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Slitheen

Raxacoricofallapatorian of the Slitheen family

The Slitheen are a family of massive, bipedal extraterrestrials from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and adversaries of the Doctor. They first appeared in the 2005 series episodes "Aliens of London" and "World War Three", and subsequently recur in later episodes of both Doctor Who and spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures. They are creatures of living calcium, hatched from eggs and native to the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius. While, strictly speaking, the name "Slitheen" refers to a specific family, the term has been used by the Doctor and Rose to refer to the Raxacoricofallapatorian race in general.

The Slitheen are a ruthless criminal sect whose main motivation is profit, but they have an almost ritualised love of hunting, being trained to hunt and kill from a young age. The members of the family are convicted criminals on their planet, being subject to the death penalty.

Physical characteristicsEdit

Raxacoricofallapatorians have a greenish tint to their skin and are eight feet tall with long forearms that end in powerful claws. They do not appear to have eyelids, but have a nictitating membrane. They have a very developed sense of smell, able to track a single target across a few city blocks, smell adrenaline and hormones in people, and can sense if one of their own dies. Female Raxacoricofallapatorians can produce poisons within their bodies which they then use against their enemies. Known methods of delivery include a poisoned dart that is formed in the finger and then fired and exhalation of poisoned breath.

The Slitheen are also able to disguise themselves by fitting into the skins of their victims, using compression fields created by a collar worn around their necks to squeeze their huge size into a slightly smaller space. Initially the compression ratio had its limits, so the disguises tended to be that of already obese people. This issue was overcome by new technology by the time of The Lost Boy in which the skins of thinner people were used (by the Red Nose Day special short people could also be used). The exchange of gases that compression entails also builds up within the acquired skin, causing a condition similar to flatulence in humans (the expelled gas smells like bad breath, which the Doctor noted was a form of calcium decay, although in reality the bacteria that cause tooth decay are different from those that cause bad breath). This side-effect is also overcome by the newer technology in The Lost Boy.

The compression field also seems to have the side effect of weakening their calcium structures, making them vulnerable to acetic acid, which reacts explosively — and fatally — with their bodies. One of the Raxacoricofallapatorian methods of execution is the lowering of the condemned into a cauldron of acetic acid, which is then heated to boiling. The acidity of the solution is formulated to dissolve the skin, allowing the internal organs to drop into the liquid while the condemned is still alive, reducing them to "soup" and resulting in a slow and painful death. In "World War Three", when a single Slitheen was electrocuted, the effects were somehow transmitted to other Slitheen, even those across the city. This could be attributed to electrical device placed on the compression collar of the Slitheen, as the collars are all connected. One was also able to sense the death of another Slitheen. Whether this "connection" is a racial trait, limited to family members, or a side-effect of the compression collars they wore is unclear.

History within the showEdit

When they first appeared in "Aliens of London" (set in 2006), the Slitheen had been in Great Britain for quite some time, and managed to infiltrate themselves into various levels of British society, from community leaders and military personnel to mid-level politicians and government officials. Their intent was to instigate World War III and sell the radioactive remains of Earth to a depressed galactic economy as fuel for interstellar spacecraft. To that end, they staged the crash landing of an alien spaceship in central London complete with a pig they had cybernetically augmented to provide an "extraterrestrial" body.

With the world in a state of heightened alert and panic, and with one of their number assuming the role of Acting Prime Minister, they persuaded the United Nations to give the United Kingdom permission to use its nuclear arsenal against the alien "massive weapons of destruction". Before the Slitheen could receive the launch codes, the Ninth Doctor arranged for a Harpoon missile to demolish 10 Downing Street, ending the scheme and presumably their lives.

However, at least one Slitheen (the one who had assumed the identity of Margaret Blaine of MI5) did survive and appeared in the episode "Boom Town". In the intervening six months, "Blaine" managed to get elected as the Lord Mayor of Cardiff and planned to get off Earth by using the energy from a new nuclear power station to interact with the Cardiff Rift, not caring that it would destroy the planet in the process. Blaine was stopped by the Doctor and his companions, and on exposure to the "heart" of the TARDIS, regressed to an egg. The Doctor then took the egg back to the hatcheries on Raxacoricofallapatorius so she could be given a second chance at life.

Some years after "World War Three", in Revenge of the Slitheen (set in either 2008 or 2009)[1] another group of Slitheen infiltrated a building company to try and turn off the Sun and destroy Earth by draining the world's energy. After the Commander is killed by Maria Jackson, Luke Smith was able to trick the Slitheen into resetting their machinery which then malfunctioned and blew up. However all but two of the remaining Slitheen involved escaped, including the first child Slitheen to appear, who later returned. It is mentioned that the Judoon have begun to force out the Slitheen, and the various other families have been working against them. Of these, the families Blathereen and Hostrazeen are mentioned to be part of the Raxacoricofallapatorian ruling bodies, the Senate and the Grand Council.

They return in The Lost Boy where, using the newer compression technology, two are able to pose as Luke's 'real' parents. They are led by the child Slitheen from Revenge of the Slitheen who wishes to avenge the deaths of his family. Another shorter adult Slitheen appeared in the 2009 Red Nose Day special, where he masqueraded as a galactic diplomat in a failed attempt to steal Sarah Jane's computer Mr Smith.

