Doctor Who is as much about the continuing adventures of the Doctor, as it is about the featured monsters.
Whilst Who has provided us with some of the most recognisable monsters, over the years (the ten best monsters we explore here!). It has also provided us with monster designs that really shouldn’t have seen the light.
Alot of the monsters in Who could lay claim to being the silliest designed monsters, usually due to a lack of either money or time – or both.
Of course, it is all part of the imitable charm of the show that some of the monsters (which were probably considered cutting-edge in their day) have been so memorably bizarre. Here are 10 of the worst/best :
10) The Vardans – Invasion Of Time 1978 – Fourth Doctor
Invasion Of Time had the Fourth Doctor return to Gallifrey, to help The Vardans overthrow the Gallifeyian high council.
The Vardans were supposed to be energy beings. In practice, this was bizarrely acheived by superimposing a man in a tinfoil suit over the scenes.
Even the sound of their movement was basically just the rustling of the tinfoil suit. This was corrected in the eventual DVD release, with a new CGI being – imposed onto the scenes in an optional extra.
9) The Atlantians – The Underwater Menace 1967 – Second Doctor
The Atlantian fish people were introduced in the Troughton episode The Underwater Menace; as slave labour for the evil Atlantian empire, who were planning a surface comeback.
The fish people were envisaged as ballet dancers wearing eye-goggles and stick on fish scales. Bizarre.
Actor Patrick Troughton was particularly unhappy about the production. He is reported to have described the show as having “ridiculous costumes and make-up of the fish people”.
Producer Innes Lloyd appeared to concur, admitting “it did look like something from a ’50s American ‘B’ movie”.
8) The Garm – Terminus 1982 – Fifth Doctor
The Garm could have been a good Who concept, based on the legend of Cerberus who guarded the gates of hell. It featured in the Peter Davison snoozefest – Terminus.
The problem with the Garm, was; it was an uninspired man-in-a-wolf-costume, with no facial movement and permanently agape mouth. They should have kept the Garm’s appearances as fleeting glimpses but it was fully revealed early on and then just stood around – not doing very much.
7) The Mara – Kinda 1982 – Fifth Doctor
Kinda was a surprisingly deep Who epi, from Peter Davison’s era. It involved the possession of companion Tegan by a snake-like energy entity. The final episode revealed the Mara as it took its physical form – a huge unconvincing red snake.
It looked like one of those blow-up men which you see flapping wildly outside of used car showrooms. In the DVD release, they remastered the Mara in optional CGI.
6) The Menoptra & Zarbi – The Web Planet 1964 – First Doctor
In an early ambitious Hartnell space spectacular – The Web Planet. The First Doctor travelled to a planet, where human sized butterflies (The Menoptra) were at war with a bunch of human-sized ants (The Zarbi).
The Menoptra (butterfly) looked like a bunch an insect themed – fancy dress stag-do party. The Zarbi (ants) performers legs were visible out of the bottom of the costumes, which when taken alongside their spindly fake inanimate arms (stuck to the front of the costume) made them look really stupid.
5) Uxarian Midget King – Colony In Space 1972 – Third Doctor
The Uxarian midget king briefly appeared at the end of the Pertwee epi – The Colony In Space. It was quite clearly a performer’s head – sitting concealed behind a little puppet body, via a fake chair.
The worst bit about the Midget King, was the puppety movements of the little sausage arms and legs. It was an interesting idea to try to build a monster in this way but unfortunately -it seriously lacked in execution.
4) The Candyman – Happiness Patrol 1988 – Seventh Doctor
“Nightmarish drooling Bertie Bassett on speed” was a good description for Helen B’s executioner – the Kandyman, from McCoy’s – The Happiness Patrol.
Basset Sweets were less than amused at this blantant homage and threatened the Beeb with court action, lest the Kandyman ever return from the sweet bin. He never did.
3) The Monoids – The Ark 1966 – First Doctor
The Monoids featured in an effective Hartnell Sci-Fi number called The Ark. It seemed someone in the design department was having a serious laugh. Beatles wig, one eye and duck feet flippers. Not surprisingly, they never featured again.
2) Erato – Creature From The Pit – Fourth Doctor
The whole premise of the Tom Baker episode – Creature From The Pit, was the buildup to the reveal of the creature that lived in a pit. Which turned out to be more jaw dropping than anyone could ever imagine – a big luminous green snuffling cock and balls.
1) The Myrkka – Warriors Of The Deep 1982 – Fifth Doctor
The Myrkka was supposed to be an unstoppable killing machine of the Silurian and Sea Devil forces. In reality, due to a rushed schedule and lack of prep – featured as a seaweed covered green pantomine cow; which spent its time tromping and stomping about a Nuclear base.
Michael Grade – the man behind Who’s cancellation in 1989; later said, that it was seeing the Myrkka in Warriors Of The Deep which brought to his attention how off-the-boil Doctor Who had become and would help shape his eventual decision to axe it.
So the Myrkka was not only stupid-looking, it also helped bring the curtain down on the series – a few years later. For those reasons alone, it has to be no. 1.
Have we included your favourite worst monsters? Who is your no. 1?