Top 10 Doctor Who Villains
When you travel throughout time and space having adventures and fighting injustice you are bound to make enemies. For more than 50 years all thirteen incarnations of the Doctor have had to deal with a host of alien baddies during their time in the TARDIS. Through it all there have been certain villains and monsters who have elevated themselves to a higher level to truly fill the Time Lord with dread. Here are the top 10 Doctor Who villains in no particular order.
The Daleks: Of course, we start with the obvious one. These hate-filled Nazi allegories were responsible for the original success of Doctor Who all the way back in 1963 and have been synonymous with the show ever since. Built by a mad man on the war torn planet of Skaro, the Daleks are mutated beings inside nearly invincible armored shells. Their sole purpose in existing is to kill everything that is not a Dalek. Given that the Doctor has a love and appreciation for all life this makes him a natural foe for these monsters. With their cold appearance and iconic battle cry of “Exterminate!” there is a good reason children his behind their couches from them.
The Master: During the Jon Pertwee era of Who, it was decided that the Doctor should have a foe to be his intellectual equal. A Moriarty to his Sherlock Holmes or a Doctor Doom to his Mr. Fantastic. Enter renegade Time Lord the Master. Originated by actor Roger Delgado, the Master had a penchant for forming alliances and disguising himself to outwit his nemesis. In the decades that have passed little has changed. During the era of the Fourth Doctor, he became a decaying ghoul who had run out of regenerations, but naturally came up with a scheme to fix that. During the 1980’s Anthony Ainley owned the role of the evil Time Lord and for the longest time was the definitive Master. When the BBC collaborated with Fox for the Doctor Who TV movie in 1996, character actor Eric Roberts took on the role with an underappreciated performance. In the revived series Sir Derek Jacobi and John Simm brought the villain back to prominence before handing it over to Michelle Gomez as Missy. Currently Sacha Dhawan is the Master and has brought a terrific manic energy to the character.
The Cybermen: On a planet just like earth, in fact a twin planet to our own, people began to upgrade themselves. This continued until there was nothing left of their humanity and they became the Cybermen. These foes proved their power early on when they forced the Doctor to undergo his first regeneration. They would continue to be a constant enemy of the different Doctors throughout the classic series. In 2006 when Russell T. Davies introduced the Cybermen to the current series, he did a new take on their twin earth origin by having them come from an earth in a parallel dimension. Since then the original Cybermen from the planet Mondas have reemerged but continue to utilize the design from the initial appearance. Firm in their belief that the universe needs to be “upgraded” these mechanical baddies are always an ominous threat.
Davros: This is before mentioned mad man who created the Daleks. Instead of recoiling in horror at the monsters he created, Davros reveled in it. Created by Terry Nations, whom also created the Daleks, this mad scientist first met the Fourth Doctor when he was sent to prevent the creation of his greatest enemies. Genetically experimenting on the Kaleds led to his evil creation. Throughout the 80’s Davros would split the Daleks into those who were loyal to him and those who were not culminating in a civil war. Most believed he met his end during the Time War, only to discover the horrific truth that he had been rebuilding his empire of evil and stealing entire planets for his grand scheme.
Weeping Angels: While most Doctor Who monsters are terrifying because of their unearthliness, this threat is one that could be anywhere. As the Eleventh Doctor put it the Weeping Angels will kill you with a bit of kindness. Ripping you from the life you know, their victims are flung into the past while the Angels feed on the energy of what they could have been. If you cross you could go on to live a full life, but it comes at a heavy price. Appearing as normal statues of angels (with some variations) the Weeping Angles lie perfectly still but the moment you look away from them, the moment you blink they attack.
The Ice Warriors: Mars is named for the god of war, and these warriors were discovered frozen on earth by scientists who dubbed them Ice Warriors and the name stuck. Inspired by the Thing from the classic Howard Hawks film The Thing From Another World, these aliens are physically imposing reptilians who were not above violence. Over time a sense of nobility would manifest in many of them in the story arc “The Seeds of Death” they even ally themselves with the Third Doctor in a surprise twist. Since then they have rarely been outright baddies, but they can pose a problem when they return to their warrior ways.
Silurians: In the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth, it appeared as though the members of this reptilian society would be the dominant species. They eventually went into hibernation and once they reemerged the Silurians realized the world was a different place and humanity had taken over and they wanted the planet back. In 1972’s “The Sea Devils” viewers were introduced to an aquatic variation of the species who allied themselves with the Master in order to overthrow society. In 2010 the Eleventh Doctor attempted to broker peace between the humans and Silurians only for the humans to ruin things.
Sontarans: These tenacious and belligerent soldiers from the planet Sontar realized the answer to their need for manpower was in cloning. The short stature of the Sontarans tends to mean they are underestimated by their opponents, but they quickly learn their lesson. Their society is one that demands constant warfare and despite being identical in appearance there is a clear chain of command they must follow. As the character Strax has proven, even when a Sontaran reforms to the side of good, he still lives a rigid and militant lifestyle.
The Rani: Being an outsider among his/her own people has naturally made the Doctor enemies among the Time Lords. Aside from the Master, the Rani is easily the greatest among them. Over the years we have had thirteen actors play the Doctor (give or take) and nine actors play the Master, but actress Kate O’Mara owned the role of the villainous Rani. She first appeared in “Mark of the Rani” when the Sixth Doctor stumbles onto a planet she has enslaved. His successor the Seventh Doctor had his own encounter with this evil Time Lord where she messed with his mind, convincing him that she was his companion. Even the end of the show could not stop the Rani as she infamously served as the antagonist in the “Dimensions in Time” charity short to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Doctor Who.
Zygons: When you look like a squid monster, one could not blame you for changing you appearance. But capturing someone else and shapeshifting into them for your own nefarious goals is something else entirely. Whereas most Doctor Who villains try to conquer the earth by force, the Zygons prefer infiltration tactics, taking the place of connected people until it is time to spring their plot. While nowhere near as famous as the Daleks or Cybermen, the Zygons are particularly beloved by many fans, including former showrunner Steven Moffat who brought them in for the fiftieth anniversary special “The Day of the Doctor”.