The TARDIS arrives on Earth at the time of a new ice age and the travellers make their way into a base where scientists commanded by Leader Clent are using an ioniser device to combat the advance of a glacier.
A giant humanoid creature, termed an Ice Warrior by one of the scientists, has been found buried in the glacier nearby. When thawed, it revives and is revealed to be Varga, captain of a Martian spacecraft that landed on Earth centuries ago and is still in the glacier.
Varga sets about freeing his comrades and formulating a plan to conquer the Earth - Mars itself now being dead
DVD EXTRAS (2013)
- Commentary - Episodes 1, 4, 5, 6 with actors Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling and Sonny Caldinez, designer Jeremy Davies and grams operator Pat Heigham, moderated by Toby Hadoke.
- Commentary - Episode 2 commentary made up of original archive recordings or readings of text written by Brian Hayles, Derek Martinus, Martin Baugh, Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Barkworth, Wendy Gifford and Sylvia James.
- Commentary - Episode 3 commentary by Patrick Troughton’s son, Michael.
- Programme subtitles.
- Subtitle Production Notes.
- COLD FUSION (dur. 24’ 31”) – Cast and crew look back at the making of the story. With actors Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling and Sonny Caldinez, designer Jeremy Davies and James Bresslaw, son of the late actor Bernard Bresslaw.
- BEANEATH THE ICE (dur. 10’ 31” ) - A look behind the scenes of the animated THE ICE WARRIORS episodes. Producers Chris Chapman and Niel Bushnell, together with animation director Chris Chatterton from Qurios lift the lid on the process used to bring Varga and his Warriors back to life.
- VHS Links (dur. 19’ 19” ) – the introduction to the story and linking material covering the two missing episodes, as used on the VHS release of the story in 1998. Includes the BBC Video “Adjust your tracking control” caption for a true sense of nostalgia!
- BLUE PETER Design-a-Monster (dur. 10’ 04”) – the competition launch and subsequent winners of the 1967 Design-a-Monster competition, which ran during the transmission of THE ICE WARRIORS.
- DOCTOR WHO STORIES - FRAZER HINES part two (dur. 13’ 48”) - the second part of this interview with Frazer Hines shot in 2004 for THE STORY OF DOCTOR WHO looks at his later appearances in the series.
- Photo Gallery (dur. 3’ 53”) - production, design and publicity photos from the story.
- Coming Soon (dur. 1 min approx.) - a trailer for a forthcoming DVD release.
- RADIO TIMES Listings in Adobe PDF format.
- Programme subtitles.
With their recent appearance (SERIES 7 episode, COLD WAR ) there is tangible shiver of excitement across DOCTOR WHO fandom at the prospect of coming face-to-scaly face with an ice-entombed Martian - known within the drama series as the eponymous, Ice Warrior - and witness the effortless charm and dignity of Patrick Troughton's whimsical (but always under-control) second incarnation of the Time Lord in BBC DVD's two-disc release, DOCTOR WHO - THE ICE WARRIORS.
More so, as the original six-part story's ".missing from the archive.' two episodes have been reimagined as CGI animation that finally bridges the chasm between the lost live-action and enduring audio soundtrack that fans have endlessly played creating their own 'pictures' where none exist.
Following in the tradition of Cosgrove Hall's exemplary animation for the DOCTOR WHO - THE INVASION DVD 2006 release, UK-based QURIOS VISUAL FX & ANIMATION (a part of the Dene Group - a DOCTOR WHO stalwart provider for the DVD series) have aptly demonstrated, in their first WHO animation, that they truly comprehend the inherent DNA of series, of Patrick Troughton's characterisation and, most importantly, how television was created using a technology (or, perhaps, lack of) that, today, broadcasters would find limiting and antiquated.
Suitably, the essence of QURIOS's animation (episode two and three) is like watching an actual shot-by-shot storyboard from the story's Director, Derek Martinus; yes, it, the animation, may be clunky, pedestrian, observational but that encapsulates, or emulates is a better word, the enveloping four episodes of Brian Hayles penned story. For 'newer' fans of the series, this approach that is devoid of rapid editing, spewed-out dialogue delivered at pace (and, yes, sadly inaudible at times) and a bewildering broad brushstrokes of colour and noise may be tiresome if not boring but it is apposite.
The combination of 'wireframe CGI' generation that recreates the 'set design' and the 2D character animation is highly successful giving a true depth of field (see episode two's corridor scenes with the hiding Penley as Victoria leads an Ice Warrior back to the reaction room) as is the independent movement of the Doctor's haircut fringe, and the inclusion of Arden's vocal stumble (3'45") is pure savage genius.
However, there are number of inconsistencies and errors in the animation drawings and execution that are disappointing to view;
- Jamie's "scavenger" badge does missing very quickly
- Where's Victoria's blouse broach?
- Penley's tunic chest belts often flip from his left chest to his right chest
- If Penley had retracted Storr's flick-knife in the real life it would have severed four of his fingers!
