Red Dawn (2000)

Red Dawn is the second story to feature a monster from the classic series. The Ice Warriors were first used in their self titled story along with another appearance in 1969 before being devalued in comedical performances in The Curse of Peladon and Monster of Peladon. In Red Dawn they are restored to their former glory. It’s quite fitting that they are back on Mars because that is where they came from even though they never go there on TV. Justin Richards has written this story which sees the Fifth Doctor teams up with Peri for the first time since The Caves of Androzani. This relationship was never given much time because Peri joined the show at the beginning of the previous story (Planet of Fire) and so its stories like this that will show us what this pairing can do.

The Doctor and Peri are very good in this story. This story follows in the glorious tradition of Doctor Who by having the Doctor and Peri separated fairly early on. As the first episode unfolds the first thing that comes to mind was how mysterious it was. There was also the sense of waiting for the Ice Warriors to finally appear. This predictably comes at the end of the first episode and forms the best cliffhanger from this range so far. But once they are in then the action never slows down. The menace of their previous/earlier stories really shines in this story. The character of Zzaal is perfect as lord of the Ice Warriors. The best moment was when the Doctor and Lee Forbes are accused by Zzaal of keeping him occupied and gets angry and then sends some Ice Warriors to rescue Stast from Ares One. The Doctor/Forbes relationship worked well as I thought that Forbes was well acted by Robert Jezek. They have all the action in the building with the Ice Warriors whereas Peri and Tanya are lumbered with staying on Argosy. I have to say that it was a good combination. This was partly due to the good acting of Nicola Bryant and Gerogia Moffet. Moffet who incidentally is actually Peter Davison’s daughter. Now I don’t know whether Davison pulled any strings but to me that’s irrelevant because she is very good as Tanya Webster. But it is the character of Paul Webster that I found the most interesting. It is because of his actions that the story is unravelling. By Part 3 he has started to go a little bit crazy. As Peri and Tanya are letting Sstas loose Paul pulls out a gun. A brother pointing a gun at his sister is quite a shocking and dramatic moment. By the end of the third episode he was pointing a laser gun at the Doctor’s head so if that’s not a sign of instability then I don’t know what is.

The final episode is a nice one because it feels like a lot is going on. We have the big revelation also in this episode that Tanya is actually a clone. By the end we have a nice climax that humanity is safe and the Ice Warriors are remaining on Mars. It’s the two forces battling and then calling a truce, not quite best friends but are willing to stay out of each others way which I found as a satisfactory conclusion.

Justin Richards has written a very good story. Its starting to feel like Big Finish are developing a good way of storytelling. Richards has written good strong characters that only become stronger when we learn the truth about Tanya. Gary Russell has done a good job as director making all the action come to the fore front at just the right moment.

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