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The Ice Warriors
Series: Doctor Who - TV Stories
Season Number: Season 5
Story Number: 39
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companions: Jamie McCrimmon
Victoria Waterfield
Enemy: Ice Warriors
Setting: Brittanicus Base, the future
Writer: Brian Hayles
Director: Derek Martinus
Broadcast: 11th November - 16th December 1967
Format: 6 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: The Abominable Snowmen
Following Story: The Enemy of the World

The Ice Warriors was the third story of Season 5 of Doctor Who. It also marks the first appearence of recurring villains the Ice Warriors.



The TARDIS arrives on Earth at the time of a new ice age and the travellers make their way into a base where scientists commanded by Leader Clent are using an ioniser device to combat the advance of a glacier.

A giant humanoid creature, termed an Ice Warrior by one of the scientists, has been found buried in the glacier nearby. When thawed, it revives and is revealed to be Varga, captain of a Martian spacecraft that landed on Earth centuries ago and is still in the glacier. Varga sets about freeing his comrades and formulating a plan to conquer the Earth - Mars itself now being dead.

The scientists meanwhile realise that continued use of the ioniser could cause the alien ship's engines to explode. Their trusted computer is unable to advise them without further information, and it seems that disaster is imminent. The disaffected scientist Penley, supported by the Doctor, eventually decides to risk activating the ioniser. There is only a minor explosion, which destroys the Martians and, at the same time, checks the ice flow.


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Story Notes

  • A real live bear was used in specially shot film inserts (as opposed to stock footage).
  • Miss Garrett's entire costume unexpectedly changes between the fifth and sixth episodes.


  • Archeological discoveries of the time, notably the Sutton Hoo dig, influenced the idea of a buried body proving to be an alien, with the Ice Warrior's space helmet being mistaken for a ancient helmet.
  • Notions about Mars, current in 1967 but now known to be false, also inform the programme, such as the nitrogen atmosphere of Mars which causes the Ice Warriors breathing difficulties on Earth.
  • The theories of a "nuclear winter" and "a New Ice Age" are the basis for the setting of the story. The disputes between the scientists seems to represent the debate amongst scientists over the validity of these theories. The idea of weather manipulation had appeared in The Moonbase and would also reappear in The Enemy of the World, which followed from this story, and in the next Ice Warriors story, The Seeds of Death.


  • Episode 1 - 6.7 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 7.1 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 7.4 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 7.3 million viewers
  • Episode 5 - 8.0 million viewers
  • Episode 6 - 7.5 million viewers


  • The base computer is called ECCO. (This name was invented by writer Brian Hayles for his later novelisation of the story.)

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Varga's head design changes after he wakes up.
  • The TARDIS lands on its side in episode 1, but it's the correct way up in episode 6. Jamie or Victoria may have unknowingly stumbled upon the mechanism used in Time-Flight and by extension another mechanism which stands the exterior of the TARDIS straight up as well.
  • When they leave the TARDIS, they push the doors out the way - usually people are seen to pull the doors to exit the TARDIS. They probably swing both ways, especially considering its appearance is based on something barely big enough for one person, therefore doors that swing outward would make more sense anyway.
  • Just how do they get the the doors anyway - the console is seen in other stories to move with the exterior, so they'd have to jump quite far. Even if they used the mechanism in DW: Time-Flight, they'd still be gripping onto the ceiling or the wall.
  • Plants use up Carbon Dioxide, so no plants would actually mean more Carbon Dioxide, not less.
  • How do the Ice Warriors survive the freezing Ice? They're not called ICE Warriors for nothing. Many complex organism are capable of surviving being frozen, such as fish and some scorpions. It is by no means hard to conceive of a sentient race of creatures who have evolved (or been engineered) with the capacity to do likewise.
  • If the warriors have been in the Ice since the first Ice age, then why weren't they frozen out at the end of that? Many glacial remnants remain from the last ice age. They could have been trapped in some of the ice that didn't melt at one of the poles, which only began shifting toward the British Isles at the start of the new ice age.
  • How does Varga know where the warriors are when he goes to free them from the ice? Each member of the crew are issued with a locator device and homing beacon to aid rescue and recovery from hostile environments and in situations just like these.
  • There was no way the Doctor could know the Ice Warrior had been in the ice since "prehistoric times," once he had been removed, since he didn't know where he had been found (although it's possible that Penley told him.
  • At the end of Episode Four, the Doctor says he never answers questions until he's "addressed properly." In the reprise at the beginning of this one, he says, "properly introduced."
  • There seems to be some question over where the Ice Warriors are from, its stated that they have been there since the first Ice Age but later it's said to be the last Ice (there have been at least six major Ice Ages several minor ones.
  • If the Ice Warriors have been there for so long, the nuclear material should have decayed by now.


  • The Doctor is wearing his fur coat from the previous story, DW: The Abominable Snowmen. Jamie also suggests at first that the Doctor has landed further up the mountain in Tibet, because the environment is still icy (ironically, no ice appeared on screen in The Abominable Snowmen).
  • The crew have to climb out of the TARDIS because it is lying on its side. The Doctor has to enter the TARDIS under similarly awkward circumstances in DW: Time-Flight.
  • The Ice Warriors next appear in DW: The Seeds of Death.
  • The TARDIS materialises on it's side but is upright at the story's end.
  • This may be the only time in the TV series that the TARDIS's doors are seen to open outwards.


DVD, Video and Other Releases

  • This was released on video with a Mini-reconstruction of the two missing episodes(epsiodes 2 and 3).

It is rumored that Episodes 2 and 3 of this story will be animated and released with the rest of the surviving episodes on DVD in 2010. Steve Roberts has announced there are no current plans to release these stories, with animation or otherwise.


Main article: Doctor Who and the Ice Warriors

See also

External links

  • Official BBC Episode Guide for The Ice Warriors
  • The Ice Warriors detailed synopsis at Doctor Who Reference Guide
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel) Guide to The Ice Warriors
  • BBC The Ice Warriors photonovel
  • The Ice Warriors transcript
Season 5
The Tomb of the Cybermen  • The Abominable Snowmen  • The Ice Warriors  • The Enemy of the World  • The Web of Fear  • Fury from the Deep  • The Wheel in Space
Ice Warrior Television Stories
The Ice Warriors  • The Seeds of Death  • The Curse of Peladon  • The Monster of Peladon

This article uses material from the "The Ice Warriors" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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