Villains, Monsters, Robots, Evil Aliens,
(and The Ood)

“Don't blink! Don't even blink! Blink and you're dead!"
- The Tenth Doctor

    No show featuring a hero can survive without villains. Doctor Who had dozens of evil aliens, nasty beasties and not-so-nice humans throughout its long run. Here are several of my personal favorites.


"The trouble with Daleks is they take so long to say anything. I'll probably die of boredom before they shoot me." - The Eleventh Doctor

   "The Unearthly Child", the first serial story ever broadcast on the original Doctor Who series, proved that the show had a solid premise, as The Doctor and his companions traveled back to 10,000 B.C. and found themselves dealing with rival caveman tribes. But what to follow up with? Although several scripts were in progress, only one, about an alien race called The Daleks, had been completed. The Daleks looked like robots, something that Drama Department Gead Sydney Newman did not want to have on the show ("No robots or bug-eyed monsters!"). But there was no real choice - it was the only script ready to go, so, on December 21, 1963, the first part of the seven-part serial "The Daleks" went out over the air, and by the end of the story, a new phenomenon was born: Dalekmania! It was like Beatlemania, but with less emphasis on guitars and singing and more emphasis on exterminating the human race.

     The Daleks were a race of mutants that lived inside armored shells. The shells had an eye-stalk, a laser gun and a sucker that looked suspiciously like a plumber's helper, aka a plunger. The Daleks' mission: to dominate over all other life forms in the Universe, by enslavement or extermination. Aside from The Doctor himself and the TARDIS, the Daleks are the most recognizable symbols of the Doctor Who program, and early in the series, rarely did a season go by without at least one appearance by what the late Turner Classic host Robert Osbourne called the "giant alien salt shakers".  They were killed off by the Second Doctor in the 1967 episode "Evil of the Daleks", but you can't keep a good mutant race down, and by 1972, they were back battling The Third Doctor. The 1975 episode "Genesis of the Daleks" introduced Davros, the creator of the little buggers (see more about Davros directly below).

     The Daleks would come and go throughout the original series, but when Russell T Davies brought back Doctor Who in 2005, he had The Doctor meeting a Dalek by the fifth episode, and since then, there hasn't been a season from 2005 to 2017 that did not feature at least a cameo appearance from The Daleks. Even 2018 show runner Chris Chibnall, who insisted that no previous villains would appear in the 11th season, used a lone Dalek in the New Year's special.  Let's face it, on Doctor Who, it's not a real party until the Daleks show up, screeching "Exterminate!  Exterminate!"


     The Daleks were introduced in 1963, but it wasn't until 1975 and "Genesis of The Daleks" that we learned who created them: Davros, a warped, angry, speechifying, physically damaged evil genius for the ages. Davros always wanted to rid the Universe of all living things except for his Daleks. Over the course of both incarnations of the series, he only appeared a handful of times, but was always memorable. Whether it was Tom Baker, Sylvester McCoy or Peter Davison playing The Doctor, he and Davros aways had the best philosophical discussions.

     Davros had encounters with Doctors Four through Seven in the original series. He was almost destroyed by The Seventh Doctor in 1988's "Remembrance of the Daleks" but escaped at the last moment. Threatening to use his "Reality Bomb" to destroy the Universe, Davros returned in the modern series to fight with The Tenth Doctor and his multiple companions in the fourth season two-part final "The Stolen Earth"/ "Journey's End". Presumed dead after that battle, he turned up again in Season Nine's two-part opener "The Magician's Apprentice / The Witch's Familiar", where he and The Twelfth Doctor spent much time attempting to outwit each other to death. Needless to say, The Doctor won.

"I am dying, Doctor."
"You keep saying that, you keep NOT dying!"

     Disfigured and confined to a special mobile chair, Davros could not do much without the help of The Daleks, which was a pity for him as even the Daleks tended to sour on him periodically. The part of Davros has been played by several actors over the years. In the original series, Michael Wisher and David Gooderson each played him once, while Terry Malloy played him in several Dalek stories. Julian Blecher, aided by spectacular makeup and effects, was the perfect choice to revive the evil loony in the Modern series.

     On the commentary track of the "Destiny of the Daleks" DVD, Lalla Ward ("Romana II") coined Davros's speaking apparatus his "Madonna microphone".


