For nearly 60 years, the Doctor has been one of British TV’s greatest heroes, with the legendary Time Lord helping to save countless civilizations from some of the universe’s biggest foes. With the Thirteenth Doctor having recently regenerated in October 23rd’s Doctor Who special “The Power Of The Doctor,” fans are reflecting on the character’s huge legacy. While the Doctor usually acts as a beacon of hope and optimism for those they encounter, occasionally they have revealed a darker side, exposing a more unnerving aspect to their personality.
The Doctor’s powerful presence can sometimes terrify viewers, as audiences are left taken aback by the Time Lord’s more extreme behavior. Whereas sometimes this fear can be generated from the Doctor’s scared reaction towards their enemies, on other occasions audiences are left rattled by their more questionable methods towards saving the universe, as the Doctor deals with their enemies and sometimes friends in a particularly brutal manner.
The Curse Of Fenric
Classic Doctor Who, (Season 26, Serial 3)
Debuting in 1987’s “Time And The Rani,” the Seventh Doctor is one of the darkest incarnations to date, with his cold and calculating actions having seen him commit a few atrocious acts. A particularly spine-chilling moment for this Doctor is his cruel manipulation of Ace in “The Curse Of Fenric,” as he uses her as a pawn in his fight against Fenric.
The Doctor heartlessly exploits his companion’s good nature, as he aims to break Ace’s faith in him so that Fenric can be defeated. His harsh and cutting words show how far the Doctor is prepared to go to emerge triumphant, with the Time Lord describing his friend as “an emotional cripple.”
New Doctor Who, (Season 4, Episode 10)
Considered by many to be the best Doctor, the Tenth Doctor’s more human personality won the hearts of fans during his original tenure. Although this incarnation often appeared dashing and brave, he is noticeably shaken by the mysterious entity in “Midnight,” leaving viewers shaken by his reaction.
The entity’s possession of Sky Silvestry greatly troubles the Doctor, as it decides to steal the Doctor’s voice. The Doctor often uses words to save the day, and by taking away his speech the enigmatic creature leaves him powerless, removing all hope for the monster’s eventual defeat. However, it’s David Tennant’s horrified expression that truly sells it, as the passengers attempt to throw the Doctor out of the space shuttle.
A Good Man Goes To War
New Doctor Who (Season 6, Episode 7)
“A Good Man Goes To War” offers one of Doctor Who’s most spectacular episodes, as the Doctor enlists some of his greatest allies to help him save Amy from Madam Kovarian. However, his well-intentioned efforts to rescue his companion also brings one of his most chilling moments, as he lambasts Colonel Manton for his involvement in Amy’s kidnapping.
This incarnation’s savage taunt of Colonel Manton showcases how terrifying it can be to land on the wrong side of the Doctor, with Matt Smith’s incarnation dubbing Manton “Colonel Manton.” His furious anger at the colonel’s misdeeds sends shivers down viewers’ spines, as the Time Lord’s intense hatred radiates through the screen.
Village Of The Angels
New Doctor Who, (Season 13, Episode 4)
Since her introduction in “The Woman Who Fell To Earth,” the Thirteenth Doctor has delivered some of the best quotes, with her bright and cheery optimism delighting viewers. This Doctor’s era has provided some of the show’s biggest surprises, and one of the most shocking scenes is her transformation into a Weeping Angel in “Village Of The Angels,” which scared many audiences during the episode’s original broadcast.
This unexpected development is deeply disturbing, as the Doctor’s body morphs into a Weeping Angel. The Time Lord’s startled expression during this process demonstrates the horrific nature of this unusual event, with Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor taking on the form of one of her greatest foes.
The Twin Dilemma
Classic Doctor Who, (Season 21, Serial 7)
The Sixth Doctor’s era had a somewhat rocky start with 1984’s “The Twin Dilemma,” with the serial garnering a mixed reaction from viewers. Among this story’s most controversial elements is the Doctor’s appalling treatment of Peri, as he attempts to strangle his companion, in one of Doctor Who’s most shocking scenes.
