Although Doctor Who was sold to the BBC hierarchy as a method of presenting historical characters in a less formal setting than the usual style of history programme, what sold it to the public was the quality of the opponents that the Doctor and his companions encountered on their travels.
The Daleks must be the most familiar of the Doctor's opponents. In shape rather like a pepper pot, they have a weapon and manipulator device approximately two thirds up the body and an eye stick topping the dome, with sensor pods arrayed around the body. The Daleks are the remnants of the Kaled race after a generations long war that used all sorts of weapons from high tech nucleonics to stone aged knapped arrows and spears. Their chief scientist, Davros, foresaw a time when the race would be reduced to radiation damaged mutants and in order to make sure that this would not inconvenience them, he developed a travel machine that became the Dalek's outer shell. Their major limitation is that they could not generally handle stairs, though the Imperial Dalek faction had, by the time the Doctor's seventh incarnation met them in "Remembrance of the Daleks", installed a limited repulsor field generator in order to overcome this. The Daleks encountered by the Ninth and later Doctors all had this technology installed.
All the incarnations of the Doctor apart from the Eighth have had adventures involving the Daleks on screen. If we include the books then all incarnations have met them. The War Doctor was specifically regenerated into to deal with the Daleks during the Time Wars
Despite their stated aim to destroy all life forms that are not Dalek, the
Daleks have attracted a wide number of allies and henchbeings. The first we see
of these was the alliance in "The Dalek Master Plan" of the outer galaxies
against Earth. They had also suborned the Guardian of Earth, Mavic Chen. Acting
in a watchdog role more than as a strict henchbeing are the Vaaga plants that
transform anyone who gets stuck by a spine into one of them. At some stage, the
Daleks occupied the home world of the Ogrons and used these brutish people as
their general slave warders and shock troops. The Daleks have also used
mind-controlled humans as guards at various times. They have also created
They have also taken hostages to force specialists to work on particular projects. The Daleks are very unforgiving masters and do not tolerate failure.
The Daleks are generally some of the coolest enemies of the Doctor and much of the threat I feel they pose is the fact we rarely saw many of them on screen at any one time. This was largely because they were physical objects (mainly) on screen and damned heavy. By and large, you were lucky to get four active daleks at any one time. This tradition appeared to be continuing the first time we saw the new Dalek in the Ninth Doctor's episode 'Dalek' though this dalek had undergone one of the more major and classy redesigns of their existence. However, the final episode of Season 1 was so totally over the top with massive numbers of daleks available to the producers thanks to the magic of computer animation. This was repeated with the final story of the second season. By the third season, it looked like the producers had got the message, with four daleks rather desperately attempting to do horrible things to the inhabitants of New York. Although the fourth season finale was also profligate with the daleks in their initial invastion, they were used rather effective this time.
The Cybermen originated in the Solar system on Earth's twin planet of Mondas,
which had an extremely elliptical orbit. This led to the ancestors of the
Cybermen developing replacement parts for decaying organics. They have replaced
virtually all the organics, with only elements of the brain still being organic.
They have enhanced strength and a variety of weapons depending on which
generation of Cyberman they are. They have had weapons built into their arms, a
head mounted weapon and separate hand weapons. Early generations of the Cybermen
were dependant on the power generated by Mondas, and Mondas drew power from
Earth. This was why the Doctor destroyed Mondas. Later generations of Cybermen
were self powered but could be destroyed if gold was introduced to their
breathing system, prominently mounted on their chests. Eventually the Cyber
menace was effectively reduced to little more than piracy.
The AltEarth's cybermen from Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel were the brainchild of a megabillionaire who desired to live forever.
All the Doctor's incarnations except the Third, Eighth and Ninth have met the Cybermen. The Tenth Doctor was involved in the fight against the Alternate Earth's new Cybermen in Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel. The Tenth Doctor is also faced by the alternate Earth Cybermen in the Season 2 finale. Although not directly opposing the cybermen, the eleventh Doctor has, er, strong words with them during the episode A Good Man Goes to War.
None as such. The Cybermen are even less interested than the Daleks in co-operating with other races even to the limited extent of being slave owners. They apparently had a large empire at one stage, but much of their efforts in regard to other races has been in converting them to Cybermen, with much of their effort going on Earth people.
