Top 5 returning classic monsters in ‘Doctor Who’

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The Doctor has a habit of bumping into old enemies.

Here CultBox looks back at our favourite foes from the classic years, all of which have been given the BBC Wales 21st century polish…



Doctor Who Dalek Rose Billie Piper

Often called the Doctor’s greatest foes – certainly the ones to best capture the public’s imagination – their stock had become somewhat devalued over the years and especially while the series was off-air.

Using just a lone example of the species, Rob Shearman’s ‘Dalek’ was a tour de force, reminding us all of their deadly potential and erasing all the years of those ‘stairs’ jokes. The modern take on the hate-filled mutant, up against the Ninth Doctor and Rose under Utah, retained all of the late Raymond Cusick’s essential design elements but enjoyed a mini-tank style makeover with a swivelling CGI gun section and stunning gold livery.

Returning pretty much every year since in some form, they have been put through their paces fighting Cybermen, having internal genetic squabbles and even reemploying Davros, their crazed creator.

In the Matt Smith era, we met partially converted Dalek Agents and one who still thinks she is human in ‘Asylum of the Daleks’. There was also 2010’s less-than-popular redesign in ‘Victory of the Daleks’, cruelly dubbed the ‘iDalek’ in some quarters, though they appear to have taken on an officer class status now.

Most recently, Peter Capaldi’s Doctor went literally ‘Into the Dalek’ in his second adventure.



Doctor Who Cybermen

Having menaced most of the Doctors over the years, 2006’s Season 2 presented us with Cybermen from a parallel universe. ‘Rise of the Cybermen’ told the story of their genesis at the hands of a crippled, twisted genius creator (sound familiar?)

Forsaking the shiny costumes and moon boots of the past, these ‘Cybus’-men came with identical armoured bodies, a harder burnished metal look and an art deco styling. Choreographed marching and a new catchphase reinforced this impressive redesign. “Delete!”

Again a frequent returnee, their high point has been the creeping menace Stephen Moffat afforded them in ‘The Pandorica Opens’ when a severed arm and a snapping Cyber-head became a threat for Amy and the Doctor below Stonehenge.

The metal men were last seen under the leadership of Missy in Season 8’s finale, ‘Death in Heaven’.



images_Blog_2011Q2_doctor who 6 7 1 silurians

Everyone’s favourite noble reptiles were reintroduced to Doctor Who for Matt Smith’s first run. With what amounted to a partial rerun of an original tale, a group of the former owners of Earth awoke once again to discover that the apes (us) had overrun the planet.

With quite a radical reinvention, bulky plastic heads made way for beautiful makeup and prosthetics that let the actor’s eyes to be seen. Some clever dual casting and the use of warrior masks also allowed for massed troops without blowing the budget.

Since ‘The Hungry Earth’, Silurians have popped up in various places, most notably in the form of Madame Vastra, the Doctor’s Victorian detective friend (who apparently ate Jack the Ripper!).



Doctor Who Deep Breath Strax

Having struggled though a range of heights and differing numbers of digits since their since their 1974 introduction, the modern spin on Robert Holmes’ war loving clone warriors was to make them decidedly short and stout.

Bulked up in body armour, the representatives of the Tenth Sontaran Battle Fleet attempted to poison the Earth’s atmosphere using evil emission reducing Sat Navs in 2008’s ‘The Sontaran Stratagem’. Subsequently they have appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures as well as the main series.

The reinvention has brought consistency to this potato headed clone race with repeated use of the same actor, Dan Starkey, although in recent years he has become less of a threat and more of a comedy sidekick in the form of the gene-spliced, lactating nurse Strax.



Doctor Who Rose Autons

This scourge of the early Pertwee era, these living plastic dummies were chosen to relaunch the series in 2005’s ‘Rose’. Lurking in the basement of Henrik’s department store where a certain Ms Tyler worked, they proved as effective a scare as in the early ‘70s.

In truth though, the Autons were a bit of a sideshow in an episode designed to remind us all how much we had missed the Doctor and to introduce his new lady friend. With all that going on, their wider threat of the Nestene Consciousness being to animate all plastic objects was limited to a throwaway gag about breast enhancements and the infamous sequence where Rose’s on/off boyfriend Mickey was accidentally gobbled up by a burping dustbin.

They’ve returned twice since, in the flashback for ‘Love & Monsters’ and most recently at the end of Season 5, where they took part in the Pandorica plot and Rory became one for a couple of thousand years.


Honourable mention: The Macra

doctor who gridlock macra

Possibly one of the less-remembered monsters, these giant crabs menaced an Earth colony in the early Troughton era. With the original episodes now lost, we have to rely on photos and the surviving audio soundtrack to recall them.

In 2007’s ‘Gridlock’ they were presented as devolved beasts, rendered in CGI and lurking in the exhaust of the motorway. Hardly a noble end for the Macra but a nice touch for a monster that, frankly, no one expected to see again.


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What’s your favourite returning monster in Doctor Who? Let us know below…