Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Fendahl
Video - Image of the Fendahl
Image of the Fendahl
 Name: The Fendahl

 Format: Television Show and Audio

 Time of Origin: Planet Five - the fifth planet in Earth’s solar system, between Mars and Jupiter -, approximately twelve million years ago; the last remnants of it confronted The Doctor on Earth in 1979.

 Appearances: "Image of the Fendahl", "Island of the Fendahl", "Night of the Fendahl", referenced and played a vital role in the events of "The Taking of Planet 5"

 Doctors: Fourth Doctor and Eighth Doctor

 Companions: Leela, Lucie Miller, technically K9 (K9 was travelling with the Fourth Doctor and Leela but remained in the TARDIS for the duration of the confrontation); Gwen Cooper of Torchwood prevented an attempt to resurrect the Fendahl.

 History: The Fendahl is essentially the most powerful predator ever to evolve anywhere. Described by The Doctor as a ‘super-vampire’, the Fendahl is capable of sucking all other life into itself, converting other organisms into component parts to form a gestalt, and was capable of eating its way across the smorgasbord of space and time while always being assured of finding something to eat wherever it went. It was such a dangerous life-form that the Time Lords broke their usual rule of non-interference in order to stop the Fendahl from spreading beyond Planet Five - the fifth planet of our solar system, between Mars and Jupiter -, trapping Planet Five in a time loop that would keep it contained from the rest of the universe for all eternity.

 Although the majority of the Fendahl was contained on Planet Five, it was able to at least partially escape by transmitting itself as psionic energy to the inner planets, one of these ‘fragments’ arriving on Earth twelve million wears in the past and hiding in a humanoid skull, apparently influencing human evolution to create a situation that would allow it to escape. The skull was eventually discovered by millionaire scientist Doctor Fendelman, who, accompanied by his team - chronology technician Thea Ransome and palaeontologists Adam Colby and Maximillian Stael - set out to investigate the skull using a time scanner he had devised, the distortion the scanner caused in the time vortex attracting the Fourth Doctor’s attention and prompting him and Leela to investigate.

Book - The Taking Of Planet 5
The Taking Of Planet 5
(Simon Bucher-Jones & Mark Clapham)
 Learning of a suspiciously rapidly-decomposing corpse that had been discovered outside the priory the previous night, with the only sign of foul play being a mark on the back of his neck, The Doctor’s fears were proven when he confronted a monstrous creature that nearly killed him when he was briefly immobilised by the time distortion caused by the scanner. As Thea began to transform due to her previous contact with the skull, The Doctor recognised the creatures as Fendahleen, but he was prevented from taking action when Stael, believing that the Fendahl was the being that he worshipped as a member of a cult, attempted to use Thea as a sacrifice to awaken the power within the skull but only succeeding in completing her transformation into the Fendahl Core.

As the Fendahleen began to emerge from the cult members, Stael committed suicide to weaken the Fendahl and prevent the full manifestation of the gestalt. With this sacrifice buying them time, Leela and the rest of The Doctor’s allies subsequently used rock salt to keep the Fendahleen at bay, as sodium chloride killed the Fendahleen by affecting the conductivity and throwing the overall electrical balance preventing the disruption of localizing the osmotic pressure. This gave The Doctor the opportunity to set the time scanner to run until it imploded, destroying the Core and embryo Fendahleen, The Doctor and Leela subsequently taking the skull to the heart of a supernova to destroy it once and for all.

 Four lifetimes after this encounter, the Eighth Doctor found himself facing the Fendahl again when he was trapped in a pocket dimension on the event horizon of a black hole ("The Dalek Trap"). Although The Doctor was able to escape the pocket dimension, he only learned later on that the pocket dimension also contained the essence of the Fendahl, which had escaped by latching onto The Doctor's mind as he departed. With the Fendahl exerting a subconscious influence on The Doctor, he programmed the TARDIS to take a series of trips that would essentially chart a massive pentagram in space and time, which would allow the Fendahl to travel to any world in that network.

Audio - Island of the Fendahl
Island of the Fendahl
(Alan Barnes)
 After making another ten trips, The Doctor materialised on a small island on Earth in 2007 ("Island of the Fendahl"), and soon confronted a small cult consisting of those who had been contaminated by the essence of the Fendahl since the skull had landed on the island after being expelled from the event horizon. With the aid of the brainwashed cult, the Fendahl were able to take direct control of The Doctor, using him to take the TARDIS back to the black hole, which would complete the twelve trips necessary to establish the spatial-temporal pentagram. Fortunately, The Doctor's companion Lucie Miller was able to help The Doctor maintain control of himself, even when two of the island natives manifested as new Fendahleen. Although Lucie refused to allow The Doctor to destroy the TARDIS or shoot him in the head to stop him, she had become covered in rock salt while helping The Doctor fight off the Fendahl earlier, which helped force the controlled Doctor back long enough for Lucie to expel the salvaged Fendahl skull from the TARDIS. As a result, the Fendahl skull from the Eighth Doctor's TARDIS crashed into the past skull as it was disposed of by the Fourth Doctor, with the two skulls destroying each other in a massive temporal explosion that destroyed the last of the Fendahl essence.

Audio - Night of the Fendahl
Night of the Fendahl
(Tim Foley)
 While The Doctor was not aware of it himself, Earth would have to deal with another manifestation of the Fendahl in the twenty-first century, when Gwen Cooper, an employee of Torchwood Three - an organisation currently run by the Ninth Doctor’s old companion Captain Jack Harkness ("The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances") - discovered files on the original confrontation with the Fendahl in Torchwood’s archives. These files had been sent to a group of people making pornographic snuff films who had already killed various women, one of the filmmakers becoming obsessed with harnessing the power of the Fendahl for himself after confirming that the files were real. Gwen was apparently lured to the filming by the influence of the Fendahl, but after she was transformed into the new Fendahl core, Gwen revealed that her time in Torchwood had helped her harness her own inner demons so that the Fendahl couldn’t properly control her. When one of the production crew tried to claim the power of the Fendahl for himself, Gwen was able to turn the Fendahleen against the production crew as punishment for their crimes, subsequently trapping the Fendahleen in the house so that they would ‘die’ once the sun rose and they had insufficient energy to sustain themselves further.

 As for The Doctor’s own history with the Fendahl, the Eighth Doctor learned what had become of the true Fendahl when he was forced to prevent a group of Time Lords from Gallifrey's relative future from releasing the time lock around Planet Five and thus unleashing the true Fendahl, the future Time Lords seeking to use the Fendahl as a weapon in the War (A war that would be waged in The Doctor’s personal future between the Time Lords and an initially-unidentified enemy). Although The Doctor failed to prevent the time loop being broken, it was revealed that time inside the loop had actually been accelerated, resulting in the evolution of The Memeovore, a devourer of concept that had evolved to kill the Fendahl itself. Satisfied that the Fendahl itself had been devoured by the Memeovore already, The Doctor was able to expel the Memeovore from the universe with the aid of a platoon of highly evolved TARDISes, drawing the Memeovore to a pocket dimension of pure thought and using the TARDISes to form pan-dimensional blades that ‘cut’ that pocket dimension away from the universe as the Memeovore ‘ate’ it. In the course of this crisis, one of the advanced TARDISes was revealed to be the source of the temporal rift that Fendelman’s time scanner had originally accessed after it tried to escape and one of the Time Lords shot it with a demat gun as it dematerialised. This caused the TARDIS to be stretched across twelve million years of time, until The Doctor forced it to compress itself back together by breaking into the ship and triggering the protocols that drove it to protect its pilot.
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
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