Well, perhaps not quite. But in a definite case of life imitating art, a 50-year-old prop of an Ice Warrior head – thought to be the only one of its kind in existence – has been discovered, it has been revealed.
The Ice Warriors first appeared in Doctor Who in November 1967, in a story entitled (appropriately enough) The Ice Warriors, which began with the discovery during a future ice age, of Varga, the first of the eponymous creatures to have been seen on TV. Since then, the reptilian Martians have returned to our screens no fewer than five times; once again during the 1960s, and twice opposite Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor during the Peladon stories. More recently, the Ice Warriors returned to face Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor during the anniversary year in 2017, and they’ll next appear within the fortnight in Mark Gatiss’ story Empress of Mars…
The discovery of the screen-used prop has been announced by Matt Doe of Toybox Treasures, an on-line shop and “museum” of vintage sci-fi and Doctor Who memorabilia, and since the discovery the prop has been restored as fully as possible by Mike Tucker, Doctor Who effects wizard and all-round Renaissance man.
This particular Ice Warrior head differs from subsequent such props in that after the Ice Warriors’ initial appearance, the head was redesigned to be less bulky. The new discovery is of the larger headed version, an original as created for the returning monsters’ debut story.
“It was the real deal,” says Matt on the Toybox Treasures website. “Despite clearly suffering the ravages of time, this was one of the very earliest Ice Warrior heads, used in both Troughton’s and Pertwee’s era. This is one of those moments you dream of as both a prop collector and Doctor Who fan.”
After consulting with several prop collecting friends, Matt got in touch with Mike Tucker to decide the best way to approach restoring the find. “It had to be preserved (every time we touched the Ice Warrior, latex was falling off in our hand) and it hand to be done quick. The worst outcome for this historical item would be for it to fall to pieces and cease to exist so within days of picking it up we drove to Ealing Studios to drop this off so Mike could start work.”
The head, as seen in these photos, is far from being in ideal condition. But as an item of historical importance to the series, and a timely reminder of the appeal of the Ice Warriors, its discovery is both serendipitous and very welcome.
Further details of the discovery, additional photos and the story of the prop’s restoration can be found at http://www.toybox-treasures.co.uk/icewarrior/ and will also appear in the current edition of Doctor Who Magazine.SHARE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW OR ON TWITTER @STARBURST_MAG
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