Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars
Mark Gatiss does go on. He’s been on at me about the Ice Warriors since I took over the show. And, frankly, I’ve been disappointing him. I just wasn’t that thrilled about unearthing yet another old monster. I slightly felt we’d done all the good ones. But then, as I was sitting in my garden on the phone to Mark about Sherlock, he started pitching this story. An Ice Warrior! On a nuclear submarine! Under the polar ice cap. That would have been enough for me to say, “yes, please!” but then he had one more idea that made my hair stand on end.
It’s not for me to tell you what your favourite episodes will be, but this is one of mine.
The Doctor and Clara land on a damaged Russian Submarine in 1983 as it spirals out of control into the ocean depths. An alien creature is loose on board, having escaped from a block of Arctic ice. With tempers flaring and a cargo of nuclear weapons on board, it’s not just the crew but the whole of humanity at stake.
Episode credits: Written by Mark Gatiss (Sherlock) and directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Silent Witness).
The new issue of Doctor Who Magazine hits the shops next week (Thursday 4 April), and features full previews of next few episodes of Series 7 – and writer Mark Gatiss tells DWM how excited he was to bring back one of Doctor’s Who’s iconic monsters in Cold War:
“The Ice Warriors are back where they belong and I’m absolutely thrilled! Whilst absolutely respecting the source, the source has huge gaps in which you can invent. I was talking to a couple of members of the crew, and they had no idea the Ice Warriors were an old monster. It’s very powerful. You don’t need to know they first appeared in the 60s.
"I thought, ‘Why don’t we put the Ice Warriors on a sub?’" Mark continues. "And suddenly it all clicked! The submarine set is amazing. Fantastic! The moment it’s all lit and full of steam, it’s incredibly believable."
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“We’ve got the most fantastic episode by Mark Gatiss,” executive producer Caro Skinner tells SFX, “where we are bringing back the Ice Warrior… on a submarine! It’s a really wonderful kind of ‘bunker’ episode, and a classic monster which Mark has brought his own inimitable twist to.”
Armed with lethal sonic technology, the reptillian warmongers first tangled with Patrick Troughton’s Doctor in 1967′s “The Ice Warriors”, returning two years later in “The Seeds Of Death”. Jon Pertwee’s incarnation encountered them in 1972′s “The Curse Of Peladon” and 1974′s “The Monster Of Peladon”. Traditionally seen as one of the show’s “Big Four” pantheon of monsters – along with the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Sontarans – the militaristic Martians won a throwaway mention in 2009′s “The Waters Of Mars” but have remained unseen in the 21st Century series.