|Main setting:||Firebird, North Pole, 1983|
|Premiere broadcast:||13 April 2013|
|Premiere network:||BBC One|
|Format:||1x40 minute episode|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Rings of Akhaten||Hide|
|Hide||The Crimson Horror|
|Another memorable moment|
|Behind the scenes video|
- You may wish to consult
Cold War (disambiguation)for other, similarly-named pages.
Cold War was the eighth episode of the seventh series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. It saw the first televised appearance of the Ice Warriors since The Monster of Peladon 39 years previously, and their first appearance in BBC Wales' production of the show. Also of note was the first physical appearance of David Warner in a televised adventure of the series, who had previously only taken part in roles that simply featured his voice.
In 1983, the tensest point of the Cold War, a Soviet submarine discovers a strange creature frozen in the ice of the Arctic. When one of the Firebird's crew breaks it free, it starts attacking. As the crew strikes back, the Eleventh Doctor warns them that the attack could be considered a declaration of war on the entire Ice Warrior race...
It is the North Pole, in the year 1983. Aboard a Russian submarine, a warning repeats that the "signal is genuine." The Captain and first mate use their keys to prime an ICBM launch. They prepare to fire, but are interrupted by the entrance of Professor Grisenko, singing Ultravox's "Vienna". The Captain reports the drill has been abandoned. The first mate says they must run it again, to which the Captain says, "Tomorrow." The Captain then asks the Professor about the "specimen," wondering if it's a mammoth. In the hold, the crewman in charge of the specimen muses that they are supposed to wait till the crew arrives back in Moscow to thaw the specimen out. However, he uses a blowtorch to thaw the block of ice, until he is grabbed by a claw that emerges from the ice.
Havoc erupts on the submarine. The hull has been breached and crew members are being attacked by a green armoured figure. The TARDIS materialises in the midst of the chaos. As the Captain orders the sub to be brought to the surface, the Eleventh Doctor and Clara are thrown across the bridge. Clara concludes that they are not in Las Vegas, as they expected to be. The Captain asks who they are, while being informed by a crew member that the main turbines aren't responding. The Doctor tells them their only chance to survive is to use the lateral thrusters in order to land on a ridge, which will prevent them from dropping further. The captain then orders the crew to do this.
Crew members search the Doctor and Clara, confiscating a number of items from his pockets, including a doll, a ball of yarn and his sonic screwdriver. Unexpectedly, the TARDIS suddenly dematerialises. Clara falls into a puddle after a jolt rocks the sub, temporarily losing consciousness. When she wakes up, the Doctor and the Captain are arguing. They are interrupted by a raspy noise coming from behind the Doctor. He initially thinks that it's gas, but turns around to find the green armoured figure, which he recognises as an Ice Warrior. The creature identifies himself as Grand Marshall Skaldak. The professor reveals that Skaldak has likely been sleeping under the ice for five thousand years. Just as the Doctor seems to be close to diffusing the tense situation, Lieutenant Stepashin sneaks up behind Skaldak and electrocutes him with a cattle prod. The Doctor berates the Lieutenant and reveals that it was an extremely bad idea to have done so. He warns the crew that their only option now is to "lock him up."
Now in chains, Skaldak asks one of the crew if he has been asleep for 5,000 years. The crewman confirms that this is what the Professor said. Skaldak signals for his brothers to save him. Meanwhile, the Doctor tells the Captain, Stepashin, the Professor and Clara that he knows of Skaldak. The Grand Marshall was so feared that his enemies would carve his name into their flesh. The Captain wants to know more, but the Doctor says that there isn't time. He tells them that the Ice Warriors are Martian reptiles that became cyborgs when their climate changed. They are vulnerable to heat, which is why the cattle prod worked. He again tells the Captain that there isn't time. Stepashin believes that the Doctor and Clara are western spies. Clara says that she wouldn't make a very good spy as she doesn't speak Russian. The Doctor tries to shush her, and, failing, mutters that it's the TARDIS translation matrix allowing her and the Russians to understand each other. Stepashin believes that Skaldak is a Western weapon, a survival suit, and Moscow must be told so that they can retaliate. He scoffs at the idea of a "little green man from Mars". The Professor corrects him, as it's a "big green man from Mars." He's willing to consider they might be telling the truth. The Captain says that Stepashin sounds like a broken record. Regardless, the radios are down, and they have other priorities. He details Stepashin to continue repairs. The Doctor brushes water from the Captain's lapel, saying that if they had done nothing, Skaldak would have ignored them. However, they attacked him: "Harm one and you harm us all" is the Martian code. He points to the headphones on the Professor's Walkman, where he can hear the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf" being modulated by Skaldak's distress call.
