The Zygons

Zygon

Considering how much support the Zygons got, following their omission from our recent top ten Doctor Who Monster list, it seemed appropriate to give them a closer look.

There are certain ‘big hitters’ in the annals of Doctor Who monsters. The heavyweights are, of course, the Daleks and Cybermen, but close behind come the Autons, Sontarans, Ice Warriors and the Zygons. What makes these enemies of The Doctor significant is that each of them, apart from the Zygons, have made repeat appearances in the TV series. This might suggests, perhaps, that the Zygons are punching above their weight and that they don’t really deserve to be in the premier league, but that would be unfair.

The Zygons first, and only, appearance on Doctor Who was in a story called BBC”>The Terror of The Zygons whose plot represented two staples of film and TV science fiction.

1. Aliens that could adopt the appearance of humans.
2. Aliens who had lost the use of their own world and considered that the Earth would make a very nice replacement, once they’d gotten rid of the current occupants.

Their shape shifting skills allowed a relatively small numbers of Zygons to pose a serious threat to the stability of the world. It was probably for this reason rather than the need to save time and money on special effects and make-up that this element was included (though not exclusively I suspect). The reason I suggest this is that it was in the appearance of Zygons, the make-up, costumes, and set design of the Zygon spacecraft (with its organic control panels), where this story triumphed and where the fans developed an appetite to for more of them.

The TV series was cancelled in 1989 with no further Zygon stories having appeared, however, Doctor Who then adapted itself into other formats, novels (resulting in one Doctor Who Zygon story called The Bodysnatchers), graphic stories, and audio dramas. These included the officially sanctioned, fan created, and some professional non-sanctioned productions that verged on “clones” of Doctor Who.

The Zygons (along with the Sontarans) then became a sort of Bargain basement monster with which an unlicensed Doctor Who production company BBV could produce ‘semi-official’ and legal Doctor Who spin-off audio dramas. Three Zygon stories were produced, Homeland by Paul Dearing, Absolution by Paul Ebbs and The Barnacled Baby by Anthony Keetch.

In one sense the Zygons are already part of the new series, having been used as the villains in a Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones BBC novel entitled Sting of the Zygons. As the series incorporates more of the classic aliens from the original series they must be considered candidates for reappearance. They also represent a great opportunity of incorporating many of the anxieties of our present day culture, being a belligerent, stateless group seeking to establish a new homeland for themselves at the expense of others. It would represent an opportunity to develop them further as complex beings, rather than the two-dimensional invading aliens of the past.



4 comments


    David

    July 31, 2007

    That is my favourite shot of Broton, let’s hope if (when) RTD brings them back that they find a better place to hide the microphone. A few additional popular points of the “Terror of the Zygons” as a story was its Scottishness, the inclusion of the admittedly poor Loch Ness monster, the pictures of Tom-doc in tartan, the location filming and the nods to British B-movies of the 1950s and 60s, if you took the Doctor Who element out of it and replaced it with a group of scientists at some research station in the Highlands, it could have been a plot for one of those. It was also the last “classic” UNIT story……well until, who knows ? As well as bringing back Sarah-Jane, does he have any other plans, what about a 1970s UNIT one ? God, I am a sad fan-boy……

    Drew

    July 31, 2007

    Werent unit in the last eposiode? the ones with the red hats on the air ship?, not a large part i know but the’re there.

    David

    July 31, 2007

    Drew, that’s why I said “classic” UNIT story, they were in The Android Invasion, but it wasn’t the same without the Brigadier. There was also Battlefield, but it didn’t have the same “classic” UNIT feel. We might see the return of UNIT in Series 4, who knows ?

    sam

    July 31, 2007

    It was also the last “classic” UNIT story derrrrrrrrrrrr

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