Magnus Greel

Magnus Greel
Magnus Greel

Facts

Name: Magnus Greel (AKA Weng-Chiang)

Format: Television show

Time of Origin: Originally from the year 5000 before he travelled back in time to China in 1872; confronted The Doctor in London in 1889.

Appearances:The Talons of Weng-Chiang” and “The Butcher of Brisbane

Doctors: Fourth Doctor and Fifth Doctor

Companions: Leela, Nyssa, Tegan Jovanka and Turlough

Gallery

click on images to enlarge

Biography

Magnus Greel was the Minister of Justice for the Supreme Alliance of Eastern States in the 51st century. When the Alliance fell to the Filipino Army in the Battle of Reykjavik, he became a wanted war criminal. He escaped by using an experimental time cabinet. He went to the late 19th century China and then to London, where he continued his depraved activities on a smaller scale. This made him the first human to officially travel through time.

In Greel’s time, the Earth was split into a number of warring alliances. The Icelandic Alliance and Greel’s Supreme Alliance were at war. The Icelandic Alliance fell when Greel had the doll-like but homicidal cyborg known as the Peking Homunculus assassinate its commissioner Ingrid Bjarnsdottir (The Talons of Weng-Chiang; The Butcher of Brisbane), setting off World War VI. (Doctor Who and the Talons of Weng-Chiang)

He considered himself a driving force in the project in which his nation pioneered time travel. Apart from that he also personally experimented with the catalytic extraction chamber, an attempt to cannibalise life energies. One hundred thousand “enemies of the state” were massacred for these experiments.

As the Supreme Alliance’s ironically named Minister of Justice, Greel carried out an atrocity earning him the title of the “Butcher of Brisbane.” (The Talons of Weng-Chiang) A human monster, Greel thought nothing of unprovoked murder and cannibalism. (Under Reykjavik)

After the defeat of the Supreme Alliance in the Battle of Reykjavik, Greel utilised a time cabinet to travel with the Peking Homunculus back in time to 19th century China. Using information provided by his fifth incarnation, the earlier Doctor was able to prevent further bloodshed, bringing the brief Sixth World War to a close. (The Talons of Weng-Chiang; The Butcher of Brisbane)

LIVING AS A GOD

Greel passed himself off as a god, Weng-Chiang, to Li H’sen Chang. With Chang posing as a conjurer and the Homunculus as a ventriloquist’s dummy called Mr Sin, they eventually found themselves in London.

The passage through time had caused great damage to Greel’s DNA, deforming him. He wore a mask and concealing clothes to hide his true form. While Greel lived in fear of Time Agents, Chang abducted young women, including Emma Buller, for Greel to use their life energy to restore himself — a method which was inherently flawed and only accelerated the damage.

Eventually he tried to restore his body using the time cabinet, but was instead shoved inside his own extraction chamber by the Fourth Doctor, resulting in fatal cellular collapse. (The Talons of Weng-Chiang)

SURVIVAL IN THE 20TH CENTURY

Greel’s mind was later reconstituted by Guinevere Godiva in 1968 by using a Venusian crystal. He took possession of Detective Inspector Dave Sacker to continue living. Jago and Litefoot discovered Greel’s plan to return. Greel died when Ellie Higson stood in the distillation chamber and overloaded the power of his time cabinet. (The Final Act)

BEHIND THE SCENES

Weng-Chiang was originally going to be the Master, following on from The Deadly Assassin, but producer Philip Hinchcliffe had this changed as he didn’t want to have the Master revealed as the secret villain again. Alan Barnes has pointed out several clues in the story that still point to the original plan: the time cabinet (“read ‘TARDIS‘”) and Greel referring to Leela as “the first morsel to feed my regeneration”. (Doctor Who Magazine #475: The Fact of Fiction)

top of page

error: Content is protected
Skip to content