They’re Never Really Gone: the Top 3 Doctor Who Villains

First, I apologize for the lateness of this post.  In my defense, I’m preparing for a trip and had to deal a few minor crises today.  And THEN, when I finally had time to sit down and finish writing this blog, we got hit by a huge storm and my power went out, taking my internet connection along with it.

BUT, here at last, is the post I promised on friday:  A brief explanation of the top three villains of Doctor Who.  These are villains that come back again and again and again, no matter how many times the Doctor believes he’s finally and completely defeated them.  They are simply NEVER really gone.

3) The Cybermen

The Cybermen were originally a completely organic and humanoid species that lived on a twin planet of Earth’s called Mondas.  As Mondasians began to die out, they slowly modified their bodies, replacing more and more parts with mechanical parts in an struggle for self-preservation.  Eventually, all that was left were their brains in metal bodies, and they had lost all emotion.  They were cold and logical.  They also became conquerors who could only ‘reproduce’ by invading worlds and forcibly converting other organic beings into Cybermen.

The Cybermen were first introduced in “The Tenth Planet” (1966) which was the First Doctor’s last episode and the Second Doctor’s first.  They first attempted to invade Earth in “The Invasion” (1968).  The invasion was stopped by the Doctor, with the help of the newly formed “United Nations Intelligence Taskforce” (UNIT), which would become a recurring group in the series, both original and revival.

In the revival series, the Cybermen first appear in “Rise of the Cybermen” / “Age of Steel,” when the Doctor and his companions accidentally break through the void into a parallel dimension where a corporate mogul has created the Cybermen in a last-ditch effort to save his own life.  This version of the Cybermen eventually find their way across the void to “our” dimension and version Earth.  They haven’t played a major part in the series since the Eleventh Doctor’s arrival, but I suspect they will at some point.  They always come back.

2) The Daleks

Like most things in Doctor Who, the long-running nature of the show has made the history of the Daleks is somewhat fluid.  When first introduced in “The Daleks” (1963), the Daleks’ origin story was that the Dals and Thals were warring races on the planet Skarro, and in the course of the war, the Dals were mutated by nuclear weapons into the Daleks.  However, in the serial “Genesis of the Daleks” (1975) this origin story was changed somewhat, and became the version usually referred to in later stories.  In the newer version, the Daleks were originally the Kaleds, locked into battle with the Thals in a thousand-year war of attrition that used nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare.  All of this slowly mutated the Kaleds.  However, an injured scientist of the Kaleds, called Davros, experimented on his fellow Kaleds and is the one responsible for their final form: small mutated creatures inside tank-like mechanical devices.

Their emotions only pertain to war: anger, revenge, the joy of victory, fear of death, etc.  And they have become hell-bent on destroying all other civilizations, which they see as inferior.  The Daleks became the Doctor’s most dangerous enemy in the very first season, and have returned many times no matter how many times the Doctor believes he has finally destroyed them.  In several stories, some Daleks have been intentionally or accidentally influenced by humans, giving them full human emotions and leading them to either kill themselves or be killed by their fellow Daleks as abominations.

In the revival series, the Daleks have appeared a number of times, and in “Stolen Earth” / “Journey’s End” the season finale of season 4 (2009), the Daleks and Davros who should have been dead, but was brought into the future through the time lock moved 27 planets out of their orbits in order to harness their energy to destroy the universe.  Obviously, they were stopped by the Doctor, and practically the whole cast from the first 3 seasons of the revival.

Since the arrival of the Eleventh Doctor, the Daleks have only shown up twice: once in England during World War II and once in the season 5 finale as part of a whole conglomeration of past villains trying to kill the Doctor.  However, you can rest assured that they will show up again eventually.

1) The Master

6 versions of the Master (left to right, top to bottom): Roger Delgado, Peter Pratt, Anthony Ainley, Eric Roberts, Derek Jacobi, John Simm.

The Master, like the Doctor, is a Time Lord, and has therefore changed faces on several occasions.  He was conceived by the writers to be something like Moriarty to the Doctor’s Sherlock Holmes, being of equal intelligence and power, but evil.  They have been rivals and enemies for a long time, and the Master takes cliché-villian-glee to new and impressive levels.  His ambition, in true villain fashion, is to rule the universe, and to do so he must defeat the Doctor.  While he has tried to kill the Doctor more times than I can count, he also often shows the Doctor a certain amount of respect.  The Doctor, likewise, seems to view the Master with something like pity.  The Master has been captured by the Doctor on a number of occasions, but always managed to escape.

The Master has been played by 8 actors: Roger Delgado, Peter Pratt, Geoffrey Beevers, Anthony Ainley, Gordon Tipple, Eric Roberts, Derek Jacobi, and John Simm.

John Simm, played the Master in the revival series, beginning in “Sound of Drums” through to “The End of Time.”  The Doctor had believed the Master killed during the Time War, however it is revealed in “Sound of Drums” that he managed to escape, by locking his Time Lord identity in a Chameleon Arch ( a device the Doctor once used to disguise himself as a human), during which time he lost his memory of ever been the Master.  The Doctor’s arrival in the place where the Master hid led him to remember who he was.  He then goes back in time a year and makes himself Harold Saxon, the Prime Minister of England and nearly succeeds in defeating the Doctor before, supposedly, being killed once more.

In The End of Time, the last Tennant episode, the Master is brought back to life (one more time).  It is revealed that the Master was driven insane by the leader of the Time Lords, Rassilon, by placing a signal in his head so the Master could pull the Time Lords out of the time-lock placed over the Time War.  (Lot’s of ‘time’ in that sentence… wow.)  He seemed pretty seriously dead at the end of “The End of Time,” but rest assured he will return.  He’s the Master for cryin’ out loud!

A few of my other favorite Doctor Who villains:

The Silurians

The Rani

The Weeping Angels

So, which Doctor Who villain is your favorite?  From the original run?  From the revival?  Which is your LEAST favorite?

8 thoughts on “They’re Never Really Gone: the Top 3 Doctor Who Villains

  1. The Daleks have always been the most frightening to me… until the Weeping Angels. **sits on hands to stop foul language from pouring out fingertips to keyboard**

    What makes the Angels so scary is how commonplace statues like that are in the world. They’re everywhere, and they’re real. It’s the twisting of something harmless and possibly beautiful into something infinitely creepy and dangerous.

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  3. I am a lot more familiar with the villains of Doctor Who through the most recent incarnations in the series ( i.e the ones starting with Christopher Eccleston) although I have watched enough of the old series to see how they have been revised. I must say however that my favourite villains so far are actually the Sontarrans, mainly through their representation in the new series. Most of the villains of doctor Who are blatant about their intent to destroy all other forms of life but not one race has seemed to do it so courteously as the lovely folk of Sontar. there is something truly refreshing about hearing a Sontarran state ‘ I look forward to meeting you in glorious battle where I will crush your worthless body for the glory of the Sontarran empire,’ as though he had simply invited you to afternoon tea.

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