In chat, the question came up who the Great Intelligence is. As it turns out, there is a deep connection between Dr. Who and the Cthulhu mythos. To preserve that conversation and possibly expand on the answer, I'll repeat Slytherincess's question here:

Who or what is the Great Intelligence?

  • 4
    "As it turns out, there is a deep connection between Dr. Who and the Cthulhu mythos" Source? – Brian S Apr 1 '14 at 15:25
  • Second @BrianS's question. And let's not confuse Lovecraftian with "Cthulhu Mythos". The mythos deals directly with the gods laid out in HP's work. Lovecraftian describes the overall style and behavior of creatures like The Old Ones. – joshbirk Apr 1 '14 at 16:15
  • @joshbirk the premise of the question assumes you take the various Doctor Who novels as "canonishy"; there are a few novels where The Doctor explicitly encounters Cthulhu, Dagon, and others, and at least two where the GI was explicitly identified as Yog-Sothoth. I don't usually consider any novels canon since they're all over the place in terms of continuity, but so far nothing on TV has contradicted those novels, to my knowledge. – KutuluMike Apr 1 '14 at 18:19
  • @MichaelEdenfield - I get that, but if the question is inferring that The Great Intelligences is Yog-Sothoth, it could have effectively answered itself. – joshbirk Apr 1 '14 at 18:31

The Great Intelligence is a member of a race of beings, known as the Great Old Ones, that existed in the Universe prior to our own. It's originally known as Yog-Sothoth, and they escaped the destruction of their own universe by going to a parallel universe that ended a second after theirs, and then shifted once more into the new universe (ours). It had no physical form in our universe for a while and was originally described as a cloud.

The Great Intelligence - Tardis Data Core

Originating from the universe before this one, Yog-Sothoth and his brethren survived the end of their universe by passing through a parallel universe/dimension that ended one second after theirs. Shifting again allowed them to enter the current universe shortly after it began expanding. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire, Millennial Rites) Like the other Great Old Ones, it may have lost its body when it ran from the Fendahl. (PROSE: White Darkness) The Intelligence constantly sought physical existence to replace being a shapeless, formless cloud hanging in space. (TV: The Web of Fear)

It took a few forms throughout the years...

A pyramid of control spheres in the Homevid Downtime and The Abominable Snowmen..

When not using a living being, it maintained a basic manifestation as a three-sided pyramid composed of control spheres (TV: The Abominable Snowmen) or ivory. (HOMEVID: Downtime)

enter image description here

Living Snow using low level telepathic field in Abominable Snowmen..

enter image description here

Then after getting enough mental energy and feeding for a while after Bells of Saint John he formed his own body via host of beings known as The Whisper Men though it wasn't complete physical manifestation.

The Whisper Men could morph into the appearance of Walter Simeon at will, and much like the human embodiment of the Great Intelligence, seemed to be hollow on the inside, or unreal. They moved slowly, and lacked features, except for extremely white faces with blackened skin around their mouths and sharp teeth. They had angular faces with vague depressions where eyes should be, and exaggerated chins and cheeks. They wore the same Victorian garb as the Great Intelligence's form as Walter Simeon. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)

enter image description here


According to the TARDIS wikia on the Great Intelligence:

The Great Intelligence, which usually referred to itself simply as the Intelligence and was originally known as Yog-Sothoth, was a disembodied sentience who attempted to find a body and physical existence.


The Great Intelligence's exact nature was a mystery. The Second Doctor thought the best way to describe it was as a "formless, shapeless thing, floating out in space like a cloud of mist, only with a mind and will." (TV: The Web of Fear). Both Lethbridge-Stewart and the Eleventh Doctor identified it as a mind parasite, whereas the Intelligence considered itself a mass of thoughts with a single thought.

(emphasis mine)

  • Interesting, so it might be a direct reference to an Old One, or it might be a Whovian alien named for one. – joshbirk Apr 1 '14 at 17:57
  • It's referred to in the wikia as one of race of beings known as the Great Old Ones like I described in my answer which expands information found on the same wikia, as well as showing his various forms. – DoctorWho22 Apr 1 '14 at 19:53
  • The Lovecraft references were added in the novels, and as such can only be described as "possibly canon". If the show ever gives a "definitive" origin of the Great Intelligence, it will render any book descriptions null. – VBartilucci Oct 9 '18 at 13:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.