The Ood Cast Guide #20: Slitheen

The Doctor Who universe is home to a great many unusual and unlikely creatures. But not even there would a creature who looks a bit like a bipedal balloon animal exist, surely?

Well, even there we’re spoilt by the great children’s entertainer in the sky. Enter, the Slitheen.

Coming from Raxacoricofallapatorius, Slitheen is a family name rather than a species – but that didn’t seem to stop anyone from mixing them up. Although, to be fair, it is a lot easier to say than Raxacoricofallapatorian… Either way, this is the universe’s version of the Krays, and after escaping their fate, they decided that the earth was a suitable place to convert into starship fuel and scrap.

The Doctor’s first encounter with these creatures came when they dressed a pig in a spacesuit (insert your own joke about Barack Obama / Sarah Palin here, folks) and made it crash into the Houses of Parliament and down into the Thames.

So, with the spaceship ringing Big Ben, their invasion began. While scientists were baffled by the terrified pig, the Slitheen family had moved into 10 Downing Street, killing and using high-profile victims as dress-making patterns for their handy skin suit disguises, which were very poorly designed. As anyone who’s ever tried to get a small person into a baby-gro will know, a suit with just a small opening at the top is not going to be easy to get in and out of. And if they were going for stealth, the whole breaking wind and lighty-up zipper thing probably isn’t good design either…

Here, two things were learnt about the species. Firstly, that they explode if they come into contact with vinegar. Secondly, that they are vulnerable to nuclear attack. Useful to know – to be safe from Slitheen attack, just open a fish &chip shop up in Chernobyl.

But disguise and covert existence seems to be their major strength – managing to infiltrate positions of authority is something unique to the Slitheen. And the Autons. And Zygons. Oh, and the Master too.

But disguise and covert existence seems to be their major strength – managing to infiltrate positions of authority is something they are moderately good at.

A lone Slitheen managed to escape the Downing Street explosion and resurfaced in Cardiff just six months later – proving the family’s reputation for being quick-to-rise political talents by already being installed as Mayor of the city. Using her powerful position, Margaret Slitheen managed to get a badly-wired nuclear power station approved at the planning stage – the model of which hid a hover board that she’d either borrowed from the Jetsons or Marty McFly (we’re never quite told) and on which, she intended to ride to freedom… She was then defeated in true Doctor fashion, by being given a second chance and regressing to an egg.

Slitheens, or at least fellow Raxacoricofallapatorians, were also part of the Alliance that shut the Doctor into the Pandorica. So maybe that second chance didn’t work out so well after all…

The Essentials

First Appearance: Aliens of London/World War Three (2005)

Telltale signs of their presence: Lots of windy smells, fidgeting, evil giggling. (actually, that could just be children, couldn’t it?)

Strengths: Surprise (as long as you don’t notice the farting or flashing lights), strength, disguises.

Weaknesses: Vinegar (any type is fine, although Balsamic is preferable if you’re having a salad after), nuclear explosions, and pregnant women with a good sob story.

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