Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Doctor Who The Silence

Go To

The Order of the Silence (Eleventh Doctor)

"Silence must fall when the Question is asked. The First Question, the oldest question in the universe."

A religious order and Renegade Splinter Faction of the Papal Mainframe who caused trouble for the Eleventh Doctor. Their goal was to attempt to kill him before he reached the planet Trenzalore, in an attempt to prevent the possibility of another Time War. What they didn't know was that their intervention was a Stable Time Loop, as their first attempt created the cracks in time they were so concerned about.


    open/close all folders 

    In General 
  • Big Bad: The Kovarian Chapter functions as this for Series 5 & 6. They indirectly caused the majority of problems in series 5 & 6, even though they didn't make their on-screen debut until the premiere of series 6.
  • Catch-Phrase: Silence will fall, almost serves as the Arc Words.
  • Church Militant:
    • Part of the religious organisation, "the Order of the Silence".
    • "The Time of the Doctor" reveals that they were originally genetically engineered by the Papal Mainframe to serve as the perfect confessional priests, allowing people to confess their deepest sins and immediately forget about doing it. The ones the Doctor has been fighting are part of a Renegade Splinter Faction, attempting to alter history to prevent him ever reaching Trenzalore.
  • Gambit Roulette: Their plans to kill the Doctor are always incredibly convoluted and extreme. But given who they're dealing with... you can kinda understand.
    • Their initial plan involves using post hypnotic suggestion and subterfuge to convince all the Doctor's enemies that he will destroy the universe, and to stop him they have to build the ultimate prison, the Pandorica. They also set it up so this ultimate prison will have a restoration field that will stop anyone in the prison from dying, and also happens to be a way to restart the universe if it should be destroyed. They then use a lower level time machine to sneak a member of their race aboard the TARDIS, wait till the Doctor has been sealed in the Pandorica, and then proceed to destroy the universe by blowing up the TARDIS. At this point they expect the Doctor to use the Pandorica and the exploding TARDIS to reboot the universe, which will save everyone but trap him in the void between realities in the process. And if any part of this plan hadn't worked, they'd have blown up the entire universe for good, the exact thing they're trying to kill the Doctor to prevent. Unfortunately for their planning, the Doctor ends up using some interesting Clap Your Hands If You Believe magic from his Touched by Vorlons companion to escape.
    • Their second plan involves stealing one of the Doctor's companions and her unborn child, then replacing the companion with a programmable flesh avatar to prevent the Doctor (and the companion!) from realizing the kidnapping. After that they begin genetically modifying the unborn child, who was conceived on the TARDIS, to be a human Time Lord (as opposed to a Gallifreyan one). Then, after first surviving an assault by the Doctor himself to save the child when she's a baby, they transport her from the far future to 1960s America, where they use post-hypnotic suggestion again to cause the Moon landing. This is so the humans develop a spacesuit they can use to keep the child healthy and alive, and they can train her to kill the Doctor. Then, after the child manages to escape, and decides she doesn't want to kill the Doctor, and then saves his life, they keep tabs on her for several thousand years (thanks to her time travelling with the Doctor). At which point, they wait till she graduates from university to put her back in the space suit they developed in the 1960s, time travel her back to 2011 Utah, and put the suit on auto-pilot to force her to shoot the Doctor when he arrives there. Along the way the Silence are nearly wiped out by the Doctor and end up creating another universe0ending time paradox when the child tries to resist shooting the Doctor. And after all that, the Doctor uses a fairly simple Tricked Out Time gambit to survive getting shot.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Despite being around since series 5, it's only in the final episode of series 7 that the Kovarian Chapter's full motivations are revealed: They wanted the Doctor dead before he potentially summoned Gallifrey back into our universe on the planet Trenzalore, an act that could have re-sparked the Time War.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Not exactly heroes, but their ultimate goal is to prevent the Doctor from ever reaching Trenzalore and speaking his name, as that will cause the Time Lords to come back and the Time War to resume, devastating the universe. Their first plan has the side effect of destroying the entire universe apart from the Earth, their second one fails and destroys the linear nature of time — hardly different outcomes from the ones they were trying to prevent in the first place.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: They're the ones responsible for destroying the TARDIS and the universe on June 26, 2010. Silence will fall. Let's put this into perspective. If you make the Daleks try to prevent your victory, you've earned the title.
  • Religion of Evil: They're a religious order with extremely unsavoury beliefs and methods.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Of the Papal Mainframe.
  • Stable Time Loop: By trying to prevent the Doctor from getting to Trenzalore and potentially letting the Time Lords back into the universe through a crack in time, they created the crack in the first place.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Given how much damage the Time War did to the Universe, it's completely understandable why they'd want to stave off another one.
  • You Already Changed the Past: Both of their attempts at killing the Doctor:
    • First, they blew up the TARDIS... which created the cracks in time through which the Time Lords were threatening to return on Trenzalore in the first place.
    • Second, their kidnapping of River Song to turn her into an assassin to kill the Doctor led to her saving his life several times, ensuring he'd live long enough to get there.



