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Doctor Who Enemies: Weeping Angels

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A Weeping Angel
Don't Blink. Blink and you're dead. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't Blink.
- The Doctor, 'Blink'

Warning: this entry contains spoilers.

Since 1963, Doctor Who has been a television series that involves monsters, with the Daleks considered to be the most successful and terrifying. The Weeping Angels are the first monsters from the 21st Century's revived series to really challenge them for the top spot.

The Weeping Angels appear like stone statues of female angels1, with grey skin and wings, usually seen covering their eyes with their hands. They were inspired by the children's game 'Statues'2.


The Weeping Angels are an extremely ancient race that have evolved a unique method of protection. They are quantum-locked. This means that, when seen by any other lifeform, they are solid stone and unable to move, but also virtually invulnerable to attack. When they are unobserved they spring to life and can quickly attack. Predators, they feed off their victims' 'potential time energy'. The Angel's touch sends the victim back in time, and lets them live out their life in a previous time period. The Angel then absorbs the time energy of what the victim's life in the present would have been. They can also feed off other, more powerful energy sources, such as a TARDIS, a radioactive spaceship or a crack in time.

Weeping Angels typically cover their eyes with their hands to ensure they do not inadvertently see any other Angels, which would prevent them from moving. They also are unable to move if they merely think they are being observed. If monitored remotely, such as through CCTV, they remain as stone. Starving Angels' stone appearance gradually wears away, their wings drop off, and they lack the speed of their healthy compatriots, but can quickly rejuvenate when sufficiently fed.

Weeping Angels have a very peculiar means of reproduction, as they can turn other statues, big or small, into Weeping Angels – including the Statue of Liberty. The Angels delight in cruelty and playing with prey, often deliberately terrifying them before their deaths. Their young resemble cheeky cherubs who, unlike the predominantly silent adult Weeping Angels, enjoy taunting their prey with giggles. As well as sending their victims back in time they can also change their location, for example sending Kathy Nightingale both back in time and from London to Hull. Two people touched by the same Angel are likely to end up in the same place and time, but two people touched by two different Angels are likely to be separated in both.

Weeping Angels who have fed will often go out of their way to kill any other living beings nearby, often by snapping their necks. They can then use their deceased victims' consciousness to communicate with others, either to lure them into traps or to play mind games with them. On one occasion a Weeping Angel threw a brick at an intended victim, presumably to render it unconscious and thus unable to look at them. The Weeping Angels are also able to drain power from lights. They are able to defy the laws of the universe, both creating impenetrable deadlock seals where none previously existed to trap their victims and opening doors that have been irrevocably sealed shut.

Despite being called 'lonely assassins' and unable to even look at others of their species, Angels work hard to rescue each other. One Angel crashed a starliner onto a planet with starving Angels in order to give them a food supply. When Julius Grayle captured an Angel in his mansion, others came to free it.

One way to defeat Weeping Angels is to create a time paradox. As Angels feed off time energy, a paradox is poisonous to them and frequently fatal.

'That which holds the image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel'

The definitive book on Weeping Angels was written by someone driven mad by them. One of the key observations is 'that which holds the image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel'. This means that if a Weeping Angel is, for example, shown on a monitor screen somewhere completely different, the Angel can project itself into its image to become 3D and attack those watching.

While it is important to ensure that you watch Weeping Angels to prevent their moving, never look into an Angel's eyes. As the eyes are the windows of the soul, if an image of an Angel is seen in a victim's eyes, then the Angel can infect and gradually take over the victim, until the point when they 'escape' the victim's body, killing them. This can be delayed by the infected one closing their eyes. When someone is infected with a Weeping Angel they are susceptible to the Angel's suggestions and limited degree of control. For example the Angel may make them hallucinate that they are made of stone or have Angel's wings, make them unwilling to close their eyes, or control their speech. In later stages the host does actually become petrified.

The Angels themselves are played by actresses. The Angels' rigid structure dresses were created with either fabric soaked in fibreglass resin or sculpted polyfoam. Their wings are made of polystyrene, their arms are painted grey and given a weathered-stone look, which takes two to three hours to apply, while their faces are masks with 'shells' covering their eyes so that they appear blank.

