Doctor Who villains have been one of the most important parts of the show since the very beginning. The show’s first story – 100,000BC (known to some as An Unearthly Child) – kicks us right in with the scheming Kal wishing to take over the tribe. But it was when the evil pepperpots we all know as Daleks came along that we had our first iconic villain (sorry, Kal!) which paved the way for Doctor Who‘s longevity.
The Whoniverse has an expansive ‘rogues gallery’: full of evil aliens, fierce robots, master manipulators & even just some who think they’re doing the right thing. As such, it’s no surprise that fandome is itching to find out which villains will make an appearance in the 60th anniversary specials & series 14. In-fact, it’s long been the subject of fan theories and rumours…
The return of Donna Noble and the appearance of the 14th Doctor have only served to stoke the flames. Which villains could be behind the chaotic reunion? And just who Neil Patrick Harris played in the Specials? Safe to say that we’re also intrigued by the recent announcement that Aneurin Barnard will play the “mysterious” Roger Ap Gwilliam in Series 14.(Episode 4 or 5, we’re led to believe by CVs we have seen…)
So, let’s crack open the rumour-mill and get into our complete guide to all the villains rumored for the 60th anniversary and series 14.
Beep The Meep
Doctor Who villains have come in many different forms throughout the decades. Some are sympathetic, some are mindless drones, while others are pure evil. But none of them compare to Beep the Meep. A creature just as cute and cuddly as he is deadly.
Beep was introduced in the 4th Doctor comic Doctor Who and the Star Beast in 1980. He was the leader of the Meeps – once a genuinely peaceful and advanced race. But exposure from the radiation of a dying black sun turned them into a race of ruthless conquerors. The Meeps know exactly how sweet they appear to be. And relied on their innocent appearance to exploit others to do their bidding. (Safe to say, the Meeps are one of our assistant editor’s favourite Whoniverse creations.)
The Right Meep?
And we certainly know that there will be a Meep, based on both location filming sightings middle of last year and the trailer released on Christmas Day. But will it be Beep? Special effects artist Neill Gorton has been careful so far to only refer to working on ‘The Meep’ for the 60th anniversary. Not specifically Beep. The fact that he used this moniker rather than his full name could mean it is a different member of the species. (Which would be a surprising twist, actually – mistaken identity, no?)
Of course, personally, we’re hoping it’s the devilish Meep. Especially as there are the continuing rumors of an important guest character to be played by legendary actress Miriam Margoyles.
We’ve rarely seen doctor who villains that stemmed from other mediums onscreen. And we’ve barely seen any references to the comics in general. The addition of such an obscure character has excited many fans of the extended universe/DWU/Whoniverse. It also implies that we’ll see even more references to the comics, audios, and classic series in the 60th anniversary. That would make it a welcome celebration of Doctor Who’s history across all mediums.
Many villains come under the category of ‘bug eyed monsters’. But when location-filming saw a slug-like creature terrorise Swansea University (under the guise of some place called FineTime) this month for either Episode 4 or Episode 5 of Series 14… one creature seemed a particularly good fit.
Appearing briefly in Doctor Who and the Iron Legion comic story that kicks off the DWM comic run – the Ectoslime comes up against the Fourth Doctor. You see, following up up on attacks in the village of Stockbridge, the Doctor ends up in an alternate timeline where the Roman Empire never ended. And has impressive technology at its disposal.
Displeased with his presence, the Roman Force have him thrown into their Hyp-Arena… where he comes face-to-face with the Ectoslime. Not much is known about them, other than they are quite the predator. Stunning prey with their smell, they then liquify their prey – so they can drink them. The Doctor notes that they have an advanced sense of humour to make up for their appearance.
And as it happens, that story that comes just before Doctor Who and the Star Beast in the comic run. Falling under the same writing duo of Mills & Wagner. (Though both credited for both stories – really, one wrote one story and one wrote the other…) We’d love if the comic nods didn’t just stop after the 60th…
The Toymaker* has been the most theorized of all the Doctor who villains rumored for the 60th anniversary. Many fans expect this is who Neil Patrick Harris will be playing.
[*A. Ed.’s Note: Not the Celestial Toymaker, despite what many places will tell you. The mistakes of fan reference guides in the 1980’s have accidentally made this out to be part of the character name… when it was never intended to be. Both Russell T. Davies’ poetry book and Can You Hear Me? have, in recent years, unambiguously and correctly referred to the character as The Toymaker.]
The Toymaker first appeared in 1966. A seemingly immortal being of near-infinite power, the Toymaker turned the First Doctor invisible and put both him and his companions into his games. Deadly versions of them, we should say. An ability to affect the Doctor’s physical appearance? Sounds topical.*
[*A. Ed.’s Note: Even more wildly, it was even considered during the production of that 1966 story that the Toymaker’s invisibility stunt might be used to move-on William Hartnell. Some discussion was made that the Doctor could be rendered invisible, and then return being played by a different actor. That kind of power sounds… Hm…]
Since The Debut…
Most of the Toymaker’s debut story may be missing – but the Toymaker has captured the imagination of many writers: appearing across the DWU since then in other mediums. (And even almost making it back to screen twice!*)
[*A. Ed’s Note: One of which was a proposed short called The Endgame, in which the Seventh Doctor would fight the Toymaker for a 30th anniversary special…]
Pictures from the location filming seemed to lend credence to this theory. Both in terms of a ‘toyshop’ storefront, and spotted decor of a sad’s clown face & a ‘Toymaker of the Year’ award.
