Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Ice Warriors


  1. Theremin!

    And after that otherworldly noise, we dive straight into the action with a futuristic-looking machine in a manor-house and clear and urgent danger of some description. A cracking start.

    I love the Tardis landing on its side (apparently the doors open outwards now), and we also get another further-down-the-mountain gag to open with.

    In episode three, we reveal that the Ice Warrior has "electronics in the ear pieces... some kind of space suit." So what we see isn't their true appearance (much like the Voord in that respect. I wonder what they really look like beneath that space armour...

    And speaking of their space armour, with its tufts of hair and reptilian scales it all looks more than a little organic. In episode five Varga pulls his head down into the suit like a turtle retreating into its shell, which leads me to thing that this is probably how they seal the suits for excursions into space.

    Also: more young ladies in miniskirts and PVC. Call me shallow, but I think I'll like living in the future.

    Throughout the story, it's clear that Clent's treatment of scientist Penley is what drives him away. His other staff, despite him shouting and complaining about them, stick around for some reason.

    This is basically the story of a bad manager who gets his arse pulled out of the fire by a consultant. What's the betting that Clent now gets promoted? Though I suppose he does at least appear to have repaired his relationship with the man who really does all the work at the end.

  2. Another story that starts off superbly - but unlike the snowmen the ice warriors wear the 6 episodes much better i think.

    The start with the Tardis landing on its side is lovely, giving the three regulars the interraction that they are so good at. I love the brazen way the Doctor just walks into the control room and virtually takes over from the off. I also love his acting durig the test by Clent to see if he can consult - he seems under stress ooo a bit panicky then a smile sudden calm and the answer - ionisation. Such a tease!

    Jamie and Victoria get a fair bit of the action to themselves through the story and both do well i think. I particularly like Jamie when hes paralysed and siding with Stor in not trusting scientists.

    Angus Lennie and Peter Sallis are very good as Penley and Stor - as is Peter Barkworth as Leader Clent. But one big drawback of the tory for me is that Clent is at times a complete imbecile with lapses in sense that come from nowhere. the rest of the time hes a bit officious but clever and desperately wants to fdo a good job, not for entirely altruistic reasons certainly but at least this makes him well-drawn and rounded.

    The ice warriors themselves are imposing certainly, but slow and lumbering and so should not be particularly scary - but for me they just are.

    And then there are women in PVC and short skirts.....

    So for me this is another fine story in a good run, falling just short of greatness but certainly achieving very goodness - 8/10

    The Ice Warriors themselves are big, lumbering, imposing certainly but so slow they shouldnt really be scary - but somehow they just are.

  3. We open with the guest cast in their control room. Loads of movement, everyone speaking at once, fantastic costumes and the clash of futuristic technology in a stately home setting make this an arresting introduction to the story, especially after the unusually moody title cards.

    These characters are well drawn and performed. Clent's cool ambition shines through every line while Penley, especially with his monologues to Angus Lennie, has real depth as he considers his dilemma. Peter Sallis also has a wonderful chemistry with Troughton.

    There's not a lot of time for tension between the thing (From Another World) in the ice being brought into the base and it coming to life, which seems a shame, but goodness what a creature. The mask over the chin and mouth is a lovely touch. They could easily have just painted his chin green but instead the extra effort goes in to show that under this strange armour or carapace is a totally alien creature. And the hands. Impracticle though they might seem to us cocky opposable-thumbers aren't they wonderfully alien? Q) How do Ice Warriors go to the toilet? A) Carefully.

    I love also how Varga isn't all, "kill! Destroy!" straight out of the box (or ice). There is a period of indecision which is conveyed through his conversation with Victoria. He starts by saying he must get to his ship and escape but soon paranoia seems to take hold and his mind turns to war and conquest. This is some pretty extreme depth for a Doctor Who monster! Bernard Bresslaw gives a magnificent performance.

    The novelisation of The Ice Warriors made a strong impact on me as a kid and the story, even with reconstructed episodes, lives up to the memory. I unreservedly loved this one, a definite classic.

    Some random notes...

    The TARDIS landing on its side is brilliant though the way our heroes climb out raises the thorny issue of whether there are two sets of doors. We've seen the console room appear to open straight onto the outside world but clearly that can't be the case here as all three travellers seem to be standing on something and are at least head and shoulders above the doors. Interesting!

    Troughton fluffs! A bunch of them, especially in episode three, I think. How unusual.

    It amused me to notice that the wolf howl sound effect was the same as used in The Hitch Hikers' Guide to the Galaxy episode 6 (radio series)!

    Dudley Simpson's music is dead good too.

    Better than: The Abominable Snowmen
    Not as good as: The Power of the Daleks