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Sutekh
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Sutekh was a powerful Osiran who desired to destroy all life in the universe so that no form of life could ever challenge his hegemony. Beyond that, he believed his acts of destruction freed those he killed from the tyranny of hope and choice, instead delivering them with the certainty of death. To the human people of Earth, he was mistaken for a god, and was worshipped by the Egyptian culture.

He was an enemy of the Doctor, facing him in at least two of his incarnations, and after millennia of exposure to the Time Vortex, he eventually attained true godlike power, and began forming a grander plan to cleanse the universe of all life and sentience. In the process, Sutekh became the head of the Pantheon of Discord, garnering fear from even the likes of the Toymaker and Maestro.

He was known as Sutekh the Destroyer, Sutekh the God of Death, Set, Setekh, (TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975).) Seth (PROSE: The Sands of Time) the Jackal, (PROSE: Going Once, Going Twice), The Oldest One (TV: The Devil's Chord [+]Doctor Who (BBC One and Disney+, 2024).) and the One Who Waits. (TV: The Giggle [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials (BBC One and Disney+, 2023)., The Devil's Chord [+]Doctor Who (BBC One and Disney+, 2024)., The Legend of Ruby Sunday [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who series 14 (BBC One and Disney+, 2024).)

History[]

Origins[]

Like in the Egyptian myths on Earth, Sutekh was the son of Geb, (AUDIO: Ozymandias) having been bred alongside Osiris (later reincarnated as Horus) to channel the power of Ra. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years) He was the husband of Nephthys, who was also his and Horus's sister. (PROSE: The Sands of Time)

Sutekh became "head of security" for the Osirian Court, being its most fearsome and powerful warrior, (AUDIO: The Judgment of Sutekh) the second and greatest of the "Three Divine Shields" who protected the sentient sun Ra (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years) from such threats as the serpents created by the Great Houses, (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) such as Apep. (PROSE: Going Once, Going Twice) He eventually intimidated the Great Houses into making peace with the Osirians by releasing a vampiric army of Mal'akhs on the medieval Mediterranean basin, making a credible claim to the ability to upset the structure of History in a major way. After they had served their purpose, he left his Mal'akh army behind. (AUDIO: Coming to Dust)

At war with the universe[]

Jealous that Osiris' accomplishments civilising 660 worlds were being celebrated more than his own, (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) Sutekh killed him. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years) Believing that he deserved to take over the throne of the Osirian Court, since it owed its survival to him, he made himself even more powerful than his fellow Osirians, taming the forces of the Outer Desert, of which even Ra was afraid, (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years) and making a bargain with the Kotturuh, who allowed him to carry their "Gift of Death" himself. (PROSE: The Guide to the Dark Times)

After Osiris was resurrected as Horus in the body of Cousin Eliza, Sutekh declared a time war against Horus for the Osirian throne. (AUDIO: Ozymandias) As recalled by the Fourth Doctor, Sutekh destroyed his home planet Phaester Osiris and subsequently left a "trail of havoc across half the galaxy". During this time, he was called many names on every civilised world, including the Typhonian Beast, Set, Sadok, and Satan. (TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975).) Among the planets where Sutekh and the Osirans fought was Youkali. (PROSE: Return of the Living Dad) The two armies fought a great battle in Egypt; at the end, Sutekh found his traitorous wife Nephthys and a heavily-wounded Horus in the Temple of Geb. Horus (in reality, just Eliza pretending to be Horus) begged Sutekh to finish the battle, complaining about being tired of fighting and Sutekh's boringness. Angered, Sutekh ripped out Horus' heart.

Elated at killing his opponent and winning the contest, Sutekh told Nephthys that he planned to erase Horus' name from the universe. However, she claimed that Faction Paradox would always remember and resist Sutekh's claim to the throne. Though Cousin Justine had gone into hiding, Sutekh read from Nephthys' mind that the Faction had allies in the 18th century.

On 16 October, 1764, Sutekh forced John Pennerton to direct the Society of Sigismondo di Rimini to declare war on Faction Paradox and seek out its members. Though the society had found no trace of Justine by 8 November, Sutekh felt an "intrusion" in Volanto. There he found Abelard Finton, who he tortured ruthlessly until he divulged that the timeship was in the Mediterranean Sea and Justine had returned to the Osirian Court. Sutekh then brought Finton to Pennerton and released them both from his control; Finton died shortly thereafter.