The Silence (species)
Played by: Marnix Van Den Broeke (2011)
Voiced by: Barnaby Edwards (2011)

"Silence will fall."

The faces (creepy, creepy faces) of the religious order, the Big Bads of the Eleventh Doctor's run. The Order itself is comprised of a much larger collection of races, but the Priests are the main attraction: in the same vein as the Weeping Angels, you're never safe if you're not looking at the Silence, but for a different reason: as soon as you look away from a Silent Priest, you forget you ever saw it.

  • Alien Invasion: The invasion is long over (at least in an alternate reality anyway). They've been controlling the planet for the last 10,000 years.
  • Amnesia Danger: They cause it due to a function in their biology. As soon as you look away, you forget they're nearby.
  • Badass Boast: In "Day of the Moon", and immediately subverted when the Silent saying it gets shot just to prove him wrong.
    Silent: This world is ours. We have ruled it since the wheel and the fire. We have no need of weapons.
  • Back for the Finale: They appeared in the Eleventh Doctor's last episode, after not appearing for over two years.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: They wear nightmarish versions of stylish black and white business suits.
  • The Blank: They have two prominent eyes, but that's it. They otherwise lack other familiar facial features like a nose, mouth, or ears.
  • Breakout Villain: Along with the Weeping Angels, they are the revival series' most popular villains.
  • Ceiling Cling: They sleep hanging upside down. In packs.
  • Creepy Good: "The Time of the Doctor" reveals that the race, as a whole, are supposed to be the ultimate form of confessional privacy. They are servants of the Papal Mainframe and act in their interests, aside from the Renegade Splinter Faction. They just look scary.
  • Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: Evil Silence wear ties, Good Silence wear collars.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Talk in creepy, raspy voices.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: They have four large spatula fingers, with one large one used to discharge electricity.
  • Glass Cannon: They can easily disintegrate people, break through thick glass and heavy doors, but they can be killed fairly easily through conventional means.
  • The Greys: According to Word of God, the idea is that stories of alien abduction by The Greys, among other things, represent half-retained memories of the Silence when on occasion people don't quite forget everything.
  • Good Shepherd: It is revealed in "The Time of the Doctor" that they are genetically modified priests, and their amnesia aura is intended to make them ideal to confess to.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Doctor drives them off Earth by tricking one of their own into ordering the entire human race to kill them on sight. An untold number of them on Earth end up dead because they tried to kill the Doctor, and if they hadn't made plans to kill him, he wouldn't have even known they existed.
  • Kick the Dog: The first time we get a real scene with a Silent, it blasts a woman to death in front of Amy for no real reason, providing this little pleasant exchange.
    Amy: Why did you kill her?
    Silent: Joy. Her name was Joy.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Their power is to make people forget the moments with them.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: 95% of the time when a character interacts with a Silent and then forgets about it, it's not shown; the scene we see continues abruptly from immediately before to immediately after.
  • The Men in Black: According to Word of God, one of the inspirations for them. Hence the black suits and memory damage.
  • Mundane Utility: Their terrifying ability that any person who sees them forgets they saw them as soon as the person turns away? Turns out that they're confessional priests and the original purpose of the ability was a way of preserving the privacy of the confession.
  • Nightmare Face:
    Amy: You're ugly. Has anyone ever told you that?
  • No Mouth: Although a hole reminiscent of The Scream, where their mouth should be, forms when they discharge electricity.
  • The Noseless: They appear to have nostrils, but no definable nose.
  • Oh, Crap!: Upon realizing that the Doctor just turned their own tactics against them, and now all humans are going to start killing them on sight.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "The Silence" is the name of their Religion of Evil, rather than the species. It's a moot point because even if they were willing to tell people their real name, they'd forget about it as soon as they turned away.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Doctor hadn't even heard of these things before they came after him (at least as far as he can remember).
  • Paranoia Fuel: Acknowledged in-universe. Their unique ability means that they generate this constantly in those who confront them, since as soon as you stop looking at them, you forget if you are in the room with them. Suddenly noticing a lot of tally marks on your skin is a good reason to panic.
  • Psychological Horror: The scariest part about them is how they can be within close range without knowing, and the only sign they're close are tally-marks written on your arms.
  • Religion of Evil: Subverted. They are briefly presented as such, but they actually consider themselves the guardians of history, and will simply act to destroy things they perceive as an unacceptable threat to the future. They were also designed for perfect confessional privacy.
  • Shock and Awe: Their only way of killing someone in person. "The Wedding of River Song" reveals that they can only manipulate existing sources of electricity to create their lightning weapon, so they can be prevented from using it by being insulated from electricity sources.
  • Shout-Out: According to Word of God, they were visually inspired by the famous painting The Scream.
  • The Spook: The entire race is made up of Spooks because no one knows anything about them and it is hard to remember because you forget when encountering them.
  • Squishy Wizard: As they rely on their psychic powers, their manipulations and sometimes lightning, they don't even bother to carry weapons. Fighting openly for them basically means lining up to be butchered.
  • Sssssnake Talk: They have a definite tendency to hiss their S's.
  • Staring Contest: Keep eye contact with them at all times, otherwise you forget them and they kill you.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: They seem perfectly fine when immersed in liquid for long periods in "The Wedding of River Song".
  • Wham Line: "You should kill us all on sight." Not when they say it, but when it is used against them!

