Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Gods of the Latter-Day Pantheon
Book - Salvation
(Steve Lyons)
 Name: The Gods of the Latter-Day Pantheon

 Format: Book.

 Time of Origin: New York, 1965.

 Appearances: "Salvation".

 Doctors: First Doctor.

 Companions: Steven Taylor and Dodo.

 History: Although one of The Doctor’s most potentially powerful opponents, it is important to note that the Gods weren't exactly evil - at least, not deliberately. They were mainly simply confused by everything they picked up from around them, their nature being essentially blank slates, with those who observe them shaping their forms, powers and personalities on Earth. Since so many people were crying out for higher powers to save them from themselves during the turbulent time that they arrived, the Gods’ appearance became defined by that vision, but prior to their ‘definition’, some earlier sightings of the Gods had been of monsters with teeth and tentacles - the common science-fiction alien of the time - and even The Doctor simply saw them as aliens determined to conquer Earth at first, because, even in his first incarnation, he was by now used to things like that.

 Although the first group of Gods landed in London in 1965 due to some unspecified link between their world and Earth - The Doctor’s companion Steven Taylor speculated that they may have come to Earth in the past and inspired the gods then, but this is suspect at best -, all but one of them died upon arrival, this one survivor unintentionally killing an old man called Neville Albert Miller after it assumed his form. When Dorothea ‘Dodo’ Chaplet - a young girl who did shopping for the real Miller - arrived later that day, the entity kept her ‘hostage’ in the house to prevent her revealing his presence to the public. Although exposure to Dodo prompted his personality to shape itself based on her feelings rather than the others of his kind being defined by the wishes of groups - to the extent that he called himself Joseph as it was an unthreatening name -, his misunderstanding of this world resulted in him almost raping her. Fleeing the house, Dodo fled into a nearby Police Box in search of safety, encountering the First Doctor and his current companion Steven - the two currently at odds over The Doctor abandoning the people of medieval France to "The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve" in their last visit - just before The Doctor moved the TARDIS to prevent its discovery by the police.

 The TARDIS having only moved to New York in the present without moving anywhere in Time, The Doctor decided to take Dodo on a tour of the city - Steven preferring to wander the city on his own to sort out his current feelings regarding The Doctor’s actions -, the two discovering a gathering in a nearby church of the other group of Gods, calling themselves the Gods of the Latter-Day Pantheon. This group consisted of five people; the Patriarch, head of the Gods, Max, the God of Materialism, Dennis the God of War, Norman the God of Order, and Jennifer the Goddess of Free Love. The God's manager, Alexander Lullington-Smythe, allowed five people in to meet the Gods, The Doctor amongst them - Dodo gaining access as well by claiming that she had to ‘look after him’ -, but The Doctor’s attempt to question the Gods was interrupted by Project Blue Book - an early American UNIT -, allowing the Gods time to escape.

William Hartnell
William Hartnell
 Steven’s exploration of New York was cut short when he encountered Norman during his wanderings, Norman saving him from death after he was stabbed by a mugger only to subsequently incinerate the mugger based on Steven's instinctive thoughts of the moment. Realising the need for a human influence to guide their actions, Norman requested the aid of Steven and Kathy Marchant - a journalist and daughter of the general in charge of Blue Book - to help them understand the world and spread the word of the Gods. At the same time, The Doctor's alien nature was discovered, but he was saved from dissection when Jospeh showed up and began killing the people who killed his friends, although he withdrew to join the other Gods after Dodo told him that what he was doing was wrong. With Joseph now serving as their God of Peace, the Latter-Day Pantheon constructed a ‘gateway to Heaven’ and invited people to enter it - including a scientist called Carter who had been working with Blue Book -, their new independence prompting Lullington-Smythe to join forces with Blue Book, The Doctor and Dodo when they rejected his attempt to get them to charge for miracles.

 As he continued to study them, The Doctor learned the truth about the Gods when discussing how Dodo and Marchant perceived the Gods, Dodo describing Jennifer as a beautiful representation of the freedom of spirit while Marchant saw her as a disease-ridden whore and the personification of failing morality. He also realised that as their influence grew they would inevitably come into contact with contradicting faiths and beliefs, which would require more complex solutions than simply healing injuries and providing clothing; not only were they asked to kill a rapist while being told that killing was wrong, but a visit from representatives of the Ku Klux Klan to request a definitive statement on the inferiority of the negro further divided the Gods, Joseph objecting to the conflict while Jennifer favoured universal acceptance even as Dennis, Norman and Max argued for the financial stability that would result after the conflict restored order, leaving the Patriarch further confused at the contradicting faiths of the modern world.

 With tension increasing after Joseph took Dodo through the gate - motivated more by what he wanted than what Dodo wanted at this point -, Steven rejoined The Doctor, prompting The Doctor to confront the Patriarch after he incinerated one of two neighbours who came to him simply to settle a minor border dispute. Hoping to prevent further death, The Doctor confronted the Patriarch directly, provoking the Patriarch to strike him down with a fireball only for The Doctor to be merely slightly singed as his faith in himself outweighed the people's shaken belief in the Patriarch, particularly after Joseph acted against the Patriarch after realising what The Doctor was trying to do. As ‘Heaven’ - really the Gods’ home planet, just as malleable as they were - began to fall apart from the contradicting views of the afterlife, Joseph began to increasingly doubt himself, prompting the outraged Patriarch to turn Joseph into a human - really just cutting him off from his powers temporarily - and declare to his remaining followers that they would prove their powers by intervening in Vietnam. Although Marchant was tempted to let them stop the war, The Doctor convinced him that such a plan would simply render the Gods more powerful and conflicted as further people became aware of them, prompting him to put The Doctor’s plan into action. With Lullington-Smythe having sabotaged his reputation to make the Gods’ reputation even more suspect, Blue Book launched a bomb at the Gods and their followers, Steven and Dodo helping those who had gone to ‘Heaven’ return to Earth while Joseph remained to try and help his people (Although The Doctor doubted that he could maintain his identity alone). Although Steven initially assumed that the humans came through safe because the Gods were protecting their most loyal followers, The Doctor explained that actually the bomb had been a dud; since the followers assumed that the bomb could harm the Gods, it had thus done so. With Marchant using Lullington-Smythe’s damaged reputation to claim that the Gods had all been an April Fool’s Day prank organised by Lullington-Smythe, The Doctor and Steven departed, taking Dodo with them as their new companion in confidence that history had turned out as it should.
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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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