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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 December 2014
A long winter's tale of ice, ions and indecision, with sonic guns, stinkbombs and huge fur coats. Freeze to your seat and go with the flow of the ice for a chilly classic with the big green men from Maaaarsssssss. 5*

Brian Hayles' famous creations make their debut in a definitive Second Doctor story from the legendary `monster season', believed lost until 1988 when most of the episodes were defrosted from somewhere under a glacier in an old BBC building. The quality of the restoration is excellent, it probably looks better now than it would have done on a 1967 television. Fortunately the opening episode survived as did the whole second half of the six-part story including episode 4, which visually is possibly the best of all - this icy world looks great in black and white.

Episodes 2 and 3 were not recovered but we now have animated replacements to watch with the restored soundtrack. The sound is excellent, as are the recreated `sets' and use of perspective and zooming - the `feel' of the animated episodes really matches the rest of the story. The faces are good with quite a lot of `expression' through eye movements etc. and the animation tells the story very well, though some of the arm actions are occasionally rather `hinged' and puppet-like. The `telesnaps' reconstruction of the missing episodes from the VHS release is on disc 2 and well worth watching to see the actors and also shows that the animation captured the style of the missing scenes, good to have this option but it would have been even better to have the choice of animation or telesnaps on disc 1. Perhaps the best of the telesnaps are Victoria confronted by Varga, and the view of the other four warriors still encased in ice after Varga has carved them from the glacier.

After shorter than usual `vortex' titles, we are swept into a world of icicles, glaciers and snowy mountain vistas by an extended title sequence with a wordless soprano solo singing like an icy wind, part of Dudley Simpson's excellent music. It's a great, atmospheric opening for a studio-bound production that very successfully creates Earth in a new ice age. The glacier, icy wilderness, avalanches and so on are all done extremely well, using film on the larger stages at Ealing to excellent effect especially in episodes 1 and 4, plus very small amounts of stock footage and a (very) small but live bear! The story also greatly benefits from a really strong guest cast.

The TARDIS lands sideways as if skiing on a snow bank, forcing the Doctor and his companions to climb out, precariously and with some nice comedy business. Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor sparkles with intelligence, courage, good humour and compassion, a tremendously likable character, a genius of course but always with a slight `human' uncertainty about him - until the chips are down and he takes command.

For Frazer Hines as Jamie this story is almost `The Moonbase' over again as he spends half his time in the surviving episodes lying down (for perfectly good plot reasons!) - his fear and frustration at his enforced immobility are well played. Deborah Watling is a very Victorian Victoria in this one, always in peril, being captured and fleeing from danger, but she does it perfectly and has some great scenes.

Inside their protective dome, Leader Clent (Peter Barkworth), Miss Garrett (Wendy Gifford) and their computer-reliant team are using the Ioniser to intensely heat and drive back the glaciers, but after a severe breakdown of team relations, Chief Scientist Penley (Peter Sallis) has stormed off into the wilderness to live with the Scavengers who reject all science, represented by Angus Lennie as Storr, ranting ineffectually against everything `scientific'. Without Penley's partly intuitive expertise, the Ioniser is at best ineffective and at worst could actually explode.

The conflict between the organised and the `natural' world, between logical and intuitive thought, is one of the main themes of this story. It's a good idea and the guest actors bring it to life with great performances before the eventual resolution, with the two `sides' of human intelligence coming together as represented by Clent and Penley, excellent casting and direction by Derek Martinus. Ultimately, the solution in this story is shown to be technology but under thoughtful human control.

It was a clever idea to have the futuristic base inside a carefully preserved stately home - that's what the team are trying to do for Earth, hold back time and ice. The `explanation' of the ice age is just wrong! If humanity killed most plants, less plants means more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures, not lower. At a guess, the story wanted to blame `science' for the ice age as part of the idea of conflict with nature.

