Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Movellans
The Movellans
The Movellans
 Name: The Movellans

 Format: Television show, Book and Audio

 Time of Origin: Exact origins are unknown, but the Movellans as a whole were activated at some point after the fortieth century; have been found operating on Earth in the 1970s through time travel.

 Appearances: "Destiny of the Daleks", "The Movellan Grave", "Dalek Universe 3 - The First Son", "Dalek Universe 3 - The Dalek Defence" and "Dalek Universe 3 - The Triumph of Davros"; brief roles in "War of the Daleks" and "The Pilot"; fought Counter-Measures in "The Movellan Manoeuvre" and "The Dalek Gambit").

 Doctors: Fourth Doctor, Tenth Doctor; the Eighth and Twelfth Doctors had brief meetings with the Movellans but didn’t fight them on a large scale.

 Companions: 2nd Romana, River Song, Anya Kingdom; K9 was in the TARDIS and did not meet the Movellans directly; Sam Jones and Bill Potts briefly encountered Movellans during another crisis; Mark Seven had a complex connection to them; the Counter-Measures team faced a Movellan attack without The Doctor’s aid.

 History: The Movellans had a complex history with The Doctor, as he would eventually learn that he had an indirect role in their creation. Even beyond this, The Doctor had to deal with the ethical challenge of the Movellans’ existence, as while he favoured their opposition to the Daleks the Movellans rarely showed signs that their victory would be a good thing as they would likely turn on other races instead (much like The Doctor’s reasons for not ending the Sontaran/Rutan war).

Video - Destiny of the Daleks
Destiny of the Daleks
 A purely robotic race, The Doctor initially encountered the Movellans when they were already at war with the Daleks. At this point, the Movellans’ reliance on pure logic meant that they and the Daleks were essentially locked in a stalemate, with each of their fleets so focused on getting into position to launch their attack and find a weakness that neither side had even fired a shot yet. Attempting to break the stalemate, both sides returned to Skaro to retrieve Davros from the Kaled bunker, where he had remained in a kind of stasis ever since the Daleks’ attack on him had shut down his main life-support systems. Davros was obviously willing to assist his creations in modifying themselves to break the current stalemate, while the Movellans became interested in forcing The Doctor to serve a similar role for them after Davros was retrieved by the Daleks. Davros encouraged the Daleks to mount a suicide run on the Movellan ship, but The Doctor was able to rally the Daleks’ human slaves to help shut down the Movellans before they could deploy their ‘nova device’ which would turn a planet’s atmosphere flammable. With the Movellans disabled, The Doctor was able to trigger the Daleks’ bombs before they could reach the Movellan ship, allowing the former slaves to put Davros in suspended animation and take him back to Earth to stand trial.

Audio - The Movellan Grave
The Movellan Grave
(Andrew Smith)
 On a later visit to Earth in the 1970s, The Doctor and Romana witnessed an interview with an archaeologist who revealed that they had dug up an artefact that the two recognised as a Movellan power pack ("The Movellan Grave"). Posing as representatives of an archaeological society, The Doctor and Romana met with Doctor Carrie Pierce and her assistant Robin Lyon to investigate the dig where they found a crashed Movellan ship, which was unintentionally reactivated when The Doctor powered up the power pack as a demonstration. The power pack recharging reactivated Movellan Commander Narina - the Movellans having redesigned themselves so that they no longer needed constant contact with their packs - who also turned on the ship, killing Robin when he was caught in its subsequent energy discharge. Once inside the ship, Narina was confronted by Chenek, a prototype Movellan unit created with the goal of giving a Movellean emotional coding who also possessed enhanced physical abilities. The Doctor was horrified to learn that the emotional coding used to create Chenek had been acquired from experiments on former Dalek prisoners, resulting in his base emotional state being a traumatised human whose programming as a soldier compelled him to destroy any possible threat. This was also the reason for the Movellans crash-landing in the first place; Chenek had provoked a confrontation with a superior Dalek force when he was being taken to a Movellan world for further testing, forcing them to activate their temporal corridor technology and travel to a random new time. Disabling Narina and Chenek with a sonic pulse after modifying a radio belonging to another member of the dig, The Doctor and Romana were able to remove Chenek’s programming as a soldier to restore him to a calmer emotional state. However, when Narina was able to restore herself and tried to reactivate the rest of her crew, Chenek forced the ship to take off and triggered the self-destruct, preventing the Movellans from creating any more like him.

