Doctor Who: classic villains confirmed for 50th Anniversary

News Louisa Mellor 2 Apr 2013 - 16:02

Find out which classic Who villains are confirmed to be back for the 50th Anniversary episode here. Prepare yourselves...

Warning: contains spoilers for a classic monster returning to Doctor Who

This is exciting. Very, very exciting.

Little more than a week ago, who should top our wishlist for the classic monsters we want back on Doctor Who but a certain suckered race whose name begins with Z? Today, who has the BBC announced will be returning as the villains in the currently-filming Doctor Who 50th anniversary special? The very same.

Den of Geek readers, we say this to you with the widest of grins: the Zygons are coming back to Doctor Who.

Here's what the official BBC blog had to say: 

"We’re delighted to confirm that the Zygons are returning to Doctor Who for the show’s 50th anniversary special.

Aside from flashbacks these malevolent shape-shifters have only appeared once before, threatening Earth in the Fourth Doctor adventure, Terror of the Zygons. Despite the fact that their solitary outing was over thirty years ago they remain a popular old enemy and in the 2010 episode, The Pandorica Opens, they were amongst the massed aliens said to be gathering above Stonehenge. Later, in The Power of Three, we learnt that Zygons had one of their ships under the Savoy Hotel in 1890 and apparently replaced half the staff with imposters! But this time they really are back…

We’ve already confirmed that in the anniversary special Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman will be joined by the returning David Tennant and Billie Piper. Screen legend John Hurt is also in the cast and earlier today we revealed that Joanna Page (Gavin & Stacey, The Syndicate) would also be appearing in this eagerly anticipated adventure." 

That calls for a celebratory cup of Bovril we'd say. Roll on November.


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Woo woo woo!

These updates get better all the time. I still get giddy looking at the David and Matt script read-through picture!

Great news, but in the publicity pic they look more pink than orange! ;)

This doesn't mean that the Zygons are THE villains. I'm guessing it's just a cameo. Still, TREMENDOUSLY excited!

It has to be said, that's a bloody good monster outfit for the classic series. Hope it doesn't change too much.

By the looks of things that photo is of one of the new one in the 50th, so that is exactly what we are going to be getting!

Pretty happy!

Get this one right, Moffat...

Okay then. The Zygons. I suspect they are not the main threat.

>Aside from flashbacks these malevolent shape-shifters have only appeared once before, threatening Earth in the Fourth Doctor adventure, Terror of the Zygons. Despite the fact that their solitary outing was over thirty years ago they remain a popular old enemy and in the 2010 episode, The Pandorica Opens, they were amongst the massed aliens said to be gathering above Stonehenge.

Wow...that's actually good news. I am pleased. Simply because I watched them the first time around and they were great. Is that costume in the Photo from the filming? Or is it a fan made one? Either way its pretty good, because the original costumes and design was superb.

Now there is Tennant as well which is also very good. Lets face it , out of all the past Doctors he was about the only one who would ever be able to come back looking like he did in the show, AND who would be the keenest to do it as he is a big fan. I am sure now that the fourth Doctor is going to get a look in somewhere, in a flashback to the first time the Zygons turned up at least.

Wonder if DT is going to be THE Doctor as he was, or as the other universe human one? If he is supposed to be as he was when he was with Rose in season 2, its going to make for interesting interplay between him and Mat Smith, because that's who he is going to be, the very next one. Matts Doctor could mention it, or warn him about it or keep silent, it will be an interesting meeting between the pair...vs the Zygons...hehehe...

Imagine for a second if Clara is a Zygon...imagine all the speculation that, that is how she can look like she does and die and come back...she is the third Zygon to play her and its a trap for the Doctor...Hmmmm Imagine all the speculation about the 50th now. I doubt they will have the bottle to do this, but you never know. Suddenly Doctor Who just got interesting for me again....

The picture of the Zygon is from the official BBC DR Who twitter feed. It's for real, which is excellent :-)

Awesome news.If Kazza is not involved,at least the Loch Ness monster might represent her in the anniversary story.Shape shifting shenanigans and nasty stings are obligatory.

