Mars (Doctor Who)

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Mars, the Red Planet
Universe Whoniverse
Notable races Ice Warriors
Notable people Sutekh, Bret Vyon
Genre Science fiction television

Mars, the fourth planet in the solar system, has been featured in the Doctor Who fictional universe on a number of occasions. In the various Doctor Who serials which feature the Ice Warriors, mention is made that Mars is their homeworld.

History within the show[edit]

In Image of the Fendahl (1977), the Fourth Doctor suggests that nine million years prior to the 20th century, the malevolent entity known as the Fendahl, from the Solar System's fifth planet, passed by Mars on its way to Earth, fleeing the efforts of the Time Lords to trap it forever in a time loop.[1]

Mars at that point was described as "dead", but from other accounts it is clear that it also housed the civilisation of the Ice Warriors, a proud, warlike but noble race who were capable of spaceflight. When the planet became more and more inhospitable, the Ice Warriors sent an expedition to Earth, but the ship crashed and was frozen in a glacier, unable to report back.[2]

Around 5000 BC, a powerful race of beings known as the Osirans reached Mars and set up pyramid-like bases there. They also travelled to Earth and influenced Ancient Egypt, seeming to the Egyptians like gods. One of their number, the evil Sutekh, who had destroyed their planet and was the inspiration for the god Set, was imprisoned in a tomb on Earth, kept in a state of paralysis by an energy beam transmitted from the main pyramid on Mars itself. Sutekh would remain a prisoner until 1911, when he took control of the Fourth Doctor and sent him to Mars to destroy the power source. The Doctor did so but was able to make Sutekh die before he escaped his prison.[3]

During the late 20th century, Mars was a target of space exploration. The British space programme sent a series of manned missions to Mars. Mars Probes 6 and 7 made contact with a group of radioactive aliens orbiting the planet on a peaceful survey mission.[4] On 31 October 2006, the Guinevere One probe was launched for an intended landing on Christmas Day, but was intercepted by the alien Sycorax before it could do so.[5]

The first human colonists arrived on Mars in 2058 and established Bowie Base One, a massive bio-dome where frozen Martian water deposits were used to grow vegetation. On 21 November 2059, the colony was destroyed when mission commander Captain Adelaide Brooke initiated Emergency Code Five. There were no survivors. The Tenth Doctor's arrival on the day of the disaster revealed that a viral life form had caused an epidemic at the base after infecting the water supply. He surmised that the Ice Warriors may have attempted to contain the contagion by keeping it frozen underground. Breaking the Laws of Time, the Doctor rescued Adelaide and two of her colleagues from death and returned them to Earth. However Adelaide killed herself to keep the timeline intact.[6]

The Ice Warriors had not given up their ambitions to colonise Earth, however. In the mid-21st century, a strike team was sent to take control of the planet's teleportation network, T-Mat, and use it to transport seed pods to Earth that were designed to terraform its environment to one suitable for Martian life. This plan was foiled by the Second Doctor and his companions, and the Ice Warrior Fleet was drawn into the Sun.[7]

Some time after that, the Ice Warriors' frozen ship was discovered by scientists during another ice age on Earth, and the thawed crew's attempt to seize the base was also stopped by the Second Doctor.[2]

Centuries later, Mars and the Ice Warriors were part of a Galactic Federation that included Earth, Alpha Centauri and Arcturus. Mars was also the only planet to contain trisilicate, a valuable ore in The Curse of Peladon (1972).[8] However, fifty years after the events of that story, in The Monster of Peladon (1974), trisilicate was also being mined on the planet Peladon.[9] The Virgin New Adventures novel Legacy by Gary Russell places these events around the 39th and 40th centuries.[10]

By the 41st century, mankind had established a colonising presence on Mars, as the Space Security Agent Bret Vyon claimed to have been born in its Colony 16.[11] In the far future, under the influence and control of the Usurians, a colony of humans temporarily moved to Mars, then on to Pluto after the depleting of Earth's natural resources.[12]

During the events of "The Long Game" (2005), which takes place in the year 200,000, Mars is now stated to be home to a university of questionable reputation, although no further reference to the planet is made.[13]

Other appearances[edit]

Mars has also made appearances in the various Doctor Who spin-off media. The canonicity of these stories is open to interpretation.

