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The Seeds of Death

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Doctor: doctor::Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie McCrimmon
Zoe Heriot
Main enemy:
  • Slaar
  • Ice Warriors
Main setting:
  • Earth, 21st century
  • The Moon, 21st century
Key crew __NOFACTBOX__
Writer: Brian Hayles
Director: Michael Ferguson
Producer: Peter Bryant
Release details
Story number: 48
Release number: Season 6
Premiere broadcast: 25th January - 1st March 1969
Format: 6 25-minute Episodes
Production code: XX
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Doctor Who -
TV Stories

The Seeds of Death was the fifth story of season 6 of Doctor Who, and the second story to feature the Ice Warriors.


The TARDIS lands in a space museum on Earth in the late 21st century, where the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe learn that contact has been lost between Earth and the Moon. In this era, a form of instant travel called T-Mat has revolutionised the Earth, and now its people have lost interest in space travel. The Doctor and his companions travel to the Moon in an old-style rocket and reach the Moonbase, control centre for T-Mat, only to find a squad of Ice Warriors have commandeered the base, and plan to use the T-Mat network to their advantage.


Episode 1[]


Kelly and Radnor at Earth Control

It's business as usual at the Moonbase, operations centre for the Earth's T-Mat travel system, until an undetected ship docks and a party of Ice Warriors, a reptilian race from Mars, enter the control room, and demand that the staff operate the T-Mat as they say. Osgood, controller of the base, sabotages the T-Mat to prevent the Ice Warriors from transporting to Earth. This also prevents Earth Control in London from contacting the Moonbase or rendering aid to the staff. The Ice Lord, 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 Doctor deduces that they are inside a space museum, and is immediately enthusiastic about exploring. Leaving the TARDIS, the Doctor, Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot watch a video explaining T-Mat, a system used to instantly travel between one part of the Earth and another. They are soon caught by the owner of the museum, Professor Eldred, who is puzzled by the Doctor's interest in manned space travel, as 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 secretly working on. One of the surviving Moonbase staff, Locke, repairs the communication system and tries to apprise Earth of the situation, but is caught and killed by an Ice Warrior.

Episode 2[]


Getting to the moon the hard way

After a little persuading, Eldred agrees to launch the rocket, and 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, as shipments of medical supplies aren't getting where they're needed. At the Moonbase, Just after the rocket is launched, Fewsham repairs the T-Mat as per Slaar's orders, and when the repair is detected on Earth, Miss Kelly T-Mats up with some technicians, and finds Fewsham alone. To cover up the Ice Warriors' presence, he concocts a lie about Osgood going crazy and damaging the equipment. In another part of the base, Phipps, having escaped from the control room, uses the radio communication system to call Earth for help. When they fully repair the T-Mat, the Ice Warriors return and take control again. The rocket carrying the Doctor and his companions runs into trouble when the homing beacon required to make a safe landing is cut off.

Episode 3[]


Seed pods?

Phipps makes contact with the rocket, allowing it to home in on the radio signal and land. The Doctor leaves the rocket to find 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 intends to T-Mat seeds down to Earth, one of which 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.

Episode 4[]


Ice Warrior on the rampage

The seed unleashes fumes which kills Brent in Earth Control. 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 sent to another area of the base instead without Slaar's knowledge. An Ice Warrior is transported to London, where it goes on a rampage in the control centre and beyond, eventually reaching and taking control of London's weather bureau, altering the controls to make the planet as dry as possible. The T-Mat is soon broken down again. At Moonbase, Jamie and Miss Kelly use a solar energy weapon against any advancing Ice Warriors, while Zoe and Phipps sneak into the 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.

Episode 5[]


The Ice Warriors activate the homing signal

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, after which 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, and 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. The Doctor later dashes there to help them, but is overwhelmed by fungus before he can enter.

Episode 6[]


The invasion fleet changes course

Jamie and Zoe let the Doctor into the weather control bureau just in time, and the Doctor uses a similar solar device used by Phipps on the Moon to kill the Ice Warrior. 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 spiralling 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.


  • The Doctor - Patrick Troughton
  • Jamie McCrimmon - Frazer Hines
  • Zoe Heriot - Wendy Padbury
  • Slaar - Alan Bennion
  • Gia Kelly - Louise Pajo
  • Computer Voice - John Witty
  • Brent - Ric Felgate
  • Osgood - Harry Towb
  • Commander Radnor - Ronald Leigh-Hunt
  • Fewsham - Terry Scully
  • Phipps - Christopher Coll
  • Locke - Martin Cort
  • Professor Eldred - Philip Ray
  • Ice Warriors - Steve Peters, Tony Harwood, Sonny Caldinez
  • Security Guard - Derrick Slater
  • Sir James Gregson - Hugh Morton
  • Grand Marshall - Graham Leaman



  • Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
  • Special Sound - Brian Hodgson
  • Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson
  • Visual Effects Designed by - Bill King (Trading Post)
  • Costumes - Bobi Bartlett
  • Make-Up - Sylvia James
  • Lighting - Fred Wright
  • Sound - Bryan Forgham
  • Film Cameraman - Peter Hall
  • Film Editor - Martyn Day
  • Script Editor - Terrance Dicks
  • Designer - Paul Allen
  • Producer - Peter Bryant
  • Director - Michael Ferguson


  • Assistant Floor Manager - Trina Cornwell
  • Production Assistant - Fiona Cumming


  • Ice Warriors are vulnerable to heat.
  • The term T-Mat (later, Transmat) is introduced here for the first time.

