Saturday, 16 December 2017

185 The Ice Warriors: Six

EPISODE: The Ice Warriors: Six
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 16 December 1967
WRITER: Brian Hayles
DIRECTOR: Derek Martinus
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors
TELESNAPS: The Ice Warriors: Six

"Surrender or die! Surrender now or I will blast your base to fragments!"

The Doctor struggles with Zondal but he manages to fire the weapon before collapsing. Varga demands Clent's surrender but Clent negotiates with him for face to face talks. Walters struggles under the pressure and goes to smash the computer before Miss Garrett stuns him. The Doctor begins work on modifying the Martian sonic cannon.

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Varga, Isbur and Rintan arrive at the base and start to talk with Clent. Walters starts to regain conciousness and aims a weapon at Varga but is killed by a warrior. Varga demands the fuel from the reactor. Miss Garrett is forced to run the Ioniser down to a safe level. The Doctor has modified the sonic cannon to affect liquids theorising that the Ice Warriors have a higher water content than humans. Penley awakens in the sickbay and leaves. Making his way to the control room he sees the warriors within and raises the temperature and humidity levels making things very uncomfortable for them even before the Doctor fires the sonic cannon at the base forcing their retreat. The Doctor destroys the sonic cannon controls for the ship before he and Victoria leave. When they return to the base Penley overrides the computer's decision and activates the Ioniser at full power forcing back the glacier and destroying the Martian vessel.

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GARRETT: Only a minor explosion. We're safe!
DOCTOR: Oh. Goodness me!
PENLEY: Set all circuits to automatic, Miss Garrett, and tie in with the World Ioniser instrumentation. Clent, will you check these readings with me? And you've a report to prepare, haven't you?
CLENT: Yes, yes, yes, I have. Penley, you are the most insufferably irritating and infuriating person I've ever been privileged to work with.
PENLEY: Thank you.
CLENT: Can't write a report though, can you? Something I've got to do for you. Well don't worry, it's something that I've been trained to do.
PENLEY: Without the computer?
CLENT: Now, Penley, I've always written my own speeches and my own reports.
PENLEY: Are you going to include? Well, where's the Doctor?
The Doctor and his friends however have made their exit while everyone is distracted.

That's not a bad final episode. Liked that a lot!

We found out last episode that Walters didn't volunteer for the job. Here, as the base comes under attack he snaps:

WALTERS: Well why can't we do it, sir? It's our only chance for survival.
GARRETT: You know the computers decision and its reasons.
WALTERS: I know all about that. But it doesn't exactly give much thought to us, does it?
GARRETT: The computer thinks of everything, considers all the facts.
WALTERS: And it's supposed to come up with all the answers, isn't it? Well, a fat lot of good it's doing us now. Wait, it says, wait! With glaciers on the one hand, and warriors on the other! Well, what price your computer now.
CLENT: Walters!
WALTERS: What we need is someone like Penley, or that Doctor. Somebody who can think. Not with a machine. And what good's your precious computer done anyway? Nothing! Nothing but trouble! And it's time somebody put a stop to it.
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This leads to Miss Garrett stunning him leaving him out cold on the floor.

There's an unfortunate moment of comedy when the Ice Warriors enter the control room as both Rintan and Isbur hit their heads on the top of the door frame and have to bend under it to enter the room. Varga however maintains his dignity! But once you get over it the stakes and the immediacy are upped by having the Ice Warriors confront Clent on his own ground: , since he's now on the floor with a tranquillizer gun to hand, inadvertantly leads to his death at the hands of the Ice Warriors.

CLENT: Well now, gentlemen, you said no traps and we for our part have made utterly sure, that there are no traps
VARGA: I made no promises. I merely warned you not to trick me.
GARRETT: How can we help you?
VARGA: I will tell you what I want and you will give it to me.
CLENT: Oh, come now, Varga. That's not the way to talk. We're both of us in a very difficult situation and at times like this it beholds us both to proceed with mutual respect and, because the whole world could be
It's at this point Walters regains conciousness and since he's now on the floor with a tranquillizer gun to hand attempts to attack the Ice Warriors with fatal results for him.

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VARGA: So much for your word.
CLENT: That was, that was not planned.
VARGA: I have one major requirement. The mercury isotopes for my ships reactor. You will give them to me.
CLENT: But we don't use mercury isotopes.
VARGA: The Doctor stated that you had them here.
CLENT: Well, he was wrong. We have none.
VARGA: You are lying.
CLENT: What good will it do me?
VARGA: Tell me what will happen if we halted your reactor in order to remove the fuel elements we need.
GARRETT: You can't do that!
CLENT: That reactor gives us light, heat and power.
GARRETT: And it powers the ioniser.
VARGA: So that without it, you would be completely helpless.
CLENT: In Arctic conditions like these we'd soon perish.
VARGA: Whereas we would not.
CLENT: You'd be wasting your time. This reactor does not use mercury.
VARGA: I do not believe you.
CLENT: But you must.
VARGA: There is only one way to find out. Where are the reactor controls? Tell me now.
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The Ice Warrior intrusion is halted by a combination of Penley making the conditions in the base very uncomfortable to the Ice Warriors (We'll be seeing that trick used against them again!)and the Doctor setting the modified sonic cannon on them.

