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With a history as long as Doctor Who it is inevitable for some of the show’s more popular assets to appear every once in a while. Whether it is a popular companion, a recurring organization such as UNIT or even a previous incarnation of the Doctor himself, the programme thrives on the energy that a familiar face or two brings when they pop up after a while away from the series. Not to mention the buzz of nostalgia it can create.

Then, of course, there are the villains, monsters and evil beings from beyond our world, and sometimes FROM our world. The most iconic and popular adversaries will always be The Daleks, who have delighted and terrified viewers from the second ever Doctor Who story. They have returned, time and time again, including every year since 2005 in some shape or form and will always be cherished as the Doctor’s ultimate adversary.

The Macra as seen in Doctor Who 'The Macra Terror' (1967).
Following them close behind are The Cybermen, followed by The Master, then The Sontarans, Silurians, Ice Warriors, Autons, Weeping Angels and more recently The Silence made two visits to the whoniverse last series. They can always be called upon to do battle with the Doctor and create memorable moments and favourite episodes.

Some you don’t think you will ever see again and then they suddenly appear, without any warning (unless your into your spoilers). When David Tennant uttered the word “Macra” in the 2007 story Gridlock, I couldn’t believe it. I was beaming that a forty-year-old monster had returned from the smokescreen (in this case literally) and I was very pleased that the Radio Times hadn’t given that one away.

But what about those unsung heroes of the carnival of monsters? Those who only appeared once or twice created a lasting memory and haven’t been seen since? The monsters you read about in the Target novelizations yet you don’t remember seeing, or the ones who are shown as part of a clip montage on a morning breakfast show. The real one hit wonders?

More importantly, can these classic monsters be reintroduced to a modern television audience in the same seamless way that their peers have been, series by series? Well it depends which ones we are talking about of course, so here is a selection I believe would work in the next series and beyond, and those who would struggle to make it out of their own spaceships and miss the party all together.

First up is The Voord. Making their only TV appearance in 1964’s The Keys of Marinus. The Voord were supposed to be sleek, dark suited beings from the planet Marinus, who had the ability to resist the Conscience of the planet. They were humanoid in build, and could use telepathy to communicate with each other. They’re leader, Yartek, posed as the Marinusian Arbitan to steal the keys from Ian Chesterton, yet was killed when he placed a fake key in the Conscience.

The Voord were created as a potential rival to The Daleks' early popularity, and even featured in the very first Doctor Who annual. Their appeal was not great though and The Voord were never seen again after they’re debut. One reason could be the silly feet the actors playing the creatures were given. The other could be because they didn’t get enough screen time or maybe just because creative masterminds of the show had better aliens they were developing. Yet I think that with a little tweak here and there they could be reintroduced to take on the Doctor once again.
The Toymaker (Michael Gough) - 'The Celestial Toymaker' (1966).

My next candidate is The Celestial Toymaker, who also made his only appearance in a William Hartnell story of the same name. Played by distinguished actor Michael Gough, The Toymaker was an immortal being, millions of years old. He trapped The Doctor, Steven and Dodo in his world of dangerous games and killer toys, and if he loses his games, his world is destroyed. He had the power to turn The Doctor invisible and manipulate and bully those in his control.

Now with this one I may be cheating, since a story was commissioned called The Nightmare Fair, which would have seen Colin Baker’s Doctor battle The Toymaker yet again, but it was unfortunately abandoned when the show was put on Hiatus in 1985. Big Finish Productions finally made the story in 2009 as an audio and The Toymaker has made appearances in comic strips and novels since his debut but he never returned to the show on television.

Even though we have had The Dream Lord recently, who is a similar character to that of The Toymaker, I see no reason that the character couldn’t return at some point in the future. The kind of story that would suit The Toymaker’s character would have to be psychological and scary, something that is missing from his only appearance in 1966.

Another villain who would excite us fans is The Doctor’s fellow Time Lord Morbius. Originally Morbius was once head of the High Council of Time Lords who had been trialed and sentenced to death by his people. Yet his brain survived, rescued by mad surgeon, Solon, who planned to build a new body for Morbius.

The classic Tom Baker story The Brain of Morbius, was made during one of the golden ages of Doctor Who. Producer Phillip Hinchcliffe and Script Editor Robert Holmes formed a superb partnership during Tom Baker’s first three seasons and the hammer horror influence of Morbius made for one of the strongest stories in this era.

