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:
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.