DOCTOR: Well, primarily it affects fluids.
VICTORIA: What good is that to us?
DOCTOR: Well, I believe that Varga and his warriors have a far greater fluid content than human beings. There.
VICTORIA: If it works, what happens?
DOCTOR: That's just it. I don't know.
VICTORIA: Oh now look, Doctor.
DOCTOR: But I do know that whatever effect it has on the scientists, it'll have a far greater one on the warriors.
VICTORIA: Well, how's that?
DOCTOR: Well, apart from the fluid question, their helmets will trap and intensify the soundwaves.
VICTORIA: You mean, it'll knock them out and leave the scientists a bit dizzy. Well, is that it?
DOCTOR: Well, that's what I'm hoping, but there is just a vague risk that it'll kill everybody. Clent and Penley included.
VICTORIA: And Jamie? No, no, no. It's too dangerous!
DOCTOR: It's a risk we must take, Victoria!
DOCTOR: Now, cross your fingers. Here we go.
Humans are themselves 60% water so how high a percentage are Ice Warriors?

In the end it all comes down to the argument of whether to use the Ion Cannon or not and, in turn do the humans take the initiative to act without orders from the computer.

DOCTOR: Up you get. Come along, Miss Garrett. There you are.
GARRETT: Oh, the ioniser. They made me disconnect it.
DOCTOR: Then it must be switched on again immediately.
GARRETT: I don't take orders from you.
CLENT: Miss Garrett, if we are to obey Computer Control, it must be reconnected. Do so, please.
GARRETT: Yes, of course.
DOCTOR: Clent, their spacecraft is powered by an ion reactor.
CLENT: Well, that means we dare not use the ioniser at full force. That's our last chance gone.
PENLEY: Why, for heavens sake?
CLENT: Because of the risk, man. You know what would happen.
DOCTOR: Of course there's a risk, but it's a risk we must take. It's the only way!
PENLEY: Exactly.
CLENT: The computer says no!
PENLEY: The computer
CLENT: Is our supreme advisor.

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PENLEY: And what sort of advice is that. Do nothing?
GARRETT: We must obey!
PENLEY: And be destroyed? Has the computer considered that?
CLENT: The computer considers everything.
DOCTOR: But that's why in this case you cannot rely on its judgement!
GARRETT: We trust the computer. It is our strength and our guide.
DOCTOR: Not this time.
JAMIE: Well, why not?
DOCTOR: Because Jamie, the computer is faced with an insoluble problem. Either way it risks destroying itself and this it cannot do. It must play safe.
JAMIE: Aye, but if it does nothing that's just as bad.
DOCTOR: I'll explain to you another time, Jamie.
PENLEY: There's only one way out.
CLENT: What?
PENLEY: We must over-ride the computer.
GARRETT: You can't do that!
PENLEY: We must. This is a decision for a man to take, not a machine. The computer isn't designed to take risks, but that is the essence of man's progress. We must decide.
CLENT: But if you do that you'll soon ruin the world plan. All the ioniser bases must act together through World Computer Control! If we act too soon it's as bad as being too late!
PENLEY: Yes, I know that, but the other bases haven't got a glacier right on top of them and apart from that what about these ice warriors? If they live they threaten our entire civilisation.
DOCTOR: A decision must be taken, and quickly!
CLENT: I can't.

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GARRETT: I daren't.
DOCTOR: Penley, it's up to you.
PENLEY: Well, Clent?
CLENT: I reserve the right to consult the computer.
PENLEY: Go ahead.

Unfortunately the computer can't cope with the decision so we're treated now to it spinning round madly as it malfunctions.
DOCTOR: Well, Penley?
PENLEY: We will use the ioniser at full strength to turn back the glacier. Miss Garrett, inform World Control.
JAMIE: But the spaceship, if you release it from the ice?
PENLEY: At full strength the ioniser will melt rock.
Even then Clent has a last moment panic about what they're doing while Penley trusts his judgement!
CLENT: Instrument readings on the glacier face show a steady rise in temperature. Now near to maximum.
JAMIE: Well, how will we know?
GARRETT: The instruments on the ice face have the highest heat and shock resistance known to man. When they cease to function, everything about them will be destroyed.
CLENT: You're wrong! You're wrong! We'll all be killed!
PENLEY: It is a risk I willingly take.
Yeah, that wasn't too bad an episode but you could see the "Humans triumph by making a decision over the computer" coming a mile off. There's a lot of mucking about and repetition in this story as a whole, I wonder if it might have worked better as a four parter rather than a six? Victoria gets a fair bit to do, being captured by Varga and escaping only in episode 6. It's worth noting that in four stories she's been orphaned, kidnapped twice and possessed once so her time as a companion has been pretty traumatic so far!

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In the larger Doctor Who picture the story serves as a decent introduction to The Ice Warriors who stand out as being much more organic than the Daleks or Cybermen. They would be back the following year to menace The Doctor again in the Seeds of Death.

The Ice Warriors was novelised by it's author Brian Hayles and was the third Troughton story to see print. Almost every Doctor Who hardback in my local library advertised it on the back but they didn't have a copy so I was very keen to find it in paperback in the shops. To this day I'd swear it's better than the TV story. An Audiobook version is currently available. The Ice Warriors was released on Video in November 1998 for the show's 35th anniversary. The set contained all four surviving episodes, a partial telesnap reconstruction of the 2 missing ones, a cd of the soundtrack of both missing episodes, a documentary on the missing episodes and the sole surviving episode of the Underwater Menace. I was at this point getting increasingly keen to see Web of Fear part 1 so was annoyed that wasn't used instead of Underwater Menace. A Soundtrack CD of all 6 episodes was released in August 2005 with narration by Fraser Hines and have since been re-released as part of Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967)

At this point in the first run of the blog I commented:

We've done well so far this season: 9 of the 16 episodes exist. Sadly only 4 episodes exist of the remaining 24 in the season.
That number, thanks to the complete return of Enemy of the World and near complete return of Web of Fear, now stands at 13 out of 24. The immediate future moves on-screen a lot more than it does the last time we were here!

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