New Series Episode 102:
Cold War


The year is 1983, in the midst of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The TARDIS materialises aboard a Russian submarine carrying Professor Grisenko, who is returning to Moscow with a creature he has discovered entombed in a block of ice. Against Grisenko's wishes, however, the creature is freed... and turns out to be Grand Marshal Skaldak, an Ice Warrior who has lain frozen for five thousand years. When the Russians react with fear and hostility, Skaldak declares war on the human race -- and the Doctor must stop him from taking control of the sub's nuclear arsenal.


Since the return of Doctor Who in 2005, most of the programme's classic monsters had been resurrected. A notable exception was the Ice Warriors, the militant Martians introduced by Brian Hayles in 1967's The Ice Warriors. The race had last appeared in The Monster Of Peladon (1974), although there had been plans to pit them against the Sixth Doctor in “Mission To Magnus”, one of the stories originally intended to be part of Season Twenty-Three in 1986 before it was replaced by The Trial Of A Time Lord.

Mark Gatiss, who had written numerous scripts for Doctor Who since 2005 (most recently Season Thirty-Two's Night Terrors), was eager to try his hand at an Ice Warrior story. However, he met resistance from Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat, who feared that they were just the sort of slow-moving, incomprehensible monster that invited ridicule. With this in mind, Gatiss suggested that they could surprise fans by unveiling the creature inside the Ice Warrior armour, which would be far more nimble and dynamic. Moffat was intrigued by this concept, and it was agreed that Gatiss would develop it for Season Thirty-Three.

Mark Gatiss was fond of submarine films such as Das Boot

Separately, Gatiss had also pitched the idea of an adventure which took place aboard a nuclear submarine. The writer was fond of this environment, and especially films such as Das Boot (1981). It was agreed that such a setting could be paired with the reimagined Ice Warrior, and Gatiss decided to place the resulting storyline in the early 1980s, at the height of the nuclear arsenal-fuelled Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Gatiss' first draft, appropriately entitled Cold War, was completed in mid-October 2011.

At this point, the Ice Warrior Skaldak was a more complex creation: he was a time traveller from the thirty-first century who planned to provoke a nuclear war which would wipe out humanity, thereby preventing mankind from dominating Mars in his era. After mind-controlling the Doctor's new companion (at this point, a Victorian-era governess named Beryl) to further his scheme, Skaldak was ultimately killed by one of the Russians. The surviving crew escaped to a British sub, the Redoubt, while the sinking Russian vessel was destroyed by the water pressure.

Gatiss continued to work on Cold War throughout the first half of 2012. Skaldak's future origins and the Redoubt were dropped, while for a time Grisenko played a villainous role, his goal to preserve the Ice Warrior as a weapon for the Kremlin. The Doctor Who production team decided that the new companion should hail from the twenty-first century after all, and so Gatiss was obliged to replace Beryl with Clara. Several of the character names evolved during the adventure's development: the lieutenant was originally Tsarsko instead of Stepashin; the name Stepashin was earlier applied to the political officer (later Belevich); and Serovian, not Onegin, was the navigator. Many of the finalised names had some significance: Sergei Stepashin was briefly Prime Minister of Russia under President Boris Yeltsin, Eugene Onegin was a verse novel by Alexander Pushkin serialised from 1825, and Captain Zhukov was an homage to General Georgy Zhukov of the Red Army, who had been instrumental in the liberation of Eastern Europe from the Axis powers during World War II.

David Warner had played an alternative Third Doctor in Doctor Who Unbound

Cold War was scheduled to be the only story made as part of Season Thirty-Three's fifth production block. The director was Douglas Mackinnon, who had just completed The Power Of Three. Mackinnon secured not one but two erstwhile Doctors for the episode: David Warner (Grisenko) had played an alternative Third Doctor in Big Finish Productions' Doctor Who Unbound releases Sympathy For The Devil (2003) and Masters Of War (2008), while Liam Cunningham (Captain Zhukov) was at one point a favourite to win the role of the Doctor in what became the Doctor Who (1996) TV movie.

The new Ice Warrior costume was constructed by Neill Gorton and his team at Millennium FX. While respecting Gatiss' desire that this should hew as closely as possible to the original Ice Warrior design, Gorton effected some changes to make the armour more credible: the hands had digits rather than clamps, the proportions were better balanced, and the tufts of fur were removed. (In some ways, the overall conception of the new Ice Warrior reflected Brian Hayles' original vision of the Martians as being partly cybernetic.) However, to accommodate such a massive costume -- as well as to provide more space for the cast and crew -- scenes aboard the Firebird would have to be largely realised in the studio, since a real submarine would be far too cramped.

To accommodate the Ice Warrior costume, the Firebird was largely realised at Roath Lock studios

As such, work on Cold War began with two weeks at the BBC's Roath Lock studios from June 13th to 22nd, omitting only the 16th and 17th. The first two days were concerned with corridor scenes, before recording shifted to the lab set on the 15th. Work continued in the lab after the weekend, together with material in the torpedo chamber and more corridors. On the 20th, Mackinnon's team finished with the lab set and moved on to the bridge of the Firebird, where they remained until the 22nd. This last day also dealt with additional corridor footage, while a greenscreen was set up outside Roath Lock to facilitate shots on the conning tower.

