Doctor Who: 10 Things You Might Not Know About THE SEEDS OF DEATH - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: 10 Things You Might Not Know About THE SEEDS OF DEATH

Take a T-Mat to the moon for ten things you might not know about the Ice Warriors return in The Seeds Of Death.


1. The Ice Warriors had made their debut in the eponymous Season 5 adventure broadcast towards the end of 1967. Their return was almost as good as guaranteed from the moment that first adventure went into active production.

The Ice Warriors creator Brian Hayles had envisioned them as Viking-like cybernetic creatures, with high-tech instruments on their armour and helmets. Costume designer Martin Baugh, however, saw the creatures as more reptilian, with the armour and helmet as part of their exoskeleton. This design was approved by Peter Bryant, the then Doctor Who producer, but it turned out to be a lot more expensive to produce than anyone had considered. Bryant knew that, unless the monsters bombed, a return for the Ice Warriors was the only way to justify the design price tag.

2. Hayles was approached to pen a second adventure before the final episode of The Ice Warriors was broadcast, in December 1967. Based on his draft idea, the following February Hayles was officially commissioned to write a six part adventure called The Lords Of The Red Planet. The synopsis for this story reads as such...
The TARDIS crew land on Mars, home of the Ice Warriors, far back in its history. The Doctor is convinced it's much too early for them to meet their frozen foes.. but the Doctor is wrong. Far below the surface of the planet an evil scheme is in motion. A scientist works night and day at the command of an insane despot. A despot intent on creating a terrifyingly familiar army. What exactly does Zaadur plan? What dark secret lies at the heart of the Gandoran mines? How far will the Doctor go to save his friends? In the deepest caves, the true Lords of the Red Planet are ready to emerge... Can anyone possibly survive their birth?
Hayles handed his script in in July 1968. It seems it wasn't to the liking of the Doctor Who production team, who rejected it, and they commissioned a new storyline from him instead.

Spending 45 years on the scrapheap, The Lord Of The Red Planet was finally realised by Big Finish in 2013 as part of their Lost Stories range.


3. Hayles second attempt at a second Ice Warriors adventure was titled The Seeds Of Death, but his completed version varied greatly to the one which finally made it to the screen. For instance, the female character Gia Kelly was originally a man just called Kelly. He was to be assisted by a woman named Mary Burcott, who in the broadcast version became the male assistant Brent.

Other changes include the Ice Lords who Hayles envisaged as being more humanoid than their Warrior counterparts, and Slaar was to have a superior named Visek. Once again, it's possible that the cost of the costumes was the reason behind that idea being dropped.

4. Talking about Slaar, this character is played by Alan Bennion, who would return as the Ice Lord Izlyr in The Curse of Peladon and Azaxyr in The Monster of Peladon. Sonny Caldinez, who played Slaar's second in command, is the only actor to appear as an Ice Warrior in all four televised classic Doctor Who stories to feature the characters, having also played Turok in their eponymous debut adventure (and he also appeared as Kemel in The Evil of the Daleks).


5. Possibly the biggest difference in Hayles proposed version of The Seeds Of Death and the broadcast version was that Hayles' didn't feature the character of Jamie at all!

Frazer Hines felt it was time to move on from Doctor Who, and verbalised this to the production team in June 1968. Peter Bryant and the outgoing story editor, Derek Sherwin developed a new companion who would be called Nik who was to be introduced in the preceding adventure, The Krotons, when Hines' Jamie McCrimmon would be written out.

Informed that the TARDIS trio would be the Doctor, Zoe and Nik, Hayles began work on his script including this new companion, only to be informed by the incoming story editor Terence Dicks that Hines' status on the show was now uncertain and he should write for Jamie instead. Another communicate from Dicks informed him Jamie was out and Nik was in, and then, finally, in September 1968 Hines' status on the show was confirmed when Patrick Troughton asked his friend to stay... at least for another 6 months, as Troughton decided it would be three and out for him and he'd like Jamie to remain with his Doctor to the end.

Hines agreed, but Hayles, not knowing if he was coming or going, ended up writing the role for 'unspecified male companion'!


6. Unfortunately, the production team of Bryant, Sherwin (who was trailing Bryant in anticipation of taking over the top job), and Dicks were not happy with Hayles' work and requested another rewrite. With this completed toward the end of October 1968, and filming due to start in just six weeks, the production trio still had serious reservations, primarily that the ending was lackluster. So it was decided that Dicks would redraft the final four episodes.

As well increasing Jamie's part and the changes mentioned earlier, significant deviations from Hayles' storyline introduced into parts three to six include the Martian fleet lead by the Grand Marshall was introduced, a subplot in episodes three and four in which Kelly was mind-controlled by the Ice Warriors was removed, and the removal of Professor Eldred's reveal that his rocket had achieved the first manned moon landing. Dicks felt that because it was likely that NASA might soon accomplish this feat, it would be unrealistic to claim otherwise in a show broadcast around the same time (as it happened NASA did land on the moon on July 20th, 1969, four months after The Seeds Of Death was broadcast).


7. Patrick Troughton does not appear in Episode 4 as he was on holiday when it was being recorded. A double stands in for him (Tom Laird) in some shots where the Doctor is seen unconscious on the floor.

8. The Seeds Of Death is the only classic Doctor Who story to feature footage of an Ice Warrior on location - in episode four Steve Peters, who plays an unspecified Ice Warrior, was filmed on Hampstead Heath in London.

According to director Michael Ferguson, during a break while shooting these scenes, Peters was leaning against a tree in his Ice Warrior costume (minus his helmet) smoking a cigarette. A woman then happened to drive past, noticed this peculiar sight and was so fixated on it that she hit the back of a police car.


9. On January 7th, 1969, the BBC announced to the press that Patrick Troughton would be leaving Doctor Who in the summer. Two weeks after that, on January 25th, 1969, Troughton's anti-penultimate adventure, The Seeds Of Death, began. So as not to spoil the return of the Ice Warriors, the Radio Times listing for episode one credited Steve Peters unspecified Ice Warrior as, simply, "Alien".

10.  In July 1985, The Seeds Of Death became the first Doctor Who serial from the Patrick Troughton era released by the BBC on video cassette, albeit in an edited omnibus format - which is slightly ironic being that it is one of only six (at that time) Second Doctor serials that existed in their entirity in the BBC archive, the rest missing, presumed wiped.


Upon first release the cover of the video made no indication that the story was not in colour, and so a small blue sticker reading "THE ORIGINAL BLACK AND WHITE RECORDING" was hastily added to the bottom right-hand corner of the rear sleeve.


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