TARDIS Index File

The Ice Warriors (TV story)

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The Ice Warriors
Novelised as: Doctor Who and the Ice Warriors
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie, Victoria
Main enemy: The Ice Warriors
Main setting: Brittanicus Base
Key crew
Writer: Brian Hayles
Director: Derek Martinus
Producer: Innes Lloyd
Release details
Story number: 39
Number of episodes: 6
Season/series: Season 5
Premiere broadcast: 11 November - 16 December 1967
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 6x25-minute episodes
Production code: OO
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Doctor Who television stories
The Abominable Snowmen The Enemy of the World
Official trailer
Ice Warriors - The classic Second Doctor adventure - Doctor Who00:56

Ice Warriors - The classic Second Doctor adventure - Doctor Who

Memorable moment
Victim of the Ice Warriors - The Ice Warriors - Doctor Who - BBC04:00

Victim of the Ice Warriors - The Ice Warriors - Doctor Who - BBC

Another memorable moment
The deadly stink bomb - The Ice Warriors - Doctor Who - BBC01:44

The deadly stink bomb - The Ice Warriors - Doctor Who - BBC


The Ice Warriors was the third story of season 5 of Doctor Who. Broadcast in 1967, it marked the first appearance of the recurring aliens, the Ice Warriors. Episodes two and three remain absent from the BBC archive. They were recreated using animation for the serial's DVD release.

Synopsis edit

The TARDIS arrives on Earth in a new ice age. 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, called an Ice Warrior by one of the scientists, has been found buried in the nearby glacier. 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 is now dead.

The scientists realise that continued use of the ioniser could make the ship's engines explode. Their computer is unable to advise them without more information. Disaster seems imminent. The disaffected scientist Penley, supported by the Second Doctor, decides to risk activating the ioniser. There is only a minor explosion which destroys the Martians and, at the same time, checks the ice flow.

Plot edit

Episode 1 edit

Senior control technician Jane Garrett and her staff struggle to control an ioniser. There has been a pulse stoppage and they are minutes away from evacuation. Garret manages to stop it, much to the pleasure of Leader Clent. She says they need Penley back, a proposition for which he snaps at her. Clent consults a computer that gives data regarding other ioniser bases in America, Australasia, South Africa and Asia. This ioniser base, the Brittanicus Base, isn't holding up as well as theirs. Clent worries that they will not be able to hold back the glaciers. He discovers that one of his scientists, Arden, is still out on the glacier. Furious, he tries to contact him.

The remaining senior scientist, Arden, is out on the glacier searching for archaeological finds. He discovers an armoured man in a block of ice. Arden and his colleagues ignore appeals to return to base and help Clent control the ioniser, intent on digging the ice man from the glacier.

Clent is furious at this dissent. The glaciers lose stability again and the evacuation procedure is set off again.

Outside, the TARDIS materialises onto a snow drift and falls on its side. The Doctor and his companions clamber out. Jamie, looking at the weather, speculates that they may still be in Tibet, but they soon discover a large dome made of plastic. As they explore it a door opens and two bedraggled men leave. The Doctor inspects the door as soon as they are out of sight and enters with Jamie and Victoria.

Arden makes contact with the base and says he has found a large man in the ice and intends on bringing it in. Arden and Clent are polar opposites — Clent is about protocol whilst Arden is about discovery.

The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are surprised to discover the house is like an old Victorian mansion. The evacuation procedure goes off around their ears and a woman comes up and puts badges on the three of then reading "Evacuation Flight 7: Scavenger". The Doctor hears the sound of a computer that is running incorrectly. Victoria wants to leave but the Doctor insists and goes through a door into the main base. He immediately bursts into action. His action prevents a reactor explosion. Clent is initially appalled at this man bursting into his base but is eventually impressed.

Arden and his men are confused by the image of the man. He appears to be wearing armour. They begin the excavation process. Two scavengers look on. The scientists trigger an avalanche which causes one of Arden's party to plummet to his death. One of the scavengers is injured too. Arden and his one surviving scientist return to base with the man.