Audio - The Movellan Manoeuvre
The Movellan Manoeuvre
(John Dorney)
 From The Doctor’s perspective, the next time he heard about the Dalek-Movellan war was when the Fifth Doctor stumbled on a plot to revive Davros to help the Daleks find a cure for a virus developed by the Movellans that attacked Dalek tissue ("Resurrection of the Daleks"). While the Movellans themselves did not appear on this occasion, The Doctor was eventually forced to use the Movellan virus to stop the current wave of Daleks attacking Earth, the virus even infecting Davros’s Dalek-based components. However, Davros’s subsequent appearance showed no sign that he was troubled by the virus, suggesting that he was able to devise a cure for it at some point, although he was likely abandoned by his creations all over again once they no longer needed him.As well as facing The Doctor himself, the Movellans have also been opposed by The Doctor’s allies in the form of the Counter Measures group, a specialised military unit that assisted the Seventh Doctor in the 1960s. When a Movellan task force arrived on Earth during the 1970s after triggering a time jump to the past, Commander Vallen of the Fourth Movellan Strategic Fleet made contact with Suzanne Clare and provided her with the tools needed to create the Robo-Helper 2000, officially simple robot helpers, but in reality part of a plan to conduct a stealth invasion of Earth by producing Movellans on the planet ("The Movellan Manoeuvre"). Once this plan was defeated, Vallen assisted the Counter-Measures team in finding and confronting a Dalek ship that had been sent after him, culminating in the destruction of the Dalek ship and the remaining Movellans in this time when the Counter-Measures team planted a bomb on board the Dalek vessel ("The Dalek Gambit").

Audio - The Dalek Gambit
The Dalek Gambit
(Roland Moore)
 At one point, the Eighth Doctor was drawn back to Skaro when the Daleks attempted to put Davros on trial for his past actions ("War of the Daleks"), and witnessed a group of Movellans actually working for the Daleks. During the trial, the Dalek Emperor claimed that the entire war with the Movellans had been staged for Davros’s benefit after the Daleks learned about the destruction of Skaro ("Remembrance of the Daleks") from records obtained during their invasion of Earth ("The Dalek Invasion of Earth"). The Dalek Emperor explained that the Daleks subsequently sought to avert Skaro’s destruction by basically staging Davros’s revival in a manner that they could control; according to the Emperor, they moved his comatose body to another planet, terraformed that planet to resemble Skaro, and then created the Movellans to give them a plausible reason to revive Davros in the first place. Davros claimed that this story was just a lie to cover up the Dalek Emperor’s own failure to save Skaro, but the matter wasn’t definitively settled at the time, The Doctor departing after the Daleks became engaged in another civil war between those loyal to Davros and those who sought to remain independent, Davros himself potentially disintegrated or teleported away. However, there have been enough independent appearances by the Movellans to make it clear that the Emperor’s talk about the Movelleans being Dalek creations was at least an exaggeration, suggesting that the Movellans present on Skaro at this time had just been captured and reprogrammed by the Daleks to support the Emperor’s story.