Story notes[]

  • The working title for this story was; The Lords of the Red Planet.
  • The opening titles are backdropped with a scene of the Earth and Moon. The camera pans across the foreground object then zooms into the background object - Earth or Moon - on which the episode begins. The exception is in Episode 3 where the panning stops between the Earth and the Moon, as this episode begins in cislunar space.
  • To keep the return of the Ice Warriors a surprise, Steve Peters was credited as Alien in Radio Times for Episode 1.


  • Episode 1 - 6.6 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 6.8 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 7.5 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 7.1 million viewers
  • Episode 5 - 7.6 million viewers
  • Episode 6 - 7.7 million viewers


  • Slaar is an Ice Lord. (He is never referred to as an 'Ice Lord' or even as a 'Lord', but is presented simply as the commander of the Martian forces. His superior is however identified as a Grand Marshal (misspelt 'Grand Marshall') on the closing credits.)

Filming locations[]

  • Hampstead Heath, London
  • Ealing Television Film Studios (Stage 2), Ealing Green, Ealing
  • Lime Grove Studios (Studio D), Lime Grove, London

Production errors[]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.

  • When Zoe turns up the heating, an Ice Warrior falls down dead right in front of her. When it does this, the front and rear sections of the shell costume just slightly break apart.
  • Zoe calls Slaar by his name, despite no one else but the Grand Marshall calling Slaar that (she says it first, as well).
  • As Zoe opens the door to the Solar Energy Storeroom to glance around for Ice Warriors, one can be seen right outside, the actor obviously waiting for his cue. The cut to the exterior view shows Zoe seeing a Warrior far down the corridor.
  • When the rocket lands on the moon, the smoke from the rockets goes upward -- something smoke only does in an atmosphere.
  • Eldred points to the Weather Control station on the map, but it is clearly marked in the opposite corner.
  • When the Ice Warrior T-matted down, it smashed the doors off the T-mat cubicle. When the Doctor and his companions T-mat down not much later, the cubicle is intact.
  • There are boom mike shadows several times in the museum in the first two episodes.
  • Patrick Troughton's sideburns appear and disappear depending on whether he is seen in a pre-filmed sequence or a studio scene.
  • When the Tardis dematerialises at the end of episode 6; several small changes occur to the set.


  • Ice Warriors first appeared in DW: The Ice Warriors.
  • In NA: Eternity Weeps T-Mat is used to get to the moon.
  • NA: Transit mentions T-Mat in relation to the Stunnel project.
  • Here the Ice Warriors' skin is immune to bullets, but in DW: The Monster of Peladon a simple sword can kill them dead.


  • This story occurs after ST: Homework
  • This story occurs before ST: Lepidoptery for Beginners

Home video and audio releases[]

DVD releases[]

Released as Doctor Who: The Seeds of Death in a two disc set.


  • Region 2 17th February 2003
  • Region 4 5th May 2003
  • Region 1 2nd March 2004
NTSC - Warner Video E1924


  • Sssowing the Ssseedsss - Interviews with Alan Bennion, Sonny Caldinez, Bernard Bresslaw, and Sylvia James.
  • The Last Daleks - Behind the scenes on The Evil of the Daleks.
  • New Zealand Censor Clips
  • TARDIS-Cam #5
  • Photo Gallery
  • Production Subtitles
  • Easter Egg (Footage from commentary)
  • Commentary: Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Michael Ferguson and Terrance Dicks

Notes: Editing for DVD release completed by Doctor Who Restoration Team.

A Special edition of "Seeds of Death" will be released on DVD as part of Revisitations 2 box set, out in Region 2 on 28th March 2011. It will be released with special editions of "Carnival of Monsters" and "Resurrection of the Daleks".

VHS releases[]

Released as Doctor Who: The Seeds of Death.


  • First Release (VHS / Betamax):
  • UK July 1985
PAL - BBC Video BBCV2019
  • Second Release (VHS only):
  • UK July 1987
PAL - BBC Video BBCV4072
  • US March 1990
NTSC - Warner Video E1112

Note: All versions were edited into movie-format. The video cover of the first release in 1985 had made no indication that the story was not colour, and so a small sticker was hastily added to the rear sleeve reading THE ORIGINAL BLACK AND WHITE RECORDING.

Novelisation and its audiobook[]

Main article: The Seeds of Death (novelisation)
  • Novelised as The Seeds of Death by Terrance Dicks in 1986.

External links[]

Template:Season 6

Template:Ice Warrior stories

fr:The Seeds of Death