Despite the Doctor not having any "formal qualifications", Clent is impressed with his abilities. He seems bemused that the Doctor doesn't know what the base does. The Doctor says he and his friends have been in Tibet. Clent puts the Doctor to the test. He states that a second Ice Age has beset the world and this base is trying to control it, and asks the Doctor to figure out how. The Doctor's mind flits from possibility to possibility before landing on ionisation — the correct answer. Clent explains that after the advent of artificial food, crops became redundant, which lowered production of carbon dioxide and stopped the Earth from withholding its heat. Ionisation intensifies the sun's heat on certain parts of the Earth like a magnifying glass. Humans are having to control the machine at the moment due to the fact that the super computer is still processing the data. They are interrupted by the return of Arden, wheeling his find in on a trolley. The Doctor inspects it and is confused by the helmet, which looks like it is a Viking helmet — which is far too late in history. On closer inspection, as the ice melts, the Doctor sees an electronic connection. The Doctor rushes off to inform Clent and Arden. Jamie and Victoria are left alone. They flirt. Little do they know that the creature has entirely thawed and has begun to move.

Episode 2 edit

The creature becomes mobile, knocks Jamie unconscious and takes Victoria as a hostage.

Clent asks the computer if they should accept the Doctor as one of their team. The computer states that he has a high IQ but is ill disciplined and hot headed in certain situations. They are interrupted by the Doctor’s news about the warrior. He concludes that if the creature is indeed alien, there could be a spaceship powered by atomic systems under the glacier. Using the ioniser in that area could cause a massive explosion and destroy the base. The crew are discussing this when Jamie bursts in and reports the creature has come to life and taken Victoria. The Doctor, while inspecting the scene, concludes that the Ice Warrior must have used the power pack to accelerate to a higher heat and thaw the ice.

The creature has got Victoria in a store cupboard. He states he is a warrior from the planet Mars, who has indeed been frozen for millennia after his ship crashed and his party was encased by an avalanche. He insists Victoria help him find his ship and crew. With the extra troops he can decide whether to return home or stay and conquer the Earth.

Clent consults the computer. It states that ionisation should continue but the ship needs to be found. The computer reschedules the workload and frees up Arden to go. Jamie will accompany him.

The scavengers have made it back to their hideout. Storr’s injuries are so bad that his friend needs to return to the base to steal medical supplies.

Victoria is forced to help the Ice Warrior to locate the power packs. He threatens Victoria with his sonic gun which will burst her brain.

Arden and Jamie see no sign of Victoria or the Ice Warrior out in the tundra. Furthermore, their equipment is being jammed. Clent orders them to go back.

The scavenger has managed to infiltrate the base. As he rounds a corner he sees Victoria, who gestures for him to hide. He sees the huge creature lead Victoria into the room.

In the Control Room, the Doctor asks Clent why they have no expert on the base. Clent explains that they did but he walked out and abandoned them as he could not put up with Clent's domineering ways. He does admit that they are crying out for someone with his knowledge though.

Victoria tries to stall the Ice Warrior but he soon finds the power pack. The Ice Warrior now tells Victoria that she is to accompany him to the ice mountains. They meet Clent before leaving and the Ice Warrior leaves him unconscious and badly wounded. The scavenger tires to revive Clent when the Doctor finds him. The Doctor works out that he must be Penley. Once Penley is sure the Doctor is dealing with Clent, he leaves the base, despite the Doctor’s protests that he is needed to help with the ioniser. Clent comes round just as Garrett informs them that Victoria and the Ice Warrior have broken through the perimeter. The Doctor says they should not follow them as that would be the Ice Warrior's plan.

Meanwhile, in the glacier, the Ice Warrior finds four of his frozen comrades and uses his sonic gun to free them. He confirms that he has a plan for if her friends follow her.

Penley has administered the medicine to Storr and goes to explore the glacier for Victoria and the Ice Warrior. He is also coming round to the Doctor's suggestion that he could return to the base. The Ice Warrior has chiseled away at the ice, leaving the semi-exposed forms of his comrades. He prepares to revive them.

