7.9. Cold War

Series 7 - 2012/2013

Writer: Mark Gatiss
Produced by: Marcus Wilson
Director: Douglas Mackinnon
Music: Murray Gold


At the North Pole, 1983, in the Arctic sea the crew of a Russian submarine are running a drill, practising what they would do after receiving orders to launch nuclear weapons. As well as the manoeuvres the submarine is returning Professor Grisenko to Moscow. Whilst drilling for oil he found what he thought may be a mammoth, and the submarine is transporting them back to Moscow.

A crew-member, Piotr, is eager to find out what the creature in the ice really is, and using an oxyacetylene torch starts to melt the ice. Shortly afterwards the creature starts to move.

The TARDIS arrives in the bridge of the submarine. The Doctor and Clara are expecting Las Vegas, but instead find themselves on board a sinking submarine after the escaped creature starts killing crew and damaging systems. The Doctor comes up with an idea to stabilise the submarine before it sinks too far.

As soon as the submarine stabilises First Officer Stepashin orders the Doctor and Clara to be searched. Many things are pulled from the Doctor's pocket, including a plastic doll, but it is the sonic screwdriver that arouses Captain Zhukov's curiosity. The TARDIS de-materialises, and the submarine sinks further. Clara falls under water that has leaked into the submarine and loses consciousness. When she comes to she finds the Doctor and Captain fighting.

A watery growling interrupts the Doctor and the Captain. On hearing a hissing noise behind him the Doctor turns round to face an Ice Warrior. The professor estimates the Ice Warrior has been lying in the ice for 5,000 years. The Ice Warrior is a soldier - Grand Marshall Skaldak.

The Doctor recognises the name and rank. Grand Marshall Skaldak is the Sovereign of the Tharsisian Caste and vanquisher of the Phobos Heresy, and the greatest hero of the Martian race. Stepashin, using a cattle prod (brought on board by the Professor after being used to fend off polar bears), electrocutes Skaldak. It is not enough to kill him, but does knock him unconscious.

Skaldak is locked up and restrained in the torpedo room. Skaldak finds it difficult to believe has been under the ice for 5,000 years, and through equipment hidden in his armour sends a signal into space, hoping that others will find him.

The Captain asks the Doctor about the Ice Warrior, but the Stepashin thinks it is more likely that it is a western weapon. The Professor thinks the Doctor could be telling the truth. The Doctor tells the Captain that Skaldak would have forgotten them if he had let him go, but instead Skaldak will rain down the fires of hell for being attacked.

The Captain asks the Doctor to talk to it, but will not let the Doctor go in face to face. The Doctor says it cannot be a soldier who goes in as Skaldak will see them as enemy. It is at this point that Clara volunteers as she is not a soldier.

Clara goes into the room with Skaldak. She has on a headset, and there is a camera in the room, so the Doctor can see her and talk to her. The Doctor tells her to make a salute, and tells her what to say. Clara gets closer to Skaldak and realises something is wrong. She lifts up the head and the armoured suit is empty.

As Clara opens the door to get out of the torpedo room something rushes past her, and past the Doctor who is running to check she is okay. Skaldak has not received a response to his signal, so he thinks he is alone, and has nothing to lose, trapped on board a submarine loaded with nuclear missiles.

In another area of the submarine Stepashin is making repairs when he hears a strange growling. As he backs towards a corner he can feel Skaldak. Stepashin suggests an alliance so together then can win the cold war.

The remaining crew start to go around in small groups to hunt the Ice Warrior. Skaldak is able to capture, and kill, crew-members who are not watching properly, and by doing this is able to learn about humans, and their weaknesses. The Doctor, Clara and the Professor come across on the of the dead soldiers.

Leaving Clara and the Professor he tracks the Ice Warrior with the sonic screwdriver, and finds Stepashin's body. He runs back to Clara and the Professor in time to find Skaldak holding onto the Professor. Skaldak says he has all the information he needs, and that one missile will begin the process of mutually assured destruction. The Captain and a crew-member arrive, armed.

Skaldak is able to remotely signal his suit, which easily breaks free of its chains and comes to Skaldak. He gets back into the suit, and when fired upon the bullets have no effect.

Skaldak heads to the bridge where is is able to arm the missiles. The Doctor challenges Skaldak, saying he will destroy the submarine, using the sonic screwdriver, if necessary. In the end it is Clara that is able to talk Skaldak out of launching the missiles.

As they are talking the submarine is pulled up to the surface by a tractor beam. The Ice Warriors return for Skaldak, and as the submarine surfaces he is teleported off. As the Ice Warrior ship leaves Skaldak does show mercy, and a signal is sent that disarms the missiles.

Clara then asks the Doctor where the TARDIS is, and why it de-materialised. The Doctor admits to resetting a feature of the TARDIS he hadn't used for some time - the HADS (Hostile Actions Displacement System). When under attack the TARDIS relocates - this time to the South Pole.

Regular Cast

  • Clara Oswald: Jenna-Louise Coleman

Guest Cast

  • Captain Zhukov: Liam Cunningham
  • Professor Grisenko: David Warner
  • Lieutenant Stepashin: Tobias Menzies
  • Piotr: Josh O'Connor
  • Onegin: James Norton
  • Belevich: Charlie Anson
  • Skaldak: Spencer Wilding
  • Voice of Skaldak: Nicholas Briggs
  • Crewmen: Eran Backler, Jamie Gardiner, Jack Scanlon, Scott Stevenson, Connor Jenkins, Toby Rattray, Ashley Randall, Jason Clarke, Edward Winter
  • Zhukov's Crewman: Matthew Humphries
  • Stunt Sailors: David Newton, Marcus Shakesheff, Tom Aitken
  • Double for the Doctor: Ian William George
  • Pretty Girl: Donna Shakesheff
  • Dead Body Double for Stepashin: Matthew Humphries

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 (HD) 9. Cold War Saturday, April 13, 2013 6:00 PM - 6:45 PM 7.37M 84

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • BBC Roath Lock Studios: Studio 2
  • BBC Roath Lock Studios: Studio 3
  • Halliford Film Studios, Shepperton, Middlesex: Stage B

Outside Locations

  • Llanwern Works, Newport, Gwent