Lords of the Red Planet (#4.03)

Big Finish - Lost Stories Season 4

The only question I have about this story is the title, to be honest. The first 75% is absolutely fantastic! The TARDIS team arrives on Mars, gets caught in a Gandoran trap for the beasts roaming the planet, and they arrive in the city where the last Martians live. Quendrii is the old ruler of the city and it’s now in the hands of his daughters, Zaadur and Veltreena, one of whom has designs on ruling other planets, leaving her Gandoran kin far behind. The prototypes of the Ice Warriors have been created by Quendrii but they are very basic and only capable of following orders. Except for Alsor, who would be called a General or Commander or something like that in later martian armies, if he was around that long. So the 2nd Doctor is around to see the first of the Ice Warriors in action, with Veltreena controlling the hordes.

Adventure ensues with cleverness on both sides. But then we get to the end game and things get a bit more predictable. Bad guy does bad stuff and good guy makes her pay, ultimately. And the Ice Warriors in action aren’t nearly so impressive as the later versions – they are strong, tall, and stomp around a good deal. But they aren’t nearly so interesting and married to honor as the later ones are. They’re basically in thrall to someone in order to function, which works for the story but it made me want to see them fight back and do their own thing. Which isn’t them, too. So that’s my only real disappointment. But the story and acting are fantastic and I was totally wrapped up in the story throughout! Go John Dorney, go!

Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines), Zoe Heriot (Wendy Padbury), Michael Troughton (Quendrii), Abigail Thaw (Zaadur), Charlie Hayes (Veltreena), Nicholas Briggs (Alsor, Risor, the Ice Warriors)

Writer: Brian Hayles, adapted by John Dorney

Director: Lisa Bowerman

Release: November 2013

Laura Vilensky 2019