Today is Extraterrestrial Culture Day, something that anyone who has ever travelled with the Doctor should be well acquainted with. However, you don’t have to go far to find different alien societies. The Solar System is home to some incredible species - come and meet those we share a sun with, both nasty and nice!
Venusian society is often hinted at on screen, but the Doctor has yet to have a televised adventure on the planet. What we do know, however, paints an intriguing picture: the multi-limbed nuns of Venus taught the Doctor their Aikido, a defensive martial art that was favoured by the Third, Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctor. It was most recently used by the Doctor to temporarily paralyse the executive of the Kerblam! Warehouse when they threatened the Doctor with a gun.
Home sweet home! While we like to think of ourselves as Earth’s dominant species, we are, in fact, part of a planetary flat-share with a race of humanoid reptilians called The Silurians.
The reason why you don’t see Silurians on the bus is that they’re sleeping underground. It’s one long, accidental lie-in. Their scientists thought a meteor was going to crash into Earth with devastating consequences, so they planned against it: some fled to underground vaults, others into space on arks, taking dinosaurs with them. However, the disaster they imagined never came. The meteor didn’t crash into Earth, but it started orbiting the planet instead and became the Moon. Since the Silurian sensors were set to detect the change in environment that never came, their alarm clocks weren’t set. Undisturbed, the great sleep began…
One of the Doctor’s dearest friends is Madame Vastra, a Silurian who investigates crimes in Victorian London with her wife Jenny and their Sontaran butler, Strax.
If your idea of a Martian is a little green alien, you wouldn’t be far off! Martians are called Ice Warriors and while they are green, they are also tall, armoured and ready for a battle. The Ice Warriors are a noble race with a strongly defined hierarchy, which includes Ice Queens and Ice Lords.
While the Doctor has clashed with the Ice Warriors on numerous occasions, they have also proven to be reliable allies. After joining the Galactic Federation, their aggressive tendencies were curbed.
Ice Warriors aren’t the only life on Mars, as the Doctor discovered when he visited Bowie Base One, the first human colony on Mars. The base was under-siege from a sentient virus called ‘The Flood’, which the Ice Warriors had trapped in ice. The Flood swept through the occupants of the base, resulting in them becoming water-spewing zombies. Sharing the Ice Warriors weakness for heat, the Doctor detonated the nuclear power core of Bowie Base One, destroying all of those infected by the flood in the process.
Mars has kept worse threats than The Flood at bay. A pyramid on Mars was the home to the Eye of Horus. This Eye was the locking mechanism to a pyramid in Egypt that kept Sutekh the Destroyer, one of the most evil creatures in existence, imprisoned. The Doctor feared that if Sutekh was released, even the power of the Time Lords wouldn’t be able to stop him so he trapped him in a time stream, ageing him to death.
A planet made of gold - doesn’t that sound good? Not if you’re a Cyberman. Early models of the Cybermen suffered from a fatal weakness to gold, which clogged up their respiratory systems, effectively suffocating them. To prevent the spread of their weakness, they did what every emotionless cyborg race would do: they blew up Voga.
Unluckily for the Cybermen, part of the planet survived, along with an emergency bunker full of Vogans. It drifted through space as an asteroid until it came to orbit Jupiter as a new moon. The Cybermen tracked Voga and planned to destroy it completely by crashing the Nerva Space Station into it. Luckily, the Doctor was able to prevent the two from colliding.
The Cybermen have a long-standing history with drifting planets. One origin point for the deadly cybernetic scourge was originally part of our Solar System. Their planet, Mondas, was Earth’s twin planet. The two shared an orbit until Mondas was knocked out of its course. As it drifted through space, the conditions on the planet became increasingly hostile: crushing cold, a thinning atmosphere, increased levels of radiation. Slowly but surely, the Mondasians replaced their bodies with machinery until they were completely upgraded into Cybermen.
Mondas was destroyed in the Doctor’s first encounter with the Cybermen. It disintegrated after trying to absorb Earth’s energy, but was overwhelmed by it. It wasn’t the end of the Cybermen, who went on to plague the Doctor’s life over and over again!
In the far future, the Company (praise the Company!) owned Pluto. Since owning a freezing planet wasn’t profitable, they launched into orbit six artificial suns to make it habitable. When the Doctor and Leela arrived, the Company ruled the planet through a mixture of obscene taxation and a drug called PCM, which increased anxiety levels of the company’s employees, making them more compliant. The Doctor and Leela helped overthrow the rule of the Company and came face-to-face with its ruler, an Usurian called the Collector. Usurians naturally look like seaweed, but the Collector had taken the form of a small humanoid, so the Doctor turned them back into their normal form. No one wants to take orders from seaweed!