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Doctor Who 10.9 Empress of mars

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[{"text":"Mark Gatiss provides the script for the latest episode of Season 10, and it features the return of the Ice Warriors, one of the most popular monsters from the classic Who era, and most recently seen in "Cold War" (also by Gatiss). "},{"image":[{"src":"sle649533sleep-no.jpg"},{"caption":"Mark Gatiss and Reece Shearsmith "}]},{"text":"Gatiss had originally planned to do a sequel to his Season 9 episode "Sleep No More." He mentioned one possible storyline with city stockmarket traders desperately trying to stay awake. #NL#With the departure of showrunner Steven Moffatt, Gatiss realised that this might be his last ever chance to write a tv script for Doctor Who; so he jettisoned that idea to bring back one of his personal childhood favourites. "},{"spoiler":"Medium"},{"image":[{"src":"mes301861message.jpg"},{"caption":""}]},{"text":"The modern day discovery of a strange message hidden beneath the Martian ice lures the Doctor, Bill and Nardole to Mars, but in the year 1881. #NL#This is the first time on screen that we have encountered the Ice Warriors on their home territory, and it also introduces a new type of Ice Warrior - the eponymous Empress. This draws interesting similarities with Queen Victoria, Empress of India, and the militarism of the British Empire. "},{"image":[{"src":"sol132674soldier.jpg"},{"caption":""}]},{"text":"The soldiers evoke a terrific sense of the Victoria era. Gatiss' script explores some interesting themes of mercy, warfare and conquest. The army colonel gets a particularly impassioned speech, one of the highlights of the episode. #NL#"},{"image":[{"src":"tom351802tomb.jpg"},{"caption":""}]},{"text":"A crashed Martian ship in Africa has lured the soldiers all the way to Mars, hoping to claim the planet's mineral wealth for Queen and country. However the Ice Warrior known as "Friday" has tricked them into opening up the tomb of the true Queen of Mars, the Ice Empress.#NL#"},{"image":[{"src":"9-t852979-the-em.jpg"},{"caption":""}]},{"text":"#NL#Special mention to the standout design, costume and special effects teams, with the beautiful update of the Ice Warrior armour and the new Empress armour - although the dreadlocks did remind me of Predator. The innovative weaponry was also memorable, leaving just a bundle of clothes behind. "},{"image":[{"src":"unt719831untitled.png"},{"caption":""}]},{"text":"#NL#The heart of the episode is the stand-off between the two species. Can the Doctor broker a peace deal before any more lives are lost?#NL#Amidst this the soldiers have their individual stories: secrets, cowardice, lust for power, greed and (inevitably) the young soldier due to get married when he returns home - always the sign of a doomed individual. "},{"image":[{"src":"mis410235missy.jpg"},{"caption":""}]},{"text":"Nardole is wasted in this episode, serving only as a way to introduce Missy for a brief cameo (similarly wasted) at the end of the episode - hopefully leading on to more of a role next week. #NL#"},{"image":[{"src":"alp1000621alpha-ce.jpg"},{"caption":"The Curse of Peladon (1972)"}]},{"text":"For many older fans (like me) ther highlight of the episode was the return of Alpha Centuri, who appeared alongside the Ice Warriors in two classic Third Doctor stories: "The Curse of Peladon" (1972) and "The Monster of Peladon" (1974).  Even better was the fact that she was played by the original actress Ysanne Churchman - coming out of retirement at the age of 92."},{"image":[{"src":"que541437queen-vi.png"},{"caption":""}]},{"text":"There was plenty more to keep long term fans happy, including the portrait of Queen Victoria, which was a nice reference to the David Tennant episode "Tooth and Claw".#NL#But when an episode relies so heavily on nostalgia it can scare off newer fans. "},{"image":[{"src":"tom286644tomb-cha.jpg"},{"caption":""}]},{"text":"The ending of the story was actually fairly rushed, but this was easy to overlook amidst the nostalgia. Despite it's flaws this episode is destined to become a fan favourite in years to come. "}]

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