torsdag den 19. marts 2009

Who Review #40 - the Ice Warriors

Picture: the cover of the Target novelisation (the first Doctor Who book I ever read, way back when I was about 10!)

Episodes 1 and 4-6 exist. Giant Bernard Bresslaw, more known for "Carry on..." films, is the Ice Warrior leader Varga in this story. Angus Lennie and Peter Sallis are also in the cast. (I kept expecting Sallis to chirp: "Don't worry Grommit, we'll soon have the ioniser under control, lad!")

The Ice Warriors, like the Yeti, are another of the iconic monsters from the show. Their reptilian design is simply fantastic as is their hissing voice. The actors dwarf everyone, much like the Cybermen. Deborah Watling looks very petite and vulnerable in the scenes with Bernard Bresslaw. Special mention should be made of Sonny Caldinez (he was Kemel in Evil of the Daleks, btw.) He and Alan Bennion "became" the Ice Warriors; they appeared in other Ice Warrior stories. There have been other actors who were their monsters, so to speak. Kevin Lindsey is the Sontarans, whilst John Scott Martin - although he did other monsters too - is the name one readily associates with the Daleks, Roy Skelton providing the voices. (Skelton provides the computer voice in this story.)

The Earth is in the grip of an Ice Age. There are problems with the British ioniser, used to prevent the forward march of the glacier. Some personel, laying sensors on the glacier, find a figure trapped in the ice. The TARDIS arrives. The crew see Storr (Lennie) and Penley (Sallis) run with stolen supplies from the station. Arden and his crew start to excavate the figure in the ice. The Doctor and co. enter the station and go to the control room. The Doctor begins to examine the controls and warns the reactor is about to explode. He averts the disaster. The Doctor follows station leader Clent. Arden is watched by Storr and Penley; Penley is a former senior scientist who has fallen out with Clent and is living on the tundra. There is an avalanche; Storr is injured, a station worker killed, and the figure is freed from the ice. The Doctor says he has come from a retreat in Tibet; he is tested by Clent - how to explain the ice age and how to return the climate back to normal. The Doctor answers that there must have been a drop in the atmospheric concentration of Carbon Dioxide. Clent says that this happened because the amount of vegetation on Earth has been reduced to an absolute minimum with the increases in technology that have solved food problems and also with the building of cities to house the growing world population. The Doctor is appointed by Clent to help due to Penley's defection. The "Ice Warrior" is brought back to the station and they start to defrost it. Jamie and Victoria discuss the subject of the station girls and their mini-skirts; Victoria is not amused; they don't see the Ice Warrior has started moving.

Jamie is knocked down by the Ice Warrior, which then takes Victoria captive. The Doctor tells Clent that the warrior is not from a lost civilisation, it is an alien. There must be a spaceship in the ice and that it must be run by atomic power. If they hit it with the ioniser, there could be a deadly explosion. Jamie raises the alarm. Varga and Victoria talk - the Ice Warrior ship crashlanded on Earth. She must help Varga release the remaining Warriors; he then says they wull decide whether to return home or to conquer Earth. Storr and Penley are hiding out in a plant museum; Storr remarks that these ancient plants remind him of what life used to be like before the scientists destroyed the spring. Penley heads off for the station; he needs drugs to treat Storr's infected wounds. Arden and Jamie head to the ice front; the sensor there is being jammed and there is no sign of Victoria or Varga. In the station, Penley sees Victoria and the Warrior; Varga is looking for the machine which revived him. The Doctor talks with Clent; he discerns that Clent is ambitious, all too reliant on computers and that Penley's knowledge of the ioniser is vital. Clent is knocked out by Varga and he sets of with Victoria for the ice front; the Doctor and Penley meet. He tells him that he saw the Warrior and Victoria. The Doctor tries, in vain, to persuade Penley to come back. Varga frees his companions and says they must be brought back to life. Miss Garrett seeks out Penley to persuade him to help; Penley refuses as he says he is a man and doesn't want to be a part of that machine world. Clent is, for him, a symbol of all that is wrong. He mentions, though, he has written some notes on something called the Omega Factor which could help. The freed Ice Warriors begin to plan their next moves, one of which is the construction of a cave to act as a trap. Garrett brings Clent and the Doctor Penley's notes; the Doctor is delighted as Penley wass on the right track. His feelings are hurt when the station personnel want to check the notes with the computer. Arden and Jamie return to the glacier; they are shot by the Warriors. The Doctor worries about the safety of Jamie and Victoria. The ioniser is back working - Clent is triumphant at the victory of man over nature, and under his watch too. Penley has taken Jamie back to the museum; Arden is dead whilst Jamie is suffering from the shot. Victoria makes contact with the Doctor; her transmission is monitored by the Warriors. They prepare to fire a weapon.

