only leaves the base personnel at the mercy of the glaciers, but also threatens the entire world programme. Even when Miss Garrett tries to convince him to return to the base by reminding him of this, his aversion to Clent’s authority prevents him from agreeing, although his suggestion that the Doctor should use his notes on the Omega Factor allows him to solve all the problems of actually running the ioniser. Eventually, he is drawn into the plight of the base and plays a key role in the story’s denouement; which Clent and Miss Garrett unable to make a decision in the absence of advice from the computer, it is Penley who makes it for them, takes a risk and activates the ioniser, melting the glaciers and destroying the Ice Warriors.

It is occasionally suggested that ‘The Ice Warriors’ carries an anti-science message; it doesn’t. It does admittedly promote a cautionary attitude; the current ice age has been caused by the use of science to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and humanity is dependent on science to try and reverse the process. But what Hayles’ primary message is that of the importance of individuality, and thus it is the disaffected Penley who is portrayed as the most sympathetic character, refusing to blindly obey rules and regulations and determined not to be governed by machines. Nevertheless, Penley remains a scientist. The Doctor is also used to warn of the dangers of being enslaved by computers, as in episode one when Miss Garrett tells him that the base is computer controlled and he relies “well, never mind”. However, one character alone makes it plain that this message is distinct from an unspecific anti-science message, and this character is Storr. Storr is a complete technophobe and he is not presented in a flattering light; his attitude to science manifests itself as an almost superstitious fear and in short Hayles’ portrays him as a fool. He strides confidently to his death, because he knows that the Ice Warriors killed Arden, a scientist, and therefore assumes that they are against scientists, even though he knows that they are extra-terrestrial and have a spaceship, a product of scientific technology.

Finally, the regulars are as always on fine form. Jamie fulfills the same role as he usually does, but as usual he does it well. The scene at the end of episode one when he slyly asks Victoria if she could imagine herself in one of the base personnel’s skin-tight apparently PVC uniforms suggests that even if she can’t he can, and is an amusing bit of character interaction. For much of the story he is usual brave and resourceful self, although his temporary paralysis results in him being largely sidelined during the latter half of the story. Troughton as always really steals the show, and displays marvellous range; with so much of ‘The Ice Warriors’ surviving, we are lucky enough to be able to see the look on his face when Varga depressurizes the airlock at the end of episode four, when he struggles unsuccessfully to unstopper the vial of ammonium sulphides in episode five, and at numerous other times, which inevitably serves to enhance the Second Doctor’s considerable charm, strong enough anyway to survive on audio alone. And then there’s Victoria. I noted when I reviewed ‘The Abominable Snowmen’ that it gave the first hint that the novelty of traveling in the TARDIS was starting to wear off, and this continues here. Victoria is her usual excited and inquisitive self when the TARDIS materialises in episode one, and she also demonstrates her bravery again, as even Varga admits when she uses his communicator to contact the base, but she spends three episodes here absolutely terrified. Taken hostage and bullied by Varga and later trapped by the grip of a dead warrior in an unstable icy tunnel, she is constantly on the verge of tears, frightened for her own safety and also wracked with anguish over Jamie’s possible death. When the Doctor joins her at the ship, she clearly draws a great deal of strength and comfort from him, recovers quickly and helps him overcome Zondall and thus defeat Varga, but it is nevertheless interesting to take heed of the increased strain that her travels with the Doctor and Jamie place her under…

In summary then, ‘The Ice Warriors’ continues to maintain the high quality of Season Five and provides an impressive introduction for one the series’ most popular monsters.