    Order of the Headless Monks 

Order of the Headless Monks (Eleventh Doctor)

A mysterious robed religious sect, they serve as the elite guard of the of splinter faction of the Papal Mainframe. The Headless Monks believe that the origin of all sin lies in the head and not the heart, and having interpreted scripture literally, have decided to amputate theirs in the name of their faith.

  • Body Horror: They're not just "headless", they have little twisted neck stumps!
  • Cool Sword: The Headless Monks have cool swords that have red lightning running up and down the blade.
  • Elite Mooks: Word of God is that the Headless Monks are the Church Militant's special forces. They're possibly Elite Zombies as well, since the detectors don't register them as alive.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Headless Monks, monks who don't have heads.
  • In the Hood: The hoods of their robes are capable of standing up so that their literal headlessness is not apparent when the hood is raised. It's normally death to lower one's hood.
  • Off with His Head!!: The Headless Monks ask for a donation upon conversion.
  • Shock and Awe: The Headless Monks' swords have red lightning on the blade when activated.
  • The Undead: They're specifically stated to not show up on a life-detecting scanner.

Individual Members

    Madame Kovarian 

Madame Kovarian (Eleventh Doctor)
Played by: Frances Barber (2011)

"Oh Doctor, fooling you once was a joy. But fooling you twice, in the same way? It's a privilege."

An enemy of the Doctor who seems to regard him as a threat to the rest of existence and will resort to any means to destroy him. She commands a legion of Clerics in her first appearance, and is later revealed to be part of the Order of the Silence.