From the Fourth Doctor story Genesis of the Daleks we know that Davros is the brilliant scientsist who had developed the daleks as the end point of the Kaleds' mutations thanks to the millennia long warfare on Skaro. Brilliant though he might have been, he was undountedly twisted, possibly by the effects of the damage he suffered that left him incredibly scarred and dependent on a lifesupport chair. Whatever the reason, he was already plotting from the start to make the daleks supreme, betraying his own people to their enemies, the Thals, then turning the daleks loose on the Thals. However, he had designed the daleks better than he had first thought and the daleks turn on him, apparently killing him.
Most of the Doctor's incarnations have encountered Davros from the Fourth onwards. The Fourth met him twice - once when he was creating the daleks and a second time when the daleks rescued him to help prosecute their war against the Movellians. The Fifth Doctor encountered him when the daleks raided the space station where he was being held prisoner. The Sixth Doctor found him in the catacombs underneath Tranquil Repose where he was performing unpleasant things on the dead and not so dead of the necropolis. The Seventh Doctor met Davros as the Doctor conned the Imperial Dalek faction into stealing the Hand of Omega only to destroy Skaro. The Tenth Doctor meets Davros in the season 4 finale The Stolen Earth and Journey's End. Maybe this time he's really gone?
The daleks. Davros created the creatures and at various times has recreated them, splitting off various strains in order to 'improve' them.
The Master is an exile from Gallifrey like the Doctor. However, the Master is far more interventionist than even the Doctor, often intervening in order to maximising chaos and his own power. He is either much older than the Doctor, or even more careless; by the time that the Doctor is on his fourth incarnation, the Master is near the end of his 12th and constantly plotting to gain a thirteenth. There is some evidence that he and the Doctor attended the Academy together.
All the incarnations of the Doctor, from the third onwards, except the Ninth, and the Eleventh (to date) have run foul of the Master.
He has allied with various races and others in order to fulfil his desires. He was an ally of the Daleks in their attempt to disrupt the Earth/Draconia alliance. He has also forced the Doctor to ally with him when his plotting has blown up in his face in a particularly disastrous fashion, most particularly in defeating Axos and in setting up the Logopolis calculations on the Terran radio telescope. He hired the mercenary Sabalom Glitz to steal some misplaced Time Lord files. For a while he traveled with a morphological robot called Kamelion, which could be influenced mentally to look like any being required.
Of the four main actors who have played the Master most have played him rather extravagantly though Roger Delgado was the best in my opinion. Anthony Ainley was the next major incarnation, after Delgado's death, of the Master and I thought he was particularly crazed initially. However, by the time of his last appearance in the story 'Survival, Ainley had made the role his own. Unfortunately, he too died. The Master, as Eric Roberts, made a return to our screens. Again, Roberts put his heart and all his over-acting skills into the role though he was (arguably) the best thing about the film. The character of the Master was not to be seen on our screens until the end of the third season of the new Doctor Who series - if any Time Lord was to survive the destruction of Gallifrey, it was likely to be the Master. In the double episode season finale, he was played by a pair of excellent actors; the venerable Derek Jacobi who had forgotten that he was a Time Lord and John Simm, who had played the time travelling cop, Sam Tyler, in 'Life on Mars'. John Simm made Eric Robert's take on the role look relatively restrained - the role of the Master doesn't seem to encourage restraint :-). John Simm reprised the role for the 2009 Winter Special episodes over Christmas and New Year's Day.
The High Council of the Time Lords are the rulers of Gallifrey and effectively oversee the activities of all races that can time travel. By and large, the Time Lords are not interventionist but if a race looks like it will develop time travel, their history is, at best, generally altered so that they won't. The Doctor has been the Lord President on a number of occasions.
The High Council has influenced the actions of all the first eight incarnations of the Doctor, if only in causing him to act in ways that would not attract their attention. The High Council only became an explicit threat at the end of the Second Doctor's incarnation, where he was sentenced to exile on Earth and forced to regenerate. The Third and Fourth Doctors were... required, to undertake missions for either the High Council or the CIA. Whether the CIA or the High Council had been in charge on Gallifrey has been slightly blurred at times as has been which was the worst - it was the High Council that put the Doctor's sixth incarnation on trial and was about to 'feed' him to the Valyard when a CIA inspired revolution swept them from power.
With the destruction of Gallifrey in the Time Wars, the Time Lords are no longer a force to be reckoned with and only the odd one or two are thought to still exist.
Again, none. The Doctor has been forced to work for the CIA (Celestial Intervention Agency) on numerous occasions under threat of being recalled to Gallifrey to face the capital charge of stealing a TARDIS. By and large, the High Council, and Gallifreyans in general, are no longer interventionist though Gallifrey once had a large empire.
