Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Clock-Faced People
Book - Anachrophobia
(Jonathan Morris)

 Name: The Clock-Faced People (Their own name for themselves was never given; ‘clock-faced people’ was a basic description of them and the closest anyone came to naming them)

 Format: Book

 Time of Origin: Existed in the Time Vortex before they entered our dimension through a rift on a planet in the distant future

 Appearances: "Anachrophobia"

 Doctor: Eighth Doctor.

 Companions: Fitz Kreiner and Anji Kapoor

 History: As a species, the clock-faced people are a very interesting species, due to their unique ability to manipulate time on a personal level for their own benefit. They naturally exist in the time vortex outside of reality as we know it, but when a war on a distant planet between the forces of the Plutocratic Empire - an empire based on the acquisition of material wealth regardless of the moral cost - and a group of locals who had defaulted on their payments developed a means of travelling back in time using the element chrononium (Capable of accelerating or slowing time in its vicinity based on how it was treated, allowing the combatants to either age their enemies to death or freeze them in place for all eternity), the resulting rift creating a hole in reality that the clock-faced creatures could use to gain access to this world.

 Although the creatures lacked physical form in our reality, when the Plutocrats’ prototype time capsule began to travel back in time, it penetrated their reality, allowing the creatures to make contact with them in some form. Having made physical contact with another being, they then took themselves and the other back in time a short amount - their limit appeared to be two minutes -, essentially infecting the human with one of them. Now possessed by the creatures, their human hosts were forced to experience particularly difficult moments from their pasts, the creatures encouraging them to change a moment from their pasts that they particularly regretted... and, the moment their pasts were changed, the hosts became nonpeople, their histories negated as they became the creatures’ manifestations in this world and their own identities erased to leave nothing but empty shells for the invaders.

 Although the first test pilots for the capsule were dismissed as suffering from a purely psychological condition due to their inability to cope with time travel - the condition being termed ‘anarchophobia’, believed to be the result of them being in the right place at the wrong time - and killed as ‘non-viables’ before the creatures could fully manifest, this status quo was altered when the Eighth Doctor and his companions Fitz Kreiner and Anji Kapoor were drawn to the planet by an outside source, The Doctor taking advantage of the mistaken assumption that he was a plutocrat time expert to investigate the time-travel experiments. While The Doctor’s intentions were good, his decision to leave the latest test pilots alive - only learning about the fate of the previous pilots after the first flight that he witnessed - inspired the staff to consider the idea of using the ‘disease’ as a weapon, allowing it to escape containment and ‘infect’ the rest of the staff of the research facility.

 As the creatures advanced through the base, The Doctor learned that they ‘fed’ on time energy when he saw them with a hand on a clock as the clock’s hands spun rapidly (Although, since he was wearing a temporally-protective suit, it may be that the creature was ‘feeding’ on time in its vicinity with the clock as a focus and The Doctor simply didn’t perceive it because there was nothing in the room that could age in a manner that would show how time was passing). The most interesting ability the clock-faced people demonstrated was their ability to rewind their own local timelines to escape fatal injuries such as being shot or re-open sealed bulkhead doors, although they could only travel back in time by two minutes as they were going against time’s natural flow by going back. Despite this ‘talent’, The Doctor was able to defeat them by releasing toxic mustard gas into the air of the base while he and the surviving uninfected hid in a few key rooms, the gas taking so long to have any noticeable effect that the clock-faced creatures were unable to rewind time to a point before they were exposed by the time they realised what was happening.

 Unfortunately, one of the researchers had taken one of the first victims of the ‘infection’ to Station One - the main Plutocrat station on the planet - while everyone else was busy, leaving one clock-faced creature still active. The Doctor and his remaining allies - now down to himself, Fitz, Anji, and Plutocrat observer Mistletoe - tried to warn the station, but their vehicle sustained minor damage as it passed through a Decelerated Time field, causing them to spend over two weeks travelling rather than the few hours they perceived, arriving at Station One to find that the entire population had been infected... and one of the creatures managed to infect The Doctor.

 However, despite the obvious risks, The Doctor was able to use the clock-faced creature’s attempt to infect him to his advantage. Realising that the creatures depended on the rift created by the time travel experiments to exist in this reality, but unable to waste the two days needed to return to the research station, The Doctor travelled back to the time period when he and his friends were spreading the mustard gas through the base, The Doctor having become separated from his friends for an hour and lacking any memory of what he did in that time. Having confirmed the time in the present, he loaded the time-travel capsule with explosives and set them on a timer, exposing himself to mustard gas to account for the amnesia that would be caused by his future self’s interference. Since The Doctor hadn’t changed anything in the past that would result in him being anywhere other than where he was right then, the creatures couldn’t infect him, but the detonation as the timers exploded in the present destroyed the rift that had allowed the creatures into this reality, killing them all as they were cut off from their lifeline.

 Despite this apparent victory, The Doctor’s success was cheapened when it was revealed that Mistletoe was actually a disguised Sabbath - an old associate of The Doctor’s ("The Adventuress of Henrietta Street") -, who, having allied himself with a new power in the Time Vortex (Revealed to be the Council of Eight in "Sometime Never..."), had begun to drive other vortex-dwelling life-forms such as the clock-faced creatures out of his associates’ realm. By manipulating The Doctor’s perception of the situation, Sabbath created the idea of the creatures as invaders rather than refugees, thus using The Doctor to stop the Council’s enemies and leaving them the sole power in the Vortex.

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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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