Audio - Dalek Universe 3 - The First Son
Dalek Universe 3 - The First Son
(Lizzie Hopley)
 The Doctor found himself unexpectedly learning more about the Movellans when a complex chain of events sent the Tenth Doctor back into the pre-Time War universe ("Dalek Universe - Borrowed Time"), travelling with his fourth incarnation’s old acquaintances, SSS agent Anya Kingdom ("The Perfect Prisoners") and android Mark Seven ("Dalek Universe - The Dalek Protocol"), to find a time machine that could get him home. During their travels, Mark was apparently destroyed when they discovered an anti-Dalek research lab that was mutating injured soldiers into Daleks to try and infiltrate the Dalek army, while The Doctor and Anya’s attempt to escape thrust them a century into the future (still on the ‘wrong side’ of the Time War) where they became caught up in the Dalek-Movellan war. After crash-landing on a vast artificial asteroid, The Doctor and Anya were shocked to meet River Song, disguised as a Movellan and acting as a mother figure to Kamen Vers, a human/Movellan hybrid. Kamen had created this asteroid by using tractor beams to pull various spacecraft to him, attempting to create further hybrids by taking samples from the humans he captured, but he was clearly emotionally unstable. The Doctor, Anya and River were ultimately forced to thwart his plans and flee the asteroid while Kamen overloaded during his emotional meltdown. This escape led to The Doctor and Anya being rescued by an Earth Security Forces ship that had retrieved the vessel containing the frozen Davros (from a point between his capture by the former slaves and being retrieved to help the Daleks treat the Movellan virus).

 When the ship was attacked by a Dalek fleet, The Doctor was forced to release Davros with the goal of using him as a bargaining chip, but this led to the ship crash-landing on Kembel ("The Daleks' Master Plan"). When he and Davros were brought before the First Movellan, The Doctor was shocked to realise that the ‘First Movellan’ was Mark Seven. While Mark had been badly damaged and his memory files corrupted after the research lab was destroyed, his anti-Dalek programming remained, and enough of his physical structure had been left intact that scientists were able to use him as a template for the Movellan race, creating a robotic army against the Daleks. When Davros learned of the First Movellan’s origin, he attempted to taunt The Doctor with the idea that The Doctor was basically the creator of the Movellans just as Davros was to the Daleks, but The Doctor rejected that idea as Mark Seven had been a soldier long before they met and The Doctor had genuinely seen that there was more to Mark than that.

Audio - Dalek Universe 3 - The Triumph of Davros<
Dalek Universe 3 - The Triumph of Davros
(Matt Fitton)
 Initially forced to work with Davros to help the Movellans develop weapons to be used against the Daleks, The Doctor was faced with a difficult opportunity when Davros used his access to the Movellan network to develop a new strategy. Hacking the network to send a message to the Daleks proposing a Dalek/Movellan alliance against the human race, Davros was able to meet with the First Movellan directly, subsequently infecting the First Movellan with a virus that disrupted the entire Movellan network due to the First’s link to the rest of his kind, giving the Daleks a temporary advantage in the conflict. Fortunately, the Earth Security Forces were able to use this disruption to escape while The Doctor helped return Davros to stasis and contain the virus to just disable the Movellan flagship for a few moments. He was also able to take the chance to have a final talk with Mark Seven, the android assuring The Doctor that the Time Lord was a good man despite his mistakes before his original memories were permanently deleted. With no other way to help his friend, The Doctor retreated to Kembel and retrieved a prototype Dalek time machine that he could use to return to his TARDIS, leaving Anya to join the ESF in that time period. The Movellans were last shown planning to use Davros’s viral attack against them as inspiration for a biological attack on the Daleks, which would result in the creation of the anti-Dalek virus that the Fifth Doctor had previously encountered.

 While The Doctor has not fought the Movellans directly since his parting from Anya and Mark, the Twelfth Doctor briefly returned to the Dalek/Movellans wars while trying to help his new companion Bill Potts. With Bill currently being hunted by a mysterious entity capable of independent time travel, The Doctor took the TARDIS to a Dalek ship currently being attacked by the Movellans, in the hope that the creature would be caught in the crossfire between these two races. Despite The Doctor’s hopes, this attempt failed to stop the creature, forcing him and Bill to return to the TARDIS and try again.
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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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