For almost 60 years, Doctor Who has had us hiding behind our sofas, with our favourite Time Lord fighting terrifying monsters across the universe.


From the Daleks and Cybermen to the Weeping Angels and the Vashta Nerada, there's been no shortage of scary villains in the beloved BBC sci-fi and there's no doubt there will be more to come in the 60th anniversary specials and series 14 as returning showrunner Russell T Davies takes the reins for a second time.

It's even been speculated that some of the most iconic monsters will be the stars of their own spin-off shows - so watch this space!

But, whether they appeared in just the one episode, or regularly come back to darken the doors of the TARDIS, there are certain monsters that fans haven't been able to get out of their minds - or their nightmares.

So, according to readers, here are the most terrifying monsters you need to know.

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The top 10 scariest Doctor Who monsters – from Cybermen to Weeping Angels

10. The Beast

Doctor Who The Beast
The Beast in Doctor Who

It's quite something that the Devil himself only just cracks the top 10 in Doctor Who monsters – but then again, this wasn’t exactly a traditional take on the Prince of Darkness.

Appearing in 2006 episodes The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, The Beast may have been the devil, or some other ancient god, or the inspiration for them all – but his penchant for possessing other beings and scary calligraphy have certainly lingered in fans’ minds.

Based on images from the artist Simon Bisley, The Beast was by far one of the scariest looking monsters to ever grace Doctor Who. Neither The Beast nor any other variation of it has returned in later series, but we'll never say never...

9. Mondasian Cybermen

Mondasian Cyberman in Doctor Who

The original take on the Doctor’s cyborg foes, the so-called “Mondasian Cybermen” returned to Doctor Who in 2017, where the truth behind their unusual look – essentially, their transformation was more surgical than mechanical – was revealed in some seriously creepy scenes.

Arguably, the Cybermen were even scarier outside of their armour, crying out “pain” incessantly – especially when their fate became that of poor Bill (Pearl Mackie).

8. Cybermen

A Cyberman in Doctor Who

Clearly, despite the terrors outlined above, viewers still narrowly find the mainstream, more modern Cybermen scarier than their Mondasian brethren.

Along with the Daleks, they're one of the most classic and iconic monsters - but some more modern monsters have beaten them to the top spot.

Returning again and again, the Cybermen were first introduced in the fourth season of Classic Who and most recently appeared in Jodie Whittaker's final episode, The Power of the Doctor.

An unstoppable metal army, accrued from the violated bodies of men and determined to spread their vision across the galaxy? In Doctor Who, it’s not even top five material.

7. The Silence

Doctor Who
The Silence in Doctor Who

These creepy, grey-headed aliens are hard to forget – unless of course you’re one of their victims, in which case they’re impossible to remember. Time to scratch a few more marks on your arm and just hope there’s not still one lurking behind you.

Also known as the The Priests of Silencio, the Silence were a religious order that first appeared in the episode The Impossible Astronaut. They came after the Doctor, River Song (Alex Kingston), Amy and Rory in an attempt to stop the Doctor fulfilling a prophecy.

Ostensibly the main villains of the Matt Smith era, the unsettling Edvard Munch prosthetic style of the Silence has clearly struck a chord with fans, even if their overall plan is still a bit confusing.

Or maybe we just forgot it...

6. The Flood

The Waters of Mars
A victim of The Flood in Doctor Who

Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink... or else.

The Waters of Mars may be better remembered today for David Tennant’s Doctor going all “Time Lord Victorious” at the end, but showrunner Russell T Davies’s new monster The Flood was also a highlight.

Constantly dripping and flowing with water and with gaping, crack-mouthed grins to go with their white eyes, the “water zombies” of the episode are definitely one of the scariest-looking Doctor Who monsters in the modern series.

5. Vashta Nerada

Doctor Who
A victim of the Vashta Nerada in Doctor Who

Doctor Who monsters are often at their best when examining classic fears we all have – and what’s more common than a fear of the dark?

In 2008’s Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, Steven Moffat created a truly unstoppable foe – living shadows, called the Vashta Nerada, who feasted on the flesh of the living and who raged through a deserted library in space.

Never appearing in the series again (in common with several monsters on this list), the Vashta Nerada also linger in the mind thanks to their possession of one of their victims, left as a walking skeleton in a spacesuit crying “hey, who turned out the lights?” - brrrr.

4. Gas mask zombies

Doctor Who
A victim of the Empty Child in Doctor Who

“Are you my mummy?”

Revived Doctor Who’s first truly terrifying two-parter was another Steven Moffat story, World War Two-set The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, which introduced John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness as well as one of the scariest Who monsters ever – the titular empty child.

Gas-masked, unstoppable and constantly crying for his mummy in a sing-song voice, this particular Doctor Who threat was liable to give you shivers for days – and that was even before you could see how his affliction was passed on to others, most notably One Foot in the Grave’s Richard Wilson.

Happily, in follow-up episode The Doctor Dances, the child and his victims were healed in a more upbeat story – but the memory of that first introduction still lingers.

3. The Midnight Creature

Doctor Who
The Doctor (David Tennant) and Sky Silvestry (Lesley Sharp) in Doctor Who BBC

Midnight, which aired in 2008, is pretty low-key, taking place almost entirely within one location and never revealing the physical form of its monster – but perhaps that’s why fans still find its creature so unsettling.

Beginning with simple knocks on the outside of the Doctor and his co-passengers’ vessel, before possessing Sky Silvestry (Lesley Sharp) and mimicking the speech of others, the Midnight Creature (which is never named) is as much a psychological threat as a physical one.

Soon, the passengers are their own worst enemies as they turn on each other out of fear, including considering throwing the Doctor out of the vessel at one point, and when the monster is eventually thrown out it still leaves some major damage in its wake.

2. The Daleks

Dalek in Doctor Who

While in some ways it’s surprising that the Doctor’s greatest and most enduring foe didn’t take the top spot, in another it’s gratifying to see that despite all these years on the show they haven’t lost their ability to scare.

The original monster to send audiences scurrying behind the sofa, the Daleks have appeared in more episodes than any other monster, become design icons, been parodied, mocked and riffed on in countless ways.

They're so iconic that they were even brought back for two consecutive New Year specials by Chris Chibnall - Revolution of the Daleks in 2021 and Eve of the Daleks in 2022.

Despite so many appearances over the years, they've still got Doctor Who fans hiding behind cushions. Credit to Davros, because that’s some good brand awareness. Though not quite good enough to unseat our winner...

1. The Weeping Angels

Doctor Who – Weeping Angels
The Weeping Angels in Doctor Who

Could it really have been any other winner? Ever since Steven Moffat’s episode Blink aired in 2007 it’s won various “best episode” and “scariest episode” polls, so perhaps it’s no surprise that fans voted the story’s monsters the scariest in a landslide (with 35 per cent of the vote, over 20 per cent higher than the runner-up).

Accessing a primal fear that many of us may not have even known we had, the living statue angels – who can only move, and strike, when you’re not looking at them – are genuinely disturbing, their jerky, stop-motion-like attacks between blinks and flashes of light (usually accompanied by loud music cues) making from some terrifying TV.

Since Blink, the angels have returned a few times to the series (most recently in Doctor Who: Flux, when they turned the Doctor herself into an Angel) and they were even behind Karen Gillan's soul-shattering exit from the show, after her character Amy Pond sacrificed herself to be with her husband Rory (Arthur Darvill).

However, they’ve never been more effective than they were in that spine-chilling first outing and plenty of us have never quite recovered.

Doctor Who is available to stream on BBC iPlayer with episodes of the classic series also available on BritBox – you can sign up for a 7-day free trial here.

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