Varga disables the gun; they will use her as bait for a trap. He wants to know why the humans are so scared of the Warrior ship engine. Victoria runs from one of the Warriors. The Doctor, armed with Ammonium Sulphide, makes his way to the spaceship and let himself be taken prisoner as he intends to find out about the spaceship's engines. The warrior catches Victoria; there is a tremor and ice collapses from the tunnel roof, burying the warrior. Jamie is slowly recovering at the museum. The warriors discover that the fuel rods on their ship are run down; so they intend to get fuel from the base. Storr wants to talk with the Ice Warriors; Penley tries to talk him out of it. Victoria is trapped because the dead warrior has a hold on her. There she meets Storr who has gone to get help from the warriors, who he trusts because they are against the scientists and the ioniser. The Doctor meets Penley and goes to see Jamie. Storr takes Victoria to the Warriors; they kill him because he knows nothing about the ioniser. The Doctor is at the ship; Varga asks him who he is. The Doctor refuses to answer, upon which the Ice Warrior begins to reduce the pressure in the airlock.

The Doctor consents. In the spaceship, he says the ioniser can melt the ice and free the warriors - it isn't a weapon. He is re-united with Victoria. Penley is helping Jamie to the station because he wants to get medical aid for him. The Doctor continues to discuss the situation with the warriors, including the danger of a nuclear explosion. He has switched on his communicator so Clent can her the conversation; the ioniser is to be used regardless. The Doctor discovers the nature of the engine; the warriors prepare to use a sonic canon against the base in order to get fuel. Penley and Jamie arrive at the base and see Clent. They argue - Penley argues for action, whilst Clent says they must wait for the instructions of the computer. The warriors ready the sonic canon; the Doctor uses the Ammonium Sulphide but the Ice Warrior reaches for the fire switch.

The base shakes; Clent receives a message from Varga. He demands the base surrender or die. Clent arranges a meeting. Varga is going to remove the mercury isotopes from the bases reactor, which will mean the humans will freeze to death. Clent and Varga's meeting is monitored by the Doctor. Varga orders the ioniser shut down. The Doctor sets the sonic canon to fire at a new frequency; he intends to knock out the Ice Warriors, but isn't certain it is safe for the base personnel. Penley turns up the heat in the base and the Doctor fires the canon; everyone collapses, and the Ice Warriors return to the ship. The Doctor disables the sonic canon and he and Victoria return to the base. Penley says the computer must be overridden; Clent can't contemplate it and Garrett won't. Penley activates the ioniser and destroys the Ice Warriors. He buries his differences with Clent. They look around but the Doctor and co. have gone.

Another fantastic story!

It makes interesting watching in these days of concern over global warming and melting ice caps, given the chemistry of the atmosphere is an important part of the story's plot. Another theme of the story is the conflict between science, free will and what it is to be human. Peter Barkworth (Clent) and Peter Sallis (Penley) play off well against each other - the former is utterly dependent on the computer, whilst Penley turns his back on this. The thought of destroying plant life as though it doesn't matter is another important environmental aspect (although the atmosphere would get more CO2 in this case, not less) of the story.

The incidental music is a bit grating - there is highpitch, operatic singing at stages.

Classic Victoria

Victoria: [pretending to cry as the Doctor readies his vial of Ammonim Sulphide] Boo-hoo-hoo....A stinkbomb? ... Boo-hoo-hoo
Doctor: the benefits of a classical education?

The Ice Warriors is a pure joy to watch.

Ingen kommentarer: