23 November 1987
Miranda Borman (Stellar), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Stefanie Fayerman (McLuhan), Ian Mackenzie (Anderson), Nigel Miles-Thomas (Pudovkin), Stuart Organ (Bazin), Tony Osoba (Kracauer), Edward Peel (Kane), Patricia Quinn (Belazs), Tony Selby (Sabalom Glitz), Shirin Taylor (Customer)
|Written by||Ian Briggs|
|Directed by||Chris Clough|
|Produced by||John Nathan Turner|
Iceworld. An intergalactic trading post, ruled by the power-hungry Kane. Now his dream of total power is near to realisation with his acquisation of a band of mercenaries from the infamous Glitz in part payment of his debts. For “Cryosleep” will render the men utterly in his power. Meanwhile, Glitz still owes the balance of the debt and looks to Iceworld’s mythical dragon and the Dragonfire – the treasure it reputedly guards – to solve his problems at last. Intrigued by the legend of the Dragonfire, the Doctor, Mel and young Earth girl, Ace, accompany Glitz – unaware that they are being followed by Kane’s mercenaries.
For the psychotic ruler believes that with the Dragonfire in his possession he can avenge the rulers of his home-planet who banished his long-dead partner 3,000 years ago.
And so it seems that beneath Iceworld’s superficial civility lies a frozen core of corruption and the Doctor has embarked on something far more sinister than a mere treasure hunt.
- This story marks the final appearance of Bonnie Langford as a regular cast member. Langford would only reprise her role as Melanie Bush once on television, in Dimensions in Time (1993).Langford departed the series of her own volition after being dissatisfied in the role. In recent years, she has reprised the character in several audio plays by Big Finish Productions, including playing an alternate universe version of Mel in the Doctor Who Unbound audio He Jests at Scars….
- The character of Sabalom Glitz, with whom Mel departs to explore the galaxy, first appeared in The Trial of a Time Lord. This story also marks the first appearance of Sophie Aldred as Ace. Aldred actually auditioned for the part of the tomboy Ray from Delta And The Bannermen (1987), but lost the part to Sara Griffiths. Briggs, who had created the character of Ace, had stated in Ace’s character outline for Dragonfire that she had slept with Glitz on Iceworld. The Paul Cornell-written New Adventures novel Love and War implies (and his later novel Happy Endings confirms) that Ace lost her virginity to Glitz.
- The Doctor’s acceptance of Ace as a companion is part of a larger game that would see its culmination in The Curse of Fenric. In the Virgin New Adventures novel Head Games by Steve Lyons it is revealed that the Seventh Doctor mentally influenced the brighter and more idealistic Mel to leave so that he could become the darker and more manipulative Time’s Champion.
- This story marks the only farewell scene between the Seventh Doctor and one of his companions. Mel’s departure scene was adapted from Sylvester McCoy’s screen test, where Janet Fielding was hired to act as a departing companion and a villain. McCoy stated that he always liked that particular screen test script and he lobbied for its inclusion in Dragonfire. One of the alien customers in the cafe is an Argolin from The Leisure Hive.