Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

The Weeping Angels
A Weeping Angel
A Weeping Angel
 Name: The Weeping Angels, known in some circles as the ‘Lonely Assassins’.

 Format: Television show, Book and Audio

 Time of Origin: Exact origins unknown, but The Doctor suggests they have been around since the beginning of the universe; they have been shown to be active in the vicinity of Earth at least a hundred thousand years in the past and on the planet Alfava Metraxis in approximately the fifty-first century, as well as Trenzalore in the distant future.

 Appearances: "Fallen Angels", "Doom Coalition 4" - "The Side of the Angels"; indirectly confronted The Doctor in "Blink"; had more direct conflicts with him in "The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone", "Touched by an Angel", "Magic of the Angels", "The Angels Take Manhattan" and The Time of The Doctor. Illusionary versions of them appeared in "The God Complex".

 Doctors: Fifth Doctor, Eighth Doctor; indirect encounter with the Tenth Doctor; Eleventh Doctor.

 Companions: Liv Chenka, Helen Sinclair; indirect encounter with Martha Jones; Sally Sparrow, Amy Pond, River Song and Rory Williams.

 History: As a race, the Weeping Angels are definitely one of the most mysterious adversaries The Doctor has ever encountered, possessing a truly unique relationship with time and the rest of the universe, their origins a mystery even to the Time Lords and The Doctor describing them as being irredeemably evil. The most distinctive detail about the Angels is that they exist in a state that The Doctor described as ‘quantum locked’,meaning that they do not exist when they are being observed by other beings but instead freeze into solid rock. While the Angels cannot do anything in this state - although it has never been specified what would happen if an Angel was shattered while it was rock, presumably because the Angels would always get out of the way of attempts to shatter them -, they move at such a fast rate that they could easily eliminate anyone who found them if their potential victims so much as blinked while looking at them. Their apparently preferred method of feeding was to send people back in time to essentially live themselves to death - The Doctor described them as ‘the only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely’ -, the Angels consuming the potential energy of the days their victims would have lived if they’d remained in the present (It was implied that each Angel had a particular ‘target date’ it sent victims back to, one Angel sending someone back to 1920 while another sent victims back to 1969, The Doctor himself noting that another man who came back to that date must have been attacked by the same Angel that sent him and Martha to the past).

 On an interesting note, the Angels always sent their victims back in time by around forty years at least under normal circumstances in order to limit the possibility of their victims interfering in their own pasts and creating a temporal paradox that would contaminate the Angels’ ‘food supply’, although some Angels were capable of feeding on temporal paradoxes so long as they simply created the potential for the paradox to occur without taking direct action themselves (If the Angels became involved they would ‘feed’ on themselves). Interestingly enough, the only person to record the history of the Angels - apparently a madman - stated that anything that held the image of an Angel became an Angel in itself, to the point where people could even be ‘infected’ by Angels if they stared at an Angel’s eyes for too long as the image would become ‘imprinted’ on their retinas. The Angels could also gain power by absorbing excess radiation from their surroundings, although this method would not provide them with sufficient sustenance to exist under normal circumstances unless they were in an area with a particularly high amount of radiation, such as a crashed spaceship.

Classic Doctors New Monsters - Volume 1
Fallen Angels
(Phil Mulryne)
The Doctor's first recorded encounter with the Angels occurred when the Fifth Doctor was investigating temporal anomalies as various prominent artists, such as Raphael or Caravaggio, vanished from Earth's history, The Doctor determining that the earliest recorded disappearance was Michaelangelo, whose famous painting of the Sistine Chapel roof was now incomplete after he vanished in 1511 ("Fallen Angels"). Arriving in that time, The Doctor - aided by Joel and Gabby, a couple on their honeymoon in 2015 who had been sent back to 1511 by an Angel that had replaced Michaelangelo's statue of Moses - was able to determine that three Angels had crash-landed on Earth in the distant past and been frozen in marble for centuries. When the area where they crashed became a mining quarry, the most 'intact' surviving Angel was seen as a miracle by priests, allowing the Angel to bring them under its influence and direct them to the other two Angels. The resulting 'Order of the Three Angels' commissioned Michaelangelo to sculpt the marble into the other two Angels, the artist doing enough work to partially recreate one Angel so that it could restore its full power and its 'colleague' after displacing Michaelangelo's assistant. Realising that the Angels would gain greater power than usual by displacing Michaelangelo and other artists, as removing the artists would also undo the potential energy of the work they would create, The Doctor and his allies trapped the Angels in the Order's catacombs underneath the Chapel, using some mirrors that Michaelangelo had ordered from the Pope earlier on a suggestion from Joel to surround the three angels and prevent them looking away from each other. With the Angels' great night-vision meaning that the mirrors would trap them all even in total darkness, Michaelangelo made plans to have the catacombs sealed up to contain the Angels for good, although The Doctor was forced to leave Joel and Gabby in the past due to the potential temporal paradox if he tried to bring them back (They had been directed to the statue of Moses after talking with The Doctor in the Sistine Chapel in a world where the Angels' plans had succeeded, their knowledge of the true timeline despite the change only explainable if they had been temporal anomalies who would live out their futures in the past, particularly since The Doctor hadn't met them in 2015 yet from his perspective).