The clown-face was a direct and notable reference to Joey the Clown, one of the Toymaker’s minions from their debut. And with that Toyshop now appearing in the Christmas-time trailer. And a Toymaker of the Year award in sight. Sounds very plausible to us. Oh, and if that was not enough… that first announcement picture of NPH. Is that the overall commonly worn by a toymaker in traditional storybooks that we can see?
Many Doctor Who villains have been rumored for both Harris and Barnard’s roles, though. One such alternative is the Monk.(Sometimes referred to by fans as The Meddling Monk.) Debuting in 1965’s The Time Meddler, the Monk is the first villain ever to come from the Doctor’s home planet – predating even the Master. Though at the time intended more-so as a human (long story…), the Monk is a Time Lord that does not play by the rules. Seeing the opportunity, the Monk amuses them-self by directly interfering with history, regardless of the consequences. Where the Doctor intervenes to help people, the Monk intervenes to alter fixed points in ways they feel would make a more interesting future… and a more amusing one.
In terms of Harris’ character – The Monk’s meddlesome ways and capabilities would certainly allow him to play around with Donna and the Doctor’s timelines. And given that the specials seem to be retreading the ground of Doctor Who and the Star Beast – perhaps the Monk would be diverting moments of the Doctor’s past… making them instead occur in the present.
The rumor seems slightly less credible for Barnard’s character, who appears to be some kind of cutthroat politician, as the Monk has usually been more of a comedic than malicious villain. But that’s not stopped fan speculation one bit:
Monking Around With The Possibility…
And honestly, despite the perspective of TV-watching fans… it would not be entirely uncharacteristic for the Monk to get involved in political affairs in some way. The incarnation of the Monk played by Rufus Hound was very willing to do so in Big Finish’s audio Subterfuge. In that particular audio, the Monk took an investment in advising Winston Churchill as he geared up for a post-WW2 political campaign.
Masquerading under the name Simon Sanders, he played the part of political adviser in the hopes that he could change the outcome of the election so that Churchill won. It certainly would be interesting and plausible to see this applied in a more direct manner – with the Monk leading a political campaign in the hopes of changing human history. Could Albion be a Monk incarnation’s envisioning of a better tomorrow for Earth?
Further to that, expanded media has certainly shown that the Hound incarnations (and later incarnations) of the Monk have escaped the Last Great Time War… More and more possible…
The Master is one of the most memorable Doctor Who villains ever made. So it’s no surprise that every new series of the show has had its own rumor about the Master returning.
Set reports show that ‘Roger Ap Gwilliam’ is some kind of powerful political figure. The sinister media coverage of Roger’s plans is instantly reminiscent of the ‘Vote Saxon’ arc.
Some fans think these similarities are too convenient. The apparent similarities between Gwilliam’s machinations and the Master’s plot, however, could just be a clever red herring. But then, Russell was never afraid of ‘remixing’ an old idea if he thought it could be put to good use. (Yes, we see you, Last Great Time War. And we emphasise the Last Great part for a reason.)
The Minister of War
This is probably the most obscure rumor about Gwilliam’s origins. The “Minister of War” was originally referenced in the 2014 episode Before the Flood. They were mentioned alongside Harold Saxon as a major – and dark – event in Earth history.
While this rumor is based on a one-off line rather than one of the more well established Doctor who villains, it seems more plausible when you look into the storyline that the character might play. His promise of a “Bigger better bolder Britain” seems to be leaning in that direction, perhaps evoking almost fascist ideology. This theory would also account for his similarities to the Master, whilst marking out Gwilliam as his own character.
Of course, you’d be inclined to ask – would the Doctor not recognise this threat immediately? Well, so far… the filming featuring Barnard at Cardiff Central station and at the stadium in January does not seem to feature the Doctor. Could it be that the Doctor is off dealing with other matters, and Ruby is left to deal with the threat of the Minister largely on her own? Time will tell…
Most theories for Aneurin Bernard’s new doctor villain assume that Roger is a false name. But some believe that the origins of this character have been hidden in plain sight.
Roger Lowell appeared in a later Beep the Meep story called The Ratings War. A television executive who got hypnotised by Beep… Roger was used in the hopes of broadcasting subliminal messages to his audience. It’s hard to imagine some of the more outrageous parts of this particular storyline – like a blue hippo – on screen. Still, RTD could easily adapt the audio’s satire to target towards the matter of political media.
Well, what do you think of these rumours? Let us know on our socials. Doctor Who returns to TV screens this November for three 60th anniversary specials, followed by a festive special. The main section of Series 14 will then follow in 2024.