The Voord usually wore a complete black bodysuit which was similar to a scuba diver's wetsuit and flippers. This suit tended to be effective protection from hostile elements. It was not, however, completely impermeable as Barbara Wright discovered an empty Voord suit with two puncture marks, suggesting that the acid had consumed the Voord within. The Voord were also armed with commando-style knives.
Still, the shape of the suit suggested a few things about basic Voord anatomy. They were, for example, humanoid. The wetsuits had three appendages on their heads — a thin stick with either a circle or triangle at the front and two loop-like horns on the side. It is unclear if these appendages were representative of the anatomy of the Voord or just part of the wetsuit. Nevertheless, not all Voord had these cranial appendages. Yartek, the leader of the Voord on Marinus, only had two appendages: one on the right of his head and one on the left. (TV: The Keys of Marinus)
Using these, the Voord were capable of telepathically communicating with each other. The leader had the higher intelligence and was able to control others with this organ. They could also control the minds of the Fishmen, but they could not read the First Doctor's mind. If this organ was damaged or removed, the Voord would be rendered senseless. (PROSE: The Fishmen of Kandalinga)
The covering of a Voord's face was either a mask (AUDIO: Domain of the Voord) or a helmet. The Tenth Doctor identified it as a helmet, specifically claiming it looked like a "dodgy biker helmet". (COMIC: The Forgotten) By another account, it was a mask. The facial covering fused with the wearer and usually could not be removed without killing them. The mask gave the Voord their telepathic abilities. Native Voord were given their masks in a ceremony when they achieved maturity. (AUDIO: Domain of the Voord) The Voord helmet contained in a museum made from the Doctor's memories was golden with red markings, (COMIC: The Forgotten) but most Voord helmets were black.
On planets that they conquered, the Voord converted the natives into Voord creatures by fusing them with Voord masks and suits — the mask tested their loyalty to the Voord and, if they were found disloyal, they were killed. Although indistinguishable from the outside, unlike the native Voord of the Blood Tree, the converted Voord creatures had much less autonomy and were mostly puppets of the native Voord commanders. The Voord suits lengthened their lifespans to a thousand years. (AUDIO: Domain of the Voord)
On Marinus, the Voord used one-man submarines, (TV: "The Sea of Death") while on Kandalinga the Voord used large barges to travel around on. The barges travelled above the surface of the water and were capable of stopping and speeding up quickly. The barges made no sounds and no waste-products and the First Doctor believed them to be powered by anti-gravity. (PROSE: The Fishmen of Kandalinga)
As outlined in Genetic Politics Beyond the Third Zone, Professor Gustous R Thripsted believed that the Voord were the direct ancestors of the Remote and that their entire race was a sociology experiment conducted by Faction Paradox. (PROSE: Interference - Book Two)
Historians who studied the Dalek race came to believe that in the era of their history where the Daleks had not fully mastered spaceflight, they had enlisted the services of other races, the Voord among them, to transport their forces to conquerable planets. (PROSE: Dalek: The Astounding Untold History of the Greatest Enemies of the Universe)
Yartek led an invasion of the planet of Marinus. The Voord found a way to relieve themselves from the control of the Conscience of Marinus and sought to take control of it, thereby taking control of Marinus. They travelled to the island of the Conscience and killed Arbitan. When the First Doctor and his companions returned with the Conscience's keys, Ian Chesterton stopped the Voord by handing Yartek a fake key, which destroyed the Conscience and killed Yartek. (TV: The Keys of Marinus)
A few hundred survivors were able to escape, take two of the keys of Marinus and make their way to Kandalinga. As there was no land to build on, they were forced to rebuild their ship into a base and enslaved the Fishmen as workers. They planned to convert the oceans to land and build ships to return to Marinus, a plan that would take thousands of years to complete. (PROSE: The Fishmen of Kandalinga)
On 18 March 2293, the Voord conquered the planet Tivoli, then controlled by the Uvodni, and were welcomed by the Tivolians as heroes. Only nine years later, however, on 4 April 2304, the Voord on Tivoli were wiped out by the Stenza, who subsequently took control of the planet. (PROSE: Time Traveller's Diary)
Many thousands of years later, the First Doctor came into contact again with the Voord on Kandalinga. After the Doctor was brought to the leader, the leader believed that the Doctor's ship could be used by the Voord. The Doctor was able to stop the leader, breaking his telepathic control and allowing the Fishmen to rise up and take back their planet. (PROSE: The Fishmen of Kandalinga)
On Marinus, the Daleks and Voord were fighting one another when the Daleks learnt that the Voord knew of a mushroom, known as the Great Power, that granted superhuman abilities. The Daleks pretended to form an alliance with the Voord.
Discovering the First Doctor, they forced him to hand over the secret of ultkron travel. On board a spaceship headed to Earth, the Doctor told the Voord about the Daleks' plan to destroy them. The Voord attempted to round up the Daleks, but one Dalek escaped and freed the other Daleks. A fight broke out between the two species. A Dalek raygun hit the ship's power centre, disintegrating the ship. The Daleks evacuated on their hoverbouts, while the Doctor and the lone Voord survivor, the Chief Voord, got away in an escape capsule, which landed in a South American jungle. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Daleks)
Battles with other incarnations of the Doctor
Even though the Tenth Doctor once claimed he had not seen a Voord helmet since "[he] was an old man", (COMIC: The Forgotten) other accounts indicated incarnations of the Doctor after their first body encountered the Voord.