Audio - The Side of the Angels

The Side of the Angels
(Matt Fitton)

While tracking a Time Lord conspiracy set up by The Doctor's former friend Padrac, who had become convinced that Gallifrey could only survive in the future if all other worlds were destroyed, the Eighth Doctor discovered a group of Time Lords working with the Angels in 1970s New York ("Doom Coalition 4 - The Side of the Angels"). Although these Time Lords were opposed to Padrac's plans to destroy everything else, they had concluded that there was no way to oppose his plans, and so, under the guidance of The Doctor's old friend-turned-foe the Meddling Monk ("The Time Meddler"), the Time Lords had set themselves up as business figures financing construction projects in New York. With the Monk acting as their public face, the Time Lords arranged for a temporally protected Enclave to be constructed in New York in the form of buildings secretly infused with artron energy. With Angels hiding throughout the city, the Time Lords intended for the Angels to wait until the last few moments before the universe ended, then allowing the Angels to feed on the remaining humans on Earth on the grounds that the humans would die anyway, channelling the resulting temporal energy into the Enclave so that the buildings could protect their residents from the destruction of the universe, allowing those Time Lords to oppose Padrac's group. The Monk expressed certainty that the plan would work, but The Doctor rejected the idea that the Angels could be controlled, and was proven correct when the Time Lord criminal known as 'the Eleven' - so named due to his unique mental defect where all of his past incarnations' personalities were active in his mind at once - an affiliated associate of Padrac's scheme, made a deal with the Angels where they would feed on the Time Lords and humans right now. When The Doctor's companions Liv Chenka and Helen Sinclair were nearly 'sold' by the Monk to a group of Angels in a museum exhibition, they were saved by a Time Lady agent who had been sent back a few decades by the Angels when they turned on the Time Lords when she planted the tools needed for a basic torch in the exhibit, allowing them to escape the museum. As The Doctor 'rang the dinner bell' to lure the Angels to the Enclave rather than leave them running wild in the city, the Monk was 'fed on' by the Angels as he tried to escape, the centuries' worth of energy the Angels gained from feeding on the Monk 'jump-starting' the enclave as it absorbed the temporal energy taken by the Angels. As a result, the Enclave became a major source of temporal energy, the Angels so hungry that they couldn't help but feed on the power they had created, the resulting drain of temporal energy erasing the Enclave and undoing the Time Lords' changes to Earth's history, while The Doctor used the feedback of the Enclave's destruction to give the TARDIS the boost it needed to go back to Gallifrey and confront Padrac.

