THE STRANGER – Given the current uproar over the disastrous Chibnall retcon, Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at the “brief shining moment” when Colin Baker was starring in what is often called a bootleg Doctor Who series. Less antagonistic interpretations call the BBV series a pastiche or a knowing “homage” to Doctor Who.
When The Stranger series of stories first came out it was a few years after the original run of Doctor Who was over. For the many Colin Baker fans who felt he got robbed of an opportunity to shine as the Doctor for reasons beyond his control, these episodes were basically just barely-concealed stories featuring Colin’s regeneration of the timelord from Gallifrey.
*** Colin Baker went from playing an enigmatic traveler in time and space known only as the Doctor to playing an enigmatic traveler in time and space known only as the Stranger.
*** The most popular companion of Baker’s Doctor was Peri Brown, played by Nicola Bryant. The Stranger’s companion was “Miss Brown,” played by Nicola Bryant.
*** The Doctor and his companions traveled in a time/space vehicle called the Tardis. The Stranger and his companions traveled in a never-seen vehicle coyly referred to as their “mode of transportation.”
*** One of the Stranger’s foes was a cloaked skeletal figure who certainly put viewers in mind of the Doctor’s archenemy the Master during his emaciated period when his cycle of regenerations was running out.
*** The Doctor was often assisted by a combined paramilitary/ scientific outfit called U.N.I.T. The Stranger was often assisted by a combined paramilitary/ scientific outfit called P.R.O.B.E.
*** Other Doctor Who alumni who appeared as characters on The Stranger were Louise Jameson (Leela), Michael Wisher (Davros), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Caroline John (Liz Shaw) and Geoffrey Beevers (The Third Master). Nicholas Briggs and Patrick Troughton’s son David were also along for the show.
After the first three adventures the creative team behind The Stranger made moves to explicitly state that the Stranger was NOT the Doctor. Differing accounts imply that the move was forced by threats of legal action or by a desire to establish the Stranger character and his universe as its own separate IP.
Under this revised storyline the title character was really Solomon, a figure who worked for the interstellar organization called the Protectorate. To me The Stranger‘s main appeal was the “bootleg Doctor Who” angle, so my interest faded when Colin Baker’s character was specifically designated as a whole different fictional creation.
The stories in The Stranger are interesting enough, that’s for sure, and when the video series ended in 1995 there were later audio adventures, one featuring Elisabeth Sladen herself!
At any rate, Whovians who are furious over the ill-considered moves on Doctor Who in the past few years may feel the time is right for a brand-new series like The Stranger, consisting of “similar” stories to Doctor Who, with “similar” characters, picking up the storyline from where they choose. Say, when Peter Capaldi started to regenerate. But all of that is just wild speculation on my part. (wink)
FOR MORE FORGOTTEN TELEVISION CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/forgotten-television/
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