This incarnation’s murderous act towards his assistant is a truly unsettling sequence. The usually heroic Time Lord’s steely determination to end Peri’s life acts as an especially startling moment for viewers, as the Doctor becomes convinced that his companion is secretly an alien spy.
New Doctor Who, (Season 8, Episode 4)
Considered by IMDb to be one of the Twelfth Doctor’s best episodes, “Listen” is a particular high point in Steven Moffat’s era as showrunner. This psychological thriller is also responsible for one of the Doctor’s scariest scenes, as he delivers his theory regarding a hidden creature stalking the universe’s occupants.
The Twelfth Doctor’s belief regarding this being’s presence is hugely disturbing, with this incarnation giving a startling speech about “a creature whose primary skill was to hide from view.” The Time Lord’s paranoia is made further unsettling by the chalk on the Doctor’s chalkboard writing the word “Listen” of its own accord, seemingly confirming the Doctor’s proposition about the creature to be true.
Human Nature/The Family Of Blood
New Doctor Who, (Season 3, Episodes 8 & 9)
Airing in 2007, “Human Nature/The Family Of Blood” is one of Doctor Who’s unique stories, with the Tenth Doctor posing as human teacher John Smith in 1913 England. Upon regaining his Time Lord consciousness, the Doctor’s brutish treatment of the Family Of Blood disturbed audiences during the initial broadcast, with the legendary Time Lord showing no mercy in their defeat.
After choosing to reclaim his life as “The Doctor,” his punishment of The Family Of Blood is particularly creepy. The Doctor shows an unforgiving attitude towards these callous alien hunters, imprisoning Daughter of Mine in a mirror, and condemning Mother of Mine to an eternity inside a collapsing galaxy. The Doctor’s heinous acts reflect the fury of a Time Lord, as he exacts his revenge on the family who tried to hunt him down.
New Doctor Who, (Season 1, Episode 6)
Portrayed by Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor has provided some of the most hilarious quotes. However, despite displaying a great sense of humor, this incarnation also harbors a darker personality, which is reflected in his scary encounter with a Dalek in Robert Shearman’s “Dalek.”
The Doctor’s rage at meeting a Dalek following the devastating events of the Time War is truly petrifying, as he declares his sinister intentions to “exterminate” his imprisoned enemy. This forbidding reunion between the Doctor and his greatest enemy showcases how eerily close the Doctor has come to the Dalek’s sadistic nature, with the Time Lord demonstrating a murderous intent to kill the Kaled creature.
The Monks Trilogy
New Doctor Who, (Season 10, Episodes 7-9)
Series 10’s Monk trilogy is one of the show’s most inventive storylines, with its epic narrative seeing the villainous Monks take over the Earth. “The Lie Of The Land” involves a particularly shocking aspect in the Twelfth Doctor’s life, as he seemingly becomes the Monks’ leader.
This strange incident sees Peter Capaldi give one of his most frightening performances, with the Doctor giving a speech on how “lucky” the Earth is to be under the Monks’ control. However, perhaps the scariest aspect of the Doctor’s part in “Lie Of The Land” is his evil laugh as he crashes the Monks’ ship into the pier, which proves a particularly shuddersome moment.
An Unearthly Child
Classic Doctor Who, (Season 1, Serial 1)
The Doctor’s companions are among the Time Lord’s most loyal friends, as they assist the eccentric time traveler in saving the universe from some of the cosmos’ most nefarious villains. The character’s first assistants initially had a bad experience with the Time Lord, however, the Doctor’s first incarnation makes the disturbing decision to kidnap Ian and Barbara.
These deeply troubling actions by the First Doctor demonstrate the character’s more ominous personality, as Susan’s teachers are taken on a journey through space and time against their will. The Time Lord’s rash reaction is particularly ghoulish, as he frets that Ian and Barbara would expose his and Susan’s otherworldly existence, showing this incarnation’s distrustful nature.
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