For the unaware, Beep the Meep is like a cross between a rabbit and a bat and a beanbag. He looks adorable, and is wanted for crimes against multiple species having escaped the destruction of the Meep armada in a battle against the rest of the universe. The Wrarth Warriors are genetically engineered insectoid space police. Beep used black star radiation, which had turned the originally peaceful Meeps into warlike beings, to power his ship and hypnotise people into doing his bidding.
Doctor Who has explored this discrepancy between visuals and morals, cuteness and horror on a few occasions (the Rills and Drahvins in ‘Galaxy 4’, the Adipose in ‘Smith and Jones’, the Pting in ‘The Tsuranga Conundrum’), only here the comic medium allowed for visuals such as a huge spaceship hanging over a small Yorkshire town, and to really ramp up the cuteness of Beep in contrast to the Wrarth Warriors (who have prehensile tongues, not unlike the xenomorphs in Alien).
‘The Star Beast’ comic also saw the introduction of another recurring character: Sharon Davies was the first companion in the Doctor Who Weekly comic strip, her first trip was to a planet called New Earth, and she reappeared in the 500th issue of Doctor Who Magazine in a strip called ‘The Stockbridge Showdown’ (the village of Stockbridge being a setting that has recurred since the very first strip). Here, the 12th Doctor teams up with multiple characters from the magazine’s comic strip including Sharon, seen above dancing with Frobisher (a shape shifting private detective who mostly took the form of a penguin), with Maxwell Edison (UFO enthusiast), Majenta Pryce (former criminal and companion to the Tenth Doctor), Destrii (an amphibian gladiator from a tricky family situation) and Izzy (a teenage geek struggling with her identity).
Including Beep the Meep in the 60th anniversary is a lovely way to involve the history of the comic strip in these celebrations. Because we can dream, and also it’s funny to confuse notions of canon any further, here are five more spin-off characters we’d love to see (however briefly) on TV someday:
‘Genesis of Evil’ is a 1965 comic strip published in TV Century 21, the first of their strips featuring the Daleks as the main characters. Co-written by David Whitaker (the first Doctor Who script editor) and Alan Fennell (a major creative force on several Gerry Anderson series, especially Stingray, and the author of the novelisation of the 1973 film Digby the Biggest Dog in the World), this story showed readers the creation of the Daleks a decade before we saw it on telly.
In this version, Yarvelling was a Dalek scientist working for military leader Zolfian, and the Daleks were humanoids at this stage, at war with the Thals on the planet of Skaro. Yarvelling designed robots to take care of any Thals who survived a neutron bomb attack, but a meteorite storm entered Skaro’s atmosphere with the devastation causing the neutron bombs to detonate. Yarvelling and Zolfian sheltered until the radiation levels had dropped, and found a devastated planet with a burgeoning new race of Daleks, the war machines now populated by the mutated remains of the species. Yarvelling and Zolfian start work on expanding the new race before succumbing to radiation poisoning.