Story Guide

The stories predominantly featuring the Weeping Angels are listed below:

'Blink' (2007)

  • Broadcast: 9 June 2007 (New Whoseries three episode ten)
  • Writer: Steven Moffat
  • Cast: Sally Sparrow (Carey Mulligan), The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), Kathy Nightingale (Lucy Gaskell), Larry Nightingale (Finlay Robertson)
  • Director: Hettie MacDonald

In 2007 Sally Sparrow visits an abandoned house, Wester Drumlins, and finds a message written to her beneath the peeling wallpapers: 'Beware the Weeping Angels and duck'3. She returns with her best friend Kathy, who vanishes just as a man claiming to be her grandson arrives at the door. He says that he had promised his grandmother Kathy that he would deliver her a parcel containing a letter saying that she had been sent back in time to the 1920s. After further investigation Sally encounters a DVD Easter egg message intended for her that had been recorded in the 1960s. The Weeping Angels had sent the Doctor and Martha back in time and are trying to get hold of the Doctor's TARDIS and its time energy, the consequences of which would be catastrophic.

This was conceived as the 'Doctor-lite' episode for the 2007 series of Doctor Who. 'Doctor-lite' episodes involved 'double-banking' two or more episodes, one of which would have minimal involvement from the Doctor, allowing the actor to concentrate on the other episode(s) being made at the same time. These often concentrated on the Doctor's companion or saw the Doctor from an outsider's perspective. The story was partly based on a short story written for the 2006 Doctor Who Annual titled '"What I Did on My Christmas Holidays" By Sally Sparrow'. The episode won the 2008 BAFTA Best Writer award and the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. It has consistently been considered one of the top two Doctor Who episodes of all time, in 2007, 2012 and 2014 polls. The episode also introduced the line 'wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey', which has been often repeated.

'The Time of Angels' / 'Flesh and Stone' (2010)

  • Broadcast: (New Whoseries five episodes four and five )
  • Writer: Steven Moffat
  • Cast: The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), River Song (Alex Kingston), Father Octavian (Iain Glen)
  • Director: Adam Smith

The Doctor and Amy are summoned by the mysterious River Song, who is helping the Church of the Papal Mainframe locate a Weeping Angel. This Angel is dormant on the starliner Byzantium, which has crash-landed into a labyrinthine mausoleum on the planet Alfava Metraxis. During their investigations they learn that Angels can project themselves through their images and Amy becomes infected by one.

Yet the Weeping Angels are not the only force following the Doctor. How do they tie into the Crack of Time that represents the explosion at the end of the Universe, and wipes out all who come into contact with it completely from existence?4

This story contains one of the best 'running down the corridor' scenes in the whole of Doctor Who.

'The Angels Take Manhattan' (2012)

  • Broadcast: 29 September, 2012 (New Who series seven episode five)
  • Writer: Steven Moffat
  • Cast: The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), River Song (Alex Kingston),
  • Director: Nick Gyrrab

In 2012 the Doctor, Amy and Rory go to Central Park, New York, where they relax. The Doctor starts to read a novel while Rory goes to buy coffee. Rory is chased by cherubs, who are baby Angels, only to find himself in 1938 alongside River. The Doctor reads in his book what has happened and so tries to take Amy and the TARDIS back in time to rescue Rory, but is unable to. Back in 1938 Rory and River are kidnapped by Julius Grayle, a wealthy mob boss who has captured a Weeping Angel, and Rory is sent to a nearby apartment building which has been infested by Weeping Angels. The Angels are using the victims as a battery, sending them to the past and feeding off their energy while keeping them trapped in the building all their lives, sending them back in time again and again whenever they try to escape.