Helz to the effin yes!

So now we know who Joanna Page is playing.

How do they turn their heads? You could just hide to the side of them.

Bloody fantastic. These monsters are bloody fantastic. These Doctors are bloody fantastic. This show is bloody fantastic. Life is bloody fantastic right now, no use fighting it

Yeaaah ! :D

At long last!!! This is fantastic news!!! My favourite story of all-time is Terror of the Zygons and I have been waiting for their return since I was a child!!! Undoubtedly the most effectively-realised aliens in all of the classic series!! If Nick Hurran directs this episode with even half as much spooky atmosphere as Douglas Camfield did with Terror, then we're in for a nice, scary treat!

No one has mentioned that as shapeshifters, the Zygons are an easy way to cameo the other Doctors into the story. That must be part of the motivation in using them...

Amen, doctor16!

Technically we've never seen a Zygon try to take a body print from a Time Lord - who knows what kind of a crazy reaction they could explain away...

I suppose Moffat could come up with an explanation for that, but I sure hope he doesn't. That would be a bit of a letdown for me.

I'd be okay with it. Of course I would love to see Matt Smith trying to out-eccentric Tom Baker for 90 minutes or watch Paul McGann get his overdue heroic onscreen comeback, but if this is Moffat's solution, to feature Tennant and cameo everyone else via unstable Zygons, that strikes me as a fair enough balance between pleasing classic and modern Who fans.

That would be a ridiculous copout in the writing department, but I'd still watch of course. I'm a sucker for any Who.

It should also be pointed out that the Zygons don't take on the personality of the person they're copying, so that idea would pretty much go nowhere.

I envisioned something like The Flesh, where the personality imprints and overwhelms. Who knows, it's just fun to speculate.

Yeah, it's fun to speculate for sure, but the Zygon canon has already been clearly established when it comes to that sort of thing.

True, but since it was only the one episode and no one tried to copy the Doctor they have some leeway to explore at least.

Why go to all the trouble? Why would they not just have the actual characters come back? Sorry, Smithian, but Terror of the Zygons is canon whether you like the classic series or not. My gut tells me that you've never seen Terror, so I'll forgive you this time. Lol. Now let's move on and bring on the 50th! Woohoo!

Is Tennant the Doctor or the Doctor/Donna?

Yeah, I was really nervous about Smith. Honestly it was mostly because I was concerned about someone taking over for Tennant. And while I don't think Smith has reached the same level as him, he's definitely proven himself.

Matt Smith has the remarkable knack of being at once young and very very old.

Well, I think he brings more of an "action hero" vibe and I have to admit it took some getting used to. The thing about The Doctor is that there are so many sides to him. Old and wise, tired and dejected, young and full of wonder, noble and brave etc.. IMHO Tennant managed to play all of these aspects very well. Smith not as much, but what he does play he plays well.

Matt Smith is an action hero type? I have to confess I'd never thought of him that way.

You won't catch me criticizing Tennant. I think he's great.

Well by "action type" I mean he's a simpler character compared to previous incarnations. There's less complexity to his Doctor than others.

The characterization suggests a lot of depth. Especially re my original point.

>Matt Smith has the remarkable knack of being at once young and very very old.

I was at a book signing at Christmas in London's Forbidden Planet & I directly asked SM about the Zygons returning...he looked over at Mark Gatiss, repeated my question to him & gave him a knowing nod...I should have guessed!

Wow, not one negative comment! Love of the Zygons appears to unite Dr Who fans like nothing else

Unbelievably excited for Tennant's return. Almost dying of excitement at the prospect of Zygons. Please Moffat, DO NOT tie this special in with the series arc. If the man goes for a standalone episode I guarantee you he'll nail it.

Billie Piper, please don't be as cocky as you were by the end of series two.

I hope they aren't shape-shifters. Can't we just let Zygons be Zygons?


I bet DT and Rose are Zygons!

Moff will ruin it with blandness and uncreative nonsense, don't worry, still, DT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I AM Sutekh!

