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24 September 2014

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The Ice Warriors was scriptwriter Brian Hayles' third Doctor Who serial, following the William Hartnell tales The Celestial Toymaker and The Smugglers.

Hayles was inspired to write The Ice Warriors after he read an article about a prehistoric mammoth that had been discovered buried in the ice in Russia in August 1900.

His script originally described his creatures as having cybernetic attachments. Perhaps fearing comparisons to the Cybermen, the idea was scrapped by designer Martin Baugh.

The storyline adheres strictly to producer Innes Lloyd and former story editor Gerry Davis template of placing a small number of people in a confined area, who are then terrorised by a monster. Apart from creating suspense, it also meant only a small cast and few sets were required.

The Ice Warriors was intended to be the first story of the fifth season, but delays meant it would follow The Abominable Snowman into production and on screen. As a result the script was altered to include a sarcastic comment from Jamie suggesting that they had landed further up the mountain in Tibet.

The name Ice Warriors is given to the Martians by Walters, but it wasn't until The Monster of Peladon that they actually use the name themselves.

Director Derek Martinus was reluctant to return to Doctor Who as he had only recently filmed The Evil of the Daleks and feared being pigeonholed. After The Ice Warriors, Derek wouldn't direct Doctor Who for another two years. He was persuaded to come back to helm Jon Pertwee's debut adventure, Spearhead From Space.

Angus Lennie (Storr) would return to series in 1975 to play Angus the inn-keeper in Terror of the Zygons. By this time he was famous for playing chef Shughie McFee in Crossroads.

Peter Sallis (Penley) is best known as Clegg, the sensible one in the (over) long running OAP sitcom, Last of the Summer Wine. We love him more as the voice of Wallace in the Wallace and Gromit animations.

Bernard Bresslaw (Varga) found fame in the Carry On movies, where he often played the nice but dim friend of Sid James. Prior to his Ice Warrior role he had starred alongside William Hartnell in the television series The Army Game (1957-1958).

The computer voice was provided by Roy Skelton, of Dalek and later Zippy from Rainbow fame.

The TARDIS lands on its side at the beginning of the serial, but is upright when the crew leave at the end of the sixth.

Rather than use stock footage, a real bear was filmed for the story. Some would say that this was a bit pointless, as for safety reasons the cast couldn't be filmed with the beastie.

Designer Martin Baugh based his psychedelic outfits for the scientists on the patterns of printed circuits. The idea came from his belief that in the future there might be machines that can automatically spray clothes onto a person. Perhaps this explains how Miss Garrett's outfit changes between episodes five and six!

The original videotapes were junked as part of the general purge in the Seventies. Luckily in August 1988, 16mm telerecordings of episodes one, four, five and six were discovered at the BBC's Villiers House in Ealing, West London, which was being renovated at the time.

The Ice Warriors was released on video in November 1998. For the release, John Cura's telesnaps and a fan-made soundtrack recording were used to reconstruct a short version of the missing episodes. The video is now unavailable.

The story was also novelised as Doctor Who and the Ice Warriors by Brian Hayles in 1976 (Target book No. 33). In the novel the computer is given a name, ECCO.

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