The 15 Creepiest Aliens In Doctor Who History

The good Doctor has been traveling through time and space for six decades — ever since he debuted on our screens on November 23, 1963, in "An Unearthly Child." From their perspective, the do-gooding gallant Gallifreyan with hearts of gold has witnessed the very beginnings and ends of time itself, so it's fair to say they've encountered more than a few species on their temporal travels and spatial sojourns. Some have proven to be benevolent and kind, whereas others have proven to be thoroughly nasty. In an ever-expanding universe, the potential for scary foes is infinite, so let's take a look at 15 of the creepiest creatures to trouble a variety of the incarnations of our favorite Time Lord.

And it's worth mentioning that, despite being responsible for nearly ending the existence of the Time Lord for good back in 1989, TV executive Michael Grade does not feature on this list.

The Autons/the Nestene Consciousness

The phrase "hiding behind the sofa" became synonymous with "Doctor Who", conjuring visions of a generation of terrified children cowering behind the furniture at some of the scarier moments of the series. And then in 1971, in the Jon Pertwee episode, "Terror of the Autons" (the second appearance of the synthetic scoundrels), writer Robert Holmes even ended safely doing that.

The Autons were already terrifying enough — animated shop dummies with hollow expressions and morality to match. The Doctor's nemesis, The Master, played by Roger Delgado, was in league with the Nestene Consciousness, the hive-mind that controlled the Autons and gave them life. Disappointed with one of his lackeys, he urges him to sit in a plastic armchair, which then proceeds to suffocate the poor soul in one of the most memorable (and gruesome) moments of the series.

Instilling a fear of living room furniture is no mean feat, and it's somewhat humorous to think of that same generation of terrified children being worried that the sofa they were cowering behind might turn on them.

The Vashta Nerada

"Doctor Who" is often at its absolute best when it makes us scared of the things we take for granted like statues and shop dummies. However, it can often excel at capitalizing on common fears, and the Vashta Nerada (first seen in the 2008 David Tennant episode "Silence in the Library") bring a new terrifying element to Nyctophobia — the fear of the dark.

With their name translated as "the shadows that melt the flesh," these microscopic, swarming creatures gather in the darkness, waiting to trap the unwary. Capable of stripping the flesh from victims in seconds, these voracious varmints shun the light but can gather in pools of darkness. If you find you've got a second shadow, it's probably already too late for you.

Who mythology tells us that the Vashta Nerada are commonplace, scattered throughout the universe. They're where the universal fear of the dark comes from. Do sleep well, but you might want to leave your door ajar to let a little light in ...

The Weeping Angels

Episodes of "Doctor Who" that are light on the Doctor's presence are a mixed bag. For every "Turn Left," there's a "Love and Monsters" (with the Abzorbaloff, terrifying in a different way from the other creatures on this list). However, in Steven Moffat's 2007 episode "Blink," a new statuesque villain was introduced. One that would instantly cement itself (no pun intended) into the top tier of the Doctor's rogues gallery hall of fame.

These quantum-locked creatures can only move when not observed, displaying some of the quantum physics credentials of Schrodinger's cat — if said cat were capable of zapping victims back in time and gorging on their un-lived days. Your unused potential is sustenance for these egregious effigies, so never challenge one to a staring contest.

It of course doesn't help that the Weeping Angels are terrifying enough when perfectly immobile. Despite their angelic wings, they're all vicious fangs and raking claw-like fingernails. And that's even before we consider that they're playing you in a deadly version of "red light, green light."

The Daleks

Overuse of the pepper pot despots has dulled their effectiveness over the years, but there's no denying the terrifying nature of these fascistic fiends. However, regardless of their intent, it's hard not to be impressed by their single-minded focus and simple yet effective mission statement: "Exterminate!"

As a battle cry, it's bold, effective, and unambiguous. And man alive, do they stick to it — by attempting to keep man far from alive. They're a galactic scourge, viciously metastasizing their way through time and space. Xenophobic to the extreme, in their monocular eye, anything which is not Dalek is not worthy of survival. They may have gone through many redesigns over the centuries (some less popular than others), but there's no denying that their monotone insistent parroting of their catchphrase would strike terror into the heart (or hearts) of any sentient being. If you can hear them, you're already doomed.

What makes them creepier still is what lurks inside. Within every Dalek shell is a Kaled occupant, a species once humanoid but now mutated and twisted into the multi-limbed form that operates every Dalek war machine.

The Flood

Not to be confused with the parasitic mutations from the "Halo" series of games, The Flood is a liquid life form defrosted from a glacier on Mars. Originally trapped and frozen there by another "Doctor Who" species, the Ice Warriors, this fluvial felon went on to infect the poor crew members of Bowie Base One in the episode "The Waters of Mars."

The naming of the base is clearly far from coincidental, with the Hugo award-winning episode starring David Tennant proving, without a shadow of a doubt, that there is life on Mars.

