SFX can exclusively reveal that the next series of Doctor Who will mark the return of one of the Time Lord's greatest foes, unseen in the series for nearly 40 years.
"We've got the most fantastic episode by Mark Gatiss," executive producer Caro Skinner tells SFX, "where we are bringing back the Ice Warrior... on a submarine! It's a really wonderful kind of 'bunker' episode, and a classic monster which Mark has brought his own inimitable twist to."
Armed with lethal sonic technology, the reptillian warmongers first tangled with Patrick Troughton's Doctor in 1967's "The Ice Warriors", returning two years later in "The Seeds Of Death". Jon Pertwee's incarnation encountered them in 1972's "The Curse Of Peladon" and 1974's "The Monster Of Peladon". Traditionally seen as one of the show's "Big Four" pantheon of monsters - along with the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Sontarans - the militaristic Martians won a throwaway mention in 2009's "The Waters Of Mars" but have remained unseen in the 21st Century series.
"We wanted to bring them back because they're wonderful!" says Skinner. "In the mix of stories that we were planning for this year it felt as if doing something very bold with a monster that hadn’t been seen for a while would be really cool. Mark is an enormous fan of the Ice Warrior stories and came up with the idea. The sense of a monster of that scale and that size trapped in a really small, contained environment such as a submarine was a really brilliant story to be able to tell. And obviously we’ve had a huge amount of fun going back to the traditional designs and recreating them, bringing the Ice Warriors back to life again.
"They were such a beautiful original design, and are genuinely really scary in terms of what they look like as they’re coming towards you in that armour. Letting a huge Ice Warrior loose at the heart of a classic Hunt For Red October style submarine movie was exactly the kind of story that the Doctor should get mixed up in.
"They’ve got really scary voices as well," smiles Skinner. "I spent quite a lot of time on set trying to hiss like an Ice Warrior..."
The Red Planet's scariest export returns in episode three of series 7.2, directed by Douglas Mackinnon and starring the legend that is David Warner.
Doctor Who returns to BBC One on Saturday 30 March.
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