TV Series

10 foes who tried (and failed) to fool the Doctor

By Paul Lang

To mark April Fool's Day, meet 10 people who took the Doctor for a fool, but soon found the joke was on them…

Jack Robertson

Arachnids in the UK (2018)

Who was he? An arrogant American businessman with ambitions to be US President who was building a global chain of hotels. The Doctor discovered that his latest one, in Sheffield, was built on top of a massive toxic waste site – and crawling with very large, very mutated spiders. Eek!
How did the Doctor fool him? First of all, she annoyed him by having no idea who he was. Then she asked him if he was Ed Sheeran. By this time, he was so furious that he didn’t notice the Doctor had taken control of the situation!

Florence Finnegan

Smith and Jones (2007)

Who was she? At first glance, Florence was a sweet old lady. But really, she was a ruthless, blood-sucking Plasmavore, on the run from a bunch of rhino space policemen and willing to do anything to evade justice.
How did the Doctor fool her? He pretended to be clueless as she supercharged a hospital MRI machine to send out a brain-frying magnetic pulse and kill half the people on Earth! The Doctor let her think he was just an insignificant nobody who couldn’t even pass a GCSE, and she happily spilled every detail of her evil scheme. Big mistake.

Captain Ola

The Macra Terror (1967)

Who was he? The chief of police in a human colony that had been secretly infiltrated by giant crabs called Macra! He met the Doctor when he was accidentally responsible for capturing an escaped prisoner called Medok.
How did the Doctor fool him? By busting Medok out of jail again! The Doctor was almost sentenced to hard labour in the colony’s gas pits, but convinced Ola to let him go because he’d been the one who captured Medok in the first place. By this time, poor Ola was so thoroughly bamboozled that he agreed, and the Doctor was free to get back to stirring up trouble.

The Family of Blood

The Family of Blood/Human Nature (2007)

Who were they? A gassy clan with a limited life-span looking for physical forms to inhabit. They planned to place their son in the Doctor’s body so he’d gain the ability to regenerate.
How did the Doctor fool them? He turned himself human so they wouldn’t be able to track him with their super-sensitive sense of smell. When they did eventually catch him, he turned back into a Time Lord again – but had to pretend he was still just plain old schoolteacher John Smith. This allowed him to blag his way onto their spaceship, which he promptly blew up. Nice double bluff!

Count Grendel

The Androids of Tara (1978)

Who was he? A villainous count scheming to become king of Tara by means of a complicated plot involving androids, lookey-likeys and a sham wedding.
How did the Doctor fool him? Grendel challenged the Doctor to a sword fight, hoping to settle their differences once and for all. Romana warned that Grendel was the best fencer on the planet, and at first the Doctor didn’t seem to know one end of his weapon from the other, much to his opponent’s delight. Of course, it was all an act – the Doctor was an epic swordsman, and was soon dodging and parrying like a good ‘un.

Daisy K

The Happiness Patrol (1988)

Who was she? One of a police force with only one aim – to make sure the population of Terra Alpha were happy. They had a very extreme way of ensuring everyone kept smiling – “killjoys” who didn’t comply were executed!
How did the Doctor fool her? Sensing something was very wrong on Terra Alpha, he plotted to get himself and Ace arrested so they could investigate behind the regime’s smiling facade. He eventually tricked Daisy K into banging them up for not having the right ID badges from customs. Sneaky! She also painted the TARDIS bright pink because she thought its usual blue was just too miserable, which was quite a look.


Shada (1980/2018)

Who was he? A scientist obsessed with learning the secrets of the Time Lords so he could try out some freaky mind-control tricks on everyone in the Universe!
How did the Doctor fool him? Skagra thought he was much smarter than the Doctor – a common mistake made by his enemies! The pair of them had a mega mind battle, which was a surprisingly close-run thing, but the Doctor triumphed in the end. Poor Skagra ended up imprisoned on his own ship for all eternity, with only a chatty computer eager to talk about its love of the Doctor for company.

The Gods of Ragnarok

The Greatest Show In The Galaxy (1988)

Who were they? Three ancient deities who forced lesser beings to perform for their entertainment. These Simon Cowell wannabes didn’t light up a big red X if they didn’t like someone’s act, though – they just killed them!
How did the Doctor fool them? He kept the terrible trio vaguely amused with a series of magic tricks while his friends retrieved a special medallion. The Doctor used this to deflect the Gods’ own weapons right back at them and destroy them. That’s showbiz!

Count Scarlioni

City of Death (1979)

Who was he? On of the many forms of Scaroth, last of the Jagroth. This one was disguised as a 20th-century art dealer while doing unauthorised experiments with time.
How did the Doctor fool him? After pinching a bracelet from the Count’s wife, he tried to pretend he’d only stolen it because he thought it was pretty, but he knew it was actually an alien scanner. The Countess warned her husband that she didn’t think the Doctor was as stupid as he seemed. “My dear,” he replied, “nobody could be as stupid as he seems. ZING!

The Warrior

The Day of the Doctor (2013)

Who was he? A face from his past that the Doctor didn’t really like to talk about! This guy wasn’t like other Doctors – he’d had to fight in the Time War, which had understandably made him a bit grouchy.
How did the Doctors fool him? Faced with the seemingly feckless pair of fools who were his successors, this Doctor just couldn’t deal, and presumed they were his companions. He was particularly unimpressed by the way they slung their Sonic Screwdrivers around, and blamed it on him having a mid-life crisis. Luckily, he soon realised they were just as capable as he was, despite their youthful exuberance (and questionable footwear).



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