The Doctor soon gets the Ioniser more or less working, but things really heat up when scientist Arden discovers a "pre-Viking" man trapped in the glacier, dubbed by one of his team as an "ice warrior", huge, menacing - and ice-cool; the discovery scene still conveys a sense of wonder. Before long the ice has melted and Commander Varga is in action, an intelligent leader intent on freeing his small band of warriors and his ancient craft from the ice desert - not only ruthless but ice cold in malice, he enjoys it - just listen to that evil laughter: "sssss ... sssss ... sssss ..."

Bernard Bresslaw is totally brilliant as commander of the Martians and personally created the idea of the now-famous hissing voice. The `Ice Warriors' are *individuals*, with their own names, ranks and emotions and obviously part of an advanced alien warrior culture, Viking style but with ion-drive spacecraft and sonic weapons. They are alien people, not just mere `monsters', dominating the screen in every one of their scenes and towering over the humans. Even the Doctor is awed by his first sight of them as a group and almost `runs for it' in a typically fun Second Doctor moment, before facing up to the task in hand.

There's a good symmetry to the problem both sides face; the Ioniser base needs to know if the alien ship is nuclear powered - will it cause a nuclear explosion if they use the Ioniser against the advancing glacier? The warriors want to know the same about the human base - they need mercury isotopes to refuel with. The Doctor resorts to brain power and subterfuge while Varga tries force, warrior-style - needless to say the Doctor's intelligent approach wins and with some help from the reconciled base crew, humanity - and science - is victorious again and the Doctor and his friends slip quietly away to their next adventure ...

The story could possibly have been an episode shorter (true of many six-parters) but only at the cost of interesting `character moments', though it might have benefitted from losing some of the `computers or people' arguing in the base. However, the surviving second half is especially good, the acting is excellent, the creation of an icy wilderness is superb and the `Ice Warriors' are fantastic in their original story, even better than I expected they would be. The animation works well to give us a complete story again and there's a very good set of extras.

Thanks for reading; this story deserves its fame and fiiiive sssstaaaarsssssss ...

DVD Special Features:
On Disk 1: The commentary is enjoyable with Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling joined by Sonny Caldinez (Turoc), Pat Heigham (grams operator) and designer Jeremy Davies.
In place of commentary, animated episode 3 has an interview with Michael Troughton while episode 2 has an excellent collection of short interviews, some from archive recordings, with contributions from writer Brian Hayles, director Derek Martinus, actors Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Barkworth and Wendy Gifford, Martin Baugh (costume designer) and Sylvia James (make up).

On Disk 2:
Cold Fusion (25 mins) - excellent `making of' documentary, well styled and with a very good set of contributors including Deborah Watling and Frazer Hines, Jeremy Davies and Bernard Bresslaw's son James. For me the highlights came from Sonny Caldinez with his memories of a happy team, and life as an Ice Warrior.
Beneath the Ice (10 mins) - looking behind the scenes of the animated episodes, interesting to see the attention the team gave to achieving an authentic `feel' for the production - this showed when watching the results.
VHS Links (20 mins) - the telesnaps reconstruction of episodes 2 and 3 (15 mins) plus a short introduction by Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling, from the video release.
Blue Peter `Design a Monster' (10 min) - a competition from 1967. Pure nostalgia with the top team: Val, Pete and John.
Doctor Who Stories - Frazer Hines (Part Two) (15 mins) - anecdotes and even few bursts of song, recorded in 2003; fun as expected.
Photo Gallery (4 min) - short but very good photo gallery including several great pictures of Bernard Bresslaw being transformed into Varga.
Animated reconstruction of the original trailer using off-air sound.
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The third story of Patrick Troughton's second season as Doctor Who comes to DVD.

This was a six part black and white story. Parts two and three are no longer present in the bbc archives. The VHS release replaced those with a special edited reconstruction using the soundtrack and stills. This brings us the two lost episodes with their original soundtracks and the visuals done via animation.

This comes from a season known as 'the monster season' by many. Often involving the Doctor and friends getting involved with small groups of humans who came up against monsters. Here, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive on Earth in the slightly near future. A world in the grip of a new ice age. Where the survival of humanity depends on the glaciers being held back. At a base which is losing this fight. The humans there are in desperate need of the assistance of Penley, a genius scientist who is living as a scavenger in the icy wastes rather than work for the inflexible Leader Clent.

