As has been mentioned before here at the Tour, for long-standing fans of Doctor Who, there is the notion of the ‘big five’ classic Doctor Who monsters, these being (in order in appearance) the Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti, Ice Warriors, and Sontarans. While it’s debatable whether these are the best five monsters in the whole of classic Who is up to the individual, but there is one thing they all have in common…. They all made multiple appearances in the series, and that is perhaps the main reason why, for instance, the Ice Warriors became indelible, and eventually made their way into nu-Who in Cold War. But of course for every one of the ‘big five’ there was a first story, and for our neighbors from Mars it was (duh) The Ice Warriors.
Re-watching the stitched together story (episodes 2 and 3 are lovingly animated recons) I found it a curious beast. For instance I had forgotten how Jamie-less the story was. Of course it’s another Troughton BUS (base under siege) and as such the characters inside the fort had better be at least interesting. In The Web of Fear this works. In The Ice Warriors not so much. Peter Barkworth as Clent is too one-note for our taste, and he gets lots of screen time.
But the Ice Warriors themselves are the real distinguishing factor. A distinctive design and the great way in which they speak sets them apart. Most importantly, and perhaps uniquely, for their long-term viability as a Doctor Who monster, the Ice Warriors as portrayed in this story were capable of playing both sides of the street, not necessarily being the villain of the piece, as The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon would later demonstrate.
Cold War moved the Ice Warriors forward for the modern Doctor Who audience. While the Tour liked that story a lot in series 7, we, as long term fans, have yet to cotton to the notion that their shell is just armor, and not an organic part of the Martian itself.
Modern Recap-itulation returns next time. We’re taking our medicine early.