In many Doctor Who stories[vague][which?][citation needed] Mars has been terraformed for human habitation, though The Dying Days by Lance Parkin states this process is unnecessary as Mars can indeed support human life. The Dying Days, set in 1997, tells of a takeover of the United Kingdom by the Argyre Clan of Ice Warriors, whose nests on Mars are in turn destroyed by humans. The invasion was beaten back with the help of the Eighth Doctor, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Bernice Summerfield.[14]

The Fifth Doctor travelled to Mars in the Big Finish Productions audio drama Red Dawn.[15]

The Seventh Doctor visited Mars in the Virgin New Adventures novel GodEngine by Craig Hinton, set in the 22nd century just prior to the events of The Dalek Invasion of Earth.[16]

Bernice Summerfield adventured on Mars during the 26th century in the novel Beige Planet Mars by Lance Parkin and Mark Clapham.[17]

The Fourth Doctor and Leela visited a similarly terraformed Mars in the short story "Crimson Dawn" by Tim Robbins, published in the Virgin Books anthology Decalog 2: Lost Property.[18]

The Ninth Doctor visited the planet, which had been turned into a holiday resort, in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip story The Cruel Sea (DWM #359–362), written by Rob Shearman.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boucher, Chris (writer); Spenton-Foster, George (director) (29 October – 19 November 1977). Image of the Fendahl. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  2. ^ a b Hayles, Brian (writer); Martinus, Derek (director) (11 November – 16 December 1967). The Ice Warriors. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  3. ^ Harris, Stephen (writer); Russell, Paddy (director) (25 October – 15 November 1975). Pyramids of Mars. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  4. ^ Whitaker, David (writer); Ferguson, Michael (director) (21 March – 2 May 1970). The Ambassadors of Death. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  5. ^ Davies, Russell T (writer); Hawes, James (director) (25 December 2005). "The Christmas Invasion". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One. 
  6. ^ Davies, Russell T; Ford, Phil (writers); Harper, Graeme (director) (15 November 2009). "The Waters of Mars". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One. 
  7. ^ Hayles, Brian (writer); Ferguson, Michael (director) (25 January – 1 March 1969). The Seeds of Death. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  8. ^ Hayles, Brian (writer); Mayne, Lennie (director) (29 January – 19 February 1972). The Curse of Peladon. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  9. ^ Hayles, Brian (writer); Mayne, Lennie (director) (23 March – 27 April 1974). The Monster of Peladon. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  10. ^ Russell, Gary (April 1994). Legacy. Virgin New Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20412-3. 
  11. ^ Nation, Terry; Spooner, Dennis (writers); Camfield, Douglas (director) (13 November 1965 – 29 January 1966). The Daleks' Master Plan. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  12. ^ Holmes, Robert (writer); Roberts, Pennant (director) (26 November – 17 December 1977). The Sun Makers. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1. 
  13. ^ Davies, Russell T (writer); Grant, Brian (director) (7 May 2005). "The Long Game". Doctor Who. Series 1. Episode 7. BBC. BBC One. 
  14. ^ Parkin, Lance (April 1997). The Dying Days. Virgin New Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20504-9. 
  15. ^ Richards, Justin (writer); Russell, Gary (director) (May 2000). Red Dawn. Doctor Who: Main Range. Big Finish Productions. 
  16. ^ Hinton, Craig (June 1996). GodEngine. Virgin New Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20473-5. 
  17. ^ Parkin, Lance; Clapham, Mark (October 1998). Beige Planet Mars. Virgin New Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20529-4. 
  18. ^ Stammers, Mark; Walker, Stephen James, eds. (20 July 1995). Decalog 2: Lost Property. Virgin Decalog. Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20448-4. 
  19. ^ Shearman, Robert (w), Collins, Mike (p), Roach, David A. (i). "The Cruel Sea" Doctor Who Magazine Issues 359–362 (17 August 2005–9 November 2005), Panini Comics

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