10. The Mechonoids – The Chase
Written by the Daleks’ creator, Terry Nation, the Mechonoids appeared in the penultimate serial of Season 2, The Chase. Together with the farewell of companions Ian and Barbara, The Chase was the first attempt by Terry Nation to create a rival to the Daleks’ popularity. The Mechonoids were created to protect humans on the planet Mechanus however ultimately no humans colonized the planet. The Daleks battled the Mechonoids during this story. Not unlike many early Doctor Who monsters, the Mechonoids were large, cumbersome and totally unsuited for most of their tasks.
The Chase was the Mechonoids only television appearance on Doctor Who, although they did appear in comics and had several items of merchandise produced.
9. The Macra – The Macra Terror
Although revived in the Series 3 episode Gridlock, the providence of the Macra would probably have been lost on most New Series Doctor Who fans. With all four episodes of The Macra Terror lost, it is of little surprise that the Macra have long faded from memory. Giant crab like creatures, they inhabited underground tunnels and were reliant upon toxic gases to breath.
Thanks for the vigilance of the Australian Censorship Board, several censored clips from The Macra Terror have survived. A 15 second clip of a Macra grabbing Polly and another 7 second clip of Ben and Polly watching an approaching Macra, have survived from Episode Two. A two second clip of the Controller being attacked by a Macra survives from Episode Three.
8. The Krotons – The Krotons
Robert Holmes’ first serial for Doctor Who produced yet another one-off monster, the Krotons. In my review of The Krotons I described these monsters thus:
“ Yet another attempt at a Dalek replacement, the Krotons were a poor substitute. With arms that looked like the robot’s from Lost in Space, the Krotons were disabled by their strange and inflexible metal hands. Possessed of a rather cool spinning head, the poor Krotons were not so lucky with that part of their costume below the waist. A rubber skirt was merely tacked on to disguise the operators’ legs”.
7. The Quarks – The Dominators
Created by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln, the writers of the two Yeti stories The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear, the Quarks of The Dominators were nowhere near successful as Haisman and Lincoln’s first monsters. The Quarks were less than convincing monsters and were ostensibly a box with legs, two pieces of wood for arms, and a quite fancy round head. The creatures were so small that school children were hired as operators.
Haisman and Lincoln believed that they’d created “the next big thing” and as a consequence a dispute between the writers and the BBC ensued. The writers’ sought exclusive rights for the marketing of the Quarks however unbeknownst to them, the BBC had already sold the comic rights to the Quarks. An injunction against the airing of The Krotons was threatened, although legal action was not forthcoming. The Dominators was the last Doctor Who serial that Haisman and Lincoln worked on. Although never again appearing on TV, the Quarks had a short career as comic book characters.
6. The Fish People – The Underwater Menace
Of The Underwater Menace’s four episodes, two are held in the BBC Archives and only one has been released on the Lost in Time compilation DVD. Another of the Troughton era serials that is generally held in low regard by fandom, The Underwater Menace featured Fish People. These strange creatures were once humans but had been operated on to enable them to breath underwater. These surgically modified humans, who now had gills, flippers and scales, were slaves to the Atlaneans. Polly narrowly escaped being transformed into a Fish Person.
The Fish People’s costumes included many sequins and they spent much of their time engaged in synchronised swimming. The rest of the time they collected a constant supply of fresh plankton which was required by the Atlaneans who were bereft of refrigeration. Alas, the plankton of The Underwater Menace were not as cute as the SpongeBob SquarePants character.
5. WOTAN – The War Machines
Making its first and only appearance in the Season Three finale, The War Machines, WOTAN was the world’s most sophisticated computer. Pre-empting the internet, WOTAN was designed to link together all of the world’s computers. Located on the top floor of the newly opened Post Office Tower in London, WOTAN was a malignant machine which sought world domination. WOTAN evidenced the fear of many that the newfangled room-sized computers would usurp humans.
4. The Rill – Galaxy 4
Although technically a monster, the Rill of Galaxy 4 were actually benign creatures who had long been the victims of a campaign of aggression by the Drahvins, a race of aggressive females. Enormous and obscenely ugly green creatures, the Rill can only breathe ammonia. In a tale with the well worn moral of “you can’t judge a book by its cover”, the beautiful blonde Drahvins are the evil and the ugly Rill are the good.
3. The Menoptra and The Zarbi – The Web Planet
Hailed by some fans as a masterpiece, the First Doctor adventure The Web Planet also has a sizeable number of critics. I was so bored and uninspired by the painfully slow six part serial that I was unable to gather the enthusiasm to write a review. Instead I posted a fan made YouTube clip which although only three minutes in duration, was immeasurably better than the 150 minute serial. Is it any wonder that the Menoptra and the Zarbi are forgotten Doctor Who monsters?
2. The Sensorites – The Sensorites
The penultimate story of Season One, The Sensorites was Doctor Who’s first attempt to create a monster to rival the Daleks. The Sensorites, who are near neighbours to the New Series monsters, the Ood, are a strange race of creatures who communicate by telepathy. With unusually shaped bald heads, the Sensorites have a fine head of hair growing onwards and upwards from their chins. Like the Ood, the Sensorites are nameless and genderless and have a tube which hangs from their bodies. The cord is not the external brain of the Ood, however, but rather a stethoscope to facilitate their communication by telepathy.
1. The Monoids – The Ark
Surely the worst designed of all Sixties Doctor Who monsters, the Monoids were originally the servants of the Guardians. In my review of The Ark I described the Monoids in this way:
“.. .a peculiar mute race whose most distinctive feature is their one eye. This single eye is in their mouths, or at least what would’ve been their mouths if they had human anatomy. These eyes are actually painted ping pong balls which the actors held in place with their mouths. Now that’s ingenious small budget special effects for you! On the top of their heads is a long Beatles style mop top wig, whilst the rest of their bodies are clothed in green ill fitting garb. They have webbed hands and feet and move slowly”.
A lowly regarded serial, The Ark is nonetheless a stunningly directed four part story which is always met by sighs of relief by marathon watchers. After five lost serials in succession, including the 12 part The Daleks’ Master Plan, watching The Ark on DVD is almost like winning the lottery!
TOMORROW – DAY 48 – The Top 10 Cliff Hangers of the Sixties
YESTERDAY – DAY 50 – The 10 Most Wanted Missing Episodes
©Vivien Fleming, 2013.