Ice Heist!

Posted in Audio by - March 04, 2023
Ice Heist!

Released March 2023


Long after her adventure alongside the Doctor investigating the strange phenomena and witch in Ravencliff, sculptor Margaret Hopwood has never stopped thinking about that burst of excitement. In ‘Ice Heist!’ by Guy Adams, the Doctor finally comes calling once more, offering Margaret the opportunity to travel to an art gallery on a distant world, one that- unbeknown to him- a faction of Ice Warriors is about to attack.

First and foremost, Adams has an incredible grasp on the characters of the Fourth Doctor, Leela, and Margaret, and the contrast of a young savage who is eager to continue expanding her horizons and experiencing the wonders of the universe with an elder pensioner reflecting upon her life and looking for another taste of excitement provides a brilliant foundation for this story. Louise Jameson and Nerys Hughes are stunning together and quickly craft an immense friendship filled with mutual respect despite the obvious differences in their individual past experiences, and Leela taking on something of a mentor role as Margaret tries to take in this frigid world and the wonders and dangers around her is a fascinating dynamic that also allows Leela to profess her true adoration of the Doctor while still noting how frustrating he can be and how he so often does not understand people on a personal level. For his part, Tom Baker gives an absolutely sublime performance as the Doctor here, quick to use his wit and incongruous appearance to slow anyone confronting him but always acutely aware of his surroundings and able to intuit the motivations of those around him even if he horribly misjudges Margaret’s reaction to witnessing her art being revered so far in her future. There is little doubt already that this TARDIS trio has the potential to be amongst the franchise’s greatest given the incredible dynamic that exists among the three and the very unique outlook and skill set that each brings, the somewhat familiar setting of this distant gallery providing an anchor for Margaret on her first journey in the TARDIS to serve as a springboard into the more audacious locales that are sure to follow.

Of course, the Fourth Doctor never encountered the Ice Warriors on screen, but his prior meetings have him well-versed in the Martians’ cultural norms and their potential for danger. He has much more of an open mind regarding these aliens than Leela as Kaltakk leads something of a diplomatic appearance centring around a famed Martian statue, but preconceptions are challenged on every level when her comrades abandon the honour-based system that has left them destitute and forced to attempt to steal all of the gallery’s pieces to achieve maximum profit. This is an incredible subversion of standard that makes the Ice Warriors- for better or for worse- all the more relatable given the extremes this group feels it must go to in order to survive, and the interpersonal drama that results between both Ice Warriors and humans as they together attempt to circumnavigate security protocols and the deathly cold of this world and its effects on their surroundings is superbly realized and allows each of the main players to fully develop into well-rounded characters fueled by palpable emotions and urgency. The layers added by a prior dubious interpretation of law and by an attempted extreme corporate cover-up to maintain good public relations by eliminating any evidence make ‘Ice Heist!’ all the more resonant by providing more context without ever taking away from the story proper or its characters, and Adele Lynch and Nicholas Briggs do wonderful work as this new take on the Ice Warriors and perfectly complement the equally engaging performances of Beth Goddard, Oliver Chris, and Robert Whitelock.

In short, ‘Ice Heist!’ is just about everything that a fan of the Fourth Doctor era and of Doctor Who in general can hope to expect. It makes superb use of its four-episode length without ever shortchanging any plot point or unnecessarily padding superfluous elements, and the incredible relationship that Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, and Nerys Hughes show already makes this seem like a well-established team from the classic run. Accentuated by brilliant direction and sound design, Adams uses the Fourth Doctor to perfectly balance levity and severity as the increasing Ice Warrior threat becomes both familiar and unique while a very human threat silently builds in the background, and the intense setting housing a very personal connection to Margaret make this a must-listen and an absolute success on every level.

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