Saturday, 5 April 2014

Top 5 Classic Doctor Who Monsters And Foes

If there's something Doctor Who has been identified for even more than the iconic blue police box, it's the villains. Some are love and others hated, but as a whole they are really what made the series stand out so much. Prior to the success of the daleks, the plan was to make the show a historical program for education. Their popularity and menace was what ultimately helped the series find its status today.

With all the rubber suited monstrosities which have appeared across countless episodes, what are the ones which stand out the most? Here's a short list with a slight twist. To avoid the usual problem of daleks, cybermen and the like taking up ever slot, this will not include them. Those listed here are ones which have not shown up in the modern revival. No matter how large or small the appearance, if they've turned up in post-2008 Who, then they're not viable fir entry here. The same goes for the foes unique to the Big Finish audios. Mostly because they deserve a list of their own given the sheer number of tales written and performed over the years.

These are also going to be much shorter entries than usual, each with a couple of sentences at the most done to cover them. This is primarily to help avoid spoilers in the episodes which feature them as an enemy. If you want to know more, look them up.

That done, here's the top five foes of the Doctor which have yet to show up in the modern program.

5 - Xoanon

The foe from Leela's introductory story, The Face of Evil, Xoanon is unique on his list for several reasons. Along with being an artificial construct, he was not innately evil, and most interestingly it was the Doctor himself who triggered his actions. Initially the malfunctioning computer onboard the Mordee Expedition which had crashed on an unknown world, the Doctor attempted to fix it by merging his mind the machine. While it was successful, the remnants of his mind triggered a split personality disorder within the machine and a total mental breakdown ensued.

Out of control and utterly insane, Xoanon proceeded to initiate his own eugenics experiments. Isolating half the ship's crew in the jungle and trapping others onboard their vessel. For generations he kept the two sides at war, forcing them to develop along differing paths to create a potential superhuman. Were this not enough, his ability to control matter and psychic dominion turned the planet into a living nightmare.

In effect, this was Doctor Who's version of SHODAN.

4 - Omega

The only foe on this list to make repeat appearances, Omega was a figure of legend. The genius who allowed the Gallifreyans to master time travel and changed their society forever, he was seen as a hero who sacrificed himself for their benefit. Dragged into the anti-matter universe at his moment of victory, accomplishing his life's work, he was trapped in exile. The long silence and corrosive nature of that universe boiled away his sanity. When he finally returned, he was a conqueror bent on forcing all to kneel before him. It took multiple incarnations of the titular hero to initially defeat him in The Three Doctors.

Whereas the Master is sometimes seen as what the Doctor could become if he abandoned his morality, Omega is a sign of what his achievements and mind could easily lead to. For all the times he has risked trapping himself in some unknown, hostile realm for eternity; there is always that one chance he will become like Omega.

3 - Fendahl

A foe so powerful that thirteen of their number were enough to strip a world barren, the Fendahl were a ruthless predator race. A gestalt organism, they consumed all other life on their world and threatened to depart and spread throughout the galaxy. So terrified of their destructive capabilities, the Time Lords not only locked them within a time loop but erased all information that they had ever existed.

Capable of psychic control and astral projection, they had few weaknesses and were a threat to any who approached them. Feeding off of the psychic energy of others, the aliens drained the souls from those they encountered and disguised their nature in occult iconography. This is to say nothing of what they had become when the Time Lords, in a moment of desperation, tried to release them once more.

2 - Fenric

One of the Great Old Ones of the galaxy, Fenric was an ancient mind of evil older than the galaxy itself. Appearing in the Curse of Fenric controlling an army of vampiric humans from the far future, Fenric's influence was scattered throughout time. Facing the Doctor twice, he engineered events throughout an entire series of the show before finally being defeated once and for all near the very end.

Even in the weakened state he appeared in during the final series, he was more than a match for almost all who faced him. Countless lives were lost as he and the Doctor played out their final game. Either sacrificed to store his essence, or transformed into instruments of his will.

1 - Sutekh

A being so monstrous than his own race turned upon him as one, Sutekh was the last of the Osirians. Annihilating his home planet and leaving a trail of destruction across the galaxy, countless worlds were burned in his wake. The alien's rampage was only halted when the remaining few hundred other Osirians trapped him within a pyramid on Mars.

Despite spending the majority of his episode sitting in a chair watching events play out, Sutekh is a truly memorable villain due to his power and presence. Barely moving even as he faced down the Doctor, Sutekh was able to force him to his knees and almost burn away his mind. He is also one of a small handful of villains for which we see the result of his victory; the sheer desolation which will follow should he find a way to be released once more.

So those are just a personal top five of the antagonists the monsters have faced. Admittedly, they did favour those with horror themes far more than anything else, but that's what made them so effective. If you have your own short list of favourites, please feel free to say them and give a few reasons in the comments section.


  1. What episodes were these? Because I'd love to watch them and haven't seen too much of the old series, aside from that it seems like a fine list.
    Unrelated, but kind of interesting is that one of the google ads here took me to a place called Yoymart, do you know if they are a trustworthy site or not? Because their prices for 40K miniatures are awesome, and it seems to be the best way to not support GW's price-hikes.

    1. The serials they showed up in, in order on the list, were The Face of Evil, The Three Doctors, Image Of The Fendahl, The Curse of Fenric, and The Pyramids of Mars.
      All are solid tales within the series, but you need to be a little forgiving when watching them. The old series lacked a lot of the pace the current one had at times and stories often went on for multiple episodes. Nash Bozard also came up with a decent guide and list of stories for the classic series which might interest you:

      As for adverts, i'm afraid I can't be of too much help. Google Adsense only brings up ads for people individually depending upon what country they are in or their search history. I did a small amount of poking about and came up with a few good and bad things about them, such as the fact they seem to do recasts rather than ship official GW products. As such you might find yourself having problems using them in store. That said, most comments I have seen on resin quality have been fairly good, usually at least on par with Finecast at least.

      Anyway, thank you for taking the time to comment once more.

    2. Thanks for those, in hindsight they (the titles) are kind of obvious from the villains in them, but I'll watch them since I've got a lot of patience for the old series.

      The only reason I asked was because it was an advert on your site, I've known about them from a bit but have been unable to order from them so far (thanks visa "confirmation" thing that doesn't work), and was curious if you knew about it was because it was an advert on your site.
      I did not know they controlled the ads independently, oh well, at least it seems like a good thing, I don't have any interest in playing in a GW store since they closed their store in my city several years ago (despite the fact that it was always busy), I'll take the slight dip in quality (if there is one) with those prices easily, at least I'll be able to afford playing the game if I can ever order anything from them.