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135a 'Red Dawn'

CD and audio cassette adventure released June 2000, 4 episodes

Writer: Justin Richards
Director: Nicholas Briggs

Roots: Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds epilogue (American Mars landing team lose radio contact with Earth). Mission To Mars.

Goofs: For a college botany student, Peri is highly adept at reading and interpreting flight deck consoles.

Webster, upon contemplating a Mars-Earth conflict refers to it as 'interstellar war'.

In reality, Mars doesn't have a thin atmosphere of nitrogen, but carbon dioxide.

The Doctor is on Mars, surrounded by giant, armour-clad figures in blocks of ice, but it doesn't occur to him that they might be Ice Warriors until they break out [perhaps he thought he was on Marinus?].

Double Entendres: 'I don't feel like a long walk, my arm might get tired.'

'I suggest, Doctor, that you come quietly.'

Dialogue Disasters: 'Can you feel this gun against your cheek, Doctor? Is it as cold as the Ice Warriors' armour?'

Continuity: Despite their acknowledgement of the earlier Mars missions by British Astronauts ('The Ambassadors of Death'), this is the first visit by an American crew to Mars. NASA, presumably, is facing a funding crisis (or the Ares mission is a private expedition) and is supported here by the Webster Corporation. Commander Forbes is thus the first American to set foot on Mars. Previous missions have been managed with the Webster Corporation's presence (it is not specified whether these were American, British or internationally manned), the last one being eighteen years previously (either 1982 or 1983, preserving the original Discontinuity Guide dating), during which time a small sample of Martian DNA from an Ice Warrior 'shell' was recovered. It is thus implied that Ice Warrior 'armour' is not only organic in nature, but may be a part of the Martian 'wearing' it.

Paul Webster and the Doctor cite the Brookings Report, created in 1958 upon NASA's inception. In this, the Brookings Institute recommended that all NASA's findings be made public with the exception of any discovery of alien artefacts. In doing this it was hoped that Earth be spared the cultural shock of discovering more higly advanced societies (and explains Forbes' breaking communications with mission control upon the revelation that the Anomaly was an alien artefact).

According to Zzaarl, Izdaal was 'the greatest Warrior who ever lived' in Martian society. The Anomaly, his 'tomb' is not a natural phenomenon, but a giant building made of organic green shell. Its door-plates are operated empathically, opening only for those 'whose intentions are honourable'. It contains a Hall of Memories and weapons systems, including a mobile cannon. Izdaal died as a result of the 'red dawn', facing the full strength of ultraviolet radiation unprotected, thus proving to his people their urgent need to escape their dying world (c.f. 'The Seeds of Death'). The term 'Ice Warrior' is once more new to the Martians, yet its use is common among the humans (c.f. 'The Ice Warriors') and is adopted by the Martians shortly after its first use in the story. If Zzaarl's anecdote is not unusual, the ceremony by which a Martian becomes an Ice Lord is not dissimilar to that of being knighted (i.e. it involves the ruler bearing a sword). An Ice Warrior may be 'knocked out' with a blast of pure nitrogen. Mars' gravity is one third of Earth's in this story, and Peri describes the smell of its nitrous oxide atmosphere as 'like chemistry class'. The level of ultraviolet radiation passing through its atmosphere is deadly to both humans and [moreso] unsuited Martians (although even more deadly is the heavy and beta radiation also penetrating the atmosphere).

The Doctor has always meant to take Peri to an alien world [perhaps as Sarn is populated by humans this doesn't count?].

Intertextuality: The Ice Lord investiture is from the Radio Times comic strip Ascendence and the Virgin New Adventure Legacy.

Links: The Ice Warriors, The Seeds of Death, The Ambassadors of Death. Izdaal's appeal to the Martian High Council appears in The Judgment of Iskaar and (as a dramatisation) in Deimos

Location: 'The Anomaly'/Memorial to Izdaal, Mars, 2000 or 2001 (thirty years have passed since the 'Mars Probe fiasco').

The Bottom Line: More like Red Yawn, this story is less of a Doctor adventure than a Martian one, with us as well as a certain Time Lord as its audience. There's a lot of running around and being captured (scenes which appear to be written more for Peri than anything else), but it at least has a strong conclusion and intelligent monsters. Shame about the humans though.

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