TARDIS Index File

The Seeds of Death (TV story)

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The Seeds of Death
Ice Warriors
Novelised as: The Seeds of Death
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie, Zoe
Main enemy: Slaar
Main setting: London, the Moon, late 21st century
Key crew
Writer: Brian Hayles
Director: Michael Ferguson
Producer: Peter Bryant
Release details
Story number: 48
Number of episodes: 6
Season/series: Season 6
Premiere broadcast: 25 January - 1 March 1969
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 6x25-minute episodes
Production code: XX
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Memorable moment
Repairing T-Mat link - Doctor Who Seeds of Death - BBC01:32

Repairing T-Mat link - Doctor Who Seeds of Death - BBC

Another memorable moment
Moonbase invasion - Doctor Who Seeds of Death - BBC01:43

Moonbase invasion - Doctor Who Seeds of Death - BBC

You may be looking for The Seeds of Doom.

The Seeds of Death was the fifth story in season 6 of Doctor Who. It was the second appearance of the Ice Warriors. They had been chosen for a reappearance shortly after broadcast of The Ice Warriors. The monsters had been popular and it was hoped this would justify the high costs of their costumes. Of visual interest was director Michael Ferguson's use of point-of-view and angled shots.

At the time it was written, Frazer Hines was considering leaving the show. He finally signed on for the season, apparently at Patrick Troughton's request. This meant Brian Hayles had trouble writing the script, a problem made worse when he was asked to leave the Doctor out of part four. He failed to complete the script and Terrance Dicks rewrote much of the story. He brought in the Martian fleet and removed a sub-plot in which Gia Kelly was hypnotised.

Synopsis Edit

The TARDIS lands in a space museum on Earth in the late 21st century, where the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe learn that contact has been lost between Earth and the Moon. In this era, instant travel — T-Mat — has revolutionised the Earth. Its people have lost interest in space travel. The Doctor and his companions travel to the Moon in an old-style rocket and reach the Moonbase, control centre for T-Mat, only to find a squad of Ice Warriors have commandeered the base and plan to use the T-Mat network to their advantage.

Plot Edit

Episode 1 Edit

It's business as usual at the Moonbase, operations centre for the Earth's T-Mat travel system, until an undetected ship docks. A party of Ice Warriors, a reptilian race from Mars, enter the control room and demand the staff operate the T-Mat as they say. Osgood, the base's controller, sabotages the T-Mat to prevent the Ice Warriors from transporting to Earth, and is killed by the Ice Warriors' leader, Slaar.

This also prevents Earth Control in London from contacting the Moonbase or rendering aid to the staff. The Ice Warrior, Slaar, turns to the base's second-in-command, Fewsham, to repair the T-Mat system for them. Terrified, Fewsham immediately starts work. On Earth, Commander Radnor and his assistant Controller Gia Kelly try to get to the bottom of the malfunctions, lamenting that since the trouble is coming from the Moon, it will have to be fixed there.

Meanwhile, the TARDIS lands, and the Second Doctor deduces that they are inside a space museum. He is enthusiastic about exploring. The Doctor, Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot watch a video explaining T-Mat, a system used to instantly travel about the Earth. They are soon caught by the museum's owner, Professor Eldred. He is puzzled by the Doctor's interest in manned space travel. Since the advent of T-Mat the human race has lost interest in exploring the cosmos. Radnor and Miss Kelly turn up at the museum to persuade Eldred to launch a rocket he has been working on. One of the surviving Moonbase staff, Locke, repairs the communication system and tries to tell Earth of the situation. Slaar arrives and smashes the communications system. He orders the Warrior to kill Locke. The Warrior obeys and kills Locke with his sonic weapon.

Episode 2 Edit

With a little persuading, Eldred agrees to launch the rocket. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe agree to crew it, as there are no trained astronauts available. The situation is beginning to affect the Earth's cities. Shipments of medical supplies aren't getting where they're needed.

At the Moonbase, after the rocket is launched, Fewsham repairs the T-Mat as per Slaar's orders. When the repair is detected on Earth, Miss Kelly T-Mats up with technicians and finds Fewsham alone. To hide the Ice Warriors, he concocts a lie about Osgood going crazy and damaging the equipment before exiting the base without a spacesuit. Elsewhere in the base, Phipps has escaped from the control room. He radios Earth for help.

When they have fixed the T-Mat, the Ice Warriors return and take control again. Phipps, whilst trying to contact earth by radio, constructs a device to kill the Ice warriors which is connected to the solar energy point as is the homing beacon for the rockets from earth. The rocket carrying the Doctor and his companions runs into trouble when the homing beacon required to make a safe landing is cut off; they will either crash onto the lunar surface or drift on endlessly through space...

