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Cold War was the eighth regular episode of the seventh series of Doctor Who produced by BBC Wales. It saw the first televised appearance of the Ice Warriors since The Monster of Peladon 39 years previously, and their first appearance in BBC Wales' production of the show.

Synopsis

On a Soviet submarine in 1983, a frozen alien warrior is waking up, just as the TARDIS materialises.

Plot

It is the North Pole, in the year 1983. Aboard a Russian submarine, a warning repeats that the "signal is genuine." The Captain and first mate use their keys to prime an ICBM launch. They prepare to fire, but are interrupted by the entrance of the Professor, singing. The Captain reports the drill has been abandoned. The first mate says they must run it again, to which the Captain says, "Tomorrow." The Captain then asks the Professor about the "specimen," wondering if it's a mammoth. In the hold, the crewman in charge of the specimen muses that they are supposed to wait till the crew arrives back in Moscow to thaw the specimen out. However, he uses a blowtorch to thaw the block of ice, until he is grabbed by a claw that emerges from the ice.

Havoc erupts on the submarine, the hull has been breached and crew members are being attacked by a green armoured figure. The TARDIS materialises as the Captain orders the sub to be brought to the surface, The Doctor and Clara are thrown across the bridge and Clara concludes that they are not in Las Vegas, as they expected to be. The Captain asks who they are, while being informed by a crew member that the main turbines aren't responding. The Doctor tells them their only chance to survive is to use the lateral thrusters in order to land on a ridge which will preventing it from dropping further, which the captain then orders the crew to do.

Crew members search the Doctor and Clara, confiscating a number of items from his pockets, including a doll, a ball of yarn and his Sonic Screwdriver, and the TARDIS dematerialises. Clara falls into a puddle after a jolt rocks the sub, temporarily losing consciousness, and wakes up to the Doctor and the Captain arguing. They are interrupted by a raspy noise coming from behind the Doctor, who initially thinks that it's gas, but turns around to find the green armoured figure, which he recognises as an Ice Warrior, who identifies himself as Grand Marshal Skaldak. The professor reveals that Skaldak has likely been sleeping under the ice for five thousand years. Just as the Doctor seems to be close to diffusing the tense situation, Lieutenant Stepashin sneaks up behind Skaldak and electrocutes him with a cattle prod. The Doctor berates the Lieutenant and reveals that it was an extremely bad idea to have done so, and warns the crew to lock up Skaldak.

They chain Skaldak up, and he asks one of the crew if he has been asleep for 5,000 years. The crewman confirms it. Meanwhile, the Doctor tells the Captain and Clara that Skaldak is so feared that his enemies would carve his name into their flesh. The Captain wants to know more, and the Doctor says that there isn't time, before telling him more.

Skaldak signals for his brothers to save him. Back with the Captain, the Professor, the First Mate, and the Doctor, Clara says that she wouldn't make a very good spy as she doesn't speak Russian. The Doctor tries to shush her. Stepashin believes that Skaldak is a Western plot.

Cast

Crew

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound



Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.


References

Individuals

  • Clara says she doesn't speak Russian.

Places

Songs

Items

  • The Doctor has a doll that has long blonde hair.

Story notes

  • This story features some similarities to TV: The Ice Warriors. Both involve an Ice Warrior being frozen in ice, being found by a scientist, and then thawed out by someone who was impatient. Both scientists mistake their Ice Warriors for prehistoric Earth creatures — in Warriors it's a mastodon; here it's a mammoth. Both take place in extreme cold. Both have the Doctor initially saving a team of humans from an immediate crisis — in Warriors is an uncontrolled weather event; here it's the submarine sinking.
  • This story's ending has some similarities to TV: Battlefield. In both stories the antagonist is prepared to launch a nuclear weapon to destroy the world (in Battlefield it is Morgaine), and in both cases The Doctor helps talk them out of it.
  • This is the first televised story to feature the Ice Warriors since the Monster of Peladon in 1974, and the first to not be written or co-written by Brian Hayles.
  • This is the first time an Ice Warrior has been seen "out of uniform" on television, but it's not the first time fans have been able to peek behind the armour. Skaldak's true face is remarkably similar, allowing for a difference in gender, to Lee Sullivan's depiction of the female Ice Warrior Luass in the Eighth Doctor comic story Ascendance. However, the more tentacled hands of Skaldak are less compatible with Luass' human-like hands.
  • Several aspects of Ice Warrior culture mentioned in this episode, the existence of powerful female Ice Warriors, Skaldak's rank as the leader of a caste and the general implication that Ice Warriors have a feudal sense of honour, for example, originate not with Ice Warrior creator Brian Hayles but instead with Gary Russell's reinvention in PROSE: Legacy and COMIC: Ascendance/Descendance.
    • Although a few were implied in earlier stories, but never expanded.
  • 1983 was indeed a point in which the the Cold War could have very easily run hot, due to the (alluded to) Able Archer '83 exercises that terrified the already paranoid Soviets. There were even several close calls throughout the year, including one famous incident where only the cool head of a Soviet radar operator deciding that the missile that appeared on his screen was not a launch but most likely an equipment malfunction prevented a full-scale nuclear launch.
  • All camera shots featuring the exterior of the submarine under the water were made using scale models in front of a blue screen.
  • The interior of the TARDIS isn't seen in this episode.
  • Cold War is the first televised appearance of the Ice Warriors in thirty-nine years (1974's The Monster of Peladon), the third-longest length between televised antagonist appearances; the Great Intelligence is first at forty-four years, the Macra second at forty.


Ratings

  • The overnight ratings were 5.7 million.

Filming locations

to be added

Production errors

  • When ever Skaldak walks anywhere in armour, he makes loud clunking noises due to the weight of the armour, but when he approaches the Doctor near the beginning, he arrives silently. Although these are inconsistent, the earlier silence is most likely intentional, to allow the Doctor's comic reactions.
  • When Skaldak is electrocuted by a crewman, the electricity should have traveled through the water that he & the rest of the characters were standing in.

Continuity

Home video releases

DVD releases

to be added

Blu-ray releases

to be added

External links

to be added


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