Villains, Monsters and Evil Aliens

“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 the producers did not want to have on their show ("No robots or bug-eyed monsters!"). But there was no real choice - it was the only script ready, 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 serial, a new phenomenon was born: Dalekmania! It was like Beatlemania, but with less emphasis on guitars and more emphasis on exterminating the human race.

     The Daleks were a race of mutants who 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. Their mission was 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. Because, on Doctor Who, it's not a 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 always memorably. He 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 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.

     Disfigured and confined to a special mobile chair, there was not much Davros can do without the help of The Daleks, which is a pity for him because even the Daleks tended to sour on him periodically. The part of Davros has been played by several actors over the years, but Julian Blecher, aided by spectacular makeup and effects, was the perfect choice to revive the evil loony in the new series.


     Every good hero has his 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" being the Universe, but The Doctor always seemed to find 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 almost endlessly with The Master during those Doctor Who seasons, to a point where it was decided that enough was too much, and The Master was retired for a while. In real life, Delgado and Pertwee had become great friends.

     Unfortunately, in 1973,  Delgado died in a car crash. 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 possessed a great talent for maniacal laughter. He showed up in the 1981 Fourth Doctor adventure "The Keeper of Traken", and popped up again and again to torment all the Doctors. Fittingly, he was right there battling The Seventh Doctor in the final original series story "Survival" (1989).

     Eric Roberts played The Master in the 1996 Doctor Whomovie. 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.


     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 parts, 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 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. By the Peter Capaldi years, 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 soon 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 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'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 was a mistake, as it sent a bad message to the children who watched the show.


     The Sontarans are a race of warriors who are bred only 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 episode).

     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 The Doctor's former companion Martha Jones (Freema  Agyeman), who was 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 Jones 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 Doctor.

Above: Strax in action, Clara in pain.


     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. Like the cloning of Mickey Smith by the Nestene Consciousness in "Rose" (2005) and the similar cloning of Martha Jones by the Sontarans in 2008's "The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky (2008), the Zygons need to keep their captured hosts ("host implants", they called their captives) alive, a necessary contrivance so that main actors would not have to be killed off as The Zygons recreated themselves in their hosts' image.


     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.


     The Weeping Angels are 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 "Blink", where The Doctor and Martha were stuck in 1969 and it was up to young Sally Sparrow, who didn'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! 

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you shout for me, Gramps. Oh you just shout.”."
- Donna Noble