The sole location for Cold War was a steelworks in Llanwern, which offered a space suitable for the engine room on June 25th. Then it was back to Roath Lock from the 26th to the 29th, for additional scenes in the lab, on the bridge, and in the corridors. The last stage of production for the episode involved the underwater shots of the Firebird exterior; it had been decided that the submarine would be realised as a model, rather than as computer animation, to provide a better sense of weight and presence. Mike Tucker and his company, the Model Unit, filmed these sequences at Halliford Film Studios in Shepperton, Middlesex from September 4th to 6th.

  • Doctor Who News.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #37, Autumn 2014, “Cold War” by Andrew Pixley, Panini UK Ltd.

Original Transmission
Date 13th Apr 2013
Time 6.03pm
Duration 41'23"
Viewers (more) 7.4m (13th)
· BBC1/HD 7.4m
· iPlayer 2.0m
Appreciation 84%

The Doctor
Matt Smith
Jenna-Louise Coleman
Captain Zhukov
Liam Cunningham
Professor Grisenko
David Warner
Lieutenant Stephashin
Tobias Menzies
Josh O'Connor
James Norton
Charlie Anson
Spencer Wilding
Voice of Skaldak
Nicholas Briggs

Written by
Mark Gatiss
Directed by
Douglas Mackinnon
Produced by
Marcus Wilson

Stunt Coordinator
Crispin Layfield
Stunt Performers
David Newton
Marcus Shakesheff
Tom Aitken
First Assistant Director
Ken Cumberland
Second Assistant Director
James DeHaviland
Third Assistant Director
Heddi-Joy Taylor-Welch
Assistant Director
Danielle Richards
Location Manager
Nicky James
Location Assistant
Iestyn Hampson-Jones
Production Coordinator
Gabriella Ricci
Production Secretary
Sandra Cosfeld
Production Assistants
Rachel Vipond
Samantha Price
Asst Production Accountants
Rhys Evans
Justine Wooff
Assistant Script Editor
John Phillips
Script Supervisor
Steve Walker
Camera Operator
Joe Russell
Focus Pullers
James Scott
Julius Ogden
Gary Norman
Camera Assistants
Meg de Koning
Sam Smithard
Evelina Norgren
Assistant Grip
Owen Charnley
Sound Maintenance Engineers
Ross Adams
Chris Goding
Mark Hutchings
Best Boy
Stephen Slocombe
Bob Fernandes
Bob Milton
Gafin Riley
Gareth Sheldon
Supervising Art Director
Paul Spriggs
Set Decorator
Adrian Anscombe
Production Buyers
Adrian Greenwood
Holly Thurman
Art Directors
Amy Pickwoad
Carly Reddin
Standby Art Director
Nandie Narishkin
Assistant Art Director
Richard Hardy
Art Department Coordinator
Donna Shakesheff
Prop Master
Paul Smith
Prop Chargehand
Ian Griffin
Set Dresser
Jayne Davies
Austin J Curtis
Standby Props
Garry Dawson
Helen Atherton
Dressing Props
Mike Elkins
Paul Barnett
Rob Brandon
Graphic Designer
Chris Lees
Graphic Artist
Christina Tom
Storyboard Artist
Andrew Wildman
Petty Cash Buyer
Florence Tasker
Standby Carpenter
Will Pope
Standby Rigger
Bryan Griffiths
Practical Electrician
Christian Davies
Props Makers
Penny Howarth
Alan Hardy
Jamie Thomas
Props Driver
Gareth Fox
Construction Manager
Terry Horle
Construction Chargehand
Dean Tucker
Scenic Artist
John Pinkerton
Assistant Costume Designer
Fraser Purfit
Costume Supervisor
Carly Griffith
Costume Assistants
Katarina Cappellazzi
Gemma Evans
Make-Up Artists
Sara Angharad
Vivienne Simpson
Allison Sing
Casting Associate
Alice Purser
Assistant Editor
Becky Trotman
VFX Editor
Joel Skinner
Dubbing Mixer
Tim Ricketts
ADR Editor
Matthew Cox
Dialogue Editor
Darran Clement
Sound Effects Editor
Paul Jefferies
Foley Editor
Jamie Talbutt
Peter Anderson Studio
Additional Visual Effects
BBC Wales Visual Effects
Online Editor
Geraint Pari Huws
Mick Vincent
Ice Warriors created by
Brian Hayles
With Thanks to
The BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Conducted and Orchestrated by
Ben Foster
Mixed by
Jake Jackson
Recorded by
Gerry O'Riordan
Original Theme Music
Ron Grainer
Casting Director
Andy Pryor CDG
Production Executive
Julie Scott
Post Production Supervisor
Nerys Davies
Production Accountant
Jeff Dunn
Sound Recordist
Deian Llŷr Humphreys
Costume Designer
Howard Burden
Make-Up Designer
Barbara Southcott
Murray Gold
Visual Effects
The Mill
Special Effects
Real SFX
Miniature Effects
The Model Unit
Millennium FX
William Oswald
Production Designer
Michael Pickwoad
Director Of Photography
Suzie Lavelle
Script Producer
Denise Paul
Line Producer
Phillipa Cole
Executive Producers
Steven Moffat
Caroline Skinner

Updated 3rd June 2015