During the latest series of Doctor Who Blogtor Who will look at all the nods and references to adventures which have gone before. So even if you are not already a Mastermind expert on all things in the Whoniverse you can appreciate the little detail as well. Perhaps you are a very knowledgeable Whovian already but did you spot them all?
The American organisation of space exploration has been encountered by The Doctor in the past. They proved critical in defeating the Silence during the events of ‘The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon’ (2011). NASA were also included in the teleconference during ‘The Eleventh Hour’ (2010). Further references were also made to NASA in Torchwood (Ghost Machine, 2006) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (The Vault of Secrets, 2010).
The Ice Warriors first appeared in Doctor Who 50 years ago. Appropriately this was in the story titled ‘The Ice Warriors’. However, the name ‘Ice Warriors’ is merely a nickname which has stuck around. These reptilian humanoids are Martians, inhabitants of Earth’s nearest neighbour Mars. The creatures proved popular and author Brian Hayles was asked for a sequel. The Ice Warrior name stuck too and they returned in ‘The Seeds of Death’ during 1969.
Ice Warriors appeared in a total of four stories during the classic era, plus a cameo in ‘The War Games’ (1969), Patrick Troughton’s final story as the Second Doctor. With the third incarnation Jon Pertwee in the role, the Ice Warriors returned in a pair of stories set on the planet Peladon, ‘The Curse of Peladon’ (1972) and ‘The Monster of Peladon’ (1974). These would be their last appearances onscreen until 2013’s ‘Cold War’. Return appearances unfortunately fell victim of cancellations. ‘Mission to Magnus’ would’ve seen the Ice Warriors join forces with Sil for the intended Season 23. Similarly, ‘Thin Ice’ was proposed for the abandoned Season 27. Both of these stories have since been reimagined by Big Finish. Over half a century the Ice Warriors have featured in novels, comic strips and of course audio adventures.
The portrait of Queen Victoria, Empress of India, is not a mere historical image. Instead it is Pauline Collins as Queen Victoria. She played the role in 2006’s story ‘Tooth and Claw’ opposite the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler.
‘Rank has it’s privileges’ was also stated by Captain Mike Yates of UNIT at Auderly House during ‘Day of the Daleks’ (1972). On that occasion he requisitioned some food and drink which Jo Grant had offered to Sergeant Benton.
In addition to the standard Ice Warriors, viewers have also seen a number of senior Martians. The Ice Lord was first introduced in ‘The Seeds of Death’ (1969) with the character Slaar. This sleeker, more authoritative creature was a departure from the bulky and powerful Warriors. Towards the end of the story the Grand Marshall is also seen on a screen, sporting a bejewelled helmet in the style of Slaar. An image of Slaar also appeared in the fears of the Third Doctor when he came under attack from the Keller Machine in ‘The Mind of Evil’ (1971).
Further Ice Lords featured heavily in the two Peladon stories. Izlyr was the Martian delegate for the Galactic Federation on Peladon. As a member of the Galactic Federation the Ice Warriors had chosen a path of peace and were present on the planet to assess Peladon’s suitability to join the community. When the Third Doctor later encountered another Ice Lord, Azaxyr, on Peladon he uncovered that he wanted to return to the militaristic goal of conquest. This week’s episode of Doctor Who now introduces us to Iraxxa the Empress of Mars, the first apparently female Martian seen onscreen.
Ah, Alpha Centauri. The hemaphrodite hexapod. The phalic shaped alien with six arms and one eye in a cloak. It first appeared during ‘The Curse of Peladon’ (1972) as a delegate of the Galactic Federation. When the Third Doctor returned to the planet, Alpha Centauri had been appointed as an ambassador to Peladon. Although in ‘The Empress of Mars’ (2017) we only see an Alpha Centauran on a screen, it is once again voiced by Ysanne Churchman. Amazingly she has returned to voice the role at the age of 92.