Doctor Who Rogues Gallery: The Judoon


Technically, this lot shouldn’t be in a rogues gallery, they should be in a gallery of rogue-catchers, but we don’t have one of those and I flipping LOVE the Judoon, so this will have to do. It’s one of those minor infractions of the rules that would really get up a Judoon’s snout, mind, but that’s OK, they’ll probably let me off, right?

Oh.

So, before they come to take us all away, can we have a round of applause for whichever member of the Doctor Who design team came up with the idea of dressing a platoon of rhino-headed men in black leather goth gear, complete with actual six-packs and kilts? I mean talk about macho! I have no idea what a female Judoon might look like, but if it’s not a pneumatic hippo-faced dominatrix, I want my money back.

Everything about them is a delight. It is as if, having read the script for Smith and Jones, in which these space police rock up and confiscate a hospital, putting it on the moon because they have no jurisdiction on Earth, the team noticed their lines of dialogue, all of that “go bo sho cho” stuff, and saw this as a chance to go nuts.

“What kind of helmets would a rhino-headed muscle-goth wear?” they’ll have mused, “I know! Matt black pelican heads, with perhaps a hint of toilet bowl in the under-beak area.” Genius. Or rather, given that they’re not the sharpest tools in the cutlery drawer, very much NOT genius.

And what about that dialogue too?  Is there anything more perfect for these thrusting space-jocks than a grunted language which only contains one vowel? A grunted language they choose to use first, before bothering to find out if anyone can understand it?

Oh they CAN speak English, of course, they’re more than happy to trot out the odd “you will be catalogued” here and there, but why should they? Why should they even allow the TARDIS to translate their language for them? They’re harder than you, they look cooler than you, and they’ve got RHINO HEADS. Have you got a rhino head? No you haven’t. That’s why they win.

Except they don’t win, not always. Thanks to the wily Doctor, the Judoon’s natural tendency to put everything in order is also their downfall. He outwits them by using their own instruments against them, convincing the well-hidden Plasmavore to take some of his blood, therefore revealing itself to be of extra-terrestrial origin. He had already been scanned, but passed through unnoticed the first time, thanks to a passing snog with Martha Jones. No, really, that’s why they snogged.

Look, he can even talk an entire squad out of their cocked weapons, without even getting a wedgie for his trouble:

Of course, being officious, tough and a bit dim, some of them really hate to be messed around by a skinny smartarse in a police box, so when the Pandorica trap is set, you’ll see some Judoon joining forces with the Daleks, Cybermen and whatnot, to try and ensnare their nerdish foe. On the other hand, a squadron of Judoon is also on hand to help the Doctor pulls in a few favors in A Good Man Goes To War, so clearly they’re quick to forgive. Must be all those steroids making them emotional.

Oh, and speaking of people going a bit nuts on creativity, there’s a story doing the rounds that they’re only called the Judoon so that David Tennant would have to say the line “a Judoon platoon on the moon” in his English accent. Apparently that’s quite a tough sound for a Scot to carry off.

And yet all of these production hi-jinks and in-jokes produced astonishing results. Which just goes to show how valuable a little playtime in your work can be.

Next: Madame Kovarian

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 13 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Music.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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