The Seeds of Death
The Seeds of Death was the fifth story in season 6 of Doctor Who. It was the second appearance of the Ice Warriors. They had been chosen for a reappearance shortly after broadcast of The Ice Warriors. The monsters had been popular and it was hoped this would justify the high costs of their costumes. Of visual interest was director Michael Ferguson’s use of point-of-view and angled shots.
At the time it was written, Frazer Hines was considering leaving the show. He finally signed on for the season, apparently at Patrick Troughton’s request. This meant Brian Hayles had trouble writing the script, a problem made worse when he was asked to leave the Doctor out of part four. He failed to complete the script and Terrance Dicks rewrote much of the story. He brought in the Martian fleet and removed a sub-plot in which Gia Kelly was hypnotized.
It’s business as usual at the Moonbase, operations center for the Earth’s T-Mat travel system, until an undetected ship docks. A party of Ice Warriors, a reptilian race from Mars, enter the control room and demand the staff operate the T-Mat as they say. Osgood, the base’s controller, sabotages the T-Mat to prevent the Ice Warriors from transporting to Earth, and is killed by the Ice Warriors’ leader, Slaar.
This also prevents Earth Control in London from contacting the Moonbase or rendering aid to the staff. The Ice Warrior, Slaar, turns to the base’s second-in-command, Fewsham, to repair the T-Mat system for them. Terrified, Fewsham immediately starts work. On Earth, Commander Radnor and his assistant Controller Gia Kelly try to get to the bottom of the malfunctions, lamenting that since the trouble is coming from the Moon, it will have to be fixed there.
Meanwhile, the TARDIS lands, and the Second Doctor deduces that they are inside a space museum. He is enthusiastic about exploring. The Doctor,Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot watch a video explaining T-Mat, a system used to instantly travel about the Earth. They are soon caught by the museum’s owner, Professor Eldred. He is puzzled by the Doctor’s interest in manned space travel. Since the advent of T-Mat the human race has lost interest in exploring the cosmos. Radnor and Miss Kelly turn up at the museum to persuade Eldred to launch a rocket he has been working on. One of the surviving Moonbase staff, Locke, repairs the communication system and tries to tell Earth of the situation. He is caught and killed by Slaar.
With a little persuading, Eldred agrees to launch the rocket. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe agree to crew it, as there are no trained astronauts available. The situation is beginning to affect the Earth’s cities. Shipments of medical supplies aren’t getting where they’re needed.
At the Moonbase, after the rocket is launched, Fewsham repairs the T-Mat as per Slaar’s orders. When the repair is detected on Earth, Miss Kelly T-Mats up with technicians and finds Fewsham alone. To hide the Ice Warriors, he concocts a lie about Osgood going crazy and damaging the equipment before exiting the base without a spacesuit. Elsewhere in the base, Phipps has escaped from the control room. He radios Earth for help.
When they have fixed the T-Mat, the Ice Warriors return and take control again. Phipps, whilst trying to contact earth by radio, constructs a device to kill the Ice warriors which is connected to the solar energy point as is the homing beacon for the rockets from earth. The rocket carrying the Doctor and his companions runs into trouble when the homing beacon required to make a safe landing is cut off; they will either crash onto the lunar surface or drift on endlessly through space…
Phipps makes contact with the rocket, allowing it to home in on the radio signal and land. The Doctor leaves the rocket to find him and help him destroy T-Mat, but they are separated and the Doctor is caught by the Ice Warriors. Jamie and Zoe learn that the rocket cannot take off, so they enter the base to stop the Doctor from destroying the T-Mat, now their only way back to Earth. The Doctor tries to find out the Ice Warriors’ plan, telling them that they are too few to invade the Earth themselves. They intend to T-Mat seeds down to Earth, one of which rapidly expands in size and explodes disgorging a gas that knocks out the Doctor when he examines it. Jamie and Zoe meet up with Phipps and Miss Kelly and begin work on turning up the heating, which will be harmful to the Ice Warriors. Fewsham continues to comply with Slaar’s orders and T-Mats one of the seeds down to Earth Control in London.
The seed unleashes fumes which kill Brent in Earth Control,Radnor orders the gas to be extracted out to the surface. The Ice Warriors continue sending the seeds to different cities, where they have similar effects to those who come into close proximity with them. Radnor learns that the cause of death was oxygen starvation. The seeds grow fungus, which multiplies and depletes the oxygen from Earth’s atmosphere. Fewsham is now ordered to T-Mat the Doctor into space, although he is rescued from the T-mat cubicle by Phipps split seconds before transmat takes place without Slaar’s knowledge. An Ice Warrior is transported to T-mat control in London, where it goes on a rampage in the control center and beyond, eventually reaching and taking control of London’s weather control bureau, altering the controls to make the planet as dry as possible and destroying the controls to stop them being changed. The T-Mat is shut down by Slaar. At Moonbase, Phipps static solar energy weapon is used by Jamie and Miss Kelly against any advancing Ice Warriors, while Zoe and Phipps sneak into the T-mat control room, where the heating controls are, but just after Zoe turns up the heat, an Ice Warrior sees them and kills Phipps. As it turns on Zoe, Zoe begs Fewsham for help.
Fewsham grapples with the Ice Warrior long enough for it to fall to the ground, the heat level unbearable. Soon after, the Doctor wakes up, and Fewsham gets the T-Mat working again. The Doctor, Jamie, Zoe, and Miss Kelly transport back to London, but Fewsham remains, fearing the consequences of his earlier actions if he returns to Earth. Sir James Gregson from the United Nations arrives at Earth Control for the latest concerning the T-Mat crisis, but his presence does little to help the situation. While the Ice Warrior at the weather station alters the controls to make the planet as dry as possible, Slaar turns the heating back down on the Moonbase. He informs Fewsham that a fleet of invading ships from Mars will soon arrive on the Moon, so his next task is to connect a homing device for the incoming ships. In an act of redemption, Fewsham activates the video link so that the Ice Warrior’s homing signal can be overheard on Earth, but although he is successful, the Ice Warriors kill him when they find out.
The Doctor examines a seed pod under laboratory conditions, and learns that they are reconfiguring the atmosphere of Earth to match that of Mars. Fortunately, he also finds out that the fungus can be destroyed by water. Jamie and Zoe go to the weather control bureau to tell them to make it rain, but there they encounter the Ice Warrior and discover the controls have been damaged by it. The Doctor later dashes there to help them, but is overwhelmed by fungus before he can enter.
Jamie and Zoe let the Doctor into the weather control bureau just in time, and the Doctor rigs up a portable version of Phipps solar energy weapon from parts in the storage locker to kill the Ice Warrior. At T-Mat Control, Radnor, Miss Kelly, and Eldred work on a satellite which duplicates the Ice Warriors homing signal, which is to be used to draw the ships off course, sending them spiraling towards the Sun. After the Doctor repairs the weather controls to cause heavy rainfall to extinguish the fungus, he T-Mats up to the Moonbase with his solar weapon to destroy Slaar’s homing device, so that the Martian ships follow only the wrong signal. He is caught before he can disable the signal, but is able to limit its range enough for it to be rendered useless, sending the Ice Warriors’ invasion fleet to its doom. The invaders defeated, the Doctor and his companions return to the TARDIS and depart for their next adventure.