But they have bigger problems when strange creatures are found frozen in the Ice. And one of them comes back to life...

Doctor Who of the time would always attract attention when it used new monsters. Would these be as popular and successful as the Daleks and the Cybermen? The production team did strike gold with the Ice Warriors. The armoured Martian reptiles with their hissing voices and sonic weapons were a hit. And have stayed in the memory ever since.

The Ice Warriors has other delights, though. It's a solid character drama with two superb guest star performances. Peter Barkworth as Clent and Peter Sallis as Penley really do deliver some excellent acting. It offers a few interesting moral dilemmas for the viewer to consider as well, about over reliance on technology and any other human failings and strengths.

It's not overlong at six parts, and it remains incredibly watchable throughout. It's Classic Who, and it's great to have it on dvd.

The Black and White animation of parts two and three does appear rather minimalist at first look, with static backgrounds and seemingly rather inflexible figures. But there is actually a fair amount of life to the latter and more detail in their movements than you would expect at first look. Thus it rather grows on you and the two parts are quite visually captivating.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English.

It's also English audio captioned.

This is a two disc set. Disc one has the episodes. The production information subtitles, which give information about the story and it's making if switched on whilst watching. And several commentaries from cast and crew. Parts one four five and six have a recently recorded one from Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling [Doctor companions Jamie and Victoria] plus Sonny Caldinez, who played one of the Warriors, and two of the crew. The animated episodes use archive recordings or readings from cast members and crew. Including Patrick Troughton on part three.

Disc two has the following extras:

A photo gallery of stills from the story and it's production.

Radio times listings for the story as a PDF file.

Cold Fusion: a twenty five minute long making of documentary. As with more recent ones of these it's more a collection of anecdotes from cast and crew than the story of the production, but it's still very good.

Beneath the Ice: A ten minute long look at the animation of parts two and three. Involving and not over technical it's interesting viewing.

VHS links: Runs for fifteen minutes and is the original reconstructed and edited two parts two and three from the VHS. Plus the VHS copyright notice you would always see near the start of the tape. And an introduction Deborah Wstling and Frazer Hines did for it at the time.

Blue Peter Design a Monster: ten minutes worth of footage from a couple of 1960's editions of the show where they announced a contest for viewers to design a Doctor Who monster. Then showed the results, with the winnings designs built. This is pleasingly nostalgic viewing.

Doctor Who stories; Frazer Hines part two is thirteen more minutes of interviews originally recorded for a 2003 documentary. But he's a very good interviewee so it's a pleasing watch.

There's also the original trailer for the Ice Warriors, broadcast on the bbc right after the end of the preceding story of the season. Although the trailer doesn't actually survive. Just the soundtrack. Thus the trailer has been animated as well. It does come with subtitles that can't be switched off. Because the sound quality isn't great. But it's worth a look.

There's also a trailer for the next release in this range.
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Although I watched 'The Ice Warriors' when it was released on VHS, I feel as if I have just watched it for the first time. The picture quality, which was pretty grainy on tape, has been radically improved and with the addition of the two animated missing episodes, the story is complete at last.

It took me a little while to get used to the animation. The characters' movements seemed at little 'Mary, Mungo and Midge' after just watching the real actors, but the team behind the animation have done a really good job, superimposing cartoon figures on the original backgrounds in a way that is faithful to the episodes. With an audio track that has been superbly restored by Mark Ayres, I soon became completely absorbed by the story and forgot that I was watching a cartoon.

Indeed, the quality of the animation in 'The Ice Warriors' and 'Invasion' has reached a level where I think that it would be viable to release a whole story in this format. I'm sure that most fans of this era would rather rather an animated 'Evil of the Daleks' than nothing at all.

As for the story itself, I was amazed at how much the production team had achieved on a low budget. The sets and costumes were stunning (I'll turn a blind eye to Peter Sallis's very fake beard and the door on the Ice Warriors' space ship that only half shuts) and the cast give an imaginative script everything they've got.