Some time after this, a small group of four Angels, apparently 'living' in a house called Wester Drumlins on the outskirts of London, stole the TARDIS key and sent the Tenth Doctor and his companion Martha Jones back to 1969 during a visit to 2007 when they arrived at Wester Drumlins, the Angels hoping to use the TARDIS's time energy as a power source to increase their food supply. Fortunately, a complicated time loop that The Doctor and Martha had set up in their future resulted in a young woman called Sally Sparrow - whose best friend had been sent into the past by an Angel, Sally’s subsequent investigations revealing that various cars had been found abandoned around Wester Drumlins in the last two years - acquiring information from them about the Angels’ plot, The Doctor having acquired that information from Sally during a brief encounter between the two in 2008 before the Angels sent him and Martha back to 1969. Using Sally’s notes - which included a transcript of a ‘conversation’ that the two had thanks to The Doctor recording himself saying his part of the conversation and setting it up as an ‘Easter egg’ hidden on the seventeen DVDs she owned thanks to The Doctor helping a friend set himself up in a DVD production company, Sally responding to it as she watched it for the first time -, The Doctor and Martha were able to record the message to warn Sally of the threat posed by the Angels and provide instructions on how to stop them. By tracking down the TARDIS in the Wester Drumlins cellar - Sally having acquired the TARDIS key when she found it hanging from an Angel’s hand earlier -, Sally and her friend Larry Nightingale were able to activate an emergency recall circuit that The Doctor had encoded on the DVDs along with the message, causing the TARDIS to travel back to 1969. At the same time, the four Angels that had been trying to attack the TARDIS as it dematerialised were left trapped in a circle facing each other, all four of them frozen forever as they were stuck staring at each other, unable to look away and restore their ability to move.

The Doctor’s next encounter with the Angels took place when a long-dormant Angel that had been salvaged in an archaeological dig on the planet Razvahan was discovered on the spaceship Byzantium in the fiftieth century shortly before it crashed, the Eleventh Doctor being alerted to the presence of the Angels by the mysterious River Song, who infiltrated the ship and carved a message in Gallifreyian in its ‘home box’ - a black box that homed in on a habitable planet after ejection-to provide The Doctor with the necessary coordinates to rescue her when she ejected out the ship after being caught. Tracking the ship to the planet Alfava Metraxis, where it crashed after its warp drive suffered a phase shift, River revealed the presence of the Angel to The Doctor, The Doctor quickly realising that the Angel could gain strength by feeding on the energy of the damaged engine. Aided by a platoon of Clerics - the soldiers of a future version of the church - that had been dispatched to help River stop the Angel, the team found the Angel in the Maze of the Dead, a series of catacombs underneath the palace where the Byzantium had crashed filled with statues of the dead built by the Aplan race before they died out four centuries ago. When a four-second clip that River had recovered from the Byzantium’s security cameras began to move as the Angel in it became ‘animated’, it nearly attacked Amy Pond when she was studying the recording out of a lack of anything else to do, but Amy was able to stop the Angel by freezing the tape in the moment before the four-second loop could repeat itself again, although she was left with the feeling of having something in her eye.

The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone
The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone
 Exploring the Maze of the Dead, The Doctor realised that the statues in the Maze were actually ‘recharging’ Angels as every statue had only one head where the Aplans had possessed two (The Doctor speculated that the team had either been stupid or a perception filter had been used to stop them noticing), the Angels using the radiation from the warp drive to restore themselves. Using the cerebral cortex of a murdered Cleric, the Angels were able to communicate with The Doctor over the radio, using a variation of the Cleric’s personality to tell The Doctor what they were planning to do. Having reached the Byzantium, The Doctor was able to get the Clerics up to the ship and away from the Angels by destroying the gravity globe - a device to create illumination while floating in the air-to create an ‘updraft’ that drew the team up to the Byzantium due to the ship’s still-active artificial gravity after they jumped on The Doctor’s signal. Arriving in the secondary control room, The Doctor discovered a crack in time similar to the one that existed in Amy’s room when she and The Doctor first met ("The Eleventh Hour"). Retreating into the artificial forest the Byzantium used to supply oxygen, The Doctor learned that the Angels were drawing on the energy of the crack in time, which was caused by a temporal explosion (The Doctor would later learn that this crack was caused by the TARDIS exploded ("The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood") due to the manipulations of an outside source ("The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang")), intending to use that power to spread their domain across all of time and space. Realising that Amy was ‘infected’ by an Angel from her previous encounter with the recording, The Doctor had her close her eyes in an attempt to ‘starve’ the Angel out of the vision centre of her brain before it killed her, although this required her to keep her eyes closed so that the Angel couldn’t finish the job.