Intelligent reptilian life forms that ruled the planet. Despite their name, they actually date from the Cretaceous (136 - 65 million years BC) rather than the Silurian (430 - 395 million years BC). They are closely related to the 'Sea Devils' who ruled the seas as they ruled the land. Driven into hibernation for a number of possible reasons: the departure of Mondas, disruption of the Van Allen belts or an awareness of the forthcoming explosion of the space freighter aimed at Earth by the Cybermen, a nest of Silurians were woken by power leaks from a nearby Research Station. This nest of Silurians was destroyed by UNIT after they had released a plague intended to kill off humanity. The Third Doctor's attempts at a peace treaty were met with interest from the Old Silurian, but lower ranking Silurians frustrated these attempts as did UNIT's destruction of the Silurian hive .
A nest of hibernating Sea Devils was woken and offered alliance by the Master but were destroyed by the Third Doctor and the Royal Navy after the Master destroyed the Third Doctor's attempts at making a peace treaty. Another nest of Sea Devils were woken by Silurians who had escaped the destruction of their nest. The Silurians intended them to foment trouble between the two human power blocs on mid 21st Earth. The Fifth Doctor frustrated these efforts
The Third and Fifth Doctor had dealings with the Sea Devils, while the Third Doctor and Eleventh Doctor faced the Silurians as a force. In book form, the Seventh Doctor was caught in an alternate history where the Third Doctor had failed to stop the Silurians' plague. The eleventh Doctor also meets the silurians underneath Wales
The silurians used the sea devils as shock troops in the Fifth Doctor story Warriors of the Deep.
These are high gravity beings, which gives them superhuman strength on Earthlike planets. They reproduce by cloning, which seems to have been developed to allow them to breed up the vast numbers of warriors needed to counter the horrendous losses involved in their millennia long war against the Rutan Intelligence.
The Third and Fourth Doctors were the main protagonists of the Sontarans, meeting them both individually and in force when the Sontarans invaded Gallifrey itself. Together with the Sixth Doctor, the Second Doctor defeated Sontaran attempts to obtain a working time technology based on as much of the Doctor's DNA as would prove necessary. The Tenth Doctor encountered the Sontarans in serious numbers in the 4th season double bill The Sontaran Strategy. He also meets the Sontarans in the novel 'The Taking of Chelsea 426'
As far as is known, they do not ally with, or otherwise use other races. They have run an experiment on Terrans in order to see if humanity would be an obstacle to their expansion in our area of space. An arrangement was made with Chessene of the Androgum in order to obtain the DNA of a Time Lord
These are generally peaceful and harmless primates living in the Himalayas.
The Great Intelligence used robotic replicas, telepathically controlled through silver spheres installed in their chests to keep people away from Det-Sen Monastery where it was attempting its first attempted reincarnation.
A robot brought back to London by Professor Travers was reactivated along with other robotic yetis in an attempt to capture the Doctor. It was after this second invasion that Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart minuted the Government to set up an organisation to deal with alien incursions.
The Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria. A yeti was used in the Game of Rassilon involving all the first five incarnations of the Doctor.
None - it could properly be considered that the robotic yeti are really the henchbeings.
They originated on Mars and are vaguely reptilian in appearance. The name was given by a Terran when they were encountered in 3000 AD but they do not seem to object to it. Coming from Mars, the Ice Warriors are unable to handle high temperatures or high concentrations of oxygen.
The second Doctor encountered them twice: once in 3000 AD after a war party from several thousand years earlier had been defrosted from a glacier threatening the UK, and again in the 21st century when the remnants of the civilisation on Mars made an attempt to destroy Earth through it's transmat system.
The Third Doctor met representatives of the Ice Warriors in his involvement in the affairs of Peledon, once as an ally in persuading Peladon to join the Federation and then as an enemy in trying to betray Peladon to Galaxy 5. These two representatives belong to an off-shoot of the Race that had left Mars to found their own little empire. The Eleventh Doctor and Clara met a Grand Marshal of the Martian forces after it was defrosted from 5,000 year ice on a secret mission at the North Pole.
The Third Doctor runs into an invasion being masterminded by the Nestene Consciousness when he finds himself on Earth after being exiled by the Time Lords. The Nestene Consciousness affects plastic and can animate plastic to its own desires.
The Third Doctor met the Nestenes twice while stuck on Earth. Once in his first adventure on arriving on twentieth century Earth immediately after his exile when he first met Liz Shaw and UNIT. The second time was when Jo Grant first joined the UNIT team. The Ninth Doctor's first adventure on Earth was in facing down a reborn Nestene invasion and his first meeting with Rose Tyler. The Tenth Doctor fights off an attempted invasion of the Nestene Consciousness in the novel 'Autonomy'.
