Masks and the Doctor

Maisie, Mandragora and more, as this week Whovian Leap takes a look at masks in Doctor Who. 

“Maisie Maisie! Give me your answer do! I’m half crazy to find out your role in Who!” – forgive me spoilerphobes, but it seems that some filming pics actually leaked last week and we now know a little more about Maisie Williams’ role in Series 9. Fear not, all I dare to reveal here is that the actress was seen sporting a mask, which brings us nicely onto this week’s subject. Masks in Doctor Who.  


Let’s start with Koquillion! Here he is, scaring poor Vicky in “The Rescue”. Isn’t he just one of your traditional monsters? Where’s the mask? Well, I am afraid you will just have to watch this little gem of a two parter to find out…

Oh my giddy aunt, future cartoon superhero Karkus has come to life in “The Mind Robber”. Zoe can’t believe her eyes and neither can modern day viewers!

Masks a gogo in “Terror of the Autons”, courtesy of the Master and his partners in plastic, the Nestene Consciousness. 

Linguists may rise their eyebrows over some peculiar spelling in “The Masque of Mandragora” but some pre-DVD Whovians used to scratch their heads over the title’s pronunciation. Alas, there were no phonetic symbols in the Target novels!


Many a mask in the Matrix in “The Deadly Assassin”!

Trapped in his Martian prison, Sutekh wore the one of the most iconic masks in Who.

Not hard to understand why Magnus Greel wore a mask in “The Talons of Weng Chiang”! 

In one of the series’ most dramatic cliffhangers the Jagaroth rips off his mask to reveal the Count’s true identity (City of Death)

Could this be the Doctor in “Black Orchid”? 

In order to hide his gruesome features from the world, Sharez Jek chose to wore a mask. In “The Caves of Androzani” Peri unfortunately saw what lay underneath, in one of the most moving and best acted scenes in the history of the show. 

Two stories later nasty Quillam too has wounds to hide in “Vengeance on Varos”.

The Sixth Doctor pronounces his foe’s name with gusto before unmasking Victorian villain, Mr Popplewick. He turns out to be the Doctor’s own evil alter-ego, the Valeyard (The Ultimate Foe).

Master comedian Nord wears an elaborate crash helmet / mask in “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy”.

After years of cancellation, the TV movie was finally shot. And so was the Seventh Doctor! A masked Grace Hollingway operates on his bullet wound, blissfully unaware of the Doctor’s two heart set-up. But before the surgical shenanigans begin, the Doctor pulls down her mask and the Eighth is then able to recognise her post-regeneration. This plot idea came from the great Sylvester McCoy himself. 

Is this perhaps the most famous mask of them all in “The Empty Child”? Well-meaning nanogenes have accidentally confused a gas mask with a child’s face and moulded them together. Gas masks have appeared before. Thal and Kaled soldiers wear them in “Genesis of the Daleks”. In “The Poison Sky” it is not only UNIT soldiers but also the Tenth Doctor who wear them. He makes the obvious self-referential joke “Are you my mummy?” 

In “42” the temperature rises as we meet this hot-blooded killer in a welding mask.

Tap tap tap tap! Some may not be happy with the UK’s recent choice of Prime Minister, but at least we didn’t end up with Harold Saxon! Here he is, tapping away, as he gases his colleagues to death in “The Sound of Drums”. Without realising it, did RTD symbolically foretell the fate of the Liberal Democrats?

The Eleventh and an unmasked Queen in “The Beast Below”.

The Eleventh handles another mask, this time one belonging to a Silurian warrior.

We meet a masked Clockwork Droid in Series 8 opener “Deep Breath”. These robots first featured in “The Girl in the Fireplace”.

The photo also features the Twelfth Doctor’s reflection. Why is this appropriate? At first Clara couldn’t understand that this new man with an old face was still, deep down, her own beloved Doctor. With a little phone persuasion from Eleven himself, she then realised that his appearance may have changed, but he was still the same man. What further proof is needed? Regeneration after regeneration, a Time Lord’s face is nothing but a mask.


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