Episode 3 edit

A number of Ice Warriors are resurrected, much to the terror of Victoria. Penley watches the whole process.

The Doctor prepares Jamie for his excursion with Arden. Arden blames himself for the whole situation, which causes Clent a rare moment of compassion. Before they leave, Clent orders them not to go looking for Victoria, much to the displeasure of Jamie.

Penley reports back to a fully repaired Storr the situation regarding the Ice Warriors. He does not believe him. Their argument is interrupted by a noise outside. It is Garrett, who begs Penley to return to the base. He refuses, saying he does not want to be computerised. Garrett pulls out a tranquiliser but is disarmed by Storr. Storr wants to kill her but Penley lets her go. He tells her to look up some of his notes when she returns to base.

Now fully mobilised, some Ice Warriors take on the task of creating an ice cave. Others set about finding their craft and digging it out of the ice. Victoria is told she is to be kept with them as bait.

The Doctor is trying to figure out the calculation to save the base. Clent encourages him to use the computer, but the Doctor resists. Garrett comes in with the notes about which Penley told her. The Doctor takes one look and cracks the code. Clent says he must check with the computer — which causes the Doctor to become very offended. Arden reports back, saying he has discovered an ice cave and a ship.

They begin to take readings but minutes later, they are ambushed and gunned down by the Ice Warriors, who leave them for dead. A distraught Victoria is ushered into the ship. The Ice Warriors discuss destroying Victoria but they decide to keep her as bait. The Ice Warriors leave to fix the ship's propulsion unit. Penley has been watching and emerges from the shadows.

The Doctor reminds Clent that it has been a long time since they heard anything from Arden. They try to make contact but there is no reply.

Penley discovers that Arden is dead, but Jamie is still alive. Penley takes him back to his home.

Garrett comes back, reporting that the equation is perfect. Clent is overjoyed but soon realises he can't use it with Arden still outside.

Jamie awakes at Penley's cave and is eager to seek out Victoria. However, he is too weak and passes out.

Victoria, emerging unaccompanied from the ship, discovers Jamie's body gone. She finds the communication device on the ground and attempts to use it.

Unbeknownst to Victoria she is being observed by the Ice Warriors. They decide she must be stopped. They aim a weapon at her head.

The Doctor receives the transmission from Victoria, who tells them of the danger of the Ice Warriors and of Arden and, possibly, Jamie's death. She is probed by Clent for facts. As she does a weapon emerges from the side of the ship.

The Ice Warriors prepare to fire.

Episode 4 edit

She is the bait....

Varga and Zondal consider Victoria's fate.

The Ice Warriors decide against killing Victoria so as to not raise suspicion. Clent grills Victoria for any information regarding the ship's propulsion system, keen to continue the process of ionising. She is not able to help.

An Ice Warrior is sent to capture Victoria again and use her as bait.

Victoria sees a figure coming and makes a run for it, dodging into the ice to avoid the Ice Warrior.

The Doctor uses an automatic chemical dispenser used on the base to create ammonium sulphide which will be toxic to the Ice Warriors if Victoria's statement regarding them being Martians is to be believed. The Doctor states he intends to go and make contact with the Ice Warriors himself. Clent is very unhappy about this but is not faced with many other choices. The Doctor takes a communicator with him but refuses to take a weapon. He states he doesn't need a weapon as he intends to be taken prisoner.

Victoria flees ever deeper into the icy caves. She sees a communicator on the floor and attempts to retrieve it but is caught by an Ice Warrior. At just that moment an avalanche falls on the pair of them.

Storr and Penley continue to minister to Jamie. He awakes and is desperate to find Victoria. Storr is keen to accompany him. Jamie is terrified when he discovers he has no use of his legs.

An examination of the engines of the Martian craft shows them working, but low on fuel. The Ice Warriors need to know on what the base is powered to see if they can use it on their ship.