Episode 3 Edit

Phipps makes contact with the rocket, allowing it to home in on the radio signal and land. The Doctor leaves the rocket to find him and help him destroy T-Mat, but they are separated and the Doctor is caught by the Ice Warriors. Jamie and Zoe learn that the rocket cannot take off, so they enter the base to stop the Doctor from destroying the T-Mat, now their only way back to Earth. The Doctor tries to find out the Ice Warriors' plan, telling them that they are too few to invade the Earth themselves. They intend to T-Mat seeds down to Earth, one of which rapidly expands in size and explodes disgorgeing a gas that knocks out the Doctor when he examines it. Jamie and Zoe meet up with Phipps and Miss Kelly and begin work on turning up the heating, which will be harmful to the Ice Warriors. Fewsham continues to comply with Slaar's orders and T-Mats one of the seeds down to Earth Control in London. At Earth Control in London, the seed pod arrives. Brent touches it and the pod starts to grow...

Episode 4 Edit

The seed unleashes fumes which kill Brent in Earth Control, Radnor orders the gas to be extracted out to the surface. The Ice Warriors continue sending the seeds to different cities, where they have similar effects to those who come into close proximity with them. Radnor learns that the cause of death was oxygen starvation. The seeds grow fungus, which multiplies and depletes the oxygen from Earth's atmosphere. Fewsham is now ordered to T-Mat the Doctor into space, although he is rescued from the T-mat cubicle by Phipps split seconds before transmat takes place without Slaar's knowledge. An Ice Warrior is transported to T-mat control in London, where it goes on a rampage in the control centre and beyond, eventually reaching and taking control of London's weather control bureau, altering the controls to make the planet as dry as possible and destroying the controls to stop them being changed. The T-Mat is shut down by Slaar. At Moonbase, Phipps static solar energy weapon is used by Jamie and Miss Kelly against any advancing Ice Warriors, while Zoe and Phipps sneak into the T-mat control room, where the heating controls are, but just after Zoe turns up the heat, an Ice Warrior sees them and kills Phipps. As it turns on Zoe, she begs Fewsham for help...

Episode 5 Edit


The Ice Warriors activate the homing signal.

Fewsham grapples with the Ice Warrior long enough for it to fall to the ground, the heat level unbearable. Soon after, the Doctor wakes up, and Fewsham gets the T-Mat working again. The Doctor, Jamie, Zoe, and Miss Kelly transport back to London, but Fewsham remains, fearing the consequences of his earlier actions if he returns to Earth. Sir James Gregson from the United Nations arrives at Earth Control for the latest concerning the T-Mat crisis, but his presence does little to help the situation. While the Ice Warrior at the weather station alters the controls to make the planet as dry as possible, Slaar turns the heating back down on the Moonbase. He informs Fewsham that a fleet of invading ships from Mars will soon arrive on the Moon, so his next task is to connect a homing device for the incoming ships. In an act of redemption, Fewsham activates the video link so that the Ice Warrior's homing signal can be overheard on Earth, but although he is successful, the Ice Warriors kill him when they find out.

You have betrayed us....

"You have betrayed us..."

The Doctor examines a seed pod under laboratory conditions, and learns that they are reconfiguring the atmosphere of Earth to match that of Mars. Fortunately, he also finds out that the fungus can be destroyed by water. Jamie and Zoe go to the weather control bureau to tell them to make it rain, but there they encounter the Ice Warrior and discover the controls have been damaged by it. The Doctor later dashes there to help them, but is overwhelmed by fungus before he can enter.

Episode 6 Edit


The invasion fleet changes course.

Jamie and Zoe let the Doctor into the weather control bureau just in time, and the Doctor rigs up a portable version of Phipps solar energy weapon from parts in the storage locker to kill the Ice Warrior. At T-Mat Control, Radnor, Miss Kelly, and Eldred work on a satellite which duplicates the Ice Warriors homing signal, which is to be used to draw the ships off course, sending them spiralling towards the Sun. After the Doctor repairs the weather controls to cause heavy rainfall to extinguish the fungus, he T-Mats up to the Moonbase with his solar weapon to destroy Slaar's homing device, so that the Martian ships follow only the wrong signal. He is caught before he can disable the signal, but is able to limit its range enough for it to be rendered useless, sending the Ice Warriors' invasion fleet to its doom. The invaders defeated, the Doctor and his companions return to the TARDIS and depart for their next adventure.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

Credited Edit

Uncredited Edit

References Edit

Story notes Edit

  • The working title for this story was The Lords of the Red Planet.
  • After the opening titles a specially filmed model sequence was used as a background for the story title and episode number, showing a scene of the Earth and Moon. The camera pans across the foreground object then zooms into the background object — Earth or Moon — on which the episode begins. The exception is in episode three where the panning stops between the Earth and the Moon, as this instalment begins in cislunar space.
  • This is the only story to feature footage of an Ice Warrior on location, where in episode four an Ice Warrior was filmed on Hampstead Heath in London. Previously, the Ice Warriors appeared only in studio.
  • To keep the return of the Ice Warriors a surprise, Steve Peters was credited as 'Alien' in Radio Times for episode one.
  • Episode five marks 100 episodes since Jamie McCrimmon's first appearance. As of 2014, Jamie is the only companion to appear - or at least be considered a current companion if he doesn't physically appear - in more than 100 episodes.
  • The footage of the rocket in episode five is stock footage of Mariner 4, a mission launched in 1964 to map the surface of Mars. Notably enough, the images taken by it were sufficient to dispel belief in intelligent life on the planet.
  • The footage of the rocket launch in episode six is also library footage, from a Soviet launch in 1948 of a R-1 missile, a short-range copy of the German V-2.

