The BBC Doctor Who Blog has an excellent write up to prepare you for this weekend’s episode, Cold War:
The Doctor’s next adventure is called Cold War and it explodes onto screens tomorrow (Saturday). The TARDIS lands on a damaged Russian Submarine in 1983 as it spirals out of control, plunging 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! The episode is written by Mark Gatiss (The Unquiet Dead, Night Terrors) so we’re assured of scares, great moments of humour and some unexpected twists… All that, plus the return of the Ice Warriors makes this an umissable episode!
The fearsome Martians made their debut in the Second Doctor adventure The Ice Warriors and were an instant hit, returning about a year later in The Seeds of Death. These two stories established the Ice Warriors as a proud but cruel race, ruthless and relentless when pursuing their goal, which in both instances had been the planet Earth.
But interestingly, when they next crossed the Time Lord’s path in the Third Doctor adventure The Curse of Peladon, they had reformed, renouncing their militaristic ways and eschewing violence except in cases of self-defence. The Ice Warriors’ code of honour came to the fore and they even joined forces with their former foe. Their final appearance to date came in 1974’s The Monster of Peladon in which a rogue faction of Ice Warriors threatened the Doctor.
Well, fairly complete anyway. You can’t blame the writers of Doctor Who for seeking inspiration from the moon from time to time. Frankly, when the entire universe, now and always, is your playpen for making up dramas, you’re going to occasionally cast about you for inspiration, seizing upon anything you can see and starting from there. We’re just lucky no one has seriously pitched an alien race that looks like a laptop on a desk with a big empty white page on its screen, although it’s bound to happen sooner or later.
So, here is a reasonably concise list of the times the Doctor has gone to visit the moon, or referred to the moon, or being involved in a thing that is influenced heavily by the moon. I say reasonably because a) this only applies to TV stories and b) I might’ve missed one, or two.
Let’s see, shall we?
UKTV continues its season of classic Doctor Who stories today (13th) with the broadcast of The Aztecs at 4:30pm (Australia) and 4:20pm (New Zealand).The four-part adventure forms part of the channel’s celebration of the First Doctor this month, which kicked off last weekend with An Unearthly Child and continues with The Dalek Invasion of Earth next week (AU:3:30pm, NZ:3:15pm), rounding off with The War Machines on the 27th (AU:4:30pm, NZ:4:20pm).
The channel is showing stories every Sunday throughout the year in the lead-up to Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary in November, focussing on a Doctor a month. February is, as one might then expect, dedicated to the Second Doctor, featuring The Tomb of the Cybermen (3rd), The Dominators (10th), The Mind Robber (17th), and The Seeds of Death (24th).
All up-and-coming broadcasts from both 20th and 21st Century series of Doctor Who can be found via UKTV’s Doctor Who sections for Australia and New Zealand.
When it comes to Doctor Who in the 1960s, people don’t usually think of it as having especially artsy direction. There were some cool scares, and a few really iconic scenes here and there — but for the most part, directors were working with cameras the size of woolly mammoths, on sets the size of matchboxes. But there’s one director from the early years of Doctor Who who really stands out as making adventurous choices and using inventive camera angles: Michael Ferguson.
Ferguson only directed four stories: “The War Machines, “The Seeds of Death,” “The Ambassadors of Death” and “The Claws of Axos.” But those first three stories, in particular, really bear his unique visual stamp. In “War Machines” and “Ambassadors,” in particular, he takes stories where there’s a lot of slow build-up, and he manages to make it look really tense and thrilling — by shooting people from below so they’re looking down at something, or by making the oh-so-slow advance of the war machines or the alien astronauts look more paranoia-inducing with tight angles and the occasional fish-eye lens….