Victoria cries for help. She is not stuck in the avalanche but the Ice Warrior has been and is still gripped on to her.

Jamie is asleep again. Storr has decided the only way to save Jamie is to talk to the Ice Warriors. Penley is convinced that he should not go but Storr pushes past him with Penley in pursuit. Storr dashes behind a piece of ice to lose Penley and nears the call of Victoria.

Meanwhile Penley has found the Doctor and taken him to Jamie.

Storr finds Victoria and manages to free her. He is told that the Ice Warriors are against the scientists and begins to sympathise with them. Another avalanche forces them to leave.

The Ice Warriors are eager to attack the base but their leader says they must bide their time. Their discussion is interrupted by Storr leading a distraught Victoria to their ship. The Ice Warriors hold Victoria personally culpable for the death of her pursuant and lead her into the ship. They ignore Storr's offers of help, especially so when he denounces scientists at the very time they want technical aid. He is killed and left in the snow. The Ice Warriors go inside to question Victoria.

Back in the cave the Doctor determines Jamie’s paralysis is temporary. Another avalanche rocks the cave. The glacier is moving ever quicker. The Doctor tasks Penley to escort Jamie back to the base. Penley protests but the Doctor states that everyone needs his help. The Doctor leaves to speak to the Ice Warriors.

Clent watches in shock as the glacier moves faster than it has ever done before. Garrett pushes Clent for a plan, but he says he is putting all his faith in the Doctor. The Doctor informs Clent on the video screen that he is going to make first contact.

The Doctor heads through the avalanches and knocks on the door of the ship. The weapon emerges but the door opens and the Doctor is allowed to enter the airlock. The Ice Warriors are suspicious of the Doctor's claims; this is only worsened when he refuses to answer questions. The Ice Warriors reduce the pressure in the airlock to zero until the Doctor explains his motives.

Episode 5 edit

Seconds away from death, the Doctor agrees to Varga's demands. With the glacier threatening to crush the spacecraft, the Doctor gets Victoria released to him. He is less successful in persuading Varga that the ioniser is anything but a weapon against the Martians. The last thing the Doctor establishes before Varga takes the communicator is that Clent needs to use the ioniser at some point, regardless of consequences. The Doctor is marched to the core of the spacecraft, where he spots an ion propulsion system. Varga decides to attack the base before the ioniser is used. He orders his warriors to prepare a sonic cannon.

Penley has brought Jamie to base on a motorised sled. Clent gives Penley a frosty reception and they bicker. Clent says he has decided to adopt the Doctor's advice and use the ioniser, even if the computer is unconvinced of the merits. The Doctor and Penley’s new formula for ionisation has been tested in other bases with great success and is scheduled for use in Britannicus in a few hours time.

Zondal has been given the task of arming the sonic cannon. With Varga and his other warriors, Isbur and Rintan, focused on this attack, the Doctor and Victoria use the opportunity to release the chemical solution in Zondal's face. The warrior collapses, but his hand activates the sonic cannon as he falls.

Episode 6 edit

The sonic blast triggered by Zondal causes only minor damage. Varga uses the communicator to call Clent, threatening to fire again unless the humans surrender. Clent knows the base dome cannot survive another blast and suggests a meeting between the two sides. The Ice Warriors confront the humans in the ioniser room. The talks fail when a demented technician, Walters, tries to shoot the Martians. Varga dismantles the ioniser reactor to get the mercury isotopes he needs for his ship, not caring how this will affect the humans and the dome. Without the ioniser, the glaciers begin to move forward.

The Doctor and Victoria adjust the Martian sonic cannon so it will harm the Ice Warriors and not the humans. Similarly, Penley, who was not in the ioniser room, alters the temperature and atmosphere controls in the base to be uncomfortable for the Martians. The Doctor fires the sonic cannon, forcing Varga and his men to retreat from the base. He fuses it before Victoria and he flee. The Doctor revives the base staff, who were rendered unconscious by the blast, and works with Penley to recalibrate the ioniser. The computer gives a fifty-fifty chance that the ioniser will explode when trained on a spacecraft with an ion engine; Penley tells Clent to work without the advice of the computer. When the computer overloads, Penley takes charge and starts the ioniser.