Although the Sisterhood of Karn chased Morbius off a cliff face, his brain still could have survived. Many fan productions over the years have questioned this 'what if' scenario to good effect (especially Matthew Tolofolo’s brilliant action figure series) and with the Time Lords and The Master trapped in The Time War, the evil Gallifreyan could once again lock horns with The Doctor if he could obtain another body to house his twisted mind.

My next choice was only on screen for a few minutes, yet it formed one of the most memorable scenes in the twentieth anniversary story, The Five Doctors. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s the Raston Warrior Robot.

Written in as a late addition by writer Terrance Dicks, The Raston Robot is a lightning quick, silver and agile warrior who has built-in weapons such as lances and disks, which could kill you if you make the slightest movement. He puts a halt to the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith’s journey to Rassilon’s Tower in the death zone.

The scene where the robot massacres a party of Cybermen is one of the best set pieces of the story, possibly even eighties Who. The quick cutting and graphic decapitations of heads and limbs had the adrenaline pumping around my ten year old body when I first saw it. Never have The Cybermen been so out-maneuvered and outwitted by one creature so quickly before.

I would love for the Raston Robot to return yet I struggle to think how. You couldn’t have an army of them invading Earth slaughtering the human race, as it would be too violent to even contemplate making. Maybe having it destroy fellow robots such as The Cybermen or Voc Robots in a war would be a better idea to bring back my favourite cameo monster. Speaking of Voc Robots…

Isn’t it about time those robots of death made a comeback? They’re only appearance in 1977 is frequently in the 'top ten Doctor Who stories ever' second coming has never been on the cards.
A Zygon as seen in Doctor Who 'Terror of the Zygons' (1975).

Yet another favourite monster of mine also made their only appearance during the Tom Baker era. The Zygons, shape shifting aliens whose pet Skarasan turns out to be the fabled Loch Ness Monster - they could morph into human form, and they’re leader, Broton, planned to take over the world so it was ready for a fleet of refugees from The Zygons' home planet to colonize after the human race are overthrown. The physical appearance of The Zygons; orange organic and blobbly, is one that would not need to be tweaked and in my eyes they were one of the most believable adversaries of the classic series. The costume of one currently stands proudly at The Doctor Who Experience and still looks great. So why not bring them back, perhaps with another fleet of Zygons hibernating in the deepest depths somewhere else in the world. Maybe they are creatures that are behind the mysterious Bermuda Triangle? It’s time we saw them again!

There could be a time in the not so distant future where London is invaded by WOTAN’s War Machines again. What if WOTAN actually survived and was the machine behind the internet and we were all plugged in ready for an invasion right in our living rooms and the danger becomes even more real and threatening. A story like that would stop some people talking too loudly on they’re mobiles on buses that’s for sure!

There are those, who rather unfortunately never lived up to expectations and will be remembered as the spotty kid in the class. The one who sticks out like a sore thumb in any situation. The Myrka, for example, if made today, would be a convincing CGI effect towering over The Doctor and his friends ready to strike fatally. However, it will forever be remembered as the floppy, pantomime horse whose paintwork hadn’t completely dried before takes and is the monster we remember like a bad memory.

Spare a thought for the poor Monoids. The Beatle haired, eyeball in the mouth slaves who became overlords of their human masters. They are iconic in appearance, but, sadly the word I use to describe them is 'naff'. So are the Quarks. Not at all scary or threatening and the design ruins their premise. How they became the main villains in the comic strips in the late sixties AND warranted a mention in The War Games is beyond me.

The Zarbi are another, who due to the budget restraints and limitations of the time, were never fully realized. The creatures were always men in funny costumes to me and not giant insect-like aliens from another world. Even if I suspend my disbelief they still look like the kind of thing you get in a badly thought out children’s play. Maybe that’s why monsters like the Mryka and the Zarbi are frowned upon by most fans. They are the drunk Uncle embarrassing the otherwise proud family at a family wedding. We try to forget them but they will always be there. Don’t get me started on The Kandyman...

Maybe the stories they starred in don’t stand up to close scrutiny? Maybe it was the way they were written, designed and acted that let their cause down? Only the very best of the bad have the ability to fight to see another day. A passing mention to Fenric and his Haemovoeres, The Drashigs and The Destroyer must be made since they do have the potential to be rediscovered at some point to threaten our universe again. Unlike Rick Astley, these one hit wonders will never become dated.

© Copyright Hayden Gribble & Doctor Who Online, 2012.
Page Updated: 27/3/2012

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Hayden Gribble

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