10 Times Doctor Who Entered the Wizarding World

By Paul Lang

The Doctor's recent trip to Lancashire in The Witchfinders wasn't the first time the Time Lord had to solve a black magic mystery – here are some other times the Doctor's dealt with witches, wizards, spells and potions.





The Carrionites


The Shakespeare Code (2007)


Lute-playing loser Wiggins thought his luck was in when the beautiful Lilith allowed him to serenade her. She invited him in for a snog, but when they locked lips, she transformed into a hideous monster! It turned out she wasn't actually human, but a Carrionite – a creature from another dimension who planned to use the plays of William Shakespeare to set her bewitched brethren loose on Earth. The Doctor and Martha managed to stop them, but it was too late for the unfortunate Wiggins. Lilith’s mothers, Bloodtide and Doomfinger, emerged from the shadows – not for a smooch, but to rip him to shreds! Very harsh.



Devil’s End


The Daemons (1971)


Olive Hawthorne was a white witch who got caught up in a scheme of the Master’s to summon Azal, last of the Daemons – a goat-like fella with cloven hooves and horns. The Master convinced the villagers of Devil’s End that the Doctor was a witch, and they were all set to burn him at the stake when Miss Hawthorne saved his life by convincing them he was actually a powerful but good wizard.





The Woman Who Lived (2015)


The Doctor thought he was doing a positive thing by resurrecting Ashildr, a Viking girl who had been killed by alien Mire warriors. But he did his good deed using a Mire repair kit, which meant Ashildr would be brought back to life again and again every time she perished, for the rest of time. Ashildr – or Me, as she later called herself – tried to help people she met using the knowledge she’d gained from her long life, but when she cured an entire village of scarlet fever, she was accused of being a witch and drowned. Charming! Thanks to the Mire technology, she survived her dunking – meaning she was technically a witch after all, by the standards of the time!





The King’s Demons (1983)


When the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough dropped in on King John in 1215, they quickly realised that things weren’t as they should have been. For starters, the King immediately decided the three of them were demons. As he’d already been behaving oddly, his subjects decided that these “demons” must have bewitched him. It all turned out to be another of the Master’s schemes, and the King wasn’t the King at all – he was a shape-shifting robot who’d morphed to look exactly like him.



Black arts


Image of the Fendahl (1977)


The Doctor and Leela knew something odd was afoot in the village of Fetchborough when they found local white witch Martha Tyler in a total state, blethering on about how someone – or something – was trying to devour her soul. She used tarot cards to identify what she thought was an evil spirit – which actually turned out to be the Fendahl, a gestalt alien that had possessed scientist Thea Ransome and turned her into a gleaming, golden goddess. A local black magic coven planned to use the converted Thea in a dark ritual, but the Doctor had other ideas.



Missy magic


The Witch’s Familiar (2015)


A witch’s familiar is a wretched creature enslaved to its supernatural superior, and Clara Oswald was none too pleased when she had to adopt this role for the worst witch in the universe – Missy! The Doctor had got himself taken prisoner by the Daleks on Skaro, so his best mate and his worst enemy were forced to work together and figure out a plan to rescue him. The truce didn't last for long, though – Missy tricked Clara into climbing inside a Dalek and planned to leave her there!



The Sisterhood of Karn


The Brain of Morbius (1976), Night of the Doctor (2013), The Magician’s Apprentice (2015), Hell Bent (2015)


These spooky sisters were the Keepers of the Sacred Flame on the planet Karn – source of the Elixir of Life, and the secret of immortality. The Doctor was killed during a crash-landing on Karn at the end of his eighth life, but thanks to the intervention of Ohila and her sisters, he was restored to life so he could join the biggest battle of them all – the Time War. Like all good sorceresses, they had a wealth of potions at their disposal, and the Doctor chose one that would turn his next self into the Warrior he needed to become.





K-9 and Company (1981)


With her time travelling with the Doctor just a distant memory, Sarah Jane Smith was probably expecting a quiet time when she visited her Aunt Lavinia for Christmas in the village of Moreton Harwood. She didn’t even have time to taste the first mince pie before being plunged into a terrifying adventure with the Hecate Cult, a satanic coven who were planning to get into human sacrifice in a big way! One of its leaders was the local postmistress, so we can safely assume nobody in Moreton Harwood would have received any Christmas cards that year – she would have been too busy during the night, drawing pentagrams and bobbing about with a goat’s head on.





Battlefield (1989)


At some point in her lives, the Doctor seemingly thought it would be a good idea to pretend to be Merlin, legendary magician to King Arthur. This all went wrong when Morgaine trapped “Merlin” in some ice caves for all eternity. She thought that was that, but when she turned up on Earth in 1997, Merlin was there, looking very much like the Seventh Doctor, and she was thrilled to face him in battle once more. Morgaine was a powerful witch who could pass between dimensions, hypnotise people and extract the contents of their brains just by touch. There was a softer side to her, though – she once cured a woman’s blindness, and was soppy about her useless son, Mordred – right up until the moment she was willing to sacrifice him to get what she wanted, that is.



The Pendle Witches


The Witchfinders (2018)


The Doctor, Graham, Yaz and Ryan popped to Pendle Hill in 1612, and were shocked to find the local landowner, Becka Savage, presiding over a dunking. Old Mother Twiston had been accused of being a witch, and was about to be bobbed in the water to see if she’d come back up alive. If she didn’t she would be exonerated. If she did, she was clearly a witch and would then probably be burned at the stake, so she couldn’t really win. Becka was using classic deflection techniques – it was actually her who was the witch! Well, more accurately, she’d been possessed by an alien entity lurking inside a tree she’d chopped down because it was spoiling her view, and was transformed into the Queen of the Morax. The tree was actually a prison, and the Morax were war criminals, using the bodies of the people Becka drowned as “witches” to escape in. Nasty!




Missed The Witchfinders or would like to watch it again? You can catch up with the current series On Demand at BBC iPlayer (UK) or BBC America (US). For other regions, visit the Watch page to find out where to catch up in your territory.

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