We’re just a couple of days away from the long-awaited return of the Ice Warriors in Doctor Who Series 7 episode Cold War – 39 years since their last appearance in The Monster of Peladon.
Writer Mark Gatiss has previously written the episodes The Unquiet Dead (2005), The Idiot’s Lantern (2006), Victory of the Daleks (2010) and Night Terrors (2011), as well as The Crimson Horror which we’ll see in a couple of week’s time. His writing has been divisive to say the least – one of the more widely respected novelists and audio writers, Gatiss’ stock among many fans has been in freefall since The Idiot’s Lantern (although Night Terrors made up for things in my opinion).
But what about Cold War? Well, it’s not like anything you’ll have seen from the pen of Mark Gatiss before. Sure, there are scares, and immense surprises, but all in all this is a very different type of adventure, a combination in some ways of the style of 1980s script editor Eric Saward and The Abominable Snowmen/The Web of Fear writers Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln.
Now, naturally we cannot give you any details – they might be spoilers. However, after previewing the episode twice, it is as fan-pleasing as they come, while remaining a fantastic adventure for casual viewers or fans with no knowledge of the Ice Warriors.
Casting-wise, both David Warner and Liam Cunningham are excellent, while Matt and Jenna are clearly enjoying themselves immensely with the situation and script.
As we’ve seen, bringing back classic elements of Doctor Who isn’t easy. Shearman managed it (after many drafts) with Dalek, while the RTD-era Cybermen and the Master and the Moffat-era Silurians have never been wholly embraced by fans as continuations of the originals. Only the Time Lords and perhaps the Sontarans (who have genuinely taken on a new lease of life) and The Great Intelligence can be said to have been successful (with the jury still out on the latter pending the end of Series 7b).
So, Mark Gatiss took on a massive task in writing this episode. Personally, with an ending that is perfect, I think he nails it – and I suspect most of you will think so too…