Natives of the planet Mars, Ice Warriors are tall reptilian bipeds. When the planet's atmosphere could no longer support them, they found a home elsewhere, but later re-colonised their homeworld.
They wear heavy green armour, with tufts of thick black hair at the joints, and have clamp-like pincers for hands.
Many centuries ago, before their relocation, they encountered a lethal water-borne contagion, known as the Flood, but were able to eradicate it, save for a small pocket frozen into a dormant state in underground ice layers.
The Doctor first encountered them in Earth's future, when the planet was in the grip of a new Ice Age. Glaciers had advanced into England, and in one of these a frozen figure was found - dating back to the first great Ice Age. The scientist who discovered the body, a man named Arden, gave it the name "Ice Warrior". Believing it to be an ancient warrior from Earth's past, Arden had the figure transported to Britannicus Base, where efforts to halt the glacier advance were being coordinated. Power packs intended to melt the block of ice in which the warrior was entombed caused the figure to be brought back to life. He abducted the Doctor's companion Victoria, and forced her to tell him how he had been reanimated. He identified himself as Varga, commander of an Ice Warrior spacecraft which had crashed on the glacier in ancient times. Taking more power packs, Varga took her to the glacier where he located the rest of his crew, and his buried spaceship.
Varga wished to return to Mars, and so decided to raid the base for fuel elements to power his crippled spacecraft, after the Doctor had told him that they had what he needed. This was a ruse as he had come to rescue Victoria, and to find out the nature of the ship's engines - in case the ioniser being used to melt the glaciers triggered a nuclear explosion. Ice Warriors had built-in sonic weapons in the forearm of their armour, and their ship had a larger sonic cannon, which was used to threaten the base. Varga was prepared to accept the help of a scientist who could assist their escape, but anyone deemed not useful was killed. The Doctor deduced that the Martians had a higher water content in their bodies and used the cannon to force them to flee from the base. The ioniser was used on the ice and it caused Varga's ship to explode harmlessly, destroying him and his crew.
The Doctor next encountered the Ice Warriors when they attempted an invasion of the Earth in the late 21st Century. Whilst Varga had worn similar armour to his underlings, this time they were led by a Warrior with a more streamlined uniform, with a bullet-shaped helmet. His name was Slaar.
Earth, at this time, had abandoned conventional spaceflight, and had become instead reliant on T-Mat, a form of instantaneous matter transmission. This was controlled from a relay base on the Moon. The Ice Warrior plan was to take over this base and use T-Mat to transport a number of Martian seed pods to Earth. These thrived in cold conditions and on germinating they absorbed all the oxygen around them. In time, they would make the planet's atmosphere lethal to humans, but perfect for them. The seeds had to be sent to those parts of the world which were in winter climate conditions. They were susceptible to water, so a Warrior was despatched to the planet to disable the weather control systems, and prevent rain.
A signal set up on the moonbase would be used to guide in the invasion fleet, which was commanded by a Grand Marshal, of similar appearance to Slaar but with a patterned helmet. Ice Warriors could be destroyed by intense heat, and the Doctor used a solar energy weapon when he went to the base to set up a false signal, that would lure the fleet towards the sun. This was generated by a communications satellite. As the fleet headed towards destruction, the Doctor and Jamie were able to deflect a Warrior's sonic weapon to kill Slaar, before using a live power cable to destroy the Warrior. Heavy rainfall was generated to wipe out the seed pods.
The Ice Warriors were one of the races whom the Doctor mentioned when he stood trial on his home planet, as an example of the sort of belligerent race which he protected people from.
The Doctor next encountered the Ice Warriors on the planet Peladon. The TARDIS had been redirected to this medieval world at a time when its young King was trying to gain membership of the Galactic Federation for his world. The delegation who had come to carry out negotiations about this included a party from Mars - Izlyr and his subordinate Ssorg. When it appeared that someone was trying to sabotage the deliberations, the Doctor naturally suspected the Ice Warriors, based on his earlier experiences. A piece of Ice Warrior technology was found on a ledge from which a statue had fallen , almost killing the delegates, and another item was found in their quarters after delegate Arcturus had its life support unit sabotaged.
The Doctor later discovered that Izlyr and Ssorg were not responsible. The Martians had given up their warmongering ways and were now respected members of the Federation. The real saboteurs were Arcturus, who wanted the planet's mineral wealth, and Peladon's High Priest, Hepesh, who wanted to maintain his world's old traditions. When Arcturus attempted to kill the Doctor, he was saved by Ssorg.
The Doctor returned to Peladon some 50 years later, and found that there was civil unrest deriving from the planet's membership of the Federation. The benefits of membership were not being passed on to the Pel miners. The spirit of Royal Beast Aggedor was haunting the mines, killing miners and Federation personnel. This was really a hologram of a statue, fitted with a directional heat ray weapon. It was being controlled from a defunct refinery control room in the mines, where an Ice Warrior was hidden.
A mining engineer from Earth - Eckersley - duped ambassador Alpha Centauri into calling upon Federation help when the miners stole weapons from the armoury. A squad of Ice Warriors arrived, led by Commander Azaxyr. As the Federation was in the middle of a war with Galaxy 5, and Peladon's mineral wealth was needed for the war effort, Azaxyr declared martial law, and was prepared to kill the miners if they did not resume work. The Peladonians were forced to work together and make it look like peace was restored, but this did not make the Ice Warriors withdraw. It transpired that Azaxyr belonged to a breakaway faction, who were in league with Galaxy 5. They wanted a return to the warlike ways of their past.