Going to the Mediterranean, Sutekh found not Justine's timeship but the barge of Geb, who was investigating Corwyn Marne's claim that Sutekh had left for Earth. When confronted, Geb said that he'd found Sutekh's body on Mars, barely alive, and buried him in a pyramid while a proper prison was built. Angry and outraged, Sutekh attacked Geb and dumped him in the Temple of Geb, just in time to watch an earlier version of Sutekh kill Horus.

Above the Osirian Court, Sutekh confronted the simulacrum copy of Justine, accompanied by an earlier version of Finton, in the Ship of a Billion Years. This simulacrum had been trained to resist Sutekh's mind control, and when he opened a direct channel between their minds during his attack, she lashed out with her shadow-weapon, revealing herself to be the real Justine, hidden behind a bio-screen built by Anubis. (AUDIO: The Judgment of Sutekh) The ensuing duel saw the two "wrestling in the oxidised dirt" of Mars, knocking the very world from its temporal foundations, making it "uncertain"; this caused the existence of the native species of Martians, who had been worshipping the Osirians as gods, to be reduced to a state of flux forever after; they "existed one moment, and did not the next," as Gustav explained. (PROSE: Going Once, Going Twice)

Ultimately, Horus succeeded in severing some of Sutekh's neural connections, dumped him on Mars, and called Geb to tell him to look there. At Sutekh's funeral, almost the entire Osirian Court came to pay its respects. Justine and Horus agreed to tell the Court that Sutekh had been cornered on Earth by Horus' seven-hundred-and-some fellow warriors. This version of events was repeated in the official records and legends of Earth and throughout the galaxy. (AUDIO: The Judgment of Sutekh)

Imprisonment[]

The Fourth Doctor repeated this claim to Sarah Jane Smith, saying that 740 Osirans led by Horus had cornered and defeated Sutekh on Earth. Sarah recognised the name from the 740 gods recorded in the tomb of Thutmose III.

As both the Doctor and Professor Marcus Scarman would later discover, Sutekh was entombed but alive in a pyramid in Saqqara in Egypt. The Doctor claimed that Horus left Sutekh in the tomb for seven thousand years by 1911. The Eye of Horus on Mars beamed a signal to suppress Sutekh's powers and hold him prisoner. The tales of the Osirans were remembered in Egyptian mythology. Sutekh still retained a cult of followers, such as Ibrahim Namin; (TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975).) after his imprisonment, he had taken on the name of "the Red God" and was recognised, though reviled, in the cults of ancient Egypt as a god of evil. The Legend of Sutekh, passed down through generations of worshippers of Horus, claimed that Sutekh's worshippers were invariably "dissolute of heart" and that they could be recognised by the reddening of the whites of their eyes. (PROSE: Background)

In 1903, after receiving a wealth of information from the future, Grigori Rasputin foresaw, among other things, the coming of this Egyptian god. (AUDIO: The Wanderer)

Freed by Scarman[]

In 1911, the archaeologist Professor Marcus Scarman excavated the inner chamber of the pyramid beneath which Sutekh was imprisoned, discovering Sutekh and thereby accidentally allowing him a chance of escape. Sutekh controlled Scarman's corpse, using it and Osiran service robots to construct an Osiran war missile in an English priory aimed at the Eye of Horus on Mars. The Fourth Doctor and Sarah were able to destroy the missile, but the Doctor fell under the psychic control of Sutekh's will as a result. He was made to take Scarman and the robots to Mars in his TARDIS.

Despite the Doctor's attempt to stop them after surviving an attempt on his life by one of Sutekh's robots, Scarman destroyed the Eye and freed Sutekh. Hurrying back to Earth, the Doctor defeated Sutekh by delaying his trip in a time corridor to the priory by moving the corridor's threshold to the far future, thus effectively ageing him to death; the Doctor thought he had lived for seven thousand years before succumbing. (TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975).)