     Every good hero has an arch-enemy. Sherlock Holmes had Moriarty, Batman had the Joker, James Bond had Blofeld. The Doctor had The Master. A Time Lord himself, The Master always had a love-hate relationship with The Doctor. Like all great villains, The Master wanted to take over the world, in this case, "the world" sometimes meant the Universe, but The Doctor always found a way to stop him.

     The Master (like The Doctor, we don't know his real name) was originally played by actor Roger Delgado, who for many fans of the original series will always be THE Master. The Third Doctor, played by Jon Pertwee, battled The Master almost endlessly in those early Doctor Who seasons, to a point where enough was too much, and The Master was retired for a while.

MASTER: I hope I'm not interrupting anything important.
DOCTOR: No, no, indeed not. You've come here to kill me, of course.
MASTER: But not without considerable regret.
DOCTOR: How very comforting.

     In real life, Delgado and Pertwee had become great friends and Delgado was supposed to have returned as The Master in Jon Pertwee's final season. Sadly, Delgado died in a car crash before he would return to the show. Since then, others have taken over the role. Typical of Doctor Who, the changes in appearance could be explained by either The Master regenerating or, in a pinch, stealing a body from somebody else. The longest-running Master after Delgado's death was Anthony Ainley, who had similar looks to the late actor and an abundance of wacky enthusiasm. He showed up in the 1981 Fourth Doctor adventure "The Keeper of Traken", and popped up again and again to torment all the Doctors of his era. Fittingly, he was right there battling The Seventh Doctor in the final original series story "Survival" (1989).

     If Roger Delgado played the Master like a James Bond villain, all arched eyebrows and wry smiles, Anthony Ainley was a 1940's Saturday morning movie serial villain, especially with his over-the-top maniacal laughter. In real life, Ainley lived to play The Master and would have probably played him forever had the show not been shelved in 1989.

     Eric Roberts played The Master in the 1996 Doctor Who movie. In the modern series, John Simm and Michelle Gomez played The Master / The Mistress, both in totally off the wall bananas mode.

Pictured above: The Masters, as played by Roger Delgado and later Anthony Ainley.


      An exclusive antagonist of the Sixth Doctor and his companion Peri, Sil was a shady intergalactic business mogul who cheated and extorted his way through life. He was one of the most gruesomely slimy creatures in the known universe, with a gargling laugh that was so irritating, I would rather wrestle a Dalek with my bare hands than stand in the same room with Sil. Needless to say, because he is so slimy and obnoxious, he is one of my favorite villains, even if he only appeared in two stories, both of them with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant. He's one of those creatures from the original series that I would have loved to have seen pop up in the modern series, just for the annoyance factor alone. Imagine Christopher Eccleston or Peter Capaldi trying to deal with this guy. Well, there is still hope. As long as Doctor Who lives on, I can always imagine we may see Sil once again.

     Actor Nabil Shaban, who played Sil, colorfully described his character as being somewhere between "a tadpole and a turd".


     The Master may be the most famous of the Time Lords that went bad, but he was certainly not the only one. There have been many such "rogue" Time Lords in Doctor Who history.

      The First Doctor faced The Monk in "The Time Meddler" (1965), and again in "The Daleks' Master Plan" (1966), defeating him both times, naturally.

     Omega was one of the founding fathers of Time Travel, but eventually he went mad with power. Doctors Two and Three, with encouragement from a stranded First Doctor, did battle with Omega in "The Three Doctors" (1972), but he returned to fight The Fifth Doctor in "Arc of Infinity" (1983). He lost.

     My favorite Rogue Time Lord, Morbius (pictured above), fell out of favor with the Time Lords on Gallifrey because, like Omega, he was power mad and totally bonkers. Morbius battled The Fourth Doctor in "The Brain of Morbius" (1976), a story based on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. Not only was Morbius one of the most vicious of the rogue Time Lords, but he was also a complete mess, as pictured above, reconstructed out of scraps of mismatched body parts found around the house with a clear plastic helmet to top things off.

     The Rani, played by Kate O'Mara, was a rogue Time Lady who excelled in evil genetic experiments. She met The Sixth Doctor and teamed with The Master in "Mark of the Rani" (1985) and returned to bedevil the newly regenerated Seventh Doctor in "Time and The Rani" (1987). She was going to be a recurring villain, but the cancellation of the show in 1989 put the kibosh on those plans.

