We wanted an explosive start to Doctor Who series 10, and materialise it did: the first episode rocketed our favourite Gallifreyan (sorry, Missy) and new partner in time Bill into the heart of a Dalek war. But who exactly were those pink-weaponed, silver-dreadlocked humanoids battling our old tinpot foes? Although The Doctor never explained it to his latest sidekick, hardy Whovians will recognise those aliens as 1970s baddies The Movellans.
You know, the Movellans? No? Worry not…
Who are the Movellans?
They might look like disco divas with mops on their heads, but the Movellans are actually anthropomorphic androids best known for warring with the Dalek Empire.
The Movellans with their pink laser arms (more on that below)
Which Doctor Who episode were they in?
They appeared in Destiny of the Daleks in 1979 (disco-era, indeed), battling the titular monsters and Tom Baker’s Doctor.
The story saw the Movellans reach a “logical stalemate” with the Daleks, which they hope the Doctor can swing their way. The Doctor, of course, refuses and the Movellans are deactivated and Daleks defeated. All in a day’s work.
What were their powers?
Most of their powers came from their pink-pointed gloves, which were actually guns that could kill or stun. However, in classic Who comics they had a master weapon that made them rather more problematic foes: the nova device. This machine could alter the molecular structure of the atmosphere, making the atoms flammable. This meant that, in what amounted to an extreme case of global warming, the Movellans could completely destroy a planet’s ozone layer.
But most of their strength came from their military organisation. These bots were well-trained and, like the Daleks, they had a hierarchical system: normal soldiers wore completely silver dreadlocks, while the commander would have black tips.
What were their weaknesses?
Their powerpacks. They wore them externally, which meant Movellans could easily be shut down, or even re-programmed to become friendly. To be honest, this made the Movellans a bit rubbish.
Just in case their brief cameo hasn’t quelled your appetite for classic Who villains being blown to smithereens, expect plenty of old foes being brought to life: the Ice Warriors and the Mondasian Cybermen will be returning to a Whoniverse near you very soon…
Doctor Who continues on Saturdays on BBC1