A Voord ship crashed on a beach in Stegmoor during the mid-20th century. The ship regained a low level of power in 2017 and a Voord survivor left the ship to scout the nearby area. The Voord, Tellat, encountered the Eighth Doctor and soon after was shot by a police sniper. (AUDIO: Beachhead)
The Voord on Marinus began experimenting with a Worldshaper, which accelerated time locally and "quick-evolved" the Voord. Over time they replaced their body parts with cybernetic parts. The Sixth Doctor, Frobisher, Peri Brown and Jamie McCrimmon attempted to stop the Voord. Jamie sacrificed himself to destroy the Worldshaper, which caused a blast that accelerated time. The Voord then evolved into entirely cybernetic creatures called the Cybermen. According to one account, Marinus then became known as Mondas and the Voord were the ancestors of the Mondasian Cybermen. (COMIC: The World Shapers) However, the Twelfth Doctor conversely believed that the Cybermen of Mondas and the Cybermen of Marinus originated separately through parallel evolution. (TV: The Doctor Falls)
Last Great Time War
During the Last Great Time War, the Voord were mutated by paradoxes and shifts in causation. They became more muscular and their bodysuits became almost liquid-like. The Voord sided with the Time Lords and mounted a resistance against the Daleks. When the Daleks attempted to erase the Voord from reality in A10%?, the War Doctor visited Marinus and destroyed the Daleks with a chronic tripwire.
For some time after the end of the war, the Voord lived in peace in their higher-evolved forms, but everything changed when the Time Lords sent a message throughout time and space emanating from Trenzalore. Realising that the Time Lords would revert their timelines to as they were before the war, the Voord used technology from a downed Dalek flying saucer to seal themselves into a pocket dimension, making the universe forget they had ever existed in the process.
An alternate version of the Twelfth Doctor found the Voord and lived among them for years trying to get over the loss of his companion Clara Oswald. Eventually, they made him their leader. Under the Doctor's leadership, the Voord enacted a plan to ensure the Twelfth Doctor became the version of the Twelfth Doctor that lost Clara and became their leader.
I am going to lead the Voord to invade every strategic point in the universe, at every perfect moment. Then we'll be the new Time Lords.
The group orchestrated a meeting of the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors on Marinus and forced them to face the blast of a continuity bomb. The bomb altered the Twelfth Doctor's timeline to make him the Doctor that eventually became the Voord leader. However, the plan was averted when the Tenth Doctor's companion Gabby Gonzalez was sent back in time by a miniature Weeping Angel to the moment when the three Doctors' companions had met, allowing her to warn the companions and Doctors what was about to happen and thus come up with a plan to avert the threat of the continuity bomb and bring the Voord out of the pocket dimension.
After the Doctors left the alternate Twelfth Doctor with the choice between allowing the Voord to be destroyed and using the Dalek weapon to regress their timeline, he reluctantly regressed the Voord back to what they once were. In the aftermath, the three Doctors and their companions observed the regressed Voord from a distance where the Tenth Doctor expressed discontent for their fate. The Eleventh Doctor promised that he would arrange for support and advice for the Voord as part of the larger community of galactic species after he located the Weeping Angel that had sent Gabby back in time to fix things. (COMIC: Four Doctors)
During an adventure involving several incarnations of Iris Wildthyme facing Morbius in the Death Zone, Ohica Time Scooped some Voord to the Death Zone in an attempt to kill the Irises. (PROSE: Verdigris)
- When a museum was made from the Tenth Doctor's memories in the Matrix, it contained a Voord helmet. Upon seeing it, he remarked "The good old Voord!" before remembering they were "evil" and tried to kill him. (COMIC: The Forgotten)
- Homunculette claimed that even the Voord were more frightening than the Krotons. (PROSE: Alien Bodies)
- The Eighth Doctor jokingly speculated that the Enemy might be "Yartek, leader of the alien Voord, carrying a big stick". (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5)
Behind the scenes
- The Voord were originally scripted as "eel-like". (REF: Doctor Who Monsters: A Bestiary)
- The Voord headpieces were individually crafted for each actor. (REF: Doctor Who Monsters: A Bestiary)
- Based entirely upon the their televised appearance, it would be possible to believe that the Voord were not necessarily a species at all, but merely a cultural grouping of Arbitans. Arbitan tells Ian Chesterton, "The man who just attacked me was a Voord." Later, he also describes Yartek as "a man named Yartek". Philip Hinchcliffe's novelisation seeks to make things clearer, by changing the language to, "The creature who attacked me was a Voord," and by referring to Yartek as a "Voord named Yartek".
- Colin Howard's artwork Capture of the Island for the 30th Anniversary Calendar depicts what the Voord look like under their protective suits.
- Chronologically, the Voord are potentially the first enemy in the franchise to have a rematch with the Doctor following the release of Domain of the Voord. However, the Daleks may still hold that honour with the release of Return to Skaro. This is dependent on which story the Doctor experienced first, although the Daleks indisputably had the first rematch production-wise. Coincidentally, both creatures were created by Terry Nation and had their earliest rematch in audio stories written by Andrew Smith.