Sunday, April 30, 2023

#AtoZChallenge2023: Doctor Who Zygons (and Vogons!)

Doctor Who Z
Doctor Who has had many writers over the years who have contributed to the deep lore of the show. But some writers stand out and some creatures stand out. 

Today I want to wrap up my A to Z of Doctor Who with the best-known Z creature they have, the Zygons, and maybe their related species the Vogons.


The Zygons are great creatures. They first appeared in "Terror of the Zygons" where they were controlling the Loch Ness Monster. They are shapeshifters, but require special technology to achieve this, and look like they could be related to cephalopods.  This seems confirmed when we meet them again in "The Day of the Doctor."

I like that idea, to be honest. An octopus has natural camouflage abilities, it is likely that the Zygons did too, and then used their superior technology to take it to the next level.  They are the perfect doppelgängers in Doctor Who. 

Like the cryptids I mentioned yesterday, the Zygons kind find their way into myths and legends of the Earth by replacing doppelgängers or changelings (the faerie kind, not the Star Trek kind, though they work too).


Their planet was destroyed as collateral damage in the Time War, so they have taken to settle on Earth. At first they wanted to take it over, but soon realized trying to live in peace and hiding, is a better choice.

But what about their lesser-known cousins? The Vogons?


Now to be fair. Vogons are not really related to the Zygons, at least not in canon. They do share some similarities, though. But their biggest connection comes from the creator of the Vogons, Douglas Adams.

Vogon reading poetry

Douglas Adams has a deep connection to Doctor Who. He was a script editor during the Tom Baker years. He was good friends with Lalla Ward (Romana II) and Richard Dawkins. In fact, he introduced them to each other and they were married. He also wrote some Doctor Who episodes, namely "The Pirate Planet" and "Shada."

Adams' character of Professor Chronotis, aka Salyavin, is a renegade Time Lord (much like the Doctor) and appears in the serial "Shada." Shada is the Time Lord's prison planet where Salyavin was supposedly kept.  Professor Chronotis also appears in a not much-changed appearance in his own novel "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency."

This has lead some to conjecture that Adams' own "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is part of the Doctor Who universe.  It was at least what we all thought back in the 1980s while reading HHGttG and watching Doctor Who.  My first Doctor Who characters were versions of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and Zaphod Beeblebrox. All three of these characters also appear in the 8th Doctor's version of Shada as prisoners. Zaphod I get, but certainly not Arthur.

To make the connections deeper, the BBC TV series of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" aired in 1981. The show has a solid Doctor Who look and feel to it. I swear that they were the same sets half the time. Also Sandra Dickinson, who plays Earth scientist Trillian, was married to Peter Davidson the Fifth Doctor at the time. Their real-life daughter is Georgia Moffett, now Georgia Tennant, who is married to David Tenant, the Tenth Doctor, and Georgia played "Jenny," the Doctor's Daughter in "The Doctor's Daughter."  Confused? Yeah not surprised.

These connections were finally canonized by the Tenth Doctor in "The Christmas Invasion" when walking around in a robe and his "jim-jams" (pajamas), he remarks that he looks "very Arthur Dent. Now there was a nice man."  The novelization of The Christmas Invasion also makes more mentions of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and the Vogons.

So back in the 1980s we just assumed that Zygons and Vogons had to be related and used them as such in the FASA Doctor Who RPG. 

While the Zygons are deadly, I doubt they have anything near as awful as Vogon Poetry

This has been an absolute blast to do. And today's post is a good segway into next month's Sci-Fi Month's topic of the Doctor Who RPGs.

A to Z of Doctor Who

All images are used with permission from the BBC and are copyrighted 2023 by the BBC.

And that is another April A to Z in books.

1 comment:

PT Dilloway said...

Congratulations. I don't think even the Death Star is as deadly as Vogon poetry.