50 for 50 — The Greatest Stories in Doctor Who History — #44

For children of the black and white era of Doctor Who, the Ice Warriors of Mars were amongst the most genuinely frightening of the Second Doctor’s enemies. Following the impact of their first appearance in the previous season, they made a welcome return (to the viewers, rather than to the Doctor and his companions!) in The Seeds of Death.

It’s a plot by the hulking green aliens to invade a moonbase, take control of Earth’s weather and use a teleport system to transport pods to Earth. These seeds then explode, covering the land in foamy fungus which eats up all the oxygen, making the atmosphere habitable for the Martians.

Providing some variety to our understanding of Martian hierarchy, the story introduced an Ice Lord, a sibilant Ice Warrior leader. This created an effective dynamic between superior and minion, leading to other Ice Lord versions featuring later in the Third Doctor’s Peladon stories (all acted stylishly by Alan Bennion).

The Seeds of Death finds its place in the top 50 for simply being an excellent example of a traditional ‘threat of invasion of Earth’ story with the return of some menacing monsters, another superb performance by Patrick Troughton and a sense of looming danger and suspense flowing through all the episodes. Gladly all episodes survive and it is well worth a watch if you want to get a good flavour of the Second Doctor and the classic storytelling of his era. — Alan

Andy’s #44 – Earthshock
David’s #44 – A Town Called Mercy
Steve’s #44 – The Daleks

#43 next week!