The Nestene Consciousness does not appear to need outside allies, though in its second invasion attempt the Master aided it. The Consciousness generally used plastic constructs, usually in the form of shop store dummies. This pattern continued in the invasion blocked by the Ninth Doctor but the Consciousness has a greater control over all sorts of plastics material - the sight of Mickey being eaten by the Wheelie Bin was particularly inspired :-).
The Macra are giant crablike creatures that require a rather more unpleasant atmosphere than humanoids generally enjoy. They once had their own little empire.
The Second Doctor Ben, Polly and Jamie encountered them on one of their worlds and helped the entrapped colonists regain their colony. The Tenth Doctor and (more particularly) Martha encountered the devolved remnants of the Macra stuck in the lower levels of the enclosed Motorway where the trapped exhaust fumes had created the ideal conditions for them to breed.
The Macra used humans as slaves to produce the gases required by their metabolism
These resemble statues in that they are made of stone and rarely move. So long as you don't stop watching them. They survive on radiation and the 'life potential' of their victims. This life energy is obtained by displacing the victim back in time and absorbing the released energy.
The Tenth and Eleventh Doctors have been involved with the Weeping Angels.
While the above section mentions those races that the Doctor faced a number of times, there were a large number of opponents that he only met the once, either because they were defeated in the encounter or simply because the Doctor never made it back to their space. Some of the more interesting (in my opinion, of course) are listed below:
The sworn enemy of the Sontarans, the Rutan Intelligence is a hive organism, which while having individual bodies and intelligences, has a group consciousness as well. They are protoplasmic beings and have an affinity with electricity and prefer colder regions.
The Fourth Doctor and Leela fought off an attempted Rutan invasion at Fang Rock. The Tenth Doctor is involved with Rutan Intelligance linked spores in the novel 'The Taking of Chelsea 426'
Last of the Daemons. He was in a miniaturised state of suspended animation in the burial mound of Devil's Hump. He was released by the Master in an attempt to gain his powers but instead Azal offered them to the Doctor after finding Humanity wanting. When the Doctor refused Azal tried to kill him but Jo's attempts to protect the Doctor baffled Azal who then committed suicide.
The Third Doctor defeated Azal's attempt to judge and destroy Earth.
Azal used an android to help defend his resting place.
Immensely powerful beings embodying Light/Order (White Guardian) and Dark/Chaos (Black Guardian). They maintain the Universal Balance through the artefact known as the Key to Time. Very few groups knew of their existence, of which the High Council of Gallifrey was one body. The Fourth Doctor was assigned to the search for the Key to Time along with Romanadvoratrelundar by a being who Romana thought to be the President of the High Council, but who was (probably) the White Guardian. When they had assembled the Key the Black Guardian appeared and tried to steal it. The Black Guardian tried to have Turlough kill the Fifth Doctor. Both Guardians can assume the shapes of others, including their opposite number.
The Fourth Doctor (possibly) encountered both Guardians while the Fifth had two nearly fatal encounters with the Black Guardian acting through Turlough. In order to escape from the Black Guardian, the Fourth Doctor added a randomiser to the TARDIS's guidance controls.
You are joking, right?
Well, OK then, Turlough was influenced into trying to kill the Fifth Doctor.
A group of humanoid robots that would appear to control a vast area of space though the absolute size of their empire is unknown. At some stage they ran up against the Dalek empire and the two groups enthusiastically went to war only to find themselves so equally balanced that they were stalemated. In an attempt to beat the Daleks, the Movellians joined an expedition to Skaro to find Davros though their robotic nature was not known to the human members of the expeditions. This story also introduces the regenerated Romana.
The Fourth Doctor encountered the Movellians on Skaro as they searched for Davros.
As far as is know, they have no henchbeings, trying their best to hide their robotic nature from the human slaves taken prisoner by the Daleks.
There is no indication where the Wire is from, but it appears it once had a corporeal existence. The image seen on screen is female, but there is no way of telling how well this reflects reality. The Wire absorbs people's personality through the televisions supplied by a local electrician, also destroying their faces.
The Tenth Doctor and Rose met the Wire during the build up to the Queen's coronation in 1953
The Wire blackmails a local electrician into building the necessary interfaces to carry through its plans to absorb the essence of the viewing public.
Well, at least my nephew seemed rather impressed by the Wire as played by Maureen Lipman. So this is in his honour :-).