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Two major announcements have come from the BBC today relating to the upcoming series of Doctor Who and the hotly anticipated 50th Anniversary Special. The first announcement was that the classic villains the Ice Warriors or an Ice Warrior singular, would be returning to our screens in the third episode of the second half of Series 7.

The episode will be penned by Mark Gatiss, a veteran of the revived series and Moffat’s writing partner on Sherlock. Teased as a good old fashioned ‘base under siege story’ set aboard a submarine, similar in style to the classic serials from the Troughton era, it’s befitting that the Ice Warriors, who debuted in the late sixties should return in this type of story. Also Matt Smith will no doubt be on top form having cited Patrick Troughton’s era as his favourite. The Ice Warriors appeared in four stories to date, two with Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, then in colour with Third Doctor Jon Pertwee.

Despite being one of the most famous and best remembered villains from the classic series even warranting a mention in ‘The Waters of Mars’, their last appearance was way back in 1974, nearly 40 years ago. Several attempts were made to bring them back to the series in the eighties, but on both occasions, the series was stopped in its tracks put on hiatus, the second time for good. So this will be their long awaited return, expected to send kids scuttling behind the sofa once again. This very much keeps with the tradition of bringing back classic enemies, previously we have had Sontarans, the Master, Silurians, Cybermen and of course the Daleks. Incidentally the Cybermen will also be appearing in their new shape in Neil Gaiman’s latest script ‘The Last Cyberman’.

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Hot on the tail of this announcement was a potentially exciting piece of news about the Anniversary Special. So far the BBC has remained tight lipped about the celebrations in general and so far the only details that have been leaked have been that there will be a 60 minute special in addition to ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ drama documentary. What the BBC officially announced this evening was that the special will be in 3D on the BBC HD channel. Whether this will be limited to viewers with 3D Televisions or if special glasses will be sold remains to be seen. Hopefully the added novelty of the special will be able to reach as many viewers as possible.

It wouldn’t be the first time Doctor Who has ventured into the realm of the third dimension, in 1993 a special short named ‘Dimensions in Time’ was broadcast during that year’s Children in Need telethon, for which special glasses were required. Also the BBC’s Doctor Who Experience currently based in Cardiff has an interactive 3D walk-through exhibit. ‘Dimensions In Time’ was made to pay tribute to the series during it’s 30th Anniversary, featuring a menagerie of Doctors, companions and villains. In a bizarre move the short was a cross over with Eastenders, leading to the short being universally hated by fans of both Doctor Who and Eastenders alike as the fans were originally promised a much more ambitious project. Speculation has been rife about a multi Doctor story for the 50th Anniversary as has been done at most anniversary milestones in the past but as time passes this seems more and more unlikely.

The Anniversary news was made in an article by the BBC’s Commissioning Drama Department, also detailing other commissions for the coming year. There has been no mention of a Series 8 of Doctor Who to follow on from the Anniversary special for the autumn, as seen with Series 6 in 2011 and Series 7 last year. Given that Matt Smith will be in the US shooting ‘How To Catch A Monster’ with Ryan Gosling over the summer, it’s looking unlikely there will be an autumn run of Doctor Who to supplement the remainder of Series 7 and the Anniversary Special. Fans have expressed concern about exactly how much Doctor Who they will be getting in this landmark year and indeed when, but have been reassured that the BBC have Doctor Who’s best interests in mind. The BBC has yet to confirm when the show will officially return after the Anniversary Special, however general opinion is that 7 episodes and 1 Special is lacklustre given up to this point we have been used to 13 regular episodes and 1 Christmas Special each year, many are hoping that there is more to come. A date has not been set for the special episode, fans are hoping it will be broadcast on 23rd November but this will probably not be confirmed until a few weeks before.  An announcement about production on Series 8 could come at any time. In addition, who knows what else the BBC have up their sleeve this year as part of Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations.

What has your reaction been to the news?  Excited?  Disappointed?  What else are you hoping for, let us know below.

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This article was first posted on February 12, 2013