Imprisoned in the Eternals' Void[]

Anubekh confers with Sutekh

Anubekh contacts the original Sutekh, still trapped in the Void. (COMIC: Old Girl)

However, Sutekh survived by "stepping sideways" at the last moment, remaining trapped in a sort of limbo state in the Void, alive and unaging, but once more unable to move, let alone leave. However, a fragment of Sutekh's mind whom he had planted in the biodata of his son Anubis before his imprisonment managed to take over Anubis's body and put into motion a plan to free Sutekh and remerge with him to recover his original body. While in the Void, Sutekh struck reluctant bargains with many of the other horrors banished there to have them follow him into the universe, to which, being a native of it, he was still more tethered than they. (COMIC: Old Girl)

A war of gods[]

Sutekh battling gods

Sutekh expends his newfound power battling other gods. (COMIC: Old Girl)

After emerging back into the universe through the Circle of Transcendence, Sutekh spent some time hunting down two the abominations which whom he had bargained: he destroyed the King Nocturne altogether and cast the Destroyer back into the Circle. In truth, expecting the Tenth Doctor, who was present on the Shining Horizon when Sutekh reemerged, to try and reverse the dimensional conduits to suck Sutekh back into the Void, Sutekh had deliberately "plugged" the Circle with the biomass of the Destroyer. Hence, when the Doctor tried to spring his trap, Sutekh redirected the energy towards himself, using it to rejuvenate his physical form.

Draining some of Anubis's psyche to stabilise the result, Sutekh merged back with Anubekh and returned to his full power. However, before he could destroy the Doctor, the Time Lord addressed the other released gods (who included one of the Gods of Ragnarok and the Dragon). He pointed out how Sutekh had already betrayed two of the deities he had bargained with in the Void, also noting that so long as they existed in the physical realm, the gods counted as "life", and were thus the natural enemies of Sutekh. Sutekh then battled the released gods before focusing his attention on the Doctor. In the end, Dorothy Bell herself revealed her identity as the mortal incarnation of his own Hand of Sutekh to him. She used her abilities as the Hand to partially merge with Sutekh, trapping him in her embrace, and then pulled him back into the Void with her, giving up her own freedom for the universe and to save the Doctor from making this sacrifice in her place. (COMIC: Old Girl)

Later confrontations with the Doctor[]

Only the body of Sutekh was defeated by the Doctor. Years later, his consciousness found a way into a new body created for him using an Osirian flesh loom. (AUDIO: The Pyramid of Sutekh) He escaped from Mars and travelled back in time to the reign of Hatshepsut, in order to coerce Tutmosis to usurp his mother's throne and start his reign of terror on the world. (AUDIO: The Eye of Horus)

He thought he had destroyed the world by the time of the 21st century which surprised Russell Courtland who had predicted it. He went across the Earth devouring in his wake but left his worshippers till last. The Seventh Doctor tricked him by showing him the solar flare ravaged Earth in the 29th century. He went back in time to start over again, and this created an ouroboros loop. (AUDIO: The Tears of Isis)

Sutekh later encountered the Fourth Doctor and Leela on the planet Drummond. Sutekh was using the Rene.net to control the populace to "Kill the Doctor!" and to transform Drummond into the new home of the Osirans. (AUDIO: Kill the Doctor!, The Age of Sutekh)

The Pantheon[]

In another account, when the Fourth Doctor tried to age him to death using the time vortex, (TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975).) Sutekh survived by latching onto the Doctor's TARDIS during its travels through the vortex. The god of death secretly followed the various incarnations of the Doctor on their journeys throughout time and space, using his powers and the time machine's perception filter to spread his "angels of death" wherever and whenever they landed, completely undetected by the Doctor. According to Sutekh, he ascended to his true power as a god during this time. (TV: Empire of Death [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who series 14 (BBC One and Disney+, 2024).)

Once the Toymaker managed to escape into the universe, he found the One Who Waits "hiding". Whilst the Toymaker had bested the Guardians of Time and Space, the dying Spy Master and "God", he opted to flee rather than challenge the One Who Waits to a game. He later told the Fourteenth Doctor of his decision to flee from the One Who Waits, with whom the Doctor was not familiar, (TV: The Giggle [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials (BBC One and Disney+, 2023).) something the Toymaker found "hilarious". The Toymaker thus decided not to spoil the surprise, (PROSE: The Giggle [+]James Goss, adapted from The Giggle (Russell T Davies), 60th Anniversary Novels (Target Books, 2023).) instead cryptically telling the Doctor it was "someone else's game." (TV: The Giggle [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials (BBC One and Disney+, 2023).)

When Maestro discovered that a carol named "Carol of the Bells", which was being sung inside the church on Ruby Road on the night of Ruby Sunday's birth, was hidden within Ruby's soul, they seemed to sense a power in the song similar to that of the Oldest One, despite stating, incredulous, that "on the night of her birth, he [couldn't] have been there". The discovery led Maestro, unable to absorb the music in her heart, to release Ruby, remarking to a baffled Fifteenth Doctor that that "creature" was "very wrong". After their defeat in 1963, Maestro, the child of the Toymaker, warned the Doctor saying: "The One Who Waits is almost here". (TV: The Devil's Chord [+]Doctor Who (BBC One and Disney+, 2024).)