Hey up, it's the chump.

Oreyt Zappy, me ol' mucker. Reckon the last ep of Who was the bestest ever, does ya?

They stole human doc's body from Pete's world!

Yup, an incredibly nonsensical tedious one, still you will kiss his backside and proclaim him your bezzie, am I right?

You Suck!

Moffat doesn't believe in cannon, which is why you adore his naffness.

No point arguing with Zaphod, he is blinded by Moff's wonder.

Yes, I just hope Moffat doesn't mess it all up.

Awesome theory. Bring on the Zygons!


I don't think I'm explaining myself properly here.. I don't say it as a detraction from Smith. And it's very likely the writing that's changed as opposed to the actors ability to portray it like his predecessor did.

It just seems to me that there's a lot more "one liners" and some soap opera like moments written into the show since Smith came on board. Whereas with Tennant we got a different aspect to the character almost every week, with Smith it's almost like they don't want to give him really good, scenery chewing bits.

I dunno, it's hard to explain without seeming like I'm bashing him. That's really not my intention.

Different showrunner, different star, bound to be changes in the show.

Isn't each Doctor supposed to be distinct from one another?

Absolutely they're supposed to be distinct, I'm just comparing the way the character is presented vs the previous version. It's almost more "cartoony" than Tennant was. The best way I can describe it is that it's like he's been simplified for a more casual audience.

(Again, I don't mean that in an overtly negative tone)

Certainly calling the portrayal "cartoony" can't be construed in a negative way ...

Cutting through it, you clearly think that Tennant was vastly superior to Smith in the role.

My suggestion is it's not exactly the same character, as each Doctor is different.

I actually don't see a big difference in complexity between the two portrayals. But I'm superficial that way.

No, I honestly don't think Tennant was "superior" in the role. I just prefer "his Doctor" more. Like you said, different characters so to speak. I prefer one character over the other.

If I thought that Tennant was "vastly superior" I honestly probably wouldn't be watching anymore which is definitely not the case. As far as who portrays the Doctor "better" I don't think I could even make that distinction.

I guess what it boils down to is that I'm talking about the character himself as opposed to the talent of the actors. I think both actors portray their individual Doctor excellently and I can't wait to see them on screen together.

Anyhow, this is turning into a rant lol.

You may like Smith as the Doctor, but you don't say what you like about him, only what you dislike about him.

Well your original statement about how he has the young but old vibe, he does that very well. Which is important for The Doctor.

And he plays the "gleeful wonder" aspect of the character amazingly and in a way that Tennant never did. Smith plays that "excitement to live" with more childlike (not a bash) excitement. And that's one aspect that I think Smith does better (so THERE! lol). Whereas Tennant played that aspect of the character as being "adventurous" as opposed to genuinely excited and in awe of existence.

And when Smith does get into the darker more dramatic aspects of the character he pulls them off really well, given what the script provides him. His performance in The Doctors Wife is something I would put up against Tennants best moments any day. And that might be an indication that it's the writing that makes me differentiate the two as we previously discussed. Gaiman gave him some of the best Doctor material the new series' have to offer.

Again, it goes back to the writing, and my personal preference between the two characters.

There you go! Very nice.

How do you like the new year so far?

Well, The Bells of Saint John isn't going to go down in Who history as anything notable, but it was enjoyable. Clara seems like a worthy successor to Amelia Pond, with perhaps the potential of being even better. Though I'm a little leery of the "Who is she" plot line. I got tired of the whole River thing pretty quickly.

That being said, the whole "quadricycle" bit had me in frigging stitches lol.

I agree with everything you said.

The Who-is-she plotline can get very old.

The refrain of "Doctor who?" has already gotten old.

They certainly turned River Song from a spicy, intriguing character into something of an overexposed irritation, though I still like the character.

Well now Amy and Rory (hopefully River as well) have gone the show has come into itself, I actually feel excited to watch an episode again! The moment Matt revealed the new Tardis control room in the Christmas special I felt he owned the character! He now feels like a 1000 year old alien wandering the universe. So far so delighted!

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