With the Zygons making a comeback in Doctor Who’s upcoming 50th anniversary special, we decided to take a look at which other classic monsters and villains are overdue a return…
First seen in: ‘The Sea Devils’ (1972).
Last seen in: ‘Warriors of the Deep’ (1984).
Who were they? The aquatic cousins of the Silurians.
Why should they come back? With their land-dwelling relatives resurrected successfully, we can save time on exposition and plough on with the story. Creator Malcolm Hulke recognised that there was a danger of retreading similar ground to his original Silurian story, and so made ‘The Sea Devils’ more action-orientated, with some enjoyably creepy scenes on an abandoned sea fort. This could be one that really ramps up the scares.
First seen in: ‘The Androids of Tara’ (1978).
Who was he? Count Grendel of Gracht, nobleman of the planet Tara.
Why should he come back? Because he’s effortlessly charming, dontchaknow? Grendel, like Roger Delgado’s Master, was relentlessly entertaining. A cad, a bounder, and rotter, but not an aspiring universal-dictator, Grendel could pull off the ‘recurring small-scale villain’ role with aplomb.
First seen in: ‘Warriors’ Gate’ (1981).
Who were they? A race of leonine time-sensitive creatures.
Why should they come back? Because their back story is so tantalising. We see a brief glimpse of their empire between dimensions, and hear stories of them pouring out of inter-dimensional gateways to attack ships, and walking through the time vortex unharmed. This was beyond the impressive visuals of ‘Warriors’ Gate’, but perhaps now some of the unexplored elements of the Tharils could be successfully realised.
First seen in: ‘Frontios’ (1984).
Who were they? Giant gravity-manipulating woodlice.
Why should they come back? An example of a great concept realised within a limited budget, ‘Frontios’ still works well but is clearly struggling bravely against its limitations. It would be interesting to see what the Visual Effects team could come up with to produce a more realistic, disgusting insect costume. There’s also the chance to indulge in some body horror, with their human-powered excavation machine, and the images of bodies being sucked into the ground. Let’s see if justice could be done to writer Christopher Bidmead’s words: “He said… the earth was hungry.”
First seen in: ‘The Curse of Fenric’ (1989).
Who was he? An ancient, evil entity.
Why should he come back? In 1989 Doctor Who joined the dots, and made some references to previous episodes, suggesting that Fenric had been manipulating events from two series ago. Now, this sort of long-term villainy is commonplace. What Fenric offers that you don’t get with the Daleks or the Master is a sense of ineffability. We know that when he does gain corporeal form he spends most of his time making cutting sarcastic comments and taking great pleasure in mass slaughter, but he has a genuinely demonic side, and can’t resist games. The potential for his appearing in a series finale, having manipulated a new companion, is huge.