The Doctor says that he is the only one who can talk to Skaldak, but the Captain is unwilling to risk his only source of knowledge. It can't be the Captain, as Skaldak will be able to tell he's an enemy soldier. The Captain points out that the Doctor seems rather like a soldier as well. As it can't be the Captain, any of his men, or the Doctor, Clara declares that she's the only choice. The Doctor protests, but prepares Clara for the task.
Clara approaches the restrained Skaldak, with the Doctor coaching her through an audio link. She salutes him and recites a ritual greeting, followed by more of the Doctor's words, before her light goes out. The Grand Marshall speaks to the Doctor directly, and tells a story of singing the songs of the Red Snow with his daughter (who is now long dead). The Doctor offers to help, but is soundly rebuffed. Clara has been inching forward. She realises something is wrong, discovering that the armour they have chained is now empty. Skaldak has left it.
Skaldak says that it is time he studied his enemies, and swears to retaliate. The Doctor tells Clara to get out of there and begins to rush to her, but the Captain pulls a handgun on him. The Doctor tells him he's never seen one out of his shell before. The Captain lets him go. The Professor says it should be more vulnerable without armour, but the Doctor says it will be more dangerous - to an Ice Warrior, leaving its armour is one of the most dishonourable things it can do. He runs for Clara, who hears hissing and sees Skaldak rush by as she tries to open the hatch. The others reach her and the Doctor pulls her through. She asks him how she did. The Doctor says it wasn't a test, but she did great.
Grisenko reports that the signal has stopped. The Doctor says Skaldak has given up hope of rescue and now has nothing left to lose. The Captain is sceptical about what the Martian could do, until the Doctor points out that they're sitting on a large number of nuclear weapons. He says it couldn't be any worse, just before the submarine slips a little further down the incline and more water pours in.
Skaldak stalks Stepashin, who is making repairs. Stepashin pulls his gun, but he is facing the wrong direction. He feels spindly, three fingered hands grab him by the shoulder and top of the head. Skaldak learns about the Cold War and the theory of mutually assured destruction from Stepashin, who wants to gain an ally to fight Western aggression.
The Captain addresses the crew. The reactor is drowned, they only have battery power, and they're running out of air. They still have a mission, however. They need to stop the Grand Marshall before he gains control of any of the missiles. They are all that stands between him and the destruction of the world. Clara learns from the Doctor that time can be changed, and even if the world previously didn't end in 1983, it can now. The Captain tells him that they have twelve men, but they can't find Stepashin. They decide to split up and look for him, with a team to guard the bridge. Grisenko turns up with the sonic screwdriver and the doll and gives them back to the Doctor, who is quite happy to have them both.
They begin the search. As the Doctor scans, Clara asks Grisenko why they have a cattle prod on board, and is told that it's for polar bears. The Professor tells her to have courage, and says he sings a song to stay brave. He asks if she knows "Hungry Like the Wolf". She refuses to sing. There are alarms and some echoes as the Doctor tinkers. He says it's the pressure, and Grisenko begins to sing, trying to persuade Clara to join him.
Onegin asks Belevich if he thinks it's truly a Martian. Onegin thinks they'll be heroes. As Belevich replies, Skaldak silently grabs Onegin. Screams echo, and the Doctor, Clara, and Grisenko arrive to find the two torn apart. The Professor calls Skaldak a savage, but the Doctor explains that he is studying the humans for physical weaknesses. They continue the search, but Clara is slow to follow.
The Doctor tells her to stay in place. Clara agrees to do so. The Doctor is momentarily confused by her willingness to follow his instruction (unlike most of his companions), then continues onward. Clara confesses to Grisenko that she was bothered by the bodies.
The Captain realises that Skaldak is in the walls. The Doctor finds Stepashin's body, then spots Skaldak moving above him. He follows.
The Professor tries to distract Clara from worrying about the noises she is hearing. He keeps questioning her, but she continues staring around, barely answering. He very seriously demands to know about the future — specifically, if Ultravox will split up. She breaks out into laughter, then gasps as Skaldak grabs her head. Grisenko produces a gun and shoots several times. Skaldak lets her go and grabs him. Clara pleads with Skaldak to let Grisenko go as the Doctor runs up. The Grand Marshall declares that they attacked him. By Martian law, this means that the people of this world are forfeit; he now has the information he requires to begin the destruction. He only needs one missile to trigger the exchange. With his people dead and dust, there is nothing left for him but revenge.
