Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Vervoids
The Vervoids
 Name: Vervoids

 Format: Television show

 Time of Origin: Genetically engineered on an unspecified world.

 Appearances: "The Trial of a Time Lord: Terror of the Vervoids"

 Doctors: Sixth Doctor

 Companions: Melanie Bush

 History: An artificially engineered species of sentient plant, an interesting detail about The Doctor’s encounter with the Vervoids is that he knew about it before it happened; The Doctor initially learned about the Vervoids when he was on trial for his life on the charge of interference in the affairs of the universe, using the Matrix to look into his own future and find evidence that would clear his name.

 When The Doctor faced the Vervoids, it was in the year 2986 on the galactic liner Hyperion III, captained by Commodore Travers - a man who had previously encountered The Doctor in an unreleased adventure (Although "Instruments of Darkness" revealed that it had taken place while The Doctor travelled with other future companion Evelyn Smythe) -, carrying such diverse passengers as the science trio Professor Lasky and her colleagues Bruchner and Doland, The Doctor being drawn to the Hyperion after the ship broadcast a distress signal from Hallett, a passenger on the ship and an investigator that had prior experience of The Doctor.

  As Hallett had discovered, Lasky and her colleagues had developed a genetically -engineered form of sentient plant, known as the Vervoids, with the intention that they would eventually replace robots as the means of doing tasks that humans were currently incapable of. Unfortunately, Lasky failed to take into account that, since all ‘animalkind’ - as humans were referred to by the Vervoids - automatically ate plants to survive, the Vervoids would be left with an instinctive hatred of ‘animal-kind’ and a need to kill them for survival. Although initially contained in the Hyperion hydroponics bay, the Vervoids escaped when their pods were accidentally opened.

A Vervoid
A Vervoid
 As the Vervoids roamed the Hyperion’s air ducts, they began to kill the human passengers, collecting them in their ‘lair’ to create a compost heap just as humans collected dead plants, The Doctor gradually piecing together what he was dealing with when examination of an Isolation Room that Lasky had been using revealed that Ruth, another colleague, was mutating into a half-plant life-form after being infected by a speck of Vervoid pollen through a small cut in her thumb. Driven insane by fear of the Vervoids, Bruchner attempted to steer the ship into a black hole to destroy them, but the ship’s course was diverted thanks to two Mogarian passengers after the bridge was infected with marsh gas - Mogarians being able to tolerate the toxic gas - by Doland, his own insanity driving him to ‘save’ the Vervoids in the belief that they could still be used for their original purpose, only to be killed by the Vervoids after The Doctor realised his true intentions.

With the Hyperion now on a direct course for Earth, The Doctor, Travers and Lasky resolved to destroy the creatures, but were unable to develop a herbicide as the Vervoids had destroyed the necessary chemicals. However, upon examining the Hyperion’s other cargo of rare metals, The Doctor learned that the ship was also carrying vionesium, a rare metal from Mogar that released intense light and carbon dioxide when exposed to oxygenated air. Having lured the Vervoids back to their lair by lowering the lighting and heating in the rest of the ship, The Doctor used the vionesium as ‘bombs’ against the Vervoids, the resulting chemical release causing the Vervoids’ life cycle to accelerate due to the intensity of the chemicals produced, leaving them to wither and die.

A Vervoid
A Vervoid
 Although the crisis itself was resolved in a straightforward manner, The Doctor’s use of it as evidence at his trial only left him in further trouble with the court, the Valeyard - the court prosecutor, later revealed to be The Doctor’s own dark side - taking the opportunity to accuse The Doctor of violating Article Seven and committing genocide against the Vervoids. Although The Doctor recognised this accusation was essentially legitimate, he argued that it couldn’t apply as the consequences of the Vervoids surviving would have been the destruction of all life on Earth, the Eighth Doctor - having come back in time to visit his former self ("The Eight Doctors") - agreeing with his past self’s dismissal of the charge on the grounds that the Vervoids were an artificial creation rather than a naturally-evolved species and hence Article Seven didn’t apply.

(Given that The Doctor had ‘advance warning’ of the events of his confrontation with the Vervoids, it was never expressly stated whether he simply allowed events to happen as they should because he had to do so in order to prevent a paradox or if he slightly ‘edited’ his memory of the confrontation after the trial was over so that he would be aware of the essential details without knowing any specifics)
Book - Terror of the Vervoids
Target Novelisation
Video - The Trial of a Time Lord
The Trial of a Time Lord VHS
Video - The Trial of a Time Lord
The Trial of a Time Lord DVD
Video - Terror of the Vervoids
Terror of the Vervoids DVD
Return to the top of this page
Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at
Who's Who Who Episodes
Who's Who
KJ Software
Who Episodes

Press to go back to the previous visited page Who Me References
Doctor Who is the copyright of the British Broadcasting Corporation. No infringements intended. This site is not endorsed by the BBC or any representatives thereof.