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

Day 191: The Ice Warriors, Episode Five

Dear diary,

It has to be said that the design of this story is really 1960s in some places. It's evident right through the look of the Ice Warriors' ship, from the little TV screens in the walls to the large circle motifs that are dotted all around. It must have been in fashion when they left Mars.

Perhaps even more obviously, though, you've got the costumes of the base personnel. They're some of the most 'out-there' costumes that we've had in the series so far, and they're certainly not dull! In my mind, the bits that show up as white here are probably all different garish colours (probably denoting rank. For some reason in my mind, Clent's outfit is a bright blue and the female technicians are all orange), with those black patterns stretched across them. I'm assuming it's so that when they're out on the glacier, amongst the snow, they can be easily spotted. Well, that's my reasoning for it, anyway.

I'm also impressed by the headsets they wear when operating the computer - strange visor-like things which come up and over the head, forming a kind of 'shield' in front of their eyes. It's a typically 1960s science-fiction idea (although it's not been stated on screen wether they display data to the wearer, or if they just act as a shield, possibly to negate the effects of staring at this 'advanced' computer for so long each day), but it doesn't seem to sour of place in a world where we have things on the horizon such as Google GLΛSS. If anything, they just look like an oddly stylish version of that same invention!

One of the things that I'm finding myself really enjoying in this story (actually, it's probably the thing that I'm enjoying the most, currently) is just how much Patrick Troughton has become the Doctor that I think of as the second Doctor. His character has been there right since his very first episode, but we've watched it develop and evolve since his run-in with the Daleks on Vulcan. Here, there's a priceless moment as he enters the Ice Warriors' ship, having been let out of their air lock for satisfactorily answering questions. 'Thank you very much. Very civil of you,' he says, striding into the ship, before he looks up at the sheer size of an Ice Warrior, and turns to hurriedly leave with an 'Oh my lord!'

Equally, there's something about the idea of the Doctor using a stink bomb in an attempt to escape from the ship that feels so right for this incarnation. it put me in mind of the Tenth Doctor's escape from a Pyrovile through the use of a little yellow water pistol, and I think there's a very clear through-line between these two events. Here, it feels like the kind of thing I can see the Doctor doing in one of the TV Comic stories, with a finger pointed toward the top of the panel as he explains that the stink bomb may well be deadly to an alien.

Oh, and also, how cosy does it look when the Doctor (in his over-sized furry coat) gives a big cuddle to Victoria (in her little cloak with the fur collar)? You just want to cuddle up with them and enjoy the sensation!

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Susan McCauley