It seems to be a given that the 'Classic' Doctor Who stories were much slower in pace, but 'The Ice Warriors' is anything but, plunging the viewer into the action from the very beginning. What this story does have that many modern episodes lack is that 'behind the sofa' feeling of menace. The claustrophobic setting of the base and Dudley Simpson's wonderfully evocative music create a real tension and nearly 50 years on, the story still excites.

The Ice Warriors are at their scariest, although they do have a few little quirks that were wisely dropped in subsequent stories, including a strange, laughter-like "Ssss ssss sssss" (indeed, there's a lot of hissing, which very occasionally makes the dialogue hard to follow). Also at one point, after shooting a man with their sonic guns, two Ice Warriors appear to do a 'high five',which is unintentionally amusing (thankfully, nobody did high fives in 1967). But high fives and hissing aside, these malevolent, warlike Ice Warriors are a far cry from the noble warriors that Jon Pertwee encountered in his first Peladon adventure.

The extras are up to the usual standard and include a 'making of' documentary, a feature about the animation and the video links that were featured in the VHS release. I particularly enjoyed watching Sonny Caldinez's entertaining recollections of his time as an Ice Warrior and Frazer Hines's fond recollections of Wendy Gifford's sexy outfit.

To conclude, this is a story that ticks all of my boxes: a base under siege, a Dudley Simpson score, women in outlandishly sexy outfits, thoroughly merciless aliens, Peter Barker and Peter Sallis, Shughie McFee from Crossroads (or Archibald Ives from 'The Great Escape'), Jamie and Victoria and, most of all, the wonderful Patrick Troughton.
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on 17 April 2016
What a super DVD!!!!
The existing four episodes have been beautifully cleaned up and the missing two have a super animation with original soundtrack to make the story as complete as it's going to be until they happen upon the originals.
The story is a standard (for the time) base under siege romp, but the Ice Warriors, though a bit silly and cumbersome, are memorable foes and the guest cast is outstanding. Overlong or good character development ? That's opinion, but I rather enjoy Barkworth, Sallis, Lennie et al clearly taking it all suitably seriously.
But the best part of this DVD is the commentary, a splendid one on the four existing episodes and even better an interview with Michael Troughton on episode three and on episode two snippets of interviews with many of the cast and production team who are no longer with us. Amazing and delicious stuff all beautifully linked by the excellent Toby Hadoke.
The supporting features are also worthwhile, my favourite being the hilarious Blue Peter Design a Monster Competition. Come back The Abzorbaloff, all is forgiven!!!
Well worth the price, this is a must for lovers of black and white Doctor Who.
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on 22 April 2013
In 1976 Fury of the deep was the last Troughton story to be junked, leaving at the time a very small number of complete Troughton stories left in the archives of the BBC. Some like myself wonder why we have the Dominators and the Mind Robber, but not the Power of the daleks or evil of the Daleks. For me the best Troughton season, was season five, which sadly now only has 22 episode out 42 left (this includes the recent discovery of Enemy of the world and the 5 episodes for Web of Fear). The Ice Warriors, was originally completely missing, until the BBC changed residence and found four out of six of the episodes.
Here we now have the complete four episodes, with the two missing episodes 2 and 3 animated, or if you prefer the twenty minute tele-snap re construction from the VHS realises (which is on the second disc when I do feel it should have been on disc one). I am not keen on reviews prior to release but having recently seen this story restored at the 50th anniversary of the show,taking place in London along with the mind of evil in colour which was shown to represent Pertwee's era(that's another story). After the screening we were told of the extra's for this double disc issue, the commentary includes Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling, Sonny Caldinez, designer Jeremy Davies and grams operator Pat Heigham who provide the main commentary. Episode 2 made up of original archive recordings or readings of text written by Brian Hayles, Derek Martinus, Martin Baugh, Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Barkworth, Wendy Gifford and Sylvia James. The Commentary for Episode 3 is with Patrick Troughton's son, Michael.
We were shown a little of Cold Fusion where Cast and crew look back at the making of the story, which is of the usual standard of who extras.
Beneath the Ice is a look at how the animated Ice Warrior episodes were done.
Blue Peter Design-a-Monster, competition launch and subsequent winners of the 1967 Design-a-Monster competition, which ran during the transmission of The Ice Warriors, although Patrick Troughton helped judge them he does not make an appearance in the programme which is a shame.
As for the story, the TARDIS arrives outside a base which has been set up because of a second ice age. Like all Dr Who stories when the original idea is seeping through, in this case the 1950's the thing from out of space, you know it is going to work. Of cause just as the Tardis crew arrive the occupants of the base have just discoved a thing frozen in the ice. The ice eventually melts, and we welcome one the Dr's great foes. The Ice warriors, and on this occasion Varga played by Bernard Bresslaw.
The Ice Warrior from the planet Mars, who has indeed been frozen for millennia. He insists Victoria help him find his ship and crew; with the extra troops he can decide whether to return home or stay and conquer the Earth. Varga steals power packs from the medi-centre to revive his crew.
Like all Brian Hayles stories, he posses good questions, and get's your mind thinking, as for the ice warriors they are another race and have values and ideas of there own.
As we reach the end of the schedule of releases of Dr who on DVD, this is one worth adding to your collection. I was surprised to see that Moonbase has now been added with episode one and three animated, as we were originally told only those stories with less than half missing would be treated to this animation restoration. As for the Underwater menace and the discovery of episode 2 we still have no news.
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The Ice Warriors, originally broadcast in November and December 1967, is a solid, if unremarkable story. It boasts one of the strongest casts of this, or indeed any era of Doctor Who, with Peter Barkworth, Peter Sallis and Bernard Bresslaw all giving good performances, but at six episodes it does feel a little drawn out. It's perhaps a testament to this that the 1997 VHS recon of episodes two and three condensed the missing 50 minutes down to about 15 and it didn't feel that anything vital had been left out!

