For over half a century they’ve had us hiding behind the sofa, peeking through our fingers (or too afraid to blink), but which is the greatest Doctor Who monster of all time?
What makes the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who so terrifying is the collision of the everyday with the extraterrestrial. The Doctor’s exile on Earth allows for ordinary objects to become the stuff of children’s nightmares – in the case of Spearhead from Space, shop-window dummies in garish 1970s man-made fibres, twitching into life, shattering glass and gunning down passers-by. The Autons are on the warpath!
“Exterminate!” Never has so much hatred been channeled into a single word than by that chilling electronic voice, awash with enough bile to cause a short-circuit. But the Daleks also have great comedy value. After all, they’re giant pepper pots on wheels, with sink plungers for hands, trying to take over the universe. In their time they’ve been tipped over, blinded by handfuls of dinner and forced to make tea. Inexorable evil meets slapstick – surely that’s the very essence of Doctor Who?
The Robots of Death
Tom Baker faced many a terrifying foe in his day but few more menacing than these blank-faced droids of doom which he encountered in 1977. Not only were they impressive to look at, but their murderous rebellion orchestrated by the rogue engineer Dask stands as a warning from history that people with the power to manipulate technology can do so for evil as well as good.
The silver and chrome denizens of Mondas first appeared at the end of William Hartnell’s tenure in the TARDIS and have remained favourite Who villains ever since. A race of humanoids who, enamoured by logic and the possibilities of technology, renounced their humanity, the Cybermen remain fascinating and terrifying in equal measure.
Arguably, the first New Who villains to make the current generation of kids take refuge behind the couch. These statue-like Angels make the inanimate seem horrific with the terrifying implication that statues can move (and murder) when they’re not being observed. Add to this the fact that the Angels are indestructible, and you have a breed of villain that can freeze the blood in your veins.