In "Dalek", a stuffed Raxacoricofallapatorian arm was among a collection of alien artifacts owned by American billionaire Henry van Statten in the year 2012.

Other appearancesEdit

The Slitheen also appeared in the New Series Adventures novel The Monsters Inside by Stephen Cole. When the Ninth Doctor and Rose are arrested in the Justicia System in the year 2501, the Doctor shares a cell with Dram Fel-Fotch and Ecktosca Fel-Fotch Happen-Bar Slitheen, who claim that after the Earth incident, the remnants of the family went bankrupt and had become historians. However, it transpires that the Slitheen have not given up business, but are in conflict with a more influential family, the Blathereen. When the Doctor and Rose defeat an attempted Blathereen takeover of the system, the Slitheen are pleased to see they can once again become the profit-holders of their race. The Blathereen were mentioned again in the Sarah Jane adventures episode Revenge of the Slitheen.

Rose mentions the Slitheen Parliament of Raxacoricofallapatorius in "The Christmas Invasion" (though it should be noted she's making her entire speech up on the spot based on words and phrases she's picked up on her travels with the Doctor, and a Slitheen Parliament is a nonsense term), and a Raxacoricofallapatorian (referred to by the Doctor as a Slitheen) was captured by the Graske in the mini-episode "Attack of the Graske". Rose also accuses the Doctor (after his regeneration into the Tenth Doctor) of being a Slitheen in disguise in the 2005 Children in Need mini-episode and the Doctor makes a passing reference to the Slitheen and their skin-suits in "The Runaway Bride".

In the 2006 series episode "Love & Monsters", an alien called the Abzorbaloff, whose natural form is similar to that of the Slitheen, claims to be from Raxacoricofallapatorius's twin planet Clom. The Slitheen space ship from "Aliens of London" was also seen in a flashback in the same episode.

A Slitheen appears briefly in the Tenth Doctor novel The Nightmare of Black Island by Mike Tucker, created from Rose's memories, along with a Dalek and the Nestene Consciousness. The Slitheen are also briefly referenced by The Doctor in the same novel while speaking to a member of the Cynrog about hiding under human-like skinsuits. In the later novel, The Last Dodo, when the Doctor is asked if he's ever had a dream, he claims to have a recurring one in which a Slitheen on a rocking horse chases him.

The Slitheen appear in John Smith's A Journal of Impossible Things in the episode "Human Nature". The scribbled words by the drawing note that "its always for money." A Fact File book about the Slitheen has also been released.

In Torchwood episode 6 "Reset" a newspaper clipping of the Slitheen posing as Margaret Blaine, previously seen in "Boom Town", can be seen as Martha Jones enters the Hub.

The Doctor Who website features a segment called Captain Jack's Monster Files, narrated by John Barrowman, which detail the ins-and-outs of alien species. An episode focusing on the Slitheen[1] also shows a family tree making reference to a number of other related families, all sharing the -een name suffix, with the exception of the "Absorbalovian Rebels", referring to the Absorbaloff from "Love & Monsters", from the twin planet of Clom.

NamingEdit

One of the factors that helped the Doctor determine the home planet of the Slitheen was the fact that they had a hyphenated surname. Examples include the names Blon Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen, and Jocrassa Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen; however, the surname "Slitheen" is obviously not hyphenated. The mention of Happen-Bar Slitheen in The Monsters Inside suggests that the hyphenated name preceding Slitheen is the surname referred to, that of a family sub-unit. One subtitle gave the name Sip Fel-Fotch Passameer-Day-Slitheen, also suggesting that Slitheen is a shortened form, but the shooting script version does not have a hyphen inserted between Day and Slitheen (Doctor Who: The Shooting Scripts)

The Slitheen names mentioned in "Aliens of London" and "World War Three" are:

  • Blon Fel Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen
  • Sip Fel Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen
  • Jocrassa Fel Fotch Pasameer-Day Slitheen

The people murdered by the family and used as skinsuits are:

  • MP Joseph Green of Hartley Dale
  • Margaret Blaine, a member of MI5
  • Oliver Charles, transport liaison of the Prime Minister
  • General Asquith, head of the British Army
  • Assistant Commissioner Strickland of the London Metropolitan Police.
  • Group Captain Tennant James of the Royal Air Force
  • Ewan McAllister, Deputy Secretary of the Scottish Parliament
  • Sylvia Dillane, chairman of the North Sea Boating Club.

In the book The Monsters Inside:

  • Dram Fel Fotch Happen-Bar Slitheen
  • Ecktosca Fel Fotch Happen-Bar Slitheen

In The Sarah Jane Adventures serials, Revenge of the Slitheen:

  • Kist Mag Thek Lutiven-Day Slitheen
  • Glune Fex Fize Sharlaveer-Slam Slitheen
  • Korst Gogg Thek Lutvien-Day Slitheen

AppearancesEdit

Doctor Who
The Sarah Jane Adventures
Novels

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