While attempting to uncover the mysteries of Susan Triad and Ruby Sunday's past, the Fifteenth Doctor unwittingly fell into a trap which had been set for him by Sutekh. While using UNIT's time window, a rough manifestation of Sutekh's form began to appear surrounding the TARDIS. Later scans by the Vlinx revealed that Sutekh had latched onto the TARDIS at some previous point and that he had lured the Doctor to 2024 as part of a plan involving his servants Susan Triad and Harriet Arbinger. Sutekh then manifested into physical form atop the TARDIS as Kate Lethbridge Stewart and her team confronted him. (TV: The Legend of Ruby Sunday [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who series 14 (BBC One and Disney+, 2024).)

Completely unaffected by UNIT's attacks, Sutekh began spreading his dust of death throughout time and space, bringing death to everything in the universe, even the stars. Now in full control of the TARDIS, Sutekh confronted the Doctor, Ruby, and Melanie Bush in the time window, explaining his survival and his plan and demanding answers about Ruby's mother, the one person who the god could not see. However, the Doctor and his companions managed to escape in the Memory TARDIS and Sutekh began focusing his efforts on finding them and forcing the Doctor to reveal the identity of Ruby's mother. Eventually, Sutekh managed to find and take over Mel as she, the Doctor, and Ruby were using Roger ap Gwilliam's DNA database in the year 2046 to find answers.

Transported back to 2024, Ruby seemingly offered Sutekh their findings before she and the Doctor sprang into action, having set a trap for the god of death after realising that Mel had been compromised. As Ruby attached intelligent rope to Sutekh's collar, the Doctor used a whistle to take back control of the TARDIS, vaporising the Harbinger and forcing Sutekh off of the top with a blast of energy from the Heart of the TARDIS. Attaching the other end of the rope to the TARDIS control console, the Doctor and Ruby dragged Sutekh throughout time and space using the time vortex, bringing death to the death that Sutekh had spread and restoring everyone whom he had killed. Anguished, the Doctor declared that Sutekh had won because he would have to become a monster in order to protect life. The Doctor cut the rope tying the god of death to the TARDIS, sending him falling unprotected into the wall of the time vortex. Unable to withstand the power of the time vortex, Sutekh burned up in a matter of moments, killing him.

Afterwards, none of the people who were killed by Sutekh could remember just what had happened to them during that time. It was discovered that Ruby's mother, Louise Miller, was just an ordinary woman, but the belief that she held such importance was what had made her so powerful in the end. (TV: Empire of Death [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who series 14 (BBC One and Disney+, 2024).)

Other references[]

When the Skith Leader scanned the Tenth Doctor's mind, Sutekh was among the alien creatures shown to him. (COMIC: The First)

In the course of his astral travels, William Burroughs once found himself in "an Egyptian court torn apart by the conflict between Horus and Sutekh". (PROSE: The Ugly Spirit)

In his novelisation of his battle with the Doctor, the Toymaker promised the Doctor's inevitable encounter with The One Who Waits would be novelised as Doctor Who and the I'm Not Going to Tell You. (PROSE: The Giggle [+]James Goss, adapted from The Giggle (Russell T Davies), 60th Anniversary Novels (Target Books, 2023).)

Personality[]

"Evil? Your evil is my good. I am Sutekh the Destroyer. Where I tread I leave nothing but dust and darkness. I find that good."Sutekh [src]

Sutekh was somewhat paranoid, fearing that all lifeforms might potentially rise up against him. This paranoia led to his decision to destroy all life wherever he found it, with his name being known and abominated on all civilised worlds throughout the universe. Despite this, he was extremely intelligent and patient. (TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975).)

Even the Mal'akh he had enslaved, whose will he broke until they told him that they loved him, were but a means to an end for Sutekh, (AUDIO: Coming to Dust) as they were to Upuat after he freed them from Suteh's control. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years)

When speaking to the Tenth Doctor on the reasons for all his actions, Sutekh justifies himself by claiming that evil and cruelty are inevitable in life, so he was merely taking everything to its logical end of becoming dust and darkness. Sutekh further claimed that he was liberating all life from having the terror of choice and the tyranny of hope to give them the certainty of death instead, therefore in his mind he was being good by ending suffering throughout the universe, a logic that the Doctor noted was wrong in the end. (COMIC: Old Girl)

Powers and abilities[]

Sutekh 2

Sutekh exerts his will on the Fourth Doctor. (TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975).)