Ratings Edit

  • Episode one - 6.6 million viewers
  • Episode two - 6.8 million viewers
  • Episode three - 7.5 million viewers
  • Episode four - 7.1 million viewers
  • Episode five - 7.6 million viewers
  • Episode six - 7.7 million viewers

Myths Edit

  • Slaar is an Ice Lord. (He is never referred to as an 'Ice Lord' or even as a 'Lord', but is presented simply as the commander of the Martian forces. His superior is however identified as a Grand Marshal — misspelt 'Grand Marshall' — on the closing credits.)

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.
  • When Zoe turns up the heating, an Ice Warrior falls down dead right in front of her. When it does this, the front and rear sections of the shell costume just slightly break apart.
  • Zoe calls Slaar by his name, despite no one else but the Grand Marshall calling Slaar that (she says it first, as well).
  • Zoe's outfit changes for no apparent reason during episode two.
  • In episode four, Phipps lifts Zoe up to high to get out of the air duct and Wendy Padbury (Zoe) hits her head.
  • As Zoe opens the door to the Solar Energy Storeroom to glance around for Ice Warriors, one can be seen right outside, the actor obviously waiting for his cue. The cut to the exterior view shows Zoe seeing a Warrior far down the corridor.
  • When the rocket lands on the moon, the smoke from the rockets goes upward — something smoke only does in an atmosphere.
  • Eldred points to the Weather Control Station on the map, but it is clearly marked in the opposite corner.
  • When the Ice Warrior T-mats down, it smashes the doors off the T-mat cubicle. When the Doctor and his companions T-mat down not much later, the cubicle is intact.
  • There are boom mike shadows several times in the museum in episodes one and two.
  • Patrick Troughton's sideburns appear and disappear depending on whether he is seen in a pre-filmed sequence or a studio scene.
  • When the TARDIS dematerialises at the end of episode six, several small changes occur to the set.
  • In episode one, the Doctor leaves the TARDIS with his braces unclipped.
  • When Brent dies at the beginning of episode four his body moves, and when he is taken away for an autopsy, his arm moves up of his own free will, rather than a guard picking it up.

Continuity Edit

  • The Doctor previously met the Ice Warriors. (TV: The Ice Warriors)
  • In PROSE: Eternity Weeps, T-Mat is used to get to the moon.
  • PROSE: Transit mentions T-Mat in reference to the Stunnel project.
  • When waking dazedly, the Doctor mentions Victoria Waterfield.
  • By the 23rd century, humanity believed that the last of the Ice Warriors were killed when their invasion fleet spiralled into the Sun. A documentary on the incident was produced and broadcast on the History Channel. (AUDIO: Deimos)

Behind the scenes Edit

Home video and audio releases Edit

This is the only Second Doctor story not be released on audio in any form.

DVD releases Edit

This story was released as Doctor Who: The Seeds of Death in a two disc set.


NTSC - Warner Video E1924


Notes: Editing for the DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team. On this release the VidFIRE effect was mistakenly applied to the entire story rather than just the sequences recorded in-studio. This was corrected in the subsequent Special Edition release.

Special Edition release Edit

It was also released as Doctor Who: The Seeds of Death: Special Edition.


Special Features:


  • This edition is only available in the UK and Australia as part of the Revisitations 2 box set.

Digital releases Edit

  • On 4 November 2013, this story was released in standard definition in iTunes stores (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, UK and US) as part of the Doctor Who: The Classic Series collection Doctor Who: The Best of The Second Doctor, which additionally includes The Ice WarriorsThe Tomb of the Cybermen and The Krotons.
  • This story was released in BBC Store, opened for UK residents on 5 November 2015.

Doctor Who DVD Files release Edit

It was released as issue 115 of Doctor Who DVD Files.

VHS releases Edit

This story was released as Doctor Who: The Seeds of Death.


  • First Release (VHS / Betamax):
  • UK July 1985
PAL - BBC Video BBCV2019
  • Second Release (VHS only):
  • UK July 1987
PAL - BBC Video BBCV4072
  • US March 1990
NTSC - Warner Video E1112

Note: All versions were edited into compilation form. The video cover of the first release in 1985 had made no indication that the story was not colour, and so a small blue sticker reading THE ORIGINAL BLACK AND WHITE RECORDING was hastily added to the bottom right-hand corner of the rear sleeve.

External links Edit

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