The Great Intelligence, also known as "The Alien" in The Yeti Factor, is a character from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who.
Although the Great Intelligence has no physical form, it is capable of communicating, both by itself and through possession, with other characters within the series.
The Intelligence, alongside its Robot Yeti, was originally created by Henry Lincoln and Mervyn Haisman and first appeared in the 1967 serial The Abominable Snowmen where he encountered the Second Doctor and his companions Jamie and Victoria.
The Great Intelligence tries to form a physical body so as to conquer the Earth, making use of Yeti robots that resemble the cryptozoological creatures. Initially the Great Intelligence used the Yeti robots to scare off curiosity seekers, only later using them as an army which it continues to do in The Yeti Factor when it conquers the world in the 23rd Century. Both the Intelligence and the Yeti returned in its sequel The Web of Fear.
After an absence of 44 years, the Intelligence returned in the 2012 Christmas Special "The Snowmen", where it is voiced by Sir Ian McKellen, which details the entity's origins. Richard E Grant assumed the role in subsequent appearances in the seventh series of the revived show.
While the Intelligence wants to create a physical body so it can conquer the Earth, it manages to achieve the latter in its literature appearance but it continues to be a disembodied being that exists in the Camera Obscura World of Illusions in Edinburgh in Scotland.
In all realities, the Intelligence constantly sought physical existence to replace being a shapeless, formless cloud hanging in space,eventually adopting Walter Simeon as a recurring avatar, speaking in that guise through a large wall-mounted video screen, modeling the Whisper Men on Simeon's appearance, and appearing as Simeon to James Lethbridge-Stewart and Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart.
When not using a living being, the Intelligence maintained a basic manifestation as a three-sided pyramid composed of control spheres or ivory. When forcibly summoned to Earth by Anne Travers, and being combined with three sets of physical laws in the Great Kingdom, the Intelligence was an emerald tetrahedron and, because of Travers' meddling, was merged with the god Saraquazel.
The Eleventh Doctor commented that the Intelligence was a hive mind, which accounted for the "mass of thoughts" theory, while the Intelligence claimed itself as an embodiment of information, and Jenny Flint described it as "a mind without a body".
In The Yeti Factor, the Intelligence keeps its snowglobe form from The Snowmen but its globe is surrounded by a green glow. It also continues to speak with the hissing voice it speaks with in The Web of Fear but it does not possess the ability to possess people.
Like the Daleks whose lights illuminate when they speak, the Cybermen whose mouths illuminate when they speak and The Grand Marshall from the World War X series whose head illuminates when he speaks, the globe illuminates with a white light when the Intelligence speaks.
While the Great Intelligence is one of many foes of the Doctor to be also used for the Surgeon stories, details of stories featuring the Intelligence are sketchy. However, it makes a return in the penultimate story featuring Ghazal Rashidi where it finally succeeds in conquering the Earth making it one of three successful aliens to take over the world alongside the Daleks in the 22nd Century and The Invaders in the 76th Century.
While it is never named at the beginning of The Yeti Factor, the Great Intelligence continues to exist as a snowglobe like it does in The Snowmen. In addition to its Yeti servants, the Intelligence is also served by shadowy figures which disappear when light is shone on them; these figures are nicknamed "Shadow men."
In the story, the Intelligence orders its servants to capture a student known as Eleanor Davidson and bring her to the Camera Obscura in Edinburgh where it interrogates her and has her tied to a chair. After it continues to interrogate her only to be met with spite, it brings in Eleanor's possibly closest friends Clarissa Wainwright who had been turned against her to torture her.
After Eleanor is tortured, the Intelligence decides it is wasting its time talking to her and so leaves her alone in the dark, its snow globe having become empty. Despite the fact the Surgeon and the Intelligence never interact with each other, its story is told by Abigail Huntsman and Amelia Bedingfield to the Surgeon and Ghazal Rashidi at Greyfriar's Kirkyard:
The year is 2257 and it is a century since the Daleks invaded Earth and ultimately suffered their defeat at the hands of the First Doctor during the events of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. However, Earth has come under attack again from another hostile alien race which is the Great Intelligence.
While it is mentioned that the Intelligence has conquered the Earth and used the Yeti to destroy all humans left on Earth, only the Surgeon knows about it likely either because of previous adventures or thanks to the Second and Eleventh Doctors. Continuing on from the story, the girls do not mention the Intelligence because two of the students have got close to it and since coming into contact with it, one of the girls has been captured and is trapped in the Outlook Tower.
The Surgeon and Ghazal further get answers about why most of the Yeti attack humanity but other Yeti attack other Yetis: During their fight against the Intelligence, the resistance has captured several Yetis from the Intelligence and has impregnated them with "The Human Factor" which causes them to attack other Yetis. Abigail further adds that the second student to come into contact with the Intelligence now serves the alien because she has been impregnated with "The Yeti Factor" which is the impulse to obey the Intelligence.
Despite the fact it is the story's antagonist, the Intelligence does not confront the Surgeon until he tries to bring its prisoner out of the Camera Obscura. As the Surgeon brings Eleanor out of the Outlook Tower, it takes her straight to the Intelligence as if he has been hypnotized by the Intelligence like Clarissa was.
Instead, the Surgeon actually confronts the Intelligence to tell it that its days are coming to an end to which it scoffs and demands an explanation: The Surgeon has met a resistance group which has impregnated other Yetis with the Human Factor which makes the Yetis loyal to humanity and hostile to the Intelligence. As more and more Yetis are being impregnated with the Factor they are coming to question and pretty soon, the Intelligence will have a rebellion on its hands.
However, the Intelligence pulls its trump card and claims that the Human Factor is useless because it has showed the Yeti what their own strength is. It further goes on to state that the Surgeon's work has just begun because it now wants him to take the Yeti Factor and spread it through the entire history of Earth. The Surgeon then tells Eleanor to flee from the Intelligence's sight despite it ordering the pair not to leave its presence and is last shown ordering:
"YOU MAY NOT LEAVE MY PRESENCE!"In the end, the Intelligence is destroyed by the students in the final battle of the Camera Obscura and once the Intelligence is destroyed, the Yetis also collapse because their control spheres contain a piece of the Intelligence.
Alongside the supercomputer WOTAN, the Great Intelligence is mentioned in the first part of The Mammal Wars story Return to Buckinghamshire. The story also features the return of one of its enemies in the form of the Students from The Yeti Factor as shown here:
"The last time we met the Angels, they called themselves the "Sisterhood of Resistance" and they were based not in Buckinghamshire but were based in Scotland, in its capital city to be precise in Edinburgh where they were fighting another alien in the form of, how do I describe this? I'll have a go:
The alien that the Angels fought in a previous appearance was like an alien form of carbon monoxide; you couldn't smell, see, hear, touch or feel it."