  • Abusive Parents: She was far from kind to Melody.
  • Arch-Enemy: To the Eleventh Doctor, who she dedicated her life to trying to kill. She's the one behind the Evil Plan in his first two series. Frances Barber even describes her as being the nemesis of Matt Smith's Doctor.
  • Church Militant: In her first full-length appearance, she appears to be the militant leader of the religious coalition against the Doctor in "A Good Man Goes to War". In "The Time of the Doctor", she's explicitly stated to be the head of a splinter group from the Papal Mainframe. This would imply that the Silence under her command rebelled in "The Wedding of River Song", leaving her to die after she'd outlived her usefulness.
  • The Dragon: The most recognizable lackey of the Silence.
  • Entitled Bastard: Has the nerve to ask the woman whose kid she kidnapped and raised into a psychopathic Laser Guided Tyke Bomb (to kill said woman's best friend, to boot) to spare her because that's what the Doctor, a "good man" (the very man she's been plotting to kill) would do, and Amy would "never do anything to disappoint [her] precious Doctor." She gets exactly what she deserved.
    Amy: The Doctor is precious to me, you're right. But do you know what else he is, Madame Kovarian? Not here. [click] River Song didn't get it all from you, sweetie.
  • Epic Fail: Her assassin River Song not only rebels, but almost destroys the universe trying to prevent the Doctor's death. Not to mention her Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!.
  • Evil Gloating: Loves to do this, first to the Doctor in "A Good Man Goes to War" where she talks about how she's fooled him twice, and then to River Song in "Closing Time", where she belittles River's attempts at a independent life.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Starts coming across as this in "Closing Time", where she taunts River Song with a children's rhyme from the shadows. Compared to some of the other hams on this list, she's still pretty subdued.
  • Eyepatch of Power: It's actually an "eye drive" that lets her interact with the Silence without forgetting them.
  • Karma Houdini: As noted below, her Karmic Death happens in an alternate timeline, so she's presumably alive. However, the way Tasha Lem speaks about her in "The Time of the Doctor", she implies Madame Kovarian and her followers faced some kind of punishment at the hands of the Papal Mainframe.
  • Karmic Death: Of a sort. In the alternate timeline created by River not killing the Doctor, Amy lets her die from the eyepatch, which the Silence boobytrapped. Since that timeline is erased, though, she's presumably alive.
  • Knight Templar: Confirmed in "The Time of the Doctor", where Tasha Lem reveals that Madame Kovarian leads a group that broke off from the Papal Mainframe to launch a crusade against the Doctor. (Word of Gay also says she's Tasha Lem's ex-wife.)
  • Manipulative Bitch: Has proved herself quite capable of manipulating the Doctor — and relishes it. Just read the quote.
  • No Name Given: Prior to "A Good Man Goes to War", she was never named on-screen and listed only as "Eye-Patch Lady" in the credits.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: "The Time of the Doctor" reveals that the Kovarian Chapter is this for the Papal Mainframe. While the Papal Mainframe are trying to preserve the Siege of Trenzalore and prevent it escalating into open war, Madame Kovarian decided to try and alter history to prevent the Doctor from ever reaching Trenzalore in the first place.
    • This, rather ironically, bit her in the ass, because if she'd just stayed put at Trenzalore, the cracks in the universe would never have happened and no one would have gone to Trenzalore (not mentioning that without River, the Doctor would have probably died much earlier on in his time stream.) Nice job fixing it, villain indeed.
  • Smug Snake: She has an incredibly oily, unpleasant demeanour.
  • Stable Time Loop: Had she stayed in her own time and not attempted to kill the Doctor by creating River, River would have not been there to sacrifice herself in "Forest of the Dead", meaning the Tenth Doctor would have been killed while in the Library and (indirectly) not regenerated into the Eleventh Doctor. And this has more consequences:
    • The Tenth Doctor would not have been around to stop Davros from destroying reality, meaning her time would no longer exist.
    • Without the Eleventh Doctor, the War Doctor would activate the Moment, destroying Gallifrey instead of putting it in a Pocket Dimension.
  • Villains Want Mercy: She has the gall to beg Amy for help when her booby-trapped eyepatch is triggered. Amy refuses and puts the eyepatch back on her.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Every possible outcome of her plan in "A Good Man Goes to War" includes either the Doctor's death or her escaping with Amy's daughter, meaning her ultimate goal is either accomplished or still easily attainable.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She was only killed in an alternate universe, meaning that she survived in the main timeline.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When the Silence have the Doctor in their grasp, they decide they don't need her anymore, and trigger the kill switch in her eyepatch.


Example of: