Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

Book - The Murder Game
The Murder Game
(Steve Lyons)
 Name: Selachians, originally called the Ockarans

 Format: Book and Audio

 Time of Origin: Ockara, were hunted for several centuries before emerging as a sentient race in the late 20th century until 2204.

 Appearances: "The Murder Game", "The Selachian Gambit", "The Final Sanction"; alternate versions of them appeared in "The Architects of History".

 Doctors: Second Doctor and Seventh Doctor

 Companions: Polly Wright, Ben Jackson, Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot; Elizabeth Klein confronted them in an alternate timeline she created.

 History: The Selachians, in many ways, were like a combination of the Sea Devils and the Cybermen. They were originally a peace-loving aquatic race called the Ockarans, but when humans and other races started to hunt them for their amusement, unaware that they were sentient, they underwent horrific operations to mutilate themselves with cybernetic implants to allow them to retaliate, many essentially cutting off their own tails in order to fit in the battlesuits they used. They were one of the few ocean-dwelling life forms to ever advance beyond a Level Two technological ability; a significant turn of events, since for such a life-form just coming out of the water would have been as big a leap as humanity landing on the moon.

Patrick Troughton
Patrick Troughton

 Despite starting off as a peaceful species, the Selachians were utterly monstrous. They believed themselves to be a civilised race, but paranoia and a refusal to be weak after spending so long as the victims, had made them so brutal that The Doctor once informed them - albeit when angry at their rough treatment of his companion; in his more mellow moods he generally sympathised with them - that even the Cybermen were more civilised than them, as the Cybermens’ interests extended further than just going around the Universe looking for big weapons of mass destruction. The Selachians constantly wore massive suits of armour filled with water, painted to look like a shark, and with incredible strength, focusing on creating an image as brutal monsters to the extent that their reputation as poets and artists was never revealed, unaware that they were encouraging other races to see them as being as ruthless and evil as the monsters they believed air-breathers to be. Oddly enough, despite their wish to look like sharks, the Ockorans’ closest Earth relative was the dolphin; however, it was highly recommended

The Doctor first fought the Selachians in 2136, when an agent of a future UNIT, Matlock, summoned him to the old space hotel, the Galaxian. (However, due to a time paradox involving The Doctor never preventing such a message from being sent to an earlier self, Matlock had contacted the Second Doctor, rather than a Doctor with experience with UNIT), seeking The Doctor’s assistance in their efforts to stop the Selachians acquiring what was rumoured to be the ultimate weapon. All that Matlock and his partner Alison Hayes knew about it was that it would be handed over to the Selachians, that the developers were a couple of computer programmers going by the names of Neville and Dorothy Adler, and that it was apparently infallible; once it targeted you, you were dead. After Matlock was found electrocuted in the lift, The Doctor attempted to investigate the death, although briefly hampered by Hayes thinking that he, Ben and Polly were working with the Selachians. Eventually, The Doctor, Ben and Dorothy were trapped in the main bar with the other people in the hotel after an explosion knocked it out of its orbit, while Hayes was murdered by the Selachians and Polly was taken to serve as the Selachians’ new contact for human agents.

While on the Selachian ship, Polly learned that the two blue discs the Selachians had been searching for held the weapon itself rather than the blueprints they had believed. An incredible A.I. program, the weapon could infect any computer network on the planet and turn every machine in the world against its target, with the vast networked systems of this time meaning that the target would have to abandon civilisation altogether to escape, and even then they could still be attacked by drones. As a test of its abilities, the Selachians programmed it to target Ben, but The Doctor managed to learn of a loophole in the program in that it wouldn’t harm another human being to eliminate its target, meaning that Ben was safe so long as he stayed in contact with someone else and thus limited the computer’s ability to kill him. Eventually, the program spread over to the Selachian ship when everyone escaped the Galaxian in the TARDIS, and, when the ship's sensors lost track of Ben after he went underwater - the Selachians had never designed the ship with aquatic sensors, concluding that there was no point as they were the masters in an underwater environment - it destroyed itself as the TARDIS dematerialised after Ben entered it; the Adlers, in their at-least-slightly xenophobic arrogance, didn't include alien life forms under the 'Do-not-kill-unless-programmed' heading. So long as Ben never returned to 2136, the program would eventually just shut down, and since Neville had died in the fight and it required the skills of both Adlers to be made the first time round, the program could never be duplicated.

 After Jamie joined the TARDIS crew ("The Highlanders"), the TARDIS crew encountered the Selachians again when they landed in the car park of the Galactibank, forcing The Doctor to go to the bank to try and get the necessary credits to pay the fine to release the ship ("The Selachian Gambit"). While the four were in the bank, a small ship of three Selachians came to the bank to try and rob the vault, The Doctor agreeing to help the Selachians access the dimensionally-transcendental vault - inaccessible to anyone unless they had the correct codes - to spare the hostages while Ben was able to escape into the bank's vents. Discovering some of the sealant that was used by the bank to deal with potential hull breaches, Ben was able to work with Polly to create three 'glue bombs' with the intent of using each bomb to clog up the respiratory systems of the Selachians' battlesuits, but this plan was interrupted when Ben was caught before he could explain everything to Jamie, resulting in Jamie using up his bomb trying to blind the Selachian. Although The Doctor was able to arrange for Polly and five other hostages to be released to a nearby security ship after he disarmed a bomb planted in the bank using Ben's glue bomb to clog up the timer, Polly learned that the Selachians weren't attacking the vault for money, but to steal a series of weapons blueprints that had been stored in the vault. However, when The Doctor opened the vault, the bank manager revealed that Galactibank had actually lost most of their money due to a series of recent bad investments, which had prompted them to sell most of the items in the vault to make up for their losses. With this information, The Doctor realised that the bomb he had disarmed earlier was part of Galactibank's plan; they had deliberately allowed the Selachians to learn about the alleged plans so that they would attack that vault, allowing Galactibank to blow up the only means of accessing the vault and collect the insurance while 'framing' the Selachians for it. The Selachians attempted to set off the bomb as they departed, using Ben and Jamie as hostages, but the two were able to drive the Selachians away using the third glue bomb that Polly had left by the TARDIS earlier, the two male companions planting the reset bomb in the Selachian ship before retreating to the vault. Using his own experience of dimensional transcendentalism, The Doctor was able to configure the vault's door from the inside to connect to the security ship that Polly was on, donating most of his reward for the victory to charity while keeping a few credits to gain access to the TARDIS.

Book - The Final Sanction
The Final Sanction
(Steve Lyons)
 Some time after this experience, The Doctor found himself caught up in a large-scale Selachian struggle when Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrived on the war-torn planet Kalaya in 2204, the site of one of the last confrontations between humanity and the Selachians in the Selachian wars. Initially unable to return to the TARDIS, Zoe was captured by the Selachians while The Doctor and Jamie were recovered by the humans. Although the humans had the TARDIS, The Doctor was horrified to learn that he was at a crucial point in history; the Commander of the TSF Triumph, Commander Wayne Redfearn, would soon drop an experimental bomb that could compress gravity onto the Selachian's home planet after driving them off Kalaya, annihilating not only the entire Selachian species but also several human POWs… including Zoe. Although The Doctor tried to save Zoe by offering himself to the Selachians in exchange - the Selachians recognising The Doctor from their records - this only resulted in him being arrested as a Selachian spy, Zoe's original escape attempt was an utter failure, and Jamie was hit by a neural scrambler and taken to the Triumph's medical bay as he attempted to rescue her. Eventually, Zoe managed to escape again, but unfortunately Jamie started talking with a Selachian prisoner and not only started to sympathise with it, but revealed the upcoming fate of their planet. The two broke out and tried to persuade the G-bomb's creator, Professor Laura Mulholland, to deactivate the bomb, but the attempt failed, only provoking Commander Redfearn into activating the bomb.

 However, The Doctor, during a confrontation with the Selachian Supreme Leader, had also let slip about the bombing due to his frustration at the Leader’s refusal to negotiate, and would have been killed before he could do anything about it if Zoe’s escape attempt hadn’t provided him with a distraction that had allowed him to break free of his captors. Redfearn launched the G-bomb despite Jamie's attempts to stop him, and The Doctor and Zoe barely managed to T-Mat back up to the ship using a T-Mat pad that had been placed on Ockora in secret. The sole surviving Selachians tried to take the Triumph and bomb Earth with the remaining G-bomb, believing the possibility of victory was worth the risk of total extinction, but Mulholland sacrificed herself to the bomb off while in space, creating a miniature black hole leaving the TARDIS crew - the only other survivors of the Selachian attack on the Triumph - to depart the ship before the bomb detonated. For once, The Doctor had been unable to do anything to save the day, but he had corrected one small detail. In original history, Mulholland committed suicide six months after the destruction of Ockara, but here she had managed to achieve a partial redemption by saving her planet. It was a small change, but, as The Doctor later told Zoe, sometimes they couldn’t affect the broad details, but they could make various small changes that would go on to add up to a lot over time.

 Following this encounter, The Doctor has not yet had a direct encounter with the Selachians, although the Selachian leader stated during their last confrontation that their records featured multiple references to The Doctor (The Doctor himself speculating that the faces of his other incarnations would be in the databanks somewhere). The closest he has come to facing them again in the true history is when the Sixth Doctor and his companion Grant Markham faced a group of Cybermen using a Selachian warship in "Killing Ground", which The Doctor destroyed by setting their plasma weapon into reverse and flooding the ship with radiation that crippled the still-partially human Cybermen due to their limited resources at this time.

Audio - The Architects of History
The Architects of History
(Steve Lyons)
 However, the Seventh Doctor briefly collaborated with alternate versions of the Selachians in a timeline created by his renegade ex-companion Elizabeth Klein, who had stolen the TARDIS and changed history so that the Nazis won the Second World War. With the Reich now in possession of various alien technology salvaged from their defeats of such enemies as the Daleks and the Sontarans, the alternative Doctor created by Klein’s manipulations contacted the Selachians of the year 2144, providing them with the means to travel back to the year 2044, the futuristic Selachian ships proving an easy match for the Reich ships despite their Dalek enhancements and destroying the eco-bubble that maintained the atmosphere of the Reich’s Moonbase. Taking command of the invasion force as the Selachians arrived in the Moonbase command room, The Doctor tried to prevent any more deaths taking place, but his efforts were undone when the Selachian commander revealed that they had reverse-engineered the time-travel technology provided by his other self to bring an entire battle fleet back to attack Earth. As Generalleutnant Tendexter set the Moonbase’s reactor core to overload, triggering an explosion that would destroy the Selachians and Earth, The Doctor was forced to abandon the Moonbase to its fate, departing with Klein so that she could be erased from history and the timeline she had created be undone.
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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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