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'Doctor Who's hammiest ever villains

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'Doctor Who's hammiest ever villains
Doctor Who is more about entertainment than social realism and the show has relied on a procession of baddies to raise the hackles of the audience. Not always do we end up scuttling behind the sofa though, as on occasions certain over-the-top performances have provoked cringes and guffaws instead. In the wake of Elisabeth Sladen’s hamtastic turn as the Androvax-possessed Sarah Jane, we look at some other 'interesting' depictions of villainy in the Whoniverse over the years...

Soldeed

Graham Crowden’s performance in the 1979 story ‘The Horns Of Nimon’ is the purest piece of unadulterated ham in Who history. Theatrical is not the word. Stomping around the corridors of a spaceship with a wild-eyed glare and scowl, he delivered some shocking dialogue in the most overly enunciated pantomime-esque style possible. "You are all doomed. Dooooomed!!" he wailed. "It is I. Soldeeeeeeed," he proclaimed. In addition, he also branded companion Romana a "meddlesome hussy"!

Compared to Crowden’s mega-OTT turn, the dreadful looking 'minotaurs' on display looked like the epitome of Ken Loach style naturalism. Funnily enough, Crowden (best known for the '90s sitcom Waiting For God), was offered the part of the Fourth Doctor in 1974 but turned it down. Thanks to the beauty of YouTube, here are a few choice clips from 'Nimon':



The Master ('80s version)

Whereas Roger Delgado’s Master in the early 1970s provided a sinister and multi-layered portrayal of The Doctor’s nemesis, the 1980s incarnation with Anthony Ainley was mostly an indestructible panto villain with comical disguises and a maniacal laugh. MwuhahahaHAHAHA! Maybe this was an early example of BBC Interactive, as viewers were presumably supposed to shout out "he’s behind you!" at the telly. Or more specifically, "he’s dressed up as an Arabian magician for no apparent reason and is just after your Concorde!" Nonetheless, the frequently-thwarted Time Lord did have a rather endearing quality and Ainley was finally allowed to give a far more effective performance full of subtler menace in 1989’s Survival. Here’s a nice montage of The Master in action:



The Rani

Kate O’Mara brought all the glamour and 'ham-mer' from her stint in Dynasty to Doctor Who, along with ridiculously large shoulder pads and big hair. This evil renegade Time Lady scientist was so OTT in an '80s way that it’s a surprise she wasn’t fiddling with a Rubik’s Cube in every scene. A penchant for dodgy disguises, cackling and exuberant megalomania highlighted her standing as The Master’s female equivalent. Her attempts to pose as Melanie Bush in 'Time And The Rani' were truly shocking. From the same story, here’s a clip that seems to suggests she’s walked onto the Doctor Who set straight from an overly melodramatic soap opera:



King Yrcanos

Technically Yrcanos wasn’t really a villain, but for the cynical purposes of this article we’ll use the fact that he judo-chopped The Doctor and 'kille'’ his possessed companion Peri to label him as one. Played with decibel-raising bluster by Brian Blessed, the warlord shouted and hissed his way through 1986’s 'Mindwarp' like a Nimon in a china shop. Sadly, at no point did Yrcanos bellow "Doctor’s aliiiiiiiiiiiive!" He stuck to verbal gems like this instead:



Maylin Tekker

Best known for playing the sly Avon in Blake’s Seven, Paul Darrow secured a part in the rival franchise in 1985, playing a sneering planetary leader in 'Timelash'. Alas, it appeared that he was on a mission to chew up every bit of scenery on Karfel as his performance made Colin Baker’s multicoloured costume look restrained by contrast. Did someone hypnotise Darrow and convince him that he was appearing on a sci-fi spoof or was he trying to make Blake's Seven look better?

The Meddling Monk

Ham is not necessarily a bad thing, as Peter Butterworth’s finely-cured villain proved to be a delight in two First Doctor adventures. The actor’s background in Carry On films helped to serve up a comic treat alongside the cantankerous William Hartnell. It was also aided by the fact that the character never had any grand pretensions, instead tinkering with history for his own childish amusement. Rumours have persisted that the character will make a return to the contemporary version of Doctor Who.

Shockeye

This cannibal Androgum was more interested in human flesh than ham, romping around both a space station kitchen and the fields of Seville with his butcher’s knife looking for some meat. A chef for a living, Shockeye was amusingly overexcited at the prospect of eating returning companion Jamie in 'The Two Doctors', but never managed to have his dream meal because the Sixth Doctor smothered him with cyanide and left him pushing up daisies. What a party-pooper.

The Chief Caretaker/Kroagnon

In the enjoyable 1987 story 'Paradise Towers', the main baddie was called Kroagnon, a bodyless architect who was represented by two flashing lightbulbs in a cupboard. The budget had obviously been sucked up by Bonnie Langford’s perm and swimsuit. Soon, Kroagnon’s evil form was absorbed by Richard Briers’s pedantic Chief Caretaker and the acting was anything but The Good Life. Lumbering around the set like Herman Munster with a bad case of the piles, Briers spat out the dialogue as if his jaw had been numbed by too many Botox treatments. Oh dear.

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