 With the Clerics keeping guard of Amy, The Doctor and River set out for the primary drive control room - the Bishop of the team being killed during the journey -, but after the crack erased Amy’s guards, Amy was left trapped in the forest surrounded by Angels. Communicating with Amy, The Doctor attempted to guide her to the primary control room by turning her radio into a ‘radar’ to try and trick the Angels into thinking that she could see, but this idea failed when she dropped the radio, Amy only just being saved when River managed to activate the ship’s teleport with some of the last of the ship’s power as the Angels confronted them directly. Although the Angels could feed on the residual energy of the crack, the crack itself would consume them unless it was sealed, prompting them to try and force The Doctor - a complex event in time and space - to hurl himself into the crack so that his death could seal it. However, The Doctor was able to use the Angels to seal the crack by deactivating the ship’s artificial gravity, casing the Angels to fall into the crack, their combined presence serving as a complicated enough time/space event to amount to the same ‘level’ of complexity as The Doctor himself. With the Angels erased after they fell into the crack, Amy was cured of her ‘infection’ by the Angels as the Angel that had infected her now never existed, although The Doctor, Amy and River retained memory of it due to their experience as time travellers.

The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone
The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone
 The Doctor confronted the Angels once again when a small group of six Angels who fed on temporal paradoxes attempted to trigger a paradox by sending Mark Whitaker - a lawyer from 2011 whose wife Rebecca was killed in a car accident in 2003 - back in time to 1994, just after he had received an envelope containing several fifty-dollar bills dated before 1994 and a note that appeared to be from his future self, containing instructions on what he should do in the past as well as suggesting that he could save Rebecca. Although The Doctor was able to track Mark down in the past, he decided to leave Mark in the past after Mark told him about the note - neglecting to mention the note's suggestion that Mark could save Rebecca -, reasoning that Mark’s involvement in the events described in the note was essential to preserve his own timeline. Although The Doctor was able to follow Mark by using Mark’s CV to monitor his activities and ensure he didn’t make too many changes to his history, dropping in during such occasions as Mark’s first kiss with his future wife or an incident where Mark won sixteen thousand pounds due to a lottery ticket he found in a magazine, Mark generally stuck to his own rules by adhering to the instructions in the letter, setting himself up as a business consultant using his knowledge of the future and occasionally helping his younger self’s career.

 However, The Doctor was alerted to a problem when Mark’s past self unexpectedly tracked down his future self’s role in his life in May 2001, young-Mark making physical contact with his future self and triggering a Blinovitch-level explosion (Similar to the energy triggered when The Brigadier met his future/past self ("Mawdryn Undead")). With the resulting fire having destroyed most of Mark’s property, including the original note he received from his future self and the copy he’d made to leave in the envelope he’d received before the Angel sent him back, The Doctor realised that the Angels must have left the note as it was otherwise impossible for Mark to rewrite it; the note had been written on psychic paper, and thus its contents were displayed in the handwriting of whoever held it. With Mark having vanished while The Doctor was busy hypnotising his past self to forget this encounter, The Doctor, Amy and Rory - guided by a future version of Rory who had been sent back from 2003 due to an encounter with an Angel - tracked Mark to the moment when he was planning to save Rebecca by delaying the lorry that would have crashed into her. Although The Doctor was able to convince Mark that his actions would undo his own timeline, as saving Rebecca would mean that he never had a reason to want to go back in time - thus potentially undoing their relationship as it had been at least partly prompted along by the indirect intervention of his future self -, they were then cornered by the Angels before they could move Mark’s car to give the lorry the chance to continue on its route.

 Fortunately, The Doctor was able to give Rory instructions to set a trap for the Angels before Rory allowed himself to be sent back in time to become the future version they’d encountered earlier. While trapped in the past, Rory spent the month he’d needed to wait to catch up with his companions persuading the farmer who owned the field where they’d confronted the Angels to set up a series of concealed cameras and monitors, The Doctor activating them just as Rory was sent into the past, the monitors trapping all six Angels in a circle as they were arranged in such a manner that a monitor was always showing at least one Angel to one other Angel. With all but one of the Angels trapped in the camera circuit before The Doctor destroyed it by trapping the system in a loop as he had a camera record its own monitoring signal, The Doctor concluded that the situation was resolved; the missing Angel would go on to become the Angel that sent Mark into the past in the first place in a desperate attempt to change its own past. As compensation for everything that Mark had gone through over the last nine years, The Doctor took him back to his university days so that he could have one last conversation with Rebecca even if she wouldn’t know who he was, Rebecca assuring the stranger that, if she was his dead wife, she would have wanted him to move on after her death and find someone new rather than spend his life mourning her. In an unexpected bonus twist, contact with Rebecca shorted out the time differential caused by Mark’s time in the past, resulting in him regressing back to the age he had been before the Angels attacked him, allowing him to start his life over in the present using the resources he had gathered in the past.

