- "There are vampire legends on almost every inhabited planet. [...] Creatures that stalk in the night and feast on the blood of the living. Creatures that fear sunlight and running water and certain herbs. Creatures that are so strong, they can only be killed by beheading or a stake through the heart..."
- ―The Doctor, State of Decay
The Great Vampires were an ancient species of enormous humanoids, dozens of meters in height, with greenish-grey skin and membranous bat-like wings, and which fed on the blood of the living. They were the progenitors of the lesser Vampires which have since spread over several planets in the universe.
The Great Vampires existed during the Dark Times of the universe, long before the formation of Earth. They were a devastating force: due to their gigantic size and near invulnerability, a single one of these abominations could drain an entire planet. The Time Lords fought against them, lead by Rassilon, and eventually managed to eradicate all but the Vampire King, who receded to the depths of E-Space. It was after this event that the Time Lords; shocked at the violence and devastation of the war; vowed to never interfere with the affairs of the universe again.
The most effective method for destroying a Great Vampire is to stab it through the heart. The Time Lords of eons past used specially created bow-ships to fire mighty bolts of steel straight at their hearts. Killing a Great Vampire may cause the immediate destruction of the ordinary vampires created by it.
- Doctor Who Season 18 - State of Decay (1980)