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For the academic journal, see Zygon (journal).
Doctor Who alien
Zygon (Doctor Who monster).jpg
Type Shapechanging humanoids
Affiliated with Zygon Empire
Home planet Zygor
First appearance Terror of the Zygons

The Zygons are a fictional extraterrestrial race in the long-running British science fiction television programme Doctor Who. The Zygons have shape-shifting abilities, allowing them to replicate the appearance of another being, but they must keep the subject alive in order to use its body print. This skill was vital in their concealment and in their scheme to seize power despite their small numbers along with their organic space craft.

Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant has stated that they are his favourite monsters from Doctor Who.[1]



The Zygons first appeared in the 1975 serial Terror of the Zygons, where they planned to conquer Earth after the Zygon homeworld was destroyed in a stellar explosion. One such craft, whose occupants are led by warlord Broton, crash landed into Loch Ness. The Zygons intended to use a Skarasen, a creature whose lactic fluid they feed on and was called the Loch Ness Monster by the general public, to attack an energy conference in London as part of a bid to conquer Earth for colonization by a refugee fleet. The plan was foiled with Broton and his crew killed as a result of the intervention of the Fourth Doctor and the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT) while the Skarasen retreats to Loch Ness.

The Zygons are briefly mentioned (but not seen) in Eleventh Doctor episode "The Pandorica Opens" as one of the many races in an alliance against the Doctor. In the 2012 episode, "The Power of Three", a Zygon ship is beneath the Savoy Hotel where the Doctor takes Amy Pond and Rory Williams on their wedding anniversary. However, all the Zygons in the story are seen in disguises of hotel staff.

The Zygons returned in 2013 in "The Day of the Doctor", the 50th anniversary episode of the programme.[2] The episode hints the stellar explosion (said, in their origin story in 1975, to have destroyed their homeworld) was caused by the Time War. Having arrived in Elizabethan England, a squad placed themselves in suspended animation to bide their time until awakening in 2013 to infiltrate the Tower of London's Black Archive in the guise of UNIT members. The scheme is foiled thanks to the intervention of the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor and the War Doctor- the Doctor who actively fought in the Time War, originating between the Eighth and Ninth Doctors- who arrange for a truce to be drawn up between the humans and their Zygon doppelgängers when UNIT threatened to detonate a nuclear bomb to prevent the Zygons gaining access to UNIT's archives of recovered alien technology.[3][4]

On 8 May 2015, the BBC press office officially confirmed the Zygons would return in a two-part story written by Peter Harness (later confirmed to be titled "The Zygon Invasion" and "The Zygon Inversion", with Steven Moffat co-writing the latter) in the ninth series of the revived programme to be broadcast in the autumn of 2015.


Terror of The Zygons was novelized by Target in 1976, written by Terrance Dicks, under the title Doctor Who and the Loch Ness Monster.[5] The book further expounded on the concept of the Zygon "sting," poisonous barbs protruding from their hands, which explains why, in the television episode, the Zygons were able to inflict pain on other beings with a mere touch. (The original shooting script for the episode also included references to the sting but the on-screen portrayal of the concept failed to make it clear to the audience.)

The comic story "Skywatch-7", written by Alan McKenzie (under the pseudonym "Maxwell Stockbridge") and illustrated by Mick Austin, features a UNIT team encountering a single Zygon at a remote base. It was first published, in two parts, in Doctor Who Monthly #58 and the Doctor Who Winter Special 1981.

The Eighth Doctor encountered the Zygons in the spin-off novel The Bodysnatchers by Mark Morris,[6] which also named the now-destroyed Zygon homeworld as Zygor. The novel also revealed that Zygor had been destroyed as a result of an attack by an arachnid alien race from Tau Ceti, the Xaranti.

The Zygons appear in the New Series Adventures novel Sting of the Zygons by Stephen Cole,[7] featuring the Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones, which is set in the Lake District in 1909.


The Zygons have been featured in three audio plays produced by BBV, Homeland by Paul Dearing, Absolution (not to be confused with the Big Finish play Absolution) by Paul Ebbs and The Barnacled Baby by Anthony Keetch.

They made their Big Finish debut in the Eighth Doctor audio adventure The Zygon Who Fell to Earth by Paul Magrs and returned in Death in Blackpool by Alan Barnes.


The Zygons were featured in the second Doctor Who Weetabix promotional set, and were card number 9 in the Typhoo tea card set. Harlequin Miniatures produced two 28mm figures, and Fine Art Castings produced two Zygon figurines, sized 80mm and 40mm.

In 2008, a Zygon figure was released by Character Options in the first wave of their classic Doctor Who toy line.

On 26 June 2014 a Zygon as featured in The Day of the Doctor was released as part of the ongoing Doctor Who figurine collection from Eaglemoss. The Zygon will be the 23rd in the regular line of releases.

Zygon (BBV production)[edit]

Zygon is a spin-off drama production from BBV, featuring the Zygons. Early drafts were written by Lance Parkin, and later ones by Jonathan Blum, although both authors removed their names from the final version (which was heavily rewritten again). It was eventually released in 2008 as Zygon: When being you just isn't enough (with an 18 certificate due to scenes of an adult nature), after a post-production period of about 5 years.


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