     The Rani was one of the characters Steven Moffat nixed early in his reign as show runner. "No one knows who the Rani is," he stated in an interview. "They all know who the Master is, they know Daleks, they probably know who Davros is, but they don't know who the Rani is, so there's no point in bringing her back." Although O'Mara played the role quite well, the second Rani story "Time and The Rani" is considered by many fans to be one of the worst Doctor Who episodes ever.

     The most famous of all Time Lords not named The Doctor, Rassilon was another one of the founding fathers of Time Travel, and highly regarded amongst Gallfifreyans. All that love and respect can go to one's head, of course, leading Rassilon to attempt to destroy all life in universe in "The End of Time" (2010) and turn himself and all other Time Lords into pure living consciousness, something straight out of the Davros Play Book. Rasillon was defeated by none other than The Master, who held a huge grudge against Rassilon and the other Time Lords for driving him crazy as a child. Rassilon showed up again in "Heaven Sent" (2016) where he was eventually vanquished by The Twelfth Doctor, who had several grudges against him.

Pictured directly above: the great Timothy Dalton as Rassilon in "The End of Time".


     With some characters, you just know they're villains as soon as they show up on screen. Take Tobias Vaughn, head of International Electromatics in "The Invasion" (1968). Played by Kevin Stoney, Vaughn can be immediately identified as a villain by his one overly arched eyebrow, his one half-closed eyelid, his suave, cultured manner, and most telling of all, his secret wall that opens up diagonally. Vaughn is intent on conquering the world, but The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), his companions Jamie, Zoe and The Brigadier all keep getting in the way. Vaughn, as played by Stoney, is so perfectly styled as a supervillain,  you could pluck him out of this late-sixties Doctor Who episode and drop him off in whatever James Bond/Super Spy movie happens to be playing in theaters at the time, and he would fit right in immediately.

     Kevin Stoney appeared in several Classic Doctor Who episodes, as well as many other TV series, such as Danger Man, The Prisoner and Space: 1999.


     The Cybermen first appeared in the 1966 serial "The Tenth Planet", and, like The Daleks, they were never too far from a reappearance throughout the series. A race of aliens who slowly but steadily replaced their organic parts with cybernetic ones, the Cybermen have evolved over the long history of the series.  They are generally considered to be the show's second most popular villains after The Daleks.

     Cybermen live for one thing: creating new Cybermen. To do so, they take the brains of other creatures, including humans, and place them in Cyber-bodies. Apparently, judging from the Cybermen appearances in the modern series, the process involves a lot of wildly rotating knives and plenty of bloodshed.


     The Cybermen appeared sporadically throughout the original series and were carried into the modern series, where better effects and CGI could be used to create whole armies of Cybermen for the small screen. In the 2014 two-parter "Dark Water / Death in Heaven",  The Cybermen had joined with The Master to take over the world.

     In the tenth season, the so-called Mondasian Cybermen, an older, less sophisticated version of the Cybermen, returned for the season finale. Their appearance in the show fulfilled a request by Twelfth Doctor actor Peter Capaldi, who loved the old-school Cybermen and wanted them in the series for one last time before he left.


     The Autons are artificial, and deadly, plastic villains created by The Nestene Consciousness, one of the oldest creatures in the Universe. As with so many villains, their main mission is to take over The Earth. They first appeared in 1970's "Spearhead from Space", Jon Pertwee's debut episode as The Third Doctor. In that serial, The Doctor eventually defeated them with the help of the military and soon-to-be companion Liz Shaw, but the Autons returned in 1971's "Terror of the Autons", this time taking their orders from The Master, who at one point in the episode had them dressed up in bizarre comic attire (see our small graphic at the top of this page), because, apparently, the already creepy Autons were not creepy enough for The Master's tastes.

     Russell T Davies revived the Autons three and a half decades later in 2005's "Rose", making them the first old-school villains to appear in the modern series. As shown in that episode, as well as in the earlier stories, not only can Autons be made out of already existing plastic objects, such as the plastic manikins that create havoc in the streets of London, but they can also be copies of living people, with the caveat that the copied person - such as Rose Tyler's boyfriend, Mickey Smith - must remain alive. In the Steven Moffat era, the Autons returned in a much evolved form in the 2010 two-part season finale "The Pandorica Opens / The Big Bang".

Pictured directly above: Rose Tyler about to meet The Autons, who are lurking in the background.

     In the documentary "Reverse The Polarity: A Day in the Life of Jon Pertwee", Pertwee opined that having police officers turn out to be murderous Autons in "Terror of the Autons" was a mistake, as it sent a bad message to the children who watched the show.