Despite media over-saturation in television, cinema, and video games, zombies remain terrifying — even watery ones. Victims of The Flood all take on the same pallor, indicating their infection: pale blue eyes and complexion with cracking of the skin around the mouth, which constantly pours with water. Kept in a near-death state, The Flood is also capable of hiding its victims' infection from others and spreading themselves by watery touch.

The Silence

Part the Gentlemen from the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" episode "Hush" and part Edward Munch painting, the smart-attired members of this religious order are as terrifying conceptually as they are in appearance. Resembling unnaturally tall humanoids with sunken eye sockets and shrunken mouths, the Silence have powers that give them mastery over subterfuge. For as long as you can no longer see one, you instantly forget your encounters with them.

First appearing in the Matt Smith episode "The Impossible Astronaut," the meddlesome Priests of Silencio would feature regularly in the arcing storyline of Series 6, not appearing again until Series 12 — unless, of course, they did appear, but you forgot them.

The power of editing themselves from memories has let them dwell amongst us since time immemorial. In their own hissed words having "ruled it since the wheel and the fire." Victims of the Silence often took to marking their own skin to indicate encounters as a semi-permanent reminder. However, viewers of "Doctor Who" will find these besuited baddies impossible to forget.

The Veil

What could be more terrifying than a creature constructed from the Doctor's nightmares? In "Heaven Sent," a Peter Capaldi episode set within the Timelord's confession dial, a prison housed within a small Gallifreyan disk, we meet just that, in the form of the Veil.

Part prison warden, part interrogator, this relentless automaton patrols the grounds at the same laborious pace, never hiding its presence. It's the unstoppable nature of this clockwork custodian that makes the thing truly terrifying, never allowing the doctor a moment of pause. It may be slow, but there's something genuinely chilling about an entity that will never stop coming for you, day or night.

The appearance of the Veil (part shrouded corpse, part Grim Reaper) is taken from the Doctor's memories, making it an extremely specific and personalized horror for a man considered unflappable. It's also one of the few beings who have succeeded in killing the Time Lord, having carried out this act dutifully and repeatedly throughout four and a half billion years. Now that's creepy.

Midnight entity

At some stage in life, we realize that it's possible to infuriate friends or parents by repeating what they've just said back to them and continually doing so. Annoying, yes, but in the case of the Midnight entity, if it starts repeating what you say, it's probably already too late for you.

A creature so unknown, so unknowable, that even the Doctor themselves knows nothing of them, the Midnight entity isn't even the creature's name. It's just a convenient term to refer to this terrifying phenomenon.

Just a shadow, it's barely glimpsed on screen, but the malevolent touch of the thing is felt by all the occupants of the space bus in the episode "Midnight." It's capable of controlling humans with nigh-on unerring accuracy, mimicking their speech patterns to hide their possession.

It's a testament to the quality of the episode that, even without being shown, the antagonist stands as one of the scariest villains the Doctor has ever faced. It's an episode set (mostly) within an individual location, dwelling on the paranoia among the passengers as they try to deduce which of them is possessed. It's also worthy of note that, despite the Doctors vast encyclopedic knowledge, the creature is unknown to even him.

The Empty Child

As any parent will testify, children can be terrifying. Stick a gas mask on one and have it repeat, "Are you my mummy?" insistently, and you've got nightmare fuel. Featuring Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor (recently returned to TV screens after a 16-year absence), this episode saw our compassionate chrononaut in World War II and introduced the world to John Barrowman's Captain Jack Harkness.

The Empty Child takes the form of a small boy, forever clad in a gas mask. The boy spreads a plague, transforming those infected into things resembling himself. The episode is notable for one nightmarish scene in which the Doctor witnesses this transformation. A physician succumbs to the plague and is helpless to act as the nozzle from the mask emerges from his mouth and his eyes are replaced by darkened lenses.

In a twist for "Doctor Who," the villain is not malign, eventually turning out to be misguided alien technology trying to make things better. Still, there's no denying the unnerving presence of the creature, and that one particular transformation is one of the scariest scenes to appear in the series.


Regardless of whether they originate from the planet of Mondas or from here on Earth, the Cybermen remain stalwart figures of fear in the "Doctor Who" pantheon. Humanoids who have long since replaced the organic weaknesses within their physical forms with bionic and cybernetic augmentation, these metallic malefactors appear in vast numbers and conquer worlds. At some stage during their evolution, they ironed out the so-called mental "flaws" of emotion, conscience, and mercy, making them the cold, callous killers they are today.

It's the terror of the loss of self that makes this army of automatons decidedly creepy. To think that your world could be captured by the Cybermen, and you would be converted to one of them, forcibly shedding everything that makes you unique until you are a mere killing cog in the Cyber-machine.