- The Doctor's shoes, Hush-Puppy branded, are of a lighter shade than his trousers
- The door-mechanism to the Ice Warrior space-craft slides horizontally whilst in the live-action it pivots on its bottom left corner
- And where's Patrick Troughton's 'dead tooth' at the front of his lower set?
For CLASSIC SERIES purists, the animation may not be widely embraced as it could be seen as reducing the iconic series, and particularly the SEASON 5 as it is generally regarded as a zenith of production (known as "the monster season"), to a children's animated comic book, but don't worry fellow plus-fortysomethings, the bridging animation is accurately evocative.
However, it is the supporting 'value added material' (read: the Extras) that may leave you, if you excuse the term, cold. Workman-like and predictable, the DVD Extras for THE ICE WARRIORS release are off-the-peg documentaries that seem exhausted of originality and creativity but having that said the reasoning behind this issue could lie in finances (i.e. the budget spent on producing the two episode animation) in addition to complacency from the features' producers.
In DOCTOR WHO STORIES - FRAZER HINES PART 2 the actor recalls, predictably so (and if you listen to the DVD's commentary you will hear them again), his time on the series, working relationships with Troughton and Deborah Watling and briefly discusses how his return to the series in the 1980's (in the Sixth Doctor story, THE TWO DOCTORS following an brief cameo in THE FIVE DOCTORS). To be honest, its superb example of great initial intentions being let down by painful execution, and, like a flaccid lettuce leaf in a Big Mac, it's a filler that could be discarded without being missed.
Another filler is the clips from BLUE PETER's 'design a monster' competition. Quaint but thoroughly uninteresting.
The ORIGINAL TRAILER (recorded of-the-telly) audio track survives and, following a re-mastering by Mark Ayres, has been re-imagined by QURIOS. Now, this could be an interesting concept that could be reattempted on future DVD releases.
Lifted from the VHS release, Frazer Hines' and Deborah Watling's original introduction to episodes two and three 'telesnap' (35MM printed photographs 'snapped' off the television screen during its original broadcast in 1967 by a fan) compilation is pure pleasure to re-watch again.
The coming soon trailer is for Richard E Grant's voiced animated story from 2003, DOCTOR WHO - SCREAM OF THE SHALKA. The DVD is released on 16 September 2013.
BENEATH THE ICE analyses the genesis of the animated episodes for THE ICE WARRIORS and it demonstrates the creative depth that QURIOS sought in bringing new life to the missing episodes. The aim of the company was to produce the ".truest reconstruction of missing DOCTOR WHO. and limit ourselves to what would have been possible in the late sixties. To make it feel like the sixties. slow it down.", and, to the greatest extent, it succeeded in doing so. It was, of course, the arduous task of filling-in-the-blanks, only using the soundtrack, camera script and limited 'telesnaps', and create 'action' that fans should appreciate. What actually happens on-screen when you cannot see it? "We're like a Detective. It's proved challenging to work out these key this kind of thing" QURIOS admit, in addition to their initial summary, "Before working on this, I knew nothing about DOCTOR WHO" (Animator, Chris Chatterton).
In COLD FUSION - THE MAKING OF THE ICE WARRIORS the cast and production crew recover fading or hibernating memories of 45 years distant. The ever delicate Deborah Watling recalls the perils of filming within the "melting" ice caves as she is chased (albeit very slowly) by a Martian warrior, whilst a rare audio only interview with Bernard Bresslaw confirms that he ".thoroughly enjoyed." creating the eponymous Ice Warrior and how he developed the rasping sibilant styling of the alien ".hissing wasn't in the script." Whilst Sonny Caldindez (Turoc, Ice Warrior) remembers when his Casting Agent approached him with the DOCTOR WHO job ".what the hell is an Ice Warrior..?" and how he was mildly amused as a BBC Dresser, whilst fitting the fibreglass costume, approached his coveted loins with a spanner and screwdriver ".careful where you place that screwdriver."
The commentary includes an exclusive and warm insight from Patrick Troughton's son, Michael in which is asserts that his Father's portrayal of the Doctor was ".90% character.That was his strength...I believed that what he was doing was 100%...He 'produced' that character basically." and how when he asked him for acting advice he equated his own acting to selecting scripted lines from a virtual ".jam jar." Basically the advice was: listen to the actor your acting against, put your hand into a jam jar and pull out the appropriate reply without thinking about it.
If you have not had an opportunity to watch DOCTOR WHO - THE ICE WARRIORS then this release is an essential purchase and would have been more so if it had been a single-disc release, focussing on the quality animation as opposed to the frippery fillers on disc two.
Nevertheless, this six-parter is true classic CLASSIC SERIES story; Troughton's performance is an effortless tour-de-force acting master class (you can see why the Eleventh Doctor actor, Matt Smith, cites Troughton as his favourite Doctor to emulate), whilst the symbiotic combination of Watling & Hines supporting roles gives Troughton a perfect foil to pitch against, and the introduction of a new alien species into the DOCTOR WHO canon that remains enigmatically popular and feasible to explore over four decades on.