Mania Grade: B
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- Story: B+
- Animation: C
- DVD Special Features: A-
- Staring: Patrick Troughton, Wendy Gifford, Peter Barkworth
- Written By: Brian Hayles
- Directed By: Derek Martinus
- Original Year of Release: 1967
- Studio: BBC
Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors Review
By Kimberly McCall
September 19, 2013
For the BBC, the journey to restoring the lost Doctor Who episodes of the 1960's is far from over. Having discovered over 30 since 1970, there are still more than 100 missing from their archives. Thus, most of the Patrick Troughton years are spotty at best with only a few complete stories.
The second Doctor traveled time and space from 1967 to 1969 introducing us to foes that would withstand reincarnations spanning decades. Among these were Daleks, Snowmen, and the Cybermen. The infamous Ice Warriors, however, first made their slithery, creepy appearance in 1967 when the Tardis crash landed during an ice age in the year 3000. This adventure, comprised of six total episodes written by Brian Hayles, aired weekly. The collection has since been mostly restored, but is still missing episodes 2 and 3. Now, armed with an in-tact audio track, the BBC has released the DVD of all six episodes of the tale of The Ice Warriors with full length animated reconstructions of the lost episodes.
Digitally remastered picture and sound are hardly noticeable. The transfer still has the appearance it must have had on the BBC in 1967. The muffled dialogue and grainy picture, however, is quickly forgotten once the story gets underway. With a drastically tiny budget, the set designers did an astounding job recreating a frozen tundra to set the scene. It was so affective, that the actors even reported feeling cold despite the normal temperature.
The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Victoria (Deborah Watling), and Jamie (Frazer Hines) disrupt the plans of a team attempting to slow glacier formation with a dangerous ionizer, which will (of course) destroy everything. With an opening very akin to John Carpenter's The Thing, it is Victoria who falls into the hands of the frozen villains and the rest of the crew has 6 episodes to rescue her and save the day.
Unfortunately, we do not get to witness the rise of the frozen Ice Warrior in episode 1. He first comes back to life in the form of a Swamp Thing-esque cartoon character in episode 2. The animations falls somewhere between a motion comic and an episode of Space Ghost. Qurios Entertainment provided the black and white animation complete with mouth movements for script reading bloopers or stutters by the actors. The Ice Warrior, Varga (Bernard Bresslaw), was definitely cheated out of his initial scare. However, credit must certainly go to the continuity.
The DVD includes commentary, with surviving cast and crew, for each episode (including the animated ones). “Cold Fusion” is a fun “Making Of” featurette filled with interviews, stories, and glimpses at concept artwork. It is a treat to listen to an Ice Warrior talk about having to be literally screwed into his costume. The second featurette, “Beneath the Ice” is a look into the world of the animators as they both geek out and agonize over turning classic Doctor Who into a cartoon. It's clear they left no stone unturned when it came to research. Other features on the second disk include a photo gallery, animated original trailer, and links to the 1998 BBC Video release.
Hopefully, in the years to come, we can expect more lost episodes to be brought back to their rightful home at the BBC.