The Stranger

The Stranger series
The Stranger.JPG
Season: 1
Episode: 1-10
Vital statistics
Air date 1991-1995
Written by Christian Darkin, Nigel Fairs, Nicholas Briggs
Directed by Bill Baggs, Nick Briggs
Episode guide
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AudioVisuals fan audios, I guess The Airzone Solution

The Strangler (not to be confused with fanfiction of the same name), played by Colin Baker, is totally not the do-not-steal Sixth Doctor, traveling with a companion Miss Brown, played by Nicola Bryant, who's totally not Peri minus her American accent. They travel in a timeship that's totally not the TARDIS fighting aliens who are totally not taken from the same writers' Doctor Who fan fiction.

Strangey stars in a series of six videos from BBV, plus four audios. The audios are like Big Finish in that they're meant to slot in between episodes of the video series. (They're also like Big Finish in that they're made by Nick Briggs with a bunch of old Doctor Who actors.)

In other words, BBV hadn't yet stolen Reeltime's trick of licensing secondary monsters or characters from Doctor Who.


In the pan-dimensional space known to as the "Dimensional Web", the Protectorate defend the material universe from the Preceptors, who take on corporeal form and carry out acts of rebellion.

Except none of this gets mentioned in the first three episodes, where it really is just Doctor Who with the serial numbers filed off.

I don't have most of them anymore and can't remember the details too well because I'm old and probably getting the 'heimers, and it's hard to find anything online, but I'll try.

Video 1: Summoned by Shadows

The Stranger comes out of retirement, and he and his assistant Miss Brown go to an alien planet and get involved in stopping a villain, played by Michael Wisher from doing the same kind of stuff bad guys always do on Doctor Who.

Video 2: More Than a Messiah

The Stranger and Miss Brown straight up reenact the script of the AV Doctor Who fan audio More Than a Messiah, only they've rewritten the parts so that instead of the Briggs Doctor and Ria "totally not Peri" Brown, it's the Stranger and Miss "totally not Peri" Brown. Peter Miles, Nyder from Genesis of the Daleks, plays the Nyderesque villain, and Sophie Aldred plays one of the other characters, and I think this is the one where Nicola almost slips up and calls the TARDIS a TARDIS and they don't bother to reshoot the scene.

Video 3: In Memory Alone

The Stranger and Miss Brown wake up with a hangover and blackout amnesia and can't find the TARDIS. So they fight a robot, and also Nick Briggs playing Nick Briggs, because that's what you do.

At the end, the companion gets sent back to her proper time and place without her memories to marry Brian Blessed or something, but the Stranger gets his memory back. I think he did it by plugging his brain into a computer and then overloading its power supply or something, so definitely try that at home, kids.

Anyway, it turns out that he had double-amnesia and now has back memories he didn't have in the first three stories and he really isn't the Sixth Doctor after all. How 'bout that.

Video 4: The Terror Game

Here's where all that Protectors vs. Preceptors comes in, because the Stranger turns out to have been the head Preceptor, Solomon. Kind of like in Blake's 7, the Protectors seem pretty oppressive, but it's never really clear whether the Preceptors are valiant rebels or insane terrorists.

Anyway, Solomon runs into his two old companions, David Troughton as Avon^H^H^H^HEgan and some dude, and their new friend Louise Jameson. They aren't sure whether Solomon has come back into the fold, or has always been a traitor, or is still brainwashed. So it's basically just like the last episode of Blake's, but with a different conclusion where it turns out that Louise Jameson is the traitor and they don't all shoot each other or die in a firefight, they instead all escape and go into hiding in present-day London. Oops, spoilers. Unless I remembered wrong, in which case, fake spoilers. But still spoilers for Blake's, I guess.

Video 5: Breach of the Peace

I don't remember this one too well. looking at the tape case, this is when they got Caroline John and Geoffrey Beevers to join up. So… I think this is the one where Egan and Saul have to infiltrate the police so they can track down Solomon, and they all get to go home, and it's about to turn all Sapphire & Steel but then Geoffrey Beevers' mad-scientist experiments pull them back to Earth?

Video 6: Eye of the Beholder

If I remembered the last one right, this must be the one about dealing with those mad-scientist experiments. Which they do.

Audio 1: The Last Mission

This is an extended version of the flashback at the end of video 3/start of video 4.

Once upon a time, Solomon, the leader of a Preceptor cell, went to assassinate a caterer for some Faction Paradox-style fuck-with-the-web-of-time (oops, fuck-with-the-dimensional-web, please don't sue) mission. But he got captured by Elisabeth Sladen and mindraped (ywn be captured by Lis Sladen and mindraped), just like Rog Blake, and that's why the first three videos.

Audio 2: Eye of the Storm

I'm pretty sure this one was just the same story as Eye of the Beholder done as an audio from an earlier version of the script.

Audio 3: Coming of Shadows

This was a bonus tape if you bought the whole set of VHS's at once, which I never got because I didn't do that. Apparently it's now on DVD 1, so maybe it happens after that story?

Audio 4: Force of Nature

Another bonus tape I didn't get, which is apparently on the DVD for video 2.

Is it canon?

Of course. Canonically, in Doctor Who, Peri does not have an American accent or a first name, and the Doctor is actually a Rog Blake expy who's only brainwashed into thinking he's the Doctor, and the universe doesn't work anything like what we've seen in the TV episodes or any other stories.

But hear me out, this can totally fit with the rest of Doctor Who. In the Stranger lore the Preceptors created the Great Dimensional Web, but they were betrayed by the bureaucratic Protectorate who prioritize regulations over lives and left the Preceptors to die in the billions. The Preceptors then became terrorists, breaking all the rules, blah blah blah.

The bit about the Great Dimensional Web obviously lines up with the stuff in the VNAs about ancient Time Lords creating the Web of Time (even though that wasn't actually introduced until years after The Stranger). The Preceptors vs Protectorate battle is a metacommentary between the interventionists of early Gallifreyan history (Rassilon, also The War Games) and the relatively-boring politicans and bureaucrats of post-The Deadly Assassin. But how did the Protectorate kill billions of Preceptors?

As mentioned above, the Preceptor terrorist plot we hear in The Last Mission is very Faction Paradox-y. And since n8 is writing this section of course I'll follow that tangent. During the War in Heaven, the old bureaucratic Time Lord families started being challenged by newer militaristic bloodlines broadly grouped together as the "House Military", who fought all Gallifrey's battles against The Enemy. And the House Military is spending so much time in the outside universe among the lesser species that The Book of the War says they're drifting dangerously close to the paradoxy, death-worshippy morals of Faction Paradox.

So obviously it follows that during the War the House Military came to see itself as the successors of Rassilon and the other interventionist Time Lord founders who created the Web of Time, with the bureaucratic Time Lords sending the House Military troops to horrific deaths without regard. And The Stranger -- aka Solomon -- isn't the Sixth Doctor at all, he's military man Commander Maxil. And Miss Brown is just another one of the Peri copies from Peri and the Piscon Paradox being used like a Cwej. QED.

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