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Ice Planet TV tie-in

Sam Fisher actor to star.

Michael Ironside, otherwise known as the voice of Sam Fisher in the Splinter Cell series, has signed up to star in a game based on forthcoming TV show Ice Planet.

It's based on the sci-fi film of the same name, which failed to set cinemas alight - or even singe them a bit, frankly - when it was released in 2001.

A $40 million budget has been set aside for the TV series, which is down for five 22-episode seasons. Ironside will play Captain Jonas Trager, "a highly experienced but conflicted military officer" who leads his crew and the spaceship Magellan on a top secret intergalactic mission.

Unfortunately, the timing coincides with a devastating attack on Earth by super-advanced alien race the Skorp. The Magellan crashes on Hoth, sorry, the Ice Planet, and the crew must learn to survive in the frozen landscape whilst dealing with its strange alien inhabitants, understanding their ancient conflicts and avoiding yellow snow.

Other characters include Dr. Karen Rumla, a scientist who is "beautiful, if easily misunderstood" (i.e. fit, but a bit of a cow), special ops commando Sinada and Blade, a charming rogue who cannot be trusted and is no relation to Wesley Snipes.

It's said to offer a "quirky nod" to Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien and X-Files, and probably Babylon 5, Farscape, Stargate, Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica, Dr Who, Andromeda, Blake's 7 and Button Moon, we'd wager.

Since the show's all about characters evolving as they struggle for survival the game will be too, according to producers SpaceWorks. And there will be "clues and specific game information" in each of the series' episodes, with "22 different levels of play".

"It's time for something really new in science fiction, and how games, television and other platforms interact," said producer Philip Jackson.

"This is something refreshing, energised and a perfect launch pad for a new look and feel in the genre."

Shooting for the TV show will start in September, and the series is slated to air in 2006. There's no word on a release date for the game, however, or as to which platforms it will appear on.

Michael Ironside has appeared in more than 120 films over the past three decades, including Starship Troopers, Total Recall and Scanners. But the highlight of his career was undoubtedly his role as Jester in Top Gun, the best film ever made.

To see some pictures of Michael, and read "a humorous Michael poem", why not visit fan site Totally Ironside.