There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things – even if we can’t remember them! Who are the forgotten Doctor Who monsters, and will we ever see them again?
The Voord were a race of Doctor Who monsters who appeared in the show’s very first series – the six part story ‘The Keys of Marinus’ written by Dalek creator Terry Nation. Led by the evil Yartek, they were native to the planet Marinus and sought to gain control of the planet’s Consciousness machine, which would have given them control over the minds of every inhabitant.
And whilst the Voord were quite terrifying in appearance, it’s unclear what they really looked like. In ‘The Keys of Marinus,’ they are clad in what appear to be rubber wetsuits with webbed appendages, so even though these Doctor Who monsters were humanoid in shape, nobody really knows whether they were amphibious or whether they more closely resemble human beings.
Certainly, they could communicate like humans (or at least, their leader Yartek could) and they were skilled engineers; in ‘The Keys of Marinus,’ they built their own one-man submarines to enable them to travel through the planet’s acidic oceans.
And even though the Voord haven’t appeared on screen since 1964, they have made occasional appearances in Doctor Who comics. And in 1993, the illustrator Colin Howard gave his own artist’s impression of what the Voord could look like, giving them scaly skin and skull-like faces that resembled the Sycorax.
The Chameleons’ first and only TV appearance was in the 1967 adventure ‘The Faceless Ones’ starring Patrick Troughton. And as their name suggests, these Doctor Who monsters had the ability to copy the identities of other living beings – specifically humans in ‘The Faceless Ones,’ where they were abducting Gatwick’s aeroplane passengers and whisking them off to a nearby space station. These abductees’ identities were then assumed by the Chameleons, who maintained their disguises with their bespoke armband technology.
In reality, these Doctor Who monsters were humanoid, but they had lost their faces (and their identities) after a devastating explosion on their home world. This necessitated the development of duplication technology which enabled them to continue their existence using the faces and identities of others.
The Doctor defeated them, naturally, but it’s conceivable that more Chameleons are roaming the Whoniverse, somewhere. They have existed in relative obscurity since 1967, with only a brief appearance in the short story ‘Face Value’ by Steve Lyons. Is it time for them to make a comeback?
The Primords are some of the more obscure Doctor Who monsters on this list in that they are not strictly a species. Well, they sort of are. It’s complicated.
In the 1970 story ‘Inferno,’ the Primords came into existence after humans touched a mysterious green substance that seeped out of the earth. This was the result of relentless drilling by the deranged Professor Stahlman, who was hell-bent on penetrating the Earth’s crust. He failed in this universe, but in a parallel world he succeeded; the Primords ran rampant, and the planet was ultimately destroyed by lava.
In a way, the Primords resembled zombies; they killed indiscriminately, and if another person came into contact with them, they too could be transformed into Primords. But at the same time, these monsters were similar to werewolves, possessing both human and wolf-like qualities, and they thrived on heat. The best defence against a Primord was a strong blast of carbon dioxide – or a fire extinguisher.
And whilst these Doctor Who monsters were specifically tied to the narrative of ‘Inferno,’ there is no reason why they couldn’t appear again one day – if someone was mad enough to penetrate the Earth’s crust, that is.
The Kraals were another creation of Dalek writer Terry Nation, who included these Doctor Who monsters in the 1975 story ‘The Android Invasion.’ In the adventure, the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith return to Earth and find that not everything is as it should be. The village of Devesham is strangely deserted, and the few people that they encounter are oddly anti-social – even to the point of trying to kill them.
It transpires that they have stumbled into the middle of the Kraals’ invasion, led by the villainous Styggron. These monsters originated on the planet Oseidon, but their world was overwhelmed by deadly levels of radiation which left their planet inhospitable. Thus, they now have their sights set on Earth, but they’re playing the long game by slowly replacing its inhabitants with android duplicates. Their ultimate goal is to unleash a virus that will wipe out the human race and leave the planet free for Kraal occupation.
And even though the Doctor defeats these Doctor Who monsters at the end of ‘The Android Invasion,’ it’s possible that there are other Kraal refugees still roaming the cosmos looking for planets to invade.
The Plasmatons were created by the Doctor Who writer Peter Grimwade and made their first and only appearance in the 1982 story ‘Time-Flight.’ In the adventure, these Doctor Who monsters were formed by randomly assembling particles from the Earth’s atmosphere using psychic energy, and were created by a mysterious race known as the Xeraphin.
In essence, these Doctor Who monsters were harmless and were mainly used to guard or trap people. They couldn’t communicate, and closely resembled clouds or soap bubbles.
That being said, the Plasmatons did have a deadlier side; when the Doctor’s old enemy the Master harnessed the power of the Xeraphin, he could transform the Plasmatons into more vicious creatures, although he was still limited by the dwindling energy of the Xeraphin’s power source.
And whilst the Plasmatons are some of the least fondly-remembered Doctor Who monsters, they are built on an intriguing premise. Perhaps, in the future, some deranged villain will create Plasmatons that can trap and terrorise entire cities – perhaps even take over a planet.
Alas, the Plasmatons haven’t made an appearance since 1982, and have only been referenced once in a short story called ‘A Letter from the Master’ in Doctor Who Magazine.
So could the Plasmatons be ripe for a revival? And which of these other Doctor Who monsters would you like to return? Let us know in the comments below.