The God Complex
The God Complex
The Eleventh Doctor faced a solo Angel once again when he discovered that aspiring magician Sammy Star was using an Angel that he had discovered in his act, causing his various assistants to 'disappear' on-stage when it was really the Angel - which he kept in a box when it wasn't 'in use' - sending the girls into the past. Although The Doctor attempted to warn Sammy about the danger of making a 'deal' with the Angel, Sammy was unconcerned with anything other than his upcoming television debut... a fact which greatly concerned The Doctor and Amy, as the result of an Angel appearing on television would be the creation of multiple Angels manifesting from the resulting image. Fortunately, with the aid of some of the Angel's past victims - who had 'lived' their way back to the present -, Amy was able to delay the Angel by taking the current assistant's place while wearing dark glasses, thus delaying the Angel as it didn't know when she wasn't looking at it. Although the Angel sent Sammy into the past when he tried to attack Amy for interrupting the act, The Doctor was able to stop it taking any more people by putting it in front of a mirror, subsequently leaving the new Angel that manifested from the reflection staring constantly at the original Angel, disguised as a statue that The Doctor identified as Memorial for the Missing to reflect those that the Angel had banished into the past (The Doctor unconcerned about Sammy as the fact that nobody had heard of him in the present suggested that he died in the past in obscurity) ("Magic of the Angels").

The Angels Take Manhattan
The Angels Take Manhattan
Although the Weeping Angels did not appear in person, they played a small but significant role in "The God Complex"; when the TARDIS was drawn to a prison ship that created illusions of peoples' fears, Gibbis, an alien whose race is known for its pathological desire to surrender, encountered illusions of the Angels as his greatest fear, most likely due to the fact that the Angels are completely relentless and will simply kill their victims where other aliens might allow their vanquished foes to live as slaves

The Doctor, Amy and Rory faced the Angels once again in "The Angels Take Manhattan", when they discovered that the Angels had set up such a strong presence in the city in the 1930s that The Doctor couldn’t pilot the TARDIS directly into the city without creating a significant temporal disruption. For the first time, the Angels manifested in a wider variety of appearances than straightforward angel statues, the images they assumed including a maid, a young boy, and other statues; one Angel even assumed the appearance of the Statue of Liberty. With the aid of River Song - who wrote a book about the events disguised as a noir thriller, having infiltrated the disruption via her vortex manipulator’s ability to create a smaller ‘ripple’ than the TARDIS allowing her to ‘slip through the cracks’, subsequently sending a signal that the TARDIS could home in on -, The Doctor, Amy and Rory were able to discover that the Angels had set up a tower for their victims to live in after they were sent into the past, thus keeping their ‘food supply’ contained so that they could draw on the temporal energy of their victims’ unlived lives for as long as they wanted.
The Time of The Doctor
The Time of The Doctor
However, after witnessing the death of his older self as one of the Angel’s victims, Rory hit upon a solution to defeat the Angels by running up to the top of the building and jumping off, his death in those circumstances creating a paradox that not only saved his life but simultaneously poisoned the Angels’ food supply so that they destroyed themselves (Although a single survivor managed to escape, separating Amy and Rory from The Doctor forever by sending them back into New York’s past after they discovered their graves in the present, ensuring that The Doctor could never risk recovering them due to the potential temporal paradox that would result if the TARDIS tried to penetrate the disruption in that area again).

The Doctor briefly encountered the Angels on the planet Trenzalore, which had been broadcasting a mysterious signal into the universe that prompted all beings that heard it to track its source ("The Time of The Doctor"). Although an anti-technology field had been erected around the planet, the Angels were still able to reach it- most likely due to their abilities being natural rather than technological- but they apparently never found the signal, their brief attempt to kill The Doctor failing when he summoned the TARDIS to him and his new companion Clara while the Angels surrounded them.

Video - Season 29 (New Series 3)  - Volume 3
Season 29 (New Series 3) - Volume 3
Video - Season 31 (Series 5) - Volume 2
Season 31 (Series 5) - Volume 2
Book - Touched by an Angel
Touched by an Angel
(Jonathan Morris)
Book - Magic of the Angels
Magic of the Angels
(Jacqueline Rayner)
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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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