Doctor Who: Cold Vengeance Review

Cold Vengeance

So we did a contemporary Earth invasion and a pseudo-historical, so what’s left on the Russell T. Davies hit list? Oh yeah, a story entirely in space! Throw in the 10th Doctor’s first encounter with the Ice Warriors and you’ve got a fun, if not a bit plain, story. Let’s finish off the 10th Doctor adventures – Box 2, shall we?

Official Synopsis:

The TARDIS arrives on Coldstar, a vast freezer satellite, packed with supplies to feed a colony world.

But there are cracks in the ice, and something scuttles under the floors. Soon, Rose and the Doctor encounter robots, space pirates and… refuse collectors.

As Coldstar’s tunnels begin to melt, an even greater threat stirs within. An old enemy of the Doctor puts a plan into action – a plan for retribution.

Nobody’s vengeance is colder than an Ice Warrior’s.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

The Doctor (David Tennant) – In classic Doctor fashion, an attempt to arrive somewhere has gone awry, though normally that leads to fun and adventures, rather than a freezer… Still, that doesn’t mean nothing will happen…

Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) – Rose wished to go skiing, so the TARDIS brought her and The Doctor to… and large freezer satellite. Oh well, may as well make the most of it…?

Lorna (Keziah Joseph)Lorna is a refuse collector… in space! Which is only mildly more exciting than being a regular one, but still!

Brona Volta (Maureen Beattie)Brona and her pirate crew (including her son Callum) have invaded Coldstar to steal some valuable items, as pirates tend to do. The station is unmanned, seen over by a single robot, so what could possibly go wrong?

The Ice Warriors (Nicholas Briggs, et al.) These particular Ice Warriors come from a colony world where the Martians tried to start anew before Earthlings found the same planet and took it from them. Frozen under the ice for many decades, Lord Hasskor and his men are still looking for revenge, irregardless of whether these humans are responsible or not…

Plus many more!

The Good:

Cold Vengeance Cover

Another great cover, though the shot of The Doctor and Rose looks too much like what it is: a promotion picture. It’s the way they’re looking directly at the camera that puts me off…

While maybe this felt a bit more like generic Who than fitting right into the era, The Doctor and Rose are still on fine form throughout, and Lorna is straight from the RTD playbook, complete with constantly stating she’s “just a refuse collector” (or words to that effect) before doing something amazing. Very much Donna just being “just a temp”. Rose inspiring her was, much like in “Infamy of the Zaross”, very in character and pleasant to listen to.

I liked how, despite being very by-the-numbers, it resisted placing this in a pre-established part of Who lore, instead creating a new Ice Warrior-Human conflict, even if that conflict ended up as pretty much the same as ones previously shown.

Brona Volta and her pirates were very enjoyable, if not pretty basic in characterisation. Again though, this is 45 minutes (or nearly an hour, actually, this one) so it’s hard to get a deep emotional story arc in that time, so at least you knew what Brona and her men was and they played their parts well. Her son being wet behind the ears but ending up dead in a brave moment was extremely telegraph-able, but hey-ho, it’s a good trope.

I also have to say that the ending, involving the Ice Lord Hasskor attempting to detonate his armour inside the TARDIS after finding out there are some of his people now living with the Earthlings, but he still wants to kill The Doctor anyway, was good. The Doctor, Rose and Lorna trying to get the heavy armour out of the ship in time and the drama during it was a good listen.

The Bad:

As you’ve probably guessed, the one negative I can say is it’s very basic. The Ice Warrior plot is standard, the character all pretty stock (even if they play them well) and in general it feels like a standard Doctor Who audio drama rather than the previous two, which felt like little windows into TV Series 2 era Who. It’s not bad, above average even, it’s just a shame after the first two stories in the set got the feel so right.

The Continuity:

10DA S2 Cover

And for one final time: The overall box cover!

Not much to say here, beyond the Ice Warriors obviously having appeared in 101 other stories, starting with 2nd Doctor TV story “The Ice Warriors”, funnily enough. The cover featuring the slight re-design of the Ice Warriors from the 11th Doctor onwards, which makes sense. The story features an Ice Lord, however, who hasn’t appeared in the “Revived TV series” yet, meaning it would presumably have had a similar redesign, but we don’t know what that looks like!

Overall Thoughts:

A rather bog-standard tale that rises above its average-ness due to the performances of the leads and the guest cast. Plus a good ending helps as well. If I had a rating out of 10 this would be closer to what I have as a four star than a three, but if nothing else I want to show the difference between this and the two that came before it, in terms of getting the feel right, if nothing else. Still a good story, and a great set overall.

3 Star Listen

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