Doctor Who Magazine's Dave Owen interviewed Marc Platt, the writer of Ghost Light and Downtime, and author of Cat's Cradle and Lungbarrow, about his planned Ice Warrior story for Season 26. Some of the interview was used in an article called 27-Up in DWM 255. The entire interview is available at Shelf Life On Line. A portion is reposted here with permission.

I was supposed to be doing the second story which was a 4 parter and although Andrew didn't actually tell me at the time Ben rang me up and said "You do realise this is Ace's last story". Andrew has since confessed to me and said that he now knows that I know he tried to keep it quiet. Andrew wanted me to do an Ice Warrior story because he said I was the one who knew most about the past, semi-reliably so, and thought that I could do them a degree of justice, and I said I'd like to do one set on Mars, with Mars as a terraformed pasture planet and the Ice Warriors coming back to life, and Andrew said "No - I want to do one set in the sixties" so this was his idea.

 

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Mock Ice Time Bookcover
Mock Ice Time book cover,
printed in DWM #255

Ice Time

Andrew wanted to do a period story like Remembrance mainly because we liked doing period stuff and it helped that the designers liked doing historical detail. You can have resonances within that whereas its so difficult to create an alien culture in depth on a BBC budget. The designers just want to spray everything silver and light it like a Christmas tree. He wanted to do a sort of homage to The Avengers. He wanted it to look like The Avengers in the sixties. John had also just set up an exhibition at London Dungeon. He wanted to use the London Dungeon as a location as well, and I was briefed to work that it. I was looking through old copies of Radio Times and Illustrated London News and things for the look of designs and just to get ideas and things and it wasn't worked out in a lot of detail.

Prydon Prejudice

We had worked out what we were going to do with Ace; the Doctor planned to enroll her at Prydon Academy on Gallifrey. You wouldn't have actually seen that but throughout the story the Doctor keeps nipping out of time to this board room where there are Time Lords who are watching. My notes say "Ace's temporal awareness starts to increase. She's aware of the grand scale of universal events, and she can stand back and see them from the Doctor's point of view so that in effect she's becoming Gallifreyan and it turns out that the Doctor wants to enroll her at Prydon Academy on Gallifrey; that's what he's always been leading up to. The Time Lords insist on setting a task for her and the Doctor isn't allowed to interfere and this maddens him because he's trapped inside his own bargain. It's like the way they used the Doctor - now they're using Ace as well and he can't stop then because he's agreed to tell them do it."

Warriors and Angels

It was an Ice Warrior story and I wanted to keep it to the spirit of Brian Hayles' writing, not just in Doctor Who but in other things he'd done an episode of Out of the Unknown, and The Moon Stallion, so I wanted to try work in a mystical element, and I wanted to try and deepen the Martian aristocratic and chivalric history. There would be some sections of mysterious Ice Warrior armour as one of the London Dungeon's exhibits. Sort of ghostly armour of a long-dead Ice Lord, and evil Ice Lord, which when it's fully reassembled will restore him to life too, and there'd also be a second Ice Lord who's been a sworn enemy of the first, but he's been hidden on Earth waiting to continue their battle. When the two of them get back together there's a big feud across swinging London. Andrew would have certainly added bits and taken away bits, and said "Oh God, you can't put that in" , and I would have said - "Oh God, you can't put that in". I wanted to put in a group and black-leather-clad bikers whose helmets bore a sort of passing resemblance to Ice Warrior helmets.

The Dodgy Brigadier

There would probably be a hippie character living in a canal longboat, a setting that also reappears in Downtime. He's a youngish hippie and has a lot of dodgy underworld connections, and it's his girlfriend to whom the Doctor delivers a daughter at the end of the story. The Doctor names the baby and then later comes back to claim her as the next companion. I've got a suspicion that Ben knew the name. He was already in Ben's following story and I just connected up the two characters. The Doctor comes back to claim her and by then her Dad had become a sort of underworld boss, I don't even know that the times would have connected up, and if the first was set in '66 and the next one in '96 then she'd be 30, which is a bit old for a companion. It was only much later that I spoke to Andrew about it and it was only then that he knew that Ben and I were having thoughts about that either. I had ideas that this character would come back as a sort of dodgy Brigadier type as a sort of regular character with underworld connections. The other thing was that I did have worked out for this story was that there must be a scene were the Doctor has to tell Ace about his plans for the academy for her. Of course she's furious, after which she storms off, and he's thoroughly ashamed and he sets up at great length and escape for them both, only to find at the end that Ace turns the tables on him and agrees to go to the academy, and tells him she will because that's what he really wants. It isn't an easy parting for them but there's a lot of love and a lot of sadness in it, too. A bit more depth than the usual "Oh well, I'm off", because there's a lot of resentment, as well as devotion on both their parts.

 


Like Mission to Magnus, Ice Time wasn't made for the worst of reasons: cancellation. In 1989, near the end of its Twenty-fifth season, the BBC decided to take Doctor Who off the air. Eight years would pass before the Doctor was seen on the television screen again.

However, several of Marc Platt's Ice Time ideas showed up in Ben Aaronvitch's 1992 New Adventure novel Transit. Set several years after a war between Earth and Mars, Transit presents a society recovering from war and struggling to survive. Many different sub-cultures have popped into existence. Some of these groups are addicted to drugs, others to technology, while others love to defy death by "surfing" the transit tunnels. One sub-culture even wears costumes reminiscent of Martian body armour, including motorcycle helmets shaped like an Ice Warrior's headgear.

Also during this time Mars is being terraformed into a pastoral planet fit for humans to live on. But the Ice Warriors wouldn't "come back to life" on their homeworld until the New Adventure GodEngine four years later.

 

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