     From 1963 to today, there have been many one-off villains who have tussled with The Doctor and his companions. My favorites are The Family of Blood, a quartet of non-corporeal baddies who chase The Doctor through time and space in the two-part classic "Human Nature / The Family of Blood".

     For the record, I consider this two-parter to not only be my favorite Doctor Who story but also the greatest Doctor Who story of all time. In order to escape the vicious Family of Blood, The Doctor turns himself into a human, travels back in time to 1913 and has only vague memories of his former self. The Family members, knowing that The Doctor is somewhere nearby, steal the bodies of four locals and attempt to track him down and steal his Time Lord energy, which will allow them to live forever.

     Harry Lloyd, who plays the main villain in the show, is so much fun to watch. In a two-part episode that features much death, destruction and heartache, Lloyd chews up the scenery in spectacular fashion as he and his family try to locate The Doctor.


     The Sontarans are a race of warriors who are bred to fight and conquer. Squat, with potato-like heads and deadly laser guns, the Sontarans first appeared in 1973's "The Time Warriors", where a lone Sontaran stranded in 13th Century England met The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) who were investigating people being lost in time. The Sontarans reappeared several more times in the Classic years, most notably in 1977's "The Invasion of Time" and again in 1985's "The Two Doctors", where they battled with both The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton, returning to the series for one story).

     The Sontarans showed up again in Doctor Who in 2008's fun two-parter "The Sontaran Stratagem"/The Poison Sky", where they attempted to conquer the Earth. There, they tangled with The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) and former companion Martha Jones (Freema  Agyeman), now working for UNIT. They made other small appearances in the series mostly cameos such as in "The End of Time Part 2", when a lone Sontaran's attempt to kill Martha is thwarted by the dying Tenth Doctor. Sontarans also made appearances in the spinoff The Sarah Jane Adventures.

     One Sontaran named Strax became an ally to The Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors.

Above: Strax in action, Clara in pain.


     Written by Russell T Davies and Phil Ford, "The Waters of Mars" (2010) was arguably the best of the series of specials that heralded the end of the David Tennant era. Not only did it have a strong story centered on the Tenth Doctor's growing megalomania, but also featured some of the most disturbing and creepiest villains to have come along in many an episode. On the first manned colony base on Mars, several people are infected by unknown water-based creatures looking to spread their own new colony on Earth.  One drop from these water creatures on your skin and you are turned into one yourself. People behind Doctor Who often talk about watching the show from "behind the sofa", but for the most part, the monsters and aliens in the series have always been fun but not always scary. The Flood are genuinely scary. Jeez - just look at them! I'm not mopping that up!


     The Zygons are a race of shape shifters stranded on Earth after their home planet was destroyed. They live underground but when needed, they emerge to the surface. In the original series, The Zygons only appeared in the four-part episode "Terror of the Zygons" (1975), battling the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and his allies. They would all but be forgotten if not for Steven Moffat's decision to make them a major part of the 50th Anniversary episode "The Day of the Doctor" (2013). They would return in the 2015 two-parter "The Zygon Invasion / The Zygon Inversion", a virtual sequel to the special, where they faced off with The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi), companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) and The Brigadier's daughter Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave). This episode portrayed Zygons in a more positive way, as they attempted to live peacefully with humanity.

Pictured above: Zygon "Clara" and a regular old everyday Zygon.

     It's strange that The Zygons were so little used. They had a great costume design in the original series, improved in the modern era, and as shape shifters, they could spend much of their time in episodes posing as humans, saving on special effects.


     The giant prehistoric monster seen in "Terror of the Zygons" was revealed to be The Loch Ness Monster.

     Though not seen on screen, The Zygons ruined Amy and Rory's anniversary in "The Power of Three" (2012).

     David Tennant's favorite Doctor Who villains were The Zygons.


     Technically, The Ood were neither villains or monsters. They were a peace-loving telepathic race who were so simple and gentle, they were easily enslaved by humans, who turned them into servants. The Doctor first encountered them in 2006's two-parter "The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit", where they served as willing slave workers to a band of human space travelers on a deep-space expedition. Unfortunately, The Ood minds could be controlled easily, which is what happened when a satanic entity turned them into a murderous army. The Doctor, as usual, saved the day but sadly, he didn't have a chance to save The Ood, who perished when the now-abandoned expedition ship was sucked into a black hole.