This release does give us the chance to see the missing parts two and three in full though, as they've been animated by Qurios. Unlike the animation for Reign of Terror, Qurios attempted to replicate the feel of the television originals (camera angles, length of cuts) as closely as possible, and in this they've succeeded very well. The characters look good, but the major problem is their arms, which tend to flap about in a very unconvincing manner, somewhat like Captain Pugwash. This is noticeable on many occasions, particularly at 14:53 in episode 3. When Arden is killed and he raises his arms above his head, this looks pretty poor.

So, it's a good effort in places and it does give a feel of the original episodes, but in future I'll probably either stick to the VHS cut-down recon (rather annoyingly stuck on disc 2) or the Loose Cannon recons.

Disc 1 also has the usual high quality production subtitles and an entertaining commentary, moderated by Toby Hadoke. Hadoke has been one of the great pluses of the last few years of the DVD range, both on the comms and as presenter of various documentaries. He teases thoughts and remembrances, on the four existing episodes, from the likes of Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling and Sonny Caldinez.

For the two animated episodes, there's something different. On episode 2, a number of people connected with the production who either couldn't make the commentary or have passed away are represented by audio clips. And several contributors who had given print interviews in the past also have their say, with their words being read by actors. This works really well and it's a shame it hasn't been attempted before, as a commentary made up of interviews from Patrick Troughton or Jon Pertwee would have been interesting. There's a few more Troughton releases to come though, so maybe it's a possibility?

The second animated episode features a discussion between Toby and Patrick Troughton's son, Michael, who has written a very interesting biography of his father. The interview touches on the book as well as more general reminisces on the brilliant, but elusive Patrick Troughton. It's good to know that they had so much to talk about that a forthcoming release will feature more from the two of them.

Disc 2 has a decent making of, Cold Fusion, as well as a look at the making of the animated episodes, Beneath the Ice. The VHS cut-down recon, part two of Doctor Who Stories: Frazer Hines and a nice piece of archive footage from Blue Peter complete the set.

So whilst The Ice Warriors isn't the strongest 2nd Doctor story, any story with Patrick Troughton is well worth watching, and although the animated episodes aren't without their flaws, they do the job quite well.
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on 7 December 2013
This is an excellent slice of classic Who. The Ice Warriors make a suitably sinister first appearance that is good enough to make them a returning monster. The sonic guns are as frightful as the Daleks ray guns; and their voices (particularly the laughing hiss) are as imitable as the Daleks too. Patrick Troughton is still at the height of his powers as the Charlie Chaplin-esque comic genius. (A genius barely disguised by his trampish appearance and foolish behaviour.) Victoria makes a great companion as the prudish but Science-savvy Victorian girl, and Jamie is, as always, the lovable truculent Scott.

The plot is interesting and Science-heavy. Although whoever came up with the notion that removing plants would somehow radically reduce atmospheric levels of CO2 needs to go back to school! However, that is really my only criticism of the story. I won't discuss it further for the benefit of anyone who hasn't seen it. There is also a great character-driven and nuanced subplot exploring issues around Science v Nature, man v machine and obedience v freedom.

Finally, the animation may not be ground-breaking but it is very watchable. In particular the main characters are well drawn. It fulfills its purpose of making the story feel complete in a way that linking narration and audio-only episodes could never hope to achieve. In addition, since this is a six-parter, you still get four live action episodes for your money. So really I think people should stop complaining about this aspect of the DVD! It is thanks to the animation that I have for the first time sat through and enjoyed this adventure (and I am a long-time fan of the show).
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on 28 August 2013
With so many of the second Doctor's stories lost forever (unless you believe the 2013 rumours!) this was a welcome addition to the range.

I won't discuss the story save to say its a classic base under siege story.

Technically the episodes fall into two categories; restored footage and newly animated.

Lets start with the restoration. Quite simply its amazing. Four of the original six episodes survive as film prints. These are presented here is a newly remastered version. The Vidfire video effect is totally believable and the story cannot have looked this good since its transmission in the 60s. The picture is clear and free from defects. The sound is crystal clear.

The other episodes "Two and Three" are represented by newly created animated episodes which marry the original off air soundtrack (again very clearly recorded) to black and white images. Whilst some viewers have stated that they did not like the animation I felt it was spot on. The characters represent their real life actors quite well and the story rattles along without lots of needless and flashy cuts as seen in the Reign of Terror release earlier in 2013.

Extras include a stilted trio of presenters describing Doctor Who monsters and a competition whilst obviously having trouble recalling their lines or reading an auto cue, in a charming slice of 60s Blue Peter, a feature on animating the story and the customary making of which relies a bit to much on what looks like newly acquired After Effects training.

Who will watch this? Probably most Who fans although the teeny brigade who cried when a Doctor older than their dad was cast in Peter Capaldi may wince at Troughton's cosmic hobo. Yet if they give it a chance they will find that rather than force the Doctor being a space age magician as does the new series, that the originals were simply magical in and of themselves.

A lovely slice of 60s Who lovingly brought to the DVD market by true fans of the show, the Restoration Team.
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on 27 October 2013
I was really looking forward to watching The Ice Warriors just like Tomb of the Cybermen.
When it ended i felt slightly disappointed, The Ice Warriors could have been a lot better if it was just four episodes, i felt it dragged on a little and began to get boring, the two animated episodes were fun to watch and the animation was not too bad, Pat Troughton and the cast are good, it is enjoyable but its not classic Who like Invasion or Genesis of the Daleks,
Spoiler alert, killing one of The Ice Warriors with a stink bomb was just silly.
Wait until The Ice Warriors comes down in price before buying and the extras are nothing special i was hoping for more as its a 2 disc DVD set.
Final thoughts The Ice Warriors left me cold.
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on 29 September 2013
This eageretly awaited Patrick Troughton story is long overdue on DVD but is a vast improvement on the original video release due to the restoration of the missing episodes . This enables greater continuity and enjoyment of the story. What also lifts this story is the exceptionable quality of the supporting guest actors and the set designs which have stood the test of time.
The story features the debut of the ice warriors who were recently revived in the current series.
Also the media obssesion of global warming meant a story surounding a weather station dealing with galcial disturbance showed that the series was groundbreaking and clearly ahead of its time.
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