Wrath of the Ice Warriors

Posted in Audio by - July 10, 2022
Wrath of the Ice Warriors

Released July 2022

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

With his mysterious and dangerous new role for the Celestial Intervention Agency now known, the Second Doctor in Andrew Smith’s ‘Wrath of the Ice Warriors’ finds himself plunged into conflict near Cape Wrath, Scotland, just as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and UNIT begin to investigate the sighting of black cylinders in the sky and an aggressive creature in the sea. A flotilla of ships is waiting near Jupiter, and the Doctor must race against time to stop Earth from being caught in the crossfire of what he assumes to be a new Martian invasion when he recognizes the presence of his old enemies.

Given that this story is positioned after the end of the televised Second Doctor era yet before the Third Doctor era that would make Earthbound UNIT stories so immeasurably successful, it makes perfect sense to blend the two eras without simply having the Second Doctor step into the more traditional stylings of his successor. Happily, Michael Troughton continues to excel with and even improve upon his performance as the titular Time Lord, his energy and tone expertly capturing the true spirit, earnestness, and humour of this particular incarnation. This makes for a wonderful relationship with the Brigadier, the shrewd intelligence that the Second Doctor can hide behind a quiet confidence and ability to deflect attention from himself making for a much more congenial relationship with the UNIT stalwart than the more overtly confident and proud Third Doctor often had. Indeed, Jon Culshaw- who has all but perfected the authoritative and determined intonations of the Brigadier- and Troughton display a remarkable chemistry that hints at the characters’ time together on screen in ‘The Web of Fear’ and ‘The Invasion’ while retroactively laying further groundwork for how the Doctor’s impending exile would in essence come to unfold.

The Ice Warriors are seemingly one of the trickier alien species to find new storytelling material for, the state of Mars and of its denizens outside of the distant past limiting several narrative opportunities. Accordingly, the main beats of ‘Wrath of the Ice Warriors’ have all been seen before, a dishonoured member not realizing just how far out of time she is as she plots her revenge being the foundation here. However, the story makes the most of its supporting cast to enhance these more traditional elements, and the more noble aspects of humanity being preyed upon does at least provide a contrast to the darkness of humanity and honour of the Martians that typically comes to focus. In fact, this aspect gives the Second Doctor a tremendous opportunity to highlight his more compassionate and empathetic side that Troughton leans into with gusto, and the relationship that develops between the Doctor and Sheena whose local knowledge and intuition prove to be so helpful and troublesome to the investigation at hand is magnificent. Nicholas Briggs who has voiced the Ice Warriors so often before is superb as Ignar, and Mark Elstob as Skaar and Katy Manning as Lady Zelanda combine to give a brilliant layering to this society on such a small scale, Manning in particular obviously relishing the opportunity to play such a single-minded villainous role alongside Lucy Goldie’s Sheena. Each line in the script is delivered perfectly, and the pacing, sound design, and direction all combine to create an engaging story that is firmly entrenched in its two intended eras and that solidifies the audio potential that the Second Doctor who has finally received his own range unequivocally holds.

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