Favourite Doctor Who Monster

Favourite Doctor Who Monster

It occured to me as I was preparing this that I didn't actually have a favourite monster in the traditional sense. Much like Tom Baker, everyone loves the Daleks, but again like Tom it feels a bit pointless to single them out. But where do I go next? I wracking my brain and I can't think of many of the ongoing monsters, those which appeared time and again which I'd actually call favourite in that sense. It's because usually they tend to be quite generic -- like some of the companions despite their outward appearance they've quite a basic backstory. Stories would be written without actually saying which monster will be appearing because it depended whether they could get permission from the original creator.

If you've read the other two entries, it's going to come as no surprise that I'm heading off in unconventional territory, to the William Hartnell story The Rescue. This was a quicky two parter created to fill some studio time and make up the weeks which were left on some of the actors contracts. It's particularly known for introducing new companion Vicki, replacing The Doctor's own grand daughter who'd left at the end of the previous story.

The TARDIS lands on Dido and far from squashing a songstress beating out slow pop tunes, they find a crashed Earth ship occupied by two survivors -- the afformentioned Vicki and the paralysed Bennett. They are living in fear of a creature called the Koquillion, an apparent native of the planet who is believed to have killed all of the rest of the crew.

So yes, the Koquillion. He's not much to look at, all scales and horns. But it's this anonymity that's the key. Those impassive eyes, behind which we've no clue what he's thinking; menacing in a Cyberman, horrific in an organic creature. But the real menace is in the twist and I'm going to have to spoil it so if you're intrigued enough to watch, look away now.

You see the Koquillion is actually Bennett in disguise. It's one of the few occasions when the production team used the limitations of the budget to their advantage. He looks like a man in a rubber monster costume, so why not make the actual character a man in a rubber monster costume. It weakens the Vicki character slightly because it's not actually the most convincing rubber monster costume but people will believe anything if they're already frightened enough I suppose.

But what really makes Bennett/Koquillion a monster is that he's playing the alien to cover up his own human deficiencies. After an initial incident which led to the death of a ship mate, he massacred the rest so that the evidence couldn't be destroyed. Although we don't hear much of the detail of how this occured, for what was still a children's tv series this is just nasty, and that it occurs in reported speech makes it even more so, underlining again that it's about what you don't see. Which makes the Koquillion the most frightening of all.

No comments:

Post a comment