10 Doctor Who Moments More Disturbing Than You Remember

You might not remember them, but they definitely made you hide behind the sofa.

Doctor Who Forest of the Dead Evangelista
BBC Studios

Doctor Who has always had a reputation for being scary. Ever since the '60s, children have allegedly been ‘hiding behind the sofa’ to get away from Daleks and Cybermen and Weeping Angels, everything else in between.

Some episodes in particular have gone down in history for pushing the limits of how much horror you can get away with on BBC One on a Saturday night. Stories like Revelation of the Daleks, The Curse of Fenric, and The Empty Child all have well-earned reputations for their disturbing and terrifying content. Steven Moffat has practically built a career around traumatising children—and has won many awards for it to boot!

But there are certain horrifying moments that aren’t so well-remembered.

Whether they’re out-of-place scenes in otherwise tame stories, sandwiched between other, more horrifying moments, or simply featured in episodes that aren’t all that fondly remembered, you might have forgotten just how grim these moments actually are...

10. The Truth Behind The Toclafane

Doctor Who Forest of the Dead Evangelista
BBC Studios

There is a lot going on in Series 3’s epic 3-part finale. The return of Captain Jack, the return and regeneration of the Master, British Government conspiracies, time-paradoxes, word domination, the Doctor being artificially aged to the point that he looks like Dobby the House Elf… and, for a brief moment right in the middle, the horrifying final end for the human race.

It can be easy to remember the Toclafane as just the Master’s murderous minions, but in amongst all the Time War melodrama they offer possibly the most disturbing moment in The Last of the Time Lords.  This comes when Martha manages to capture one of the Toclafane, at which point it’s revealed that inside their casings are the last remaining humans from Utopia who, after being tricked by the Master, have been horribly mutated, cybernetically augmented, and entombed inside their floating robotic casings.

And as a grim cherry on top of the disturbing cake, the Toclafane aren’t spared their fate in the episode’s climactic time-reversal.  The destruction of the Paradox Machine only reverts time as far as the Toclafane’s arrival on modern-day Earth, meaning the tragic end of humanity and the creation of the Toclafane still happen.

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Alix Cochrane hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would probably end up sitting in a notes file for months, gathering dust and never actually being uploaded.