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Alan Bennion, who passed away in July, was one of the great unsung villains of 1960s and 70s Doctor Who.
Alan Bennion’s first Doctor Who role, as Slaar in The Seeds of Death (1969).

With three major roles in five years, Alan Bennion, who has died at the age of 88, ought to be one of early Doctor Who’s most familiar faces. Except, of course, viewers never actually got to see his face, hidden as it was beneath the layers of latex and fibreglass that transformed him into a trio of memorable Ice Warriors.

Make no mistake, these Martian hostiles were no mere ‘monsters’: as Slaar in The Seeds of Death (1969), Izlyr in The Curse of Peladon (1972) and Azaxyr in its 1974 sequel The Monster of Peladon, Alan explored multiple facets of this proud warrior race, from ruthless field general to noble statesman and scheming double agent.

As Terrance Dicks, who wrote much of The Seeds of Death, has noted, introducing an aristocratic class of Martian – the so-called ‘Ice Lords’ – was “a way to get more character into your senior Ice Warrior”. As a result, Slaar is “actually a rather suave, George Sanders-type villain”. Whether this hissing, rasping reptile qualifies as ‘suave’ is debatable, but with a whopping 132 lines of dialogue (that’s only a shade less than Michael Wisher’s Davros in Genesis of the Daleks), Alan Bennion is certainly a huge presence throughout the six-part story.

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SERIES 11 COMPANIONS MANDIP GILL AND TOSIN COLE WRITE FOR DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE! READ THEIR DOCTOR WHO DIARY IN THE LATEST ISSUE. Doctor Who Magazine 529 also includes: • Meet the writers and directors of Series 11 • An interview with Roy Scammell, who was part of Doctor Who's stunt team in the 1970s • The life and work of Don Harper, the composer responsible for the soundtrack to 1968 epic The Invasion • Big Finish's Lisa Bowerman answers questions from the TARDIS tin • Games company Gale Force 9 reveal the background to Time of the Daleks • A tribute to Alan Bennion, who played three Ice Warriors in the 1960s and 70s • Part Six of The Clockwise War, a new comic strip adventure featuring the Doctor and Bill • The Time Team watches three pseudo-historical Doctor Who stories • The Fact of Fiction explores the 2013 Eleventh Doctor story Hide • Third Doctor cosplay with Rob Lloyd • Previews, audio, DVD and game reviews, news, The Blogs of Doom, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!