Azaxyr was working with Eckersley to take over the planet. It was the Earthman who had created the hologram weapon of Aggedor. When the Ice Warriors trapped the miners in the tunnels and began to cut off their air supply, the Doctor was able to take control of the weapon and use it against them. In a fight in the throne room, Azaxyr was run through with a sword, whilst Eckersley was killed by Aggedor as he tried to abduct Queen Thalira. Once the Ice Warrior plan had been defeated, Galaxy 5 sued for peace.
In the 1980's, the TARDIS materialised on a Soviet nuclear submarine near the North Pole. This was at the height of the Cold War, between the Soviet Union and the West. The submarine crew had recently discovered something frozen in the ice on an oil-drilling operation, and had brought it on board. This was an Ice Warrior - Grand Marshal Skaldak - who had been frozen in the ice for centuries. Skaldak was brought back to life when a crewmember decided t thaw out the block of ice. He was disabled with an electric cattle prod (used to keep polar bears at bay), and was chained up. The Doctor was furious with the submarine crew, knowing how dangerous Skaldak was and how he had been dishonoured by them. He was notorious among his people for his ferocity in battle. When Clara Oswald was sent to speak to Skaldak, she discovered only an empty suit of armour. The Ice Warrior had discarded this, and was now roaming the submarine in its natural form - a lean, wiry body, but with the strength to tear a man apart.
On learning that Mars was no longer occupied by his people, Skaldak was determined to use the submarine's nuclear missiles to start a war. The Doctor was able to plea to his sense of honour to stop this. An Ice Warrior spaceship arrived, responding to his distress signal, and teleported him away.
Later, the Ice Warriors were amongst many races who converged on the planet Trenzalore, after it began transmitting a strange signal across the universe.
In the year 1881, a group of British soldiers were on Mars, searching for precious stones. They had encountered a crashed spaceship in southern Africa, along with its injured Ice Warrior pilot. This Warrior pretended to be servile, earning the nickname "Friday" from the troops. He had promised them great wealth if they helped him repair his ship and go with him to Mars. There, a huge sonic cannon was constructed for mining. Friday had an ulterior motive for bringing the humans here. He wanted them to locate the hibernation chamber of the Ice Warrior Empress, who was entombed along with a huge army of Warriors. They had gone into hibernation when the atmosphere of the planet began to fail.
Fridays ruse worked, and the soldiers found what they thought was Empress Iraxxa's final resting place - a gold effigy on a jewel-encrusted bier. In trying to steal the jewels they reawakened her, and she in turn reanimated the Ice Warrior hive.
A treacherous officer named Catchlove tried to flee Mars in the repaired spaceship, taking Iraxxa as his hostage. He was killed by his ex-commanding officer, who offered his allegiance to the Ice Warriors to save himself and his men. Iraxxa agreed. The Doctor used the Ice Warrior communications system to contact the nearest alien species. This proved to be Alpha Centauri. It agreed to help the Ice Warriors relocate to a new home.
Played by: Bernard Bresslaw (Varga), Alan Bennion (Slaar, Izlyr and Azaxyr), Sonny Caldinez (Turoc, Ssorg and Sskel), Graham Leaman (Grand Marshal), Spencer Wilding (Skaldak - voiced by Nicholas Briggs), Adele Lynch (Iraxxa), Richard Ashton (Friday).
Appearances: The Ice Warriors (1967), The Seeds of Death (1969), The Curse of Peladon (1972), The Monster of Peladon (1974), Cold War (2012), Empress of Mars (2017).
- One wonders how the Ice Warriors ever managed to become a successful space-faring species. Three of their six TV stories rely on the fact that one of their spaceships has crashed on Earth, whilst in a fourth an entire invasion fleet is unable to find the Earth from Mars.
- Varga was wearing the Turoc helmet when his block of ice melted - the one with the open jaw. This was worn by an extra, as Bernard Bresslaw was unavailable for the first episode. The director of The Ice Warriors - Derek Martinus - wasn't happy with the helmets and asked for changes to be made between the Ealing filming and the TV studio recordings. When Bresslaw arrived for the second episode, he had one of the new helmets - leading to a continuity error with the filmed reprise. The new Varga costume became the main Ice Warrior costume, worn by Caldinez in both of the Peladon stories.
- The Ice Warriors never named their species on screen in their first story. The name "Ice Warrior" was given to them by the man who found Varga in the ice, and it seems to have stuck.
- The commanders played by Alan Bennion are usually called Ice Lords, or Ice Warlords. Again, this was never used on screen.
- The creator of the Ice Warriors, Brian Hayles, called them "Saurians" in the original storyline which was abandoned for The Seeds of Death.
- The original costume designer of the Ice Warriors - Martin Baugh - stated explicitly in interviews that the armour they wore was part of their bodies. It wasn't a suit of armour that they put on. Someone should have told Mark Gatiss this, as he's the writer responsible for Skaldak being able to run around outside his armour.
- As well as playing Ice Warriors in all their classic series appearances, Sonny Caldinez also played the Turkish wrestler Kemel in The Evil of the Daleks.
Some images of Ice Warriors at the Doctor Who Experience (2013 - 2017):