'Flux' (2021)

  • Broadcast: 31 October – 5 December 2021 (New Who series 13 episodes 1-6)
    1. 'The Halloween Apocalypse'
    2. 'War of the Sontarans'
    3. 'Once, Upon Time'
    4. 'Village of the Angels'
    5. 'Survivors of the Flux'
    6. 'The Vanquishers'
  • Writer: Chris Chibnall
  • Cast: The Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill), Dan Lewis (John Bishop), the Fugitive Doctor (Jo Martin), Vinder (Jacob Anderson), Kate Stewart (Jemma Redgrave), Karvanista (Craige Els)
  • Directors: Azhur Saleem & Jamie Magnus Stone

A six-part adventure involving numerous characters and monsters. Some episodes include the Weeping Angels. Episodes shown in Bold heavily feature them while episodes in normal text have brief appearances from them and episode titles in italics do not feature them at all.

A tsunami known as the Flux is sweeping through the universe, destroying everything, including whole planets, in its wake. As the Doctor tries to stop it the Daleks, Cybermen and Sontarans fight among themselves over who will get to control the remains of the universe and be the last species standing, while new aliens, Ravages Swarm (Sam Spruell) and Azure (Rochenda Sandall) know more than they let on.

During the Flux the Doctor and her friends enter a time storm, in which she sees a Weeping Angel. The Angel follows Yaz back into her past, appearing in a computer game before leaping out of her mobile phone and seizing control of the TARDIS. It is revealed that the Angels have been working for Division, an organisation formed by Time Lords to control the universe. They are after a rogue agent and are using the TARDIS to get to where it is hiding. The Doctor and her companions find themselves in the village of Medderton in 1967, which is where an Angel had also sent a psychic named Claire (Annabel Scholey) from 2021. As Claire had had a psychic vision of an Angel, and 'that which holds the image of an Angel becomes itself an Angel', she is now possessed by the rogue Angel, who is attempting to stay inside her to hide from the others.

Medderton's history (as recorded in 2021) includes incidents in 1901 and again in 1967 in which everyone in the village vanished. This second vanishing is now due to happen. Also in 1901 an ancient stone burial site suddenly appeared, which is how the Angels arrived. The Angels send everyone in the village back in time, and using Quantum Extraction remove the village from its place in space and time, but anyone they touch twice is disintegrated rather than sent back again. Professor Jericho (Kevin McNally), Yaz and Dan are separated from the Doctor and all three are sent back to 1901. The Rogue Angel has negotiated a deal with the Angels of the Extraction Squad to give them the Doctor in her place, with the Doctor turned into one of them, but the Rogue Angel is captured by them nevertheless.

Blink and You'll Miss Them (or maybe they'll kill you) Appearances:

  • 'The God Complex' (2011)
  • 'Good As Gold' (2012)5
  • 'The Time of the Doctor' (2013)
  • 'Hell Bent' (2015)
  • Class: 'The Lost' (2016)
  • 'Revolution of the Daleks' (2021)


What makes the Angels particularly menacing is that, being an unkillable enemy, they are rarely defeated by the Doctor, who at best survives meeting them, often at a cost. In their first encounter the Angels successfully sent both the Doctor and Martha back in time and isolated him from the TARDIS, with the Doctor needing to be rescued by a stranger. The Doctor next tries to help a force of Clerics capture and neutralise an Angel on board the Byzantium, only for all the Clerics to be killed and the Doctor thus is heavily defeated. The Doctor, Amy and River only survive because of a Crack in Time, not because of the Doctor's actions. Later Amy and Rory encounter a future in which the Doctor failed to rescue Rory, and they commit suicide rather than be consumed by the Angels. While this creates a paradox and seemingly defeats the Angels, the Angels later permanently separate both Rory and Amy from the Doctor anyway. When the Thirteenth Doctor encounters the Weeping Angels, she is both captured by them and separated from Yaz and Dan, who take over three years to find the Doctor again.

1They are played by actresses Aga Blonska and Elen Thomas.2Also called 'Grandmother's Footsteps', and 'Red Light, Green Light' in Korea and part of the United States.3A weeping duck has yet to appear in Doctor Who. Probably because the message was warning Sally to crouch down to avoid being hit by a thrown brick.4Coincidentally in 'Flesh and Stone' the Doctor realises that the Leadworth duck pond is called the duck pond despite having no ducks because the Crack in Time erased them from existence. Would one of these otherwise have been the 'Weeping Duck'?5A 3-minute mini-episode written via a junior school competition was won by the children of Ashdene School to commemorate the London 2012 Olympics.

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