Voord: Rubber-clad Menace

The Keys of Marinus - currently being discussed in the TV Club (come and join us, it’s open to all) - introduces us to the next big alien threat of Doctor Who’s first season - the terrible Voord.

At the time, the press were pushing the Voord as the next big thing to rival the Daleks.

Although this was not to be and we never saw the Voord return to TV, they have experienced a second life in the expanded Whoniverse and have appeared in comics and audios.

A direct sequel to The Keys of Marinus comes with Domain of the Voord - an excellent Early Adventure from Andrew Smith (the writer of Full Circle).

They also appear in the comic strip The World Shapers - which reveals some surprising details about their future…

Doom Coalition Volume 2 opens with a stranded Voord causing problems for a seaside town:

And the short story The Fishmen of Kandalinga sees their very first return to the Whoniverse from the first Dr Who Annual:

They also appear in the Titan comics.

So, why do we love the Voord so much? Why, despite not returning to TV have they featured across the Whoniverse, from the 60s up until now? What is it about their rubber-clad, flippered machinations that entrances us?

And I must end this post with one of the most striking Voord images I know from the 30th Anniversary calendar and painted by Colin Howard - magnificent!


The element of the Voord I keep coming back to is whether or not they should be seen as the bad guys in this story. The Whoniverse decides they are baddies in all their subsequent appearances but in Keys they are rebelling against a machine which controls people’s minds.

Admittedly their methods are murderous and who knows what they plan to do when they have control of the machine but, as creatures who have learnt to resist the mind control, are their actions justified?


I think you answered whether they are justified in the first five words of that paragraph if I’m honest, can you ever justify resorting to murderous methods if you claim to operate within a civilised society? Are you justified in being villainous if you yourself have been subjected to villainy? Why did I suddenly go all philosophical? :thinking:

But good point about the Voord not being the primary villain of the piece - that adds another layer to that story :+1:


I think one of my favourite things is that (spoilers for The World Shapers) the Voord becoming Cybermen is directly referenced in The Doctor Falls:

Quote from The Doctor Falls, that gives the comic away!

“They always get started. They happen everywhere there’s people. Mondas, Telos, Earth, Planet 14, Marinus. Like sewage and smartphones and Donald Trump, some things are just inevitable.”

Even as a throwaway thing I love when expanded media lore comes up in the show. They might not have been the big hit they were hoping for in 1964, but as a legacy goes the Voord still have an interesting one.


You’ve recommended this story so frequently that I have to listen to it soon to find out whether you are right or not :wink:

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I am of course right - you can take my word for it :slight_smile:

To be specific, Smith does an excellent job at extrapolating details of the Voord from what we see in their TV story to give an interesting take on an alien race. It’s also set on a water planet which makes sense bearing in mind our first encounter with Voord tech is their submarines and rubber suits.

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I’m 75% sure they were meant to be the secret identity of the Enemy from the EDAs, before the writers decided it would be better to keep it vague and mysterious

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I always assumed the Enemy was the Daleks. But that’s probably a bit obvious. I’d have loved it if they turned out to be the Voord.


I believe they explicitly ruled out the daleks at one point, partly because it was too obvious

Of course, the new series time war retcon of the war/destruction of gallifrey means they sort of have to be, but that has no bearing on what they were planning at the time

I believe the current Faction Paradox understanding is that there’s no true single answer, because any information learned about them self-corrupts, either by changing the records and memories where the information is stored, or by changing the nature of the Enemy itself so that information is no longer true (and never was), resulting in a weird superposition of multiple unknowable and contradictory answers. I know that at one point the plan to reveal the identity of the Enemy was to have 8 different editions of whichever book, each identical apart from the bit where the identity is revealed, and each edition would give a different answer, so there’a multiple different and contradictory canon answers going around. Apparently the publisher wouldn’t let them do that.


Can you imagine the stress it would cause for fans trying to track down all 8 editions!!!


that sounds like it’d’ve been super fun, but absolutely get why they didn’t