Doctor Who: Series 9 (and the Top 10 Doctor Who Villains)
Arriving in stores on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday (March 7th), the ninth series of the BBC's long-running sci-fi favourite Doctor Who contained plenty of talking points, including the return of Davros, creator of the Daleks, and the Doctor's return to his home planet of Gallifrey, but perhaps the biggest talking point of this series has been the departure of Jenna Coleman, for whom this will be the final season.
Coleman confirmed her plans to leave the show last year and Peter Capaldi has admitted to 'weeping' over the storyline surrounding her character Clara Oswold's departure, played out across an emotional pair of episodes at the end of the series. Speculation has been rife over the last few months as to who might replace Clara to become the Doctor's new assistant, with some fans positing the theory that UNIT scientist Petronella Osgood, played by Ingrid Oliver, might be the most likely to become the Doctor's new companion. However, head writer Steven Moffat appeared to rule Osgood out last year, suggesting that Capaldi's new sidekick would be a completely new character. Whoever does replace Jenna Coleman, the last two episodes of the ninth series serve as emotional farewell to the Doctor's latest companion.
This series has also seen the return of some of the Doctor's greatest foes, including the seemingly immortal Davros and the latest incarnation of The Master, brilliantly reimagined and portrayed by Michelle Gomez as Missy. But where do these old favourites sit in the pantheon of Doctor Who villains? The series is famous for its monsters as much as its central character, with creatures like the Daleks, the Cybermen and Weeping Angels causing more than one generation to retreat behind the sofa, but just as often the enemies the Doctor faces are of humanoid origin and many of these have been portrayed by a string of brilliant guest stars.
To celebrate the release of the ninth series we've picked 10 of our favourite villains since the series relaunched in 2005. You can also find the trailer for series 9 below...
Played by Zoe Wannamaker, Cassandra – or Lady Cassandra - appeared in the first season on a space station orbiting the earth in the distant future, serving as a viewing platform from which to witness the Earth's destruction by an expanding sun along with a group of wealthy friends, whom it transpires she intends to double-cross before she is foiled by Christopher Ecclestone's Doctor. It's her appearance that makes her so memorable though; the result of extensive cosmetic surgery, she is reduced to just a face in the centre of an outstretched layer of skin, leading Rose Tyler to describe her as a 'bitchy trampoline'.
Fans of the show may remember John Lumic as the disturbed genius behind Cyber Industries, ostensibly a company providing mobile phone technology in the form of those little bluetooth earpieces, but really a front for is nefarious plan to allow his invention, the Cybermen, to take over the world by brainwashing the population. As if that wasn't enough, he's responsible for the abduction of hundreds of homeless people, using them as human subjects for experiments with the aim of extending his own life. Played by the late Roger Lloyd-Pack, Lumic eventually met his end at the hands of his own creation when he was 'upgraded' into Cyberman form, before eventually being destroyed along with the rest of them at the hands of the Doctor.
Lumic isn't the only villain to sell out his own species for a shot at power and the nefarious Miss Hartigan, played by Dervla Kirwan, beat him to it by several centuries. The owner of a Victorian workhouse in the 19th century, Hartigan agrees to help the Cybermen in exchange for a position of power. She is of course betrayed by them, but still manages to take control of them until the Doctor uses a time stamp to break her psychic link with the Cybermen and, seeing what she has become, Hartigan eventually destroys the Cyberman race and herself along with it.
Appearing several times to Amy Pond in brief, hallucinogenic flashes, Kovarian was for a while referred to only as the 'eye-patch lady', with her role teased over several episodes until she is finally revealed to be the mastermind behind a plot to use River Song as an assassin to kill the Doctor. An associate of the mysterious religious order known as The Silence, Kovarian is one of the most sinister villains we've seen in the modern series.
The Family of Blood
Any villain that forces the Doctor into hiding has got to be worthy of some recognition and that's why we had to include the Family of Blood on our list. They make their appearance in an episode featuring David Tennant's Doctor, who is forced to hide in human form because the Family is out to kill him with the intent of using his life force, an energy they need to survive. That's creepy enough as it is, but throw in the fact that these beings take possession of the bodies entire families to hide their true form and they become some of the most terrifying humanoid enemies the Doctor has ever faced. The episode featuring them even won a Hugo award dramatic presentation.
Played by Simon Pegg, the Editor was the man in control of Satellite Five, a futuristic space station orbiting the Earth late in the 21st century that controlled the world's news broadcasts. In an Orwellian twist, it is revealed that he is also able to intercept the thoughts of viewers via chips implanted in their heads. It's not often that Doctor Who gets political, but this all seemed like a thinly-veiled dig at media moguls like Rupert Murdoch and Pegg puts in a brilliantly manic performance.
Mark Gatiss has been a writer on the show ever since it relaunched in 2005, but here he gets to step in front of the camera and he doesn't waste the opportunity. Professor Richard Lazarus is a brilliant scientist obsessed with the idea of immortality and creates a device that reverses the ageing process, but the process isn't as perfect as he think and when his DNA mutates he becomes a hideous creature that's just as terrifying as any of the monsters in Doctor Who's long history.
The Dream Lord
Any episode that features Toby Jones is worth mentioning as far as we're concerned and his sinister performance as the Dream Lord is one of our favourite moments from Doctor Who. As it turns out, this creepy man who has the ability to control the dreams of others is a manifestation of the Doctor's own mind, a fact the Doctor recognises because, as he puts it, he was “the only person in the universe who could hate him that much.”
Several actors have portrayed the Doctor's fellow Timelord over the years and since the show's relaunch there has been an all-too-brief portrayal by Derek Jacobi and a triumphantly unhinged performance by John Sim, but Michelle Gomez adds a new level of sass to the role and her performance really has been one of the highlights over the last couple of series. As hilarious as Missy might be though, make no mistake: this woman is pure evil. Which brings us neatly onto number one on our list...
There can only really be one figure at the top of a list like this and that has to be Davros. One of the best moments from the ninth series was right at the beginning, where we discover the history between him and the Doctor goes back much further than we'd imagined – we don't want to reveal too much in case there are any fans who have holding out for a box set binge on the new series, but it casts their relationship in a new light and reveals that there are more similarities between the two men than you might think. As the creator of the Daleks though he is unsurpassable in the pantheon of Doctor Who villains, and though his stubborn refusal to die often verges on the comedic, it just wouldn't be Doctor Who without him.