The Seeds of Death (TV story)
|The Seeds of Death|
|Novelised as:||The Seeds of Death|
|Main setting:||London and the Moon, the late 21st century|
|Number of episodes:||6|
|Premiere broadcast:||25 January - 1 March 1969|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Krotons||The Space Pirates|
|Another memorable moment|
- 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.
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.
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. He is caught and killed by Slaar.
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.
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, Zoe begs Fewsham for help.
Episode 5 edit
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.
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
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.
- Dr. Who - Patrick Troughton
- Jamie McCrimmon - Frazer Hines
- Zoe Heriot - Wendy Padbury
- Slaar - Alan Bennion
- Gia Kelly - Louise Pajo
- Computer Voice - John Witty
- Brent - Ric Felgate
- Osgood - Harry Towb
- Commander Radnor - Ronald Leigh-Hunt
- Fewsham - Terry Scully
- Phipps - Christopher Coll
- Locke - Martin Cort
- Professor Eldred - Philip Ray
- Ice Warriors - Steve Peters, Tony Harwood, Sonny Caldinez
- Security Guard - Derrick Slater
- Sir James Gregson - Hugh Morton
- Grand Marshall - Graham Leaman
- Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
- Special Sound - Brian Hodgson
- Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson
- Visual Effects Designed by - Bill King (Trading Post)
- Costumes - Bobi Bartlett
- Make-Up - Sylvia James
- Lighting - Fred Wright
- Sound - Bryan Forgham
- Film Cameraman - Peter Hall
- Film Editor - Martyn Day
- Script Editor - Terrance Dicks
- Designer - Paul Allen
- Producer - Peter Bryant
- Director - Michael Ferguson
- Ice Warriors are vulnerable to heat.
- The term T-Mat (later, Transmat) is introduced here for the first time.
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 end the 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.
- 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
- 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
- Hampstead Heath, London
- Ealing Television Film Studios (Stage 2), Ealing Green, Ealing
- Lime Grove Studios (Studio D), Lime Grove, London
Production errors edit
- 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.
- 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.
- Ice Warriors first appeared in 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
- In The Brilliant Book 2012, the Doctor says that the T-Mat caused the end of "the First Great and Bountiful Space Race".
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.
- PAL - BBC DVD BBCDVD1151
- NTSC - Warner Video E1924
- Commentary by actors Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury, director Michael Ferguson and script editor Terrance Dicks
- Sssowing the Ssseedsss - Featurette on the Ice Warriors, featuring Alan Bennion, Sonny Caldinez, Bernard Bresslaw, and Sylvia James.
- The Last Daleks - Original 8mm footage of the filming of the lost classic The Evil of the Daleks, with commentary by Michaeljohn Harris and Peter Day
- New Zealand Censor Clips - Newly discovered footage from the missing episodes of The Web of Fear and The Wheel in Space
- TARDIS-Cam #6
- Photo Gallery
- Production Subtitles
- Easter Egg (Footage from commentary)
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.
- Lords of the Red Planet documentary
- Monster Masterclass featurette
- Monsters Who Came Back For More documentary
- Off-air audio recording of BBC trailer for serial
- All previous bonus features (with the exception of the New Zealand clips, which were featured on Lost in Time, and The Last Dalek, which was moved to the special edition of Resurrection of the Daleks).
- This edition is only available in the UK and Australia as part of the Revisitations 2 box set.
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.
- The Seeds of Death at the BBC's official site
- The Seeds of Death at BroaDWcast
- The Seeds of Death at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Seeds of Death at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Seeds of Death at The Locations Guide