Like the similarly war-crazed Daleks, the Doctor has fought these plastisteel soldiers across every incarnation, but they keep returning. As long as there is sentient life to convert and new species to subdue, the Cyber-legions will continue to grow.

The Mara

Introduced in "Kinda," starring the celery-sporting fifth Doctor, the Mara is a non-corporeal entity that dwells within the Dark Places of the Inside, part dream world, part another dimension.

It came into existence quite accidentally, birthed from the greed and hatred in the human heart. The Mara's reign of terror was stopped when it was eventually captured and banished to an other-dimensional realm. It constantly seeks victims to possess to escape from its prison, using their dreams to grow in strength to achieve corporeal form.

Typical budgetary limitations meant the eventual physical manifestation of the Mara made it a far less terrifying prospect than the concept would imply. However, even seeing it realized as a fake-looking giant puppet snake didn't detract from the essentially terrifying nature of the entity. As Peter Davison's Doctor chillingly points out, the Mara can never be fully destroyed as it exists inside all human beings.

The Beast

The David Tennant era introduced some notable enemies to pit against the 10th Doctor, but they don't come much nastier than The Beast. Appearing in the two-parter "The Impossible Planet" and "The Satan Pit," this creature may or not be none other than Satan himself.

We first learn of the existence of The Beast through his possession of poor Tobias Zed (Will Thorp) in a disturbing performance rivaling the reveal of the creature itself before the big reveal in the second episode. Imprisoned within the depths of a planet on the edge of a black hole, The Beast is a hulking behemoth resembling the traditional image of the devil, complete with red skin and horns. The Doctor himself doubts that the creature is Satan himself, but that the subconscious memories of all sentient beings make it the physical embodiment of evil.

A source of omniscient, ultimate evil claiming to be older than the very universe itself? It's hard to think of anything much scarier than that.


If only the British scientists in the 1976 "Doctor Who" story "The Seeds of Doom" had watched 1951's "The Thing from Another World," they might have thought twice before defrosting frozen alien life forms uncovered in Antarctica. It can only ever lead to trouble.

The thawed pod proceeds to wreak havoc, infecting victims and turning them into walking, carnivorous plants. These Krynoids, as the Doctor reveals, are an intergalactic weed, traveling through the vast reaches of space. Like Audrey 2 from "Little Shop of Horrors" but with considerably less singing, their raison d'etre is to drift onto hapless planets to thrive and devour the current occupants, considering them mere parasites. This is "Doctor Who" doing body horror, with some truly grisly transformation effects as hapless victims are gradually mutated into walking, bulky plant-like entities.

It's up to Tom Baker's fourth Doctor to save the day, armed not with a vat of Roundup but his trusty sonic screwdriver. A host of parents must also have rued the day that the episode was shown, finding it hard to encourage their children to eat their vegetables with them now having the nagging doubt that those vegetables might try to eat them back.

The Ogri

The influence of writer Nigel Kneale, creator of Quatermass, resonates throughout "Doctor Who." As Britain's first sci-fi serial, "The Quatermass Experiment" introduced us to the terrors of space before man had even put an astronaut boot print on the moon. Folk horror is featured in a lot of Kneale's work, and his influence is felt heavily in the 1978 story "Stones of Blood," which includes druids and stone circles.

The Ogri, silicon life forms native to the planet Ogros, may not on the surface seem particularly creepy, but there's something decidedly sinister about creatures made of rock. They may be slow-moving (as you'd expect from sentient gravel), but they are virtually indestructible, capable of taking — and dealing — a great deal of damage. Even after erosion, their fragments remain deadly.

Introduced as part of the fourth Doctor's epic "Key to Time" story arc, the Ogri's diet is perhaps the most terrifying thing about them. They survive through the proteins in blood, which they can absorb by touch alone. So be careful leaning against that rock. It might just turn out to be a 4,000-year-old space vampire.

Whoniverse honorable mention: the 456

Named after the radio frequency through which they first contacted mankind, the species known as the 456 are not from "Doctor Who", but "Torchwood," the Cardiff-based spin-off. However, they share the same universe, and the nature of the creatures makes them a worthy honorable, final mention for this list.

Appearing in the epic storyline "Children of Earth," which aired over five consecutive nights in 2009, The 456 were only glimpsed. Arriving via teleporter into a special mist-filled container that held elements matching the environment of their homeworld, they were shown in silhouette as a thrashing, angered tentacle.

The 456 arrive with a demand that ten percent of Earth's children be handed over to them, or they will destroy the world. Even when the true nature of their abhorrent plan is unveiled, revealing them to be little more than intergalactic junkies still feeding off the children they took during their previous visit in 1965, that doesn't diminish their sinister nature. In both physical form and morality, they're alien in every sense of the world, willing to go to any lengths to satisfy their sick urges. And in "Children of Earth," there are some members of humanity willing to placate them and excuse this unconscionable act, which is the scariest thing of all.