9 July 2013
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Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start... 

Day 190: The Ice Warriors, Episode Four

Dear diary,

I’ve just realised that I’ve not done my cheer for alternative ways of doing the titles in this story! It’s been a little while since we had something a bit different from the norm, and I guess that, technically, I should have been titling the last few entries as ‘The 50 Year Diary, Day XX, The Ice Warriors, ONE’. While I quite enjoy it when we have occasional different looks to the episode titles, it really doesn’t look right for the programme. Maybe it’s because I got so used to the standard look during the Hartnell era?

Something that I have mentioned already for this story is just how great the Ice Warriors themselves look, but having an actual moving episode to watch them in makes it worth mentioning again. They’re fantastic, aren’t they? I’ve never noticed before all the little movements they make of their heads when speaking, but it really does add something to the characters. Equally, I’d never spotted how flexible their arms are. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know how weird that sounds, but I think I’ve become so used to the action figure of the Ice Warriors that I’d assumed their arms were made of a kind of hard carapace like their body armour. In many ways, I'd never realised just how lizard-like they are in this story. I've always thought of the creatures as being a type of lizard (it's the scales, and the hissing voice which seems to suggest a forked tongue) but I'd never realised that they were actually played as such.

It’s also worth noting just how well the direction here is serving them. There’s lots of tight close-ups on the faces, which really allows us a good look at the make up design (though it does also reveal that the lips don’t look quite right when the creatures are talking, sadly). We also get a lot of close ups on the armour itself, which shows that off rather nicely, too. I think I quite liked Derek Martinus’ direction of The Tenth Planet, too, so perhaps it shouldn’t come as any great surprise to me to see him doing well here.

One thing about the Ice Warriors that I have to confess I’m less than impressed by is (what I’ve called in my notes) ‘Big Head Warrior’. The Ice Warrior with the especially large head is an image I know from images taken during this story’s recording, and it’s never looked quite right to me. I’d always assumed that there must be a reason in-story that this one particular Warrior had such a different outfit… but I don’t think there is one. Certainly, I’ve not noticed any reason being mentioned.

It's not the only thing from The Ice Warriors that I know quite well from the photos of the story. I've previously mentioned the images of the Ice Warrior towering over Victoria in the store room, but here we've got a scene which was captured perhaps one of the most iconic photographs from this era of the programme - Victoria being chased through the ice cave by the (Big Head) Ice Warrior. I'm still stunned that the DVD cover to the story doesn't have the image on there (though it is still a gorgeous design - one of the best that the range has ever had, I think.)

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