Strax: a polarising figure among fans, but those people at the BBC seem to love him so much that in 2012-13 you couldn’t move for his presence. He’s generally more popular with kids than adults, maybe due to his aggressive demeanor being played for laughs. Just take a look at this:
But that’s not the only time he’s had an entire short video dedicated to him. Join me as I take a look at his many mini-episodes. We begin with the two prequels to 2012’s Christmas special The Snowmen…
The Great Detective
There’s a lot to like here. Some criticised The Snowmen for glossing over the Doctor’s grief about the Ponds’ death and resolving that subplot too soon but here we get a look in to see it in action. Matt Smith is great in it and sells the darker side to his Doctor fantastically but we’re here to see Strax. Although there’s not a lot from him, he leaves his mark by declaring war on the Moon – If only he’d been successful we’d have been spared a horrible episode a few years later! We can see him here, in what we must recall is his first appearance since his debut, carve out his polarising niche as The Comedy Sontaran.
Vastra Investigates: A Christmas Prequel
Again he’s barely in it but the so-called “BBC Gay Agenda” is very forced here marking out Strax as the part better than the whole, which is to say that you can stand witnessing him without feeling like you’re being preached at.
But some people have to wonder how Strax can be alive – Didn’t he die in the Battle of Demons Run? – so when The Snowmen broadcast there had to an explanation waiting for us, didn’t there? Well there sort of was, but not really. As the Doctor tells Clara’s Victorian Splinter…
“Another friend of mine brought him back. I'm not sure all his brains made the return trip!”Thanks Doctor, that’s really enlightening!
But Steven Moffat had an answer. Skip ahead to March 2013 when we were treated to…
The Battle of Demons Run: 2 Days Later
(Apologies for the video quality, that was the only version I could find on YouTube!)
This is Strax at his best: A Sontaran who’s died in battle and has met with the least terrible fate a Sonatarn can ever hope to have. Look at the way he denies his recovery until he’s promised a life of various high adrenaline adventures. For anyone who dislikes Strax for “making a mockery of Sontarans” this is for you. Here he is doing exactly what Sontarans do best: going into potentially life-threatening situations with a smile on his face!
Does anyone else think Moffat wrote this with a possible Paternoster Gang spin-off in mind? Can we get Big Finish working on that please!
Of course in all his various exploits in Victorian London Strax has stayed in contact with his Sonatarn associates. That’s right, it’s time to take a look at…
Strax’s Field Reports
There are no fewer than nine of these and they all take the same format: Strax stands in the 11th Doctor’s second TARDIS Console Room and sends a message to Sontar about the Doctor. These were released throughout 2013 in the run up to the 50th anniversary extravaganza and the Christmas special. Strax focuses on the Doctor’s encounter with the Great Intelligence on Trenzalore, the reveal of the War Doctor, his being airlifted to Trafalgar Square by UNIT, the Zygons’ invasion of 2013 from the past and the Doctor’s thirteenth regeneration to name but a few. Naturally his signature style of childish comedy is present in all of them.
The first Field Report is above, I'll let you pick and chose any of the others. Brace yourself, we’re going in!...
- The Name of the Doctor
- A Glorious Day
- The Doctor’s Greatest Secret
- The Zygons
- Queen Elizabeth
- The Doctors
- A Sontaran’s View of Christmas
- The Doctor Has Regenerated!
The Day of the Doctor Cinema Introduction
Strax is tasked by the Doctor to remind cinemagoers of basic cinema etiquette – What was the Doctor thinking entrusting that to him?! The instructions are all there: don’t talk, don’t record the film, etc, etc, etc but Strax makes hearing them entertaining. I didn’t see this at the time (I watched The Day of the Doctor at home with my family) but I can only imagine how much the audiences loved this. Especially the bit with the screaming popcorn!
Then there’s a second scene with Smith and Tennant taking the mick out of each other, which I imagine went down well. I know we’re here to talk about Strax but if we let that go and enjoy ourselves with the antics of Ten and Eleven I doubt anyone will complain.
Well that’s about it as far as the Strax minisode back-catalogue is concerned. No wait, there’s one more…
To sing us out, please put your hands together for: STRAX!!!
When he's not obsessing about Doctor Who whilst having I Am The Doctor play in his head, Dr. Moo can usually be found reading up on the latest in Quantum Physics. As you do when you're a physicist.