Doctor Who’s Fangtastic Foes

A brief history of blood- (or other substances-) suckers in Doctor Who

SFX’s irregular Vampire Specials are prioving so mindbogglingly popular we just can’t stop producing them. It’s almost like we’ve launched a new magazine on the sly. There’s a new one out on Wednesday (keep on eye on this site for details), and so to get you in the mood, here’s one of the features from the previous Vampire Special.

The Chase (1965)

Doctor: William Hartnell
Being chased through time and space by the Daleks the original Doctor and co materialise in what appears to be a gothic castle complete with Frankenstein’s monster and a Lugosi-inspired Dracula. The Doctor speculates they have arrived somewhere that nightmares are made a reality, but in fact, unbeknownst to him, they have actually landed in a fun fair ghost house. It’s more of a rim shot than a twist.

The Claws Of Axos (1971)

Doctor: Jon Pertwee
Originally this story was called “Vampires From Space” which was actually promising more than it delivered, so maybe the title change was a wise idea. “Groovy, Tentacles, Leotard-Lovers From Space” would have been more accurate. They suck energy rather than blood, using it to power lava lamps and oil projectors, apparently.

State Of Decay (1980)

Doctor: Tom Baker
When an Earth spaceships crash lands on an alien planet, a stranded Great Vampire turns the commanding officers into immortal bloodsuckers. He also gives them a taste for gothic clothing and David Bowie make-up.

The Curse Of Fenric (1989)

Doctor: Sylvester McCoy
Warning – if we continue to pollute the Earth, in millions of years we’ll all evolve into Haemovores, which are water-dwelling, blood-sucking monsters that can be killed by a stake through the heart and have an aversion to strong beliefs. The Doctor meets the Ancient Haemovore in World War Two, but it’s been hanging round since Viking Times having been brought back from the future. Well time-travelled, then.

Smith And Jones (2007)

Doctor: David Tennant
From Haemovores to Plasmavores (it’s all a matter of taste). The Doctor meets one of these shapeshifters when it disguises itself as an ex-Coronation Street character in an Earth hospital. Plasmavores drink blood through straws, which seems incredibly civilised of them. Saves getting blood all over your chin and dribbling onto your shirt.

Vampires Of Venice (2010)

Doctor: Matt Smith
When is a vampire not a vampire? When it’s a fish with dodgy perception filter. You know, it’s amazing how much a fish with a dodgy perception filter can come off so vampiric. A dodgy perception filter can explain everything from why they have no reflection to why they have fangs and how they can transform into giant, er… fish. Maybe if it had been working properly they could have done the bat thing. This lot were actually aliens from the aquatic planet Saturnyne, who ended up in 16th century Venice after falling through some cracks in time, inveigled their way into Venetian high society and then set up a rather aggressive breeding programme. If anyone ever offers you vintage Venetian caviar, politely decline.

And on the next page, a brief interview with Terrance Dicks on the writing of “State Of Decay”…