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Published on September 8th, 2011 | by Alwyn Ash

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What Scares You About Doctor Who?

Following the recent Night Terrors, it got me thinking: what scares you in the world of Doctor Who? If you are a seasoned fan, with over ten years of knowledge, then perhaps you are a little too old to be frightened, so perhaps I should be asking what “scared” you about the show? It would be a little too easy, and predictable, to say “Daleks”, and so I ask you to look at Doctor Who a little deeper than that and explore those moments that stay in the mind, and haunt your nightmares…

Who can forget The Idiot’s Lantern (2006) with its face-stealing scenes – there is no doubt that a faceless being is terrifying, we all gain comfort from seeing other peoples’ facial expressions, we look into their eyes, expect to see a smile. But here, thanks to The Wire, these very things are removed, leaving behind an empty mask, void of expression.

In similar style, two-part story The Empty Child (followed by The Doctor Dances) is a 2005 spectacular giving us a wartime adventure unlike any other: a mysterious child clad in gas mask, upon his touch victims transform to become like him – in search of his “Mummy!”

Even the statue-like Weeping Angels have a deadly touch, perhaps not in their first outing (where they were able to send their victims to an earlier time frame, Blink 2007) – but as a desperate pack of creatures in The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone (2010) there was, indeed, need for fear: they had now become ruthless killers!

So how about further back in time, to a point when Doctor Who was younger than it is today? What classic moments linger in your mind? Marc Platt’s Ghost Light perhaps, a 1989 tale of mystery surrounding the occupants and history of Gabriel Chase, a Victorian mansion in 1883?

Maybe, to find a genuine scare, we must step back to the days of the Fourth Doctor, played so perfectly by Tom Baker. Who can forget the chilling presence of Geoffrey Beevers’ evil statue, as fellow fan Alix Cavanagh says on Twitter:

The Keeper of Traken – the Melkur scared the bejaysus out of me.

But what are your memories? Or indeed, should I really be asking: what would you like to see that hasn’t happened yet? In your opinion, is there a fear that is yet to be touched upon the Doctor Who team? There is always strength in playing with one’s phobias;  for some there is no greater fear than a clown, a gigantic wasp, demons, snakes, or visitations (including ghosts) etc.

And please don’t feel the need to be restricted by “canon”, there is an ocean of novels and audio adventures that, too, set the imagination racing overtime, planting all manner of monsters and beings into your thoughts. As an example, I remember listening to Justin Richards’ Big Finish offering Whispers of Terror and finding myself wondering if anything would, indeed, find its way through my headphones! How do you face an enemy that is difficult to contain, that isn’t physical in appearance?

Would you agree that the scariest episodes are those in black and white, totally devoid of colour? There is something nightmarish about a being, colourless, creeping towards you, out of the shadows.

So, what scares you about Doctor Who?

Perhaps you would like to choose one entity/monster per Doctor?

Go on – share your nightmares with us!

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4 Responses to What Scares You About Doctor Who?

  1. avatar Pete says:

    Yes, I do have an early fear of the daleks, but the marshmen from Full Circle completely scared me. Any marshland or lake edge made me think that these creatures would creep up out of the water.

    There was also a Big Finish audio, which I think was an 8th Doctor one. The crew of a ship are cast in darkness, but it turns out their eyes have been dissolved without them realising. That freaked me out.

    • avatar Alwyn Ash says:

      Yes indeed, “Embrace The Darkness” from 2002 – I made the mistake of listening to it after dark, with headphones. Creepy tale :)


  2. The Empty Child gasmask people for me, I think. I’m glad it was the height of summer when that was on as if it had been winter I would have been afraid to step outside!

  3. avatar Donna says:

    My 9 yr old son has not had a good nights sleep since watching last Saturday’s episode. Tonight he got so wound up he has made himself sick. We are so shattered and have tried talking to him but he gets into a state. So we have now band drwho from our tv and after talking to other parents they have had this problem too some from last year. They should show it after 9pm or tame it down.

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