Skaldak signals his armour, and the helmet flips up. The Doctor tells him that there is one thing left: mercy. The Captain enters with a crewman, threatening violence in defence of the Earth. The Doctor says they're negotiating, not fighting. The Captain says, "We'll negotiate, but from a position of strength," and aims his rifle. Skaldak comments, "Excellent tactical thinking," but goes on to explain his position isn't as strong as he thinks. The armour has been summoned by Martian sonic technology. He releases the Professor and enters his armour. The crewmen open fire with a rifles, but the Doctor stops them. Skaldak vows to create a new red planet from the blood of humanity. The Doctor follows him.
Skaldak extrudes probes from the gloves of his armour into the targeting computers. Text flows, lights change and locks shift. The missile tubes open. The others arrive and the Captain says that the warheads are being armed. The Doctor asks him to wait, asking where the honour is in killing billions of innocent people. He continues to appeal to Skaldak's better nature, but seemingly to no effect. As Skaldak reaches for the button, he declares himself as a Time Lord, with his own sonic technology. If he needs to, he will blow up the sub and everyone on it to avoid starting the nuclear exchange. The Martian mutters, "mutually assured destruction," and turns back to the button, as the Doctor lifts the sonic screwdriver.
The Doctor taunts him to look into his eyes, and Skaldak removes his helmet, asking which of them will blink first. Clara asks Skaldak why he showed compassion earlier, further asking about his daughter and when they had sung the songs of the Red Snow.
The submarine suddenly begins to vibrate. Skaldak declares that his people live and have come for him. The Captain says that they are rising. A spaceship raises the submarine to the surface in a beam of cloudy white light. The Doctor pleads with Skaldak to just go in peace. Another beam hits Skaldak and he disappears.
Clara says they did it, but the Doctor checks the console, which is still armed. One pulse from the Martian ship could launch the missiles. He holds up the sonic screwdriver, wincing and repeating that he'll destroy them if he must. Frightened, Clara begins to quietly sing Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf". The missiles disarm. Clara hugs the Doctor, before straightening herself. "Saved the world, then," she says. "That's what we do..."
The Doctor, the Captain, the Professor, and Clara go up top and get a look at the Martian ship. Clara asks the Doctor what happened to the TARDIS. The Doctor sheepishly confesses that, while tinkering, he reset the HADS, which he hasn't used in a very long time. He says it's bound to turn up, as the sonic starts buzzing. The TARDIS has gone to the pole... the South Pole. Embarrassed, he asks the Captain for a lift, and they all laugh. The Doctor salutes the Ice Warrior ship with an arm across his chest as it zooms off.
- The Doctor – Matt Smith
- Clara Oswald – Jenna-Louise Coleman
- Captain Zhukov – Liam Cunningham
- Professor Grisenko – David Warner
- Lieutenant Stepashin – Tobias Menzies
- Piotr – Josh O'Connor
- Onegin – James Norton
- Belevich – Charlie Anson
- Skaldak – Spencer Wilding
- Voice of Skaldak – Nicholas Briggs
|Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Caroline Skinner|
|Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.|
- The HADS has been activated for the first time in years.
- The translation circuit allows Russians, the Doctor, Clara and Skaldak to talk to each other.
- The TARDIS once again arrives in the wrong location; they were supposed to be heading to Las Vegas.
- The submarine is in the ocean underneath the North Pole.
- The Doctor and Clara were originally planning on going to Las Vegas.
- The TARDIS rematerialised at the South Pole after the HADS was activated.
- The Doctor has a doll that has long blonde hair.
- This story features some similarities to TV: The Ice Warriors. Both involve an Ice Warrior being frozen in ice, being found by a scientist, and then thawed out by someone who was impatient. Both scientists mistake their Ice Warriors for prehistoric Earth creatures — in Warriors it's a mastodon; here it's a mammoth. Both take place in extreme cold. Both have the Doctor initially saving a team of humans from an immediate crisis — in Warriors is an uncontrolled weather event; here it's the submarine sinking.
- This story's ending has some similarities to TV: Battlefield. In both stories the antagonist is prepared to launch a nuclear weapon to destroy the world (in Battlefield it is Morgaine), and in both cases The Doctor helps talk them out of it.
- This is the first televised story to feature the Ice Warriors since the Monster of Peladon in 1974, and the first to not be written or co-written by Brian Hayles.
- This is the first time an Ice Warrior has been seen "out of uniform" on television, but it's not the first time fans have been able to peek behind the armour. Skaldak's true face is remarkably similar, allowing for a difference in gender, to Lee Sullivan's depiction of the female Ice Warrior Luass in the Eighth Doctor comic story Ascendance. However, the more tentacled hands of Skaldak are less compatible with Luass' human-like hands.
- Several aspects of Ice Warrior culture mentioned in this episode, the existence of powerful female Ice Warriors, Skaldak's rank as the leader of a caste and the general implication that Ice Warriors have a feudal sense of honour, for example, originate not with Ice Warrior creator Brian Hayles but instead with Gary Russell's reinvention in PROSE: Legacy and COMIC: Ascendance/Descendance.
