The Carrionites were a species which used word-based science or ‘witchcraft’ to reshape reality. Their true form resembled a giant skeletal raven or crow but they were able to assume a more humanoid form. However, this this used a lot of energy, and so they usually had wrinkled skin, large, clawed hands, and sharp canine teeth when in humanoid form.
At ‘the dawn of the Universe’ the Carrionites got into a war with the Hervoken that threatened the structure of the universe. The Eternals stepped in and banished both races to the Deep Darkness.
In the late sixteenth century three Carrionites – Bloodtide, Doomfinger and Lilith (Christina Cole) – escaped using words of power from the plays of William Shakespeare. Lilith had the ability to assume the form of a beautiful young woman, a trick she used to ensnare male victims.
They planned to use the power of Shakespeare’s new play, Love’s Labour’s Won, to free the rest of their race from the Darkness and take over Earth to establish the ‘Millennium of Blood’.
Fortunately, their scheme coincided with the Doctor taking Martha Jones to see an original (1599) Shakespeare production. The Carrionites are dispatched and end up as the inspiration for the three witches in MacBeth.
At the end of the episode an angry Queen Elizabeth Iarrives at the Globe looking for the Doctor her ‘sworn enemy’ – someone else he’s upset on his travels.
Barbara Southcott was the makeup designer; Neill Gorton’s MillenniumFX was responsible for the prosthetics and special makeup design.