Sutekh possessed immense power: he could change the course of history and destroy entire star systems. The Fourth Doctor once took Sarah Jane Smith to an alternate 1980, where the Earth had become a ruined and abandoned wasteland orbiting a dead star due to the destruction Sutekh caused. According to the Doctor, not even the Time Lords could stop Sutekh when he was in possession of his full powers. (TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975).) Lolita said that if he became king of the Osirian Court, he would become the single greatest threat to life in the universe. (AUDIO: The Judgment of Sutekh)

Even when he was trapped and his powers limited, he was able to contain the explosive force of gelignite from miles away, although this was difficult and could be easily disrupted by a simple distraction. He had telekinesis, enabling him to levitate the TARDIS key. He boasted that he could keep his victims alive for centuries in excruciating pain, and his mental abilities allowed him to easily dominate others, making them puppets to his will. He also appeared to be able to telepathically read other beings, even those established to have psychic defenses, (TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975)., AUDIO: The Judgment of Sutekh) and he could monitor progress several thousand miles away with the aid of Osiran computer technology. This included reanimating corpses for servants, as he did with Marcus Scarman. He could focus his power through these servants, enabling them to burn people to death with a touch, and was able to destroy the Eye of Horus on Mars from Earth when Scarman was within a few metres of it. Whenever he used his powers, his eyes glowed green. He could project a mental image of himself anywhere, easily breaking through the defensive mechanisms of the Doctor's TARDIS to do so. (TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975).)

After emerging back into the universe and before his original body was completely recovered, Sutekh was still capable of obliterating a whole planet with merely a hand gesture. He was powerful enough to easily destroy King Nocturne, a conceptual being, and demonstrated his skills as a warrior by overpowering a group of other god-like abominations from the Void itself. He had the ability to blast beams of green energy from his eyes and hands to kill or disintegrate his enemies into dust. (COMIC: Old Girl)

Despite other Osirians needing a barge to handle the heat of the star Ra, Sutekh could safely stand next to Ra without any protection. (AUDIO: The Ship of a Billion Years) He was also able to stop and reverse the materialisation of Mortega's timeship. (AUDIO: Body Politic)

Sutekh was extremely intelligent, with an immense knowledge of Osiran technology, time-travel, and other alien sciences. He was very charismatic and manipulative when he wants to, capable of creating a long and complex plan of recovering his original body, have revenge on the Doctor, and tricking other god-like beings to ally with him before betraying them. (COMIC: Old Girl)

SueTech

Sutekh freed from restrictions. (TV: The Legend of Ruby Sunday [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who series 14 (BBC One and Disney+, 2024).)

After finding Sutekh hiding, the Toymaker, despite his own incredible power and all of the powerful beings that he had defeated, chose to run away rather than face Sutekh. (TV: The Giggle [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Specials (BBC One and Disney+, 2023).)

Sutekh was also capable of influencing the TARDIS, connecting himself with the very framework of the vessel and projecting backwards in time to the events of December 24th 2004. He could also manifest into physical form, first as a spiraling twister of sand and orange particles and also take on the appearance of a large Jackal-like being called a Set animal, a mythological beast associated with the god Set in Egyptian mythology. As the God of Death, he could also grant his harbingers the ability to spread the gift of death, enabling them to turn people to dust by just touching them. (TV: The Legend of Ruby Sunday [+]Russell T Davies, Doctor Who series 14 (BBC One and Disney+, 2024).)

Behind the scenes[]

Oh Mummy 1

Sutekh in the pseudo-documentary Oh Mummy!

  • In real-life ancient Egyptian mythology, Sutekh is one of the many names for Set, the god of the deserts.
  • When Pyramids of Mars [+]Stephen Harris, Doctor Who season 13 (BBC1, 1975). came out on DVD, included in it was a pseudo documentary called "Oh Mummy!", which told the fictional account of how Sutekh landed the role in the story and his life afterwards.
  • At Jon Culshaw's suggestion, The Box of Terrors was originally to feature Sutekh, alongside Omega, as a cataclysmic villain for the Doctors to face. However, Sutekh did not make it into the story, with Culshaw citing rights issues. The Six was used instead. (BFX: The Box of Terrors)

External links[]

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