- Although a few were implied in earlier stories, but never expanded.
- 1983 was indeed a point in which the the Cold War could have very easily run hot, due to the (alluded to) Able Archer '83 exercises that terrified the already paranoid Soviets. There were even several close calls throughout the year, including one famous incident where only the cool head of a Soviet radar operator deciding that the missile that appeared on his screen was not a launch but most likely an equipment malfunction prevented a full-scale nuclear launch.
- All camera shots featuring the exterior of the submarine under the water were made using scale models in front of a blue screen.
- The interior of the TARDIS isn't seen in this episode.
"Cold War" was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 13 April 2013. Overnight ratings showed that 5.73 million viewers watched the episode live, a 28.8% audience share. When timeshifted viewers were taken into account, the figure rose to 7.37 million viewers, the fifth most-watched programme of the week on BBC One. In addition, "Cold War" received 1.65 million requests on the online BBC iPlayer during April, the fourth most-watched programme on the service for the month. The episode also received an Appreciation Index of 84.
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- Whenever Skaldak walks anywhere in armour, he makes loud clunking noises due to the weight of the armour, but when he approaches the Doctor near the beginning, he arrives silently. Although these are inconsistent, the earlier silence is most likely intentional, to allow the Doctor's comic reactions.
- Near the 6:00-6:02, when water is flooding the control area and the TARDIS is about to dematerialise, you can see behind the Doctor that the left TARDIS door is open, but in the next shot with it, it's closed.
- When Skaldak grips professor Grisenko's head at first, his claws cover the professor's face, the above view shows his claws on the professor's forehead, and when the shot changes back, Skaldak's claws are around his whole face again.
- On the altimeter, the word "meters" is written in Russian as "метерс", while the correct spelling is "метры".
- During his second incarnation, the Doctor encountered the Ice Warriors for the first time on the Brittanicus Base during an Ice Age in the company of Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield. (TV: The Ice Warriors)
- The Doctor states that the TARDIS' Hostile Action Displacement System hadn't been used in "donkey's years". It has not been used on screen since its introduction in the Second Doctor's era. (TV: The Krotons) However, it has made several appearances in other media.
- When describing how the HADS works, the Doctor mentions time winds as a reason why the HADS moves the TARDIS. (TV: Warrior's Gate)
- When the Doctor threatens to blow up the submarine, the diode on the sonic screwdriver glows red. Whether this is the previously mentioned "red setting" (TV: Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead) is not stated.
- Clara questions how she can understand others around her, and they understand her, to which the Doctor explains that the TARDIS translates foreign and alien languages. (TV: The Masque of Mandragora , Rose, The End of the World, The Fires of Pompeii)
- When Clara states that the planet was not destroyed by nuclear war in 1983, the Doctor tells her that time is in flux and can be rewritten. (TV: Pyramids of Mars, The Unquiet Dead, The Shakespeare Code, The Waters of Mars, The Wedding of River Song et al)
- The Doctor again shows admiration for Ice Warriors for their code of honour (TV: The Waters of Mars). While his seventh incarnation initially showed a xenophobic distrust towards them, after he came to learn their code, he respected them. (PROSE: Legacy)
- The Doctor at one point tells Clara to stay there, to which she says "ok". The Doctor tells her not to argue and she says she won't. The Doctor stops in his tracks almost shocked that she actually obeyed him. He once said that in 900 years of time travel, having a companion follow his instructions to stay put would be the only thing that surprised him. (TV: The Empty Child)
- The size of the items taken out of the Doctor's pockets shows that they are bigger on the inside, much like the TARDIS interior. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks, The Runaway Bride)
- There are a variety of items in his pockets, including a doll, a caramel apple, and yarn. The Eleventh Doctor has previously been seen reading about knitting. (TV: The Wedding of River Song) He has also commented that he has given up asking how things end up in his pockets. (TV: The Angels Take Manhattan)
- Despite being a high ranking officer, Skaldak wears an ordinary Warriors' armour, rather than the sleeker version of an Ice Lord. However this is consistent with Varga in TV: The Ice Warriors, as both come from thousands of years prior to this story.
- The Ninth Doctor previously encountered another alien stuck on Earth and believing its entire race to be extinct. (TV: Dalek)
- This is the third time in the Eleventh Doctor's tenure that a deadly conflict which could have been avoided has resulted because an aggressive human attacked an individual in hot-blooded furor. (TV: Cold Blood, The Rebel Flesh) With this instance, such a situation has occurred at least once across all three televised series featuring the Eleventh Doctor.
Home video releases
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