     The Doctor encountered The Ood again in "Planet of The Ood", where, guess what, they were enslaved and once again became murderous through no faulty of their own. When freed from slavery by The Doctor and his companion Donna Noble, the Ood returned to their own planet, where they sang songs of "Doctor-Donna".

     In "The Waters of Mars", The Ood known as Ood Sigma prophesizes that The Doctor's current incarnation (the Tenth) will soon come to an end. In "The End of Time", which heralds the end of David Tennant's travels as The Doctor, Ood Sigma summons him to the Ood's home world, where the Elder Ood warns him of a great trouble disturbing all of time.

     Oods pop up often in Doctor Who even after Steven Moffat took over the series. Moffat seemed to enjoy his friend and former show-runner Russel T Davies creations, having them show up here and there throughout the Matt Smith years. One of the most amusing examples is in the mini episode "Pond Life", written by Chris Chibnall, which can be watched on our Modern Companions section under Amy Pond and Rory Williams.

     The Ood could have also been easily classified as "Friends of the Doctor" but, like the history professor who thanks to a bonk on the head turns into the evil villain King Tut in the old Batman series, The Ood are more fun when they are unwittingly turned into killers.


     The Weeping Angels were an ancient alien race that are quantum-locked; they can only move when nobody is looking at them. If you look at them, they freeze into stone. But if you turn your head, blink or just not aware they are there, they can touch you and send you back in time, then feast off all the potential time you would have used. Created by writer Steven Moffat, The Angels first appeared in Season Three's classic "Blink", where The Doctor and Martha are stuck in 1969 and it is up to young Sally Sparrow, who doesn't even know who The Doctor is, to save them.

    Possibly the creepiest race of villains the show ever featured, the Angels returned en masse in 2010's two-part "Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone" to do battle with The Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, River Song and an entire army. These Angels were obviously of another species, as instead of touching you to send you back in time, they would kill you outright.

     Although they made short appearances in several other episodes, the Angels made their last major appearance in 2012's heart-breaking "The Angels Take Manhattan".

     The one problem with The Weeping Angels is that each time they appeared in the show, they became less and less frightening. Still, if you see one, don't blink!


     Through you might think that virtually every Doctor eventually battled evil robots, it was not so. The First Doctor had his hands full battling The War Machines, from the same-titled 1966 adventure, and toward the end of his run, The Second Doctor faced down robots known as The Quarks and later the crystalline Krotons (pictured left). The Third Doctor seemed to have had few if any run-ins with rogue robots, but The Fourth Doctor more than made up for it with episodes such as 1974's "Robot" (that says it all, doesn't it?), "The Android Invasion" (1975), "The Robots of Death" (1977) and "The Androids of Tara" (1978).

     After that, The Fifth and Sixth Doctors had their own troubles, but rarely if ever with robots. The Seventh Doctor took care of the silly Candy Man robot in 1988's "The Happiness Patrol", the same year he was dealing with Robot Clowns in the weirdly wonderful "The Greatest Show in The Galaxy".  But for the most part, after Seven's skirmishes with candy and clowns, robots, real proper robots, were hard to come by in Doctor Who until Russell T Davies brought the show back in 2005.

    In The Tenth Doctor adventure "Voyage of the Damned" (2008), The Hosts (seen on the left) start out as simple robots programmed to answer questions from the guests partying on the spaceship Titanic, but then, from somewhere, they receive new instructions to kill the passengers instead. The thing about robots is: they can be programmed for good and for evil. Unlike Cybermen, Daleks and other robot-like creatures, robots are simply machines waiting for instructions. Much like The Ood, robots can be easily manipulated.

     In "The Girl Who Waited" (2011), The Eleventh Doctor's companion Amy Pond had to deal with the well-meaning but dangerous "Handbots" for decades, while in "Smile" (2017), The Twelfth Doctor and Bill Potts had similar trouble with the also well-meaning but dangerous "Emoji-bots".

     In 2018, we met "The Team Mates" in The Thirteenth Doctor's adventure called, to my unending delight, "KERBLAM!" (2018). Kerblam is the name of a gigantic online shopping center (modeled after Amazon, no doubt) and while there were ten thousand human workers at the warehouse, there were ten times more "Team Mate" robots who keep the workers motivated.

     Then, of course, they receive new instructions...

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- Donna Noble