The Martian craft begins to power up, but does not get far before it is destroyed by the ioniser. The ship explodes without starting a chain reaction, which solves the problem of the Ice Warriors and the glacier. Their work done, the TARDIS crew slips away.

Cast edit

Crew edit

References edit

  • Brittanicus Base is run by Britain.
  • Earth's population has taken over all farmland on Earth, so food production has shifted to artificial means.
  • The Ice Warriors have a sonic gun.
  • Varga has been frozen in the ice for thousands of years.
  • Clent states that thousands of years of history is under the glacier.

Story notes edit

  • The opening title captions referred to the individual instalments as "one", "two" etc. rather than the usual episodes.
  • A real bear was used in specially shot film inserts (as opposed to stock footage).
  • Miss Garrett's entire costume unexpectedly changes between episodes five and six. Her outfit in episode six is the same one she was wearing in episode one.
  • Regarding the dating of this story, a Radio Times article published at the time of initial broadcast placed it in the year 3000. This was the date used in DWM 76,\ The Doctor Who Programme Guide, The Universal Databank, The Doctor Who File and A History of the Universe, and it was referred to in the novels Legacy and The Dark Path. However, The Making of Doctor Who says that it was set three thousand years after the previous story (so circa 4935), The Talons of Weng-Chiang says that the Ice Age was in the year 5000, and no stories set in the 30th century seem to depict Earth being in an Ice Age. The problem with both dates is that each is contradicted by the fact that in this story humanity appears to be completely unfamiliar with the Ice Warriors, despite having contact with them in The Seeds of Death (set in the 21st century) and The Curse of Peladon (set in the year 3885).
  • Incidental music from this story exists.

Influences edit

  • Archaeological discoveries of the time, notably the Sutton Hoo dig, influenced the idea of a buried body proving to be an alien, with the Ice Warrior's space helmet being mistaken for an ancient helmet.
  • Notions about Mars, current in 1967 but now known to be false, also inform the programme, such as the nitrogen atmosphere of Mars which causes the Ice Warriors' breathing difficulties on Earth.
  • The theories of a "nuclear winter" and "a New Ice Age" are the basis for the setting of the story. The disputes between the scientists seem to represent the debate amongst scientists over the validity of these theories. The idea of weather manipulation had appeared in The Moonbase and would reappear in The Enemy of the World, which followed from this story, and in the next Ice Warriors story, The Seeds of Death.
  • Clent states that the cause of the ice age is the lack of carbon dioxide, since there are few plants left after the needs of feeding a global population made farming impractical. Both this story and the next, The Enemy of the World, have as their premise food shortages caused by overpopulation.

Ratings edit

  • One - 6.7 million viewers
  • Two - 7.1 million viewers
  • Three - 7.4 million viewers
  • Four - 7.3 million viewers
  • Five - 8.0 million viewers
  • Six - 7.5 million viewers

Myths edit

  • The base computer is called ECCO. (This name was invented by writer Brian Hayles for his later novelisation of the story.)

Filming locations edit

Production errors edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • Varga's head design changes after he wakes up.
  • The Ice Warriors' mouths aren't in time with their words.

Continuity edit

Home video and audio releases edit

DVD releases edit

In 2013, The Ice Warriors was released on DVD with its surviving parts and animated versions of the missing episodes two and three.

VHS releases edit

When this was released on VHS it was released with a mini-reconstruction of the two missing episodes (episodes two and three), which was narrated by David Harley. The narration was originally to have been provided by Frazer Hines, but a contractual issue arose. The mini-construction also appeared as an extra on the DVD release.

Editing and reconstruction for the VHS release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.

Soundtrack releases edit

This story's soundtrack, with linking narration by Frazer Hines, was released on CD on 1 August 2005. It was re-released as part of the box set Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes - Collection Four on 2 February 2012.

External links edit