Doctor Who – “Songtaran Carols,” A Creepy Clip, & the Paternoster Gang Profiles

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On Doctor Who, the Sontarans have a long history as a clone race of warriors with single-minded focus on military action.  They dream of either being victorious in their military campaigns or dying an honorable death in battle.  Commander Strax, who first appeared in the episode A Good Man Goes to War, may be a Sontaran, but he’s just a little different from the average potato-headed soldier.  For one, he’s a nurse assigned to help weak and wounded humans; something a Sontaran considers more of a punishment than a career choice.  He’s even been genetically modified to “produce magnificent quantities of lactic fluid!”

In the video below, Strax proves he’s both a typical Sontaran and at the same time just a little bit different from all the other clones of his race.  He’s singing snippets of well known Christmas songs, but with a decidedly Sontaran flair while the rest of the Paternoster Gang stand nearby to endure his butchering of these beloved classics.  You know you’re going to love his efforts.  I mean, who wouldn’t love a singing, lactating Sontaran?


And now a very short, but brand new and super creepy clip from the upcoming Christmas Special The Snowmen.  This looks like it might be the first time during the episode that we see of the titular snowballs from hell and of course it involves a kid just to make it seem even creepier.  The clip is called Don’t Talk To Them, but the advice is definitely not the kind worth heeding.  I think I’d have to take some Python-esque advice and “Run Away!”


“The Paternoster Gang” is a group of investigators operating in Victorian-era London consisting of four rather unusual members.  They are Madame Vastra, the Silurian warrior detective, her significant other (species) Jenny Flint who is skilled with a sword, Commander Strax, the lactating Sontaran warrior nurse with a penchant for butchering Christmas carols, and the Doctor.  I’m guessing the name “Paternoster Gang” is taken from a street in London called Paternoster Row which was destroyed during World War II, but would have been in fine shape in Victorian times.

In the clips we’ve seen thus far, the Doctor seems to have retired from saving the universe.  The unusual trio of detectives has been seen trying to coax him into helping them solve a myriad of mysteries, most of which seem made up, but he’s having none of it.  At least thus far.  Thanks to clips and trailers we know that the Doctor can’t resist stopping an invasion, solving a mystery, or saving the universe for very long.

When the creepy ice-toothed snowmen show up he’s on the case, reuniting the full force of the Paternoster Gang and snagging a new companion in the process.  Back in the tear-jerker episode The Angels Take ManhattanRiver tells the Doctor, “Don’t travel alone.”  It’s obvious from his initial attitude that between the loss of his family and lack of a companion he’s taken to isolating himself from the universe.  All of these problems are rectified in The Snowmen, as we all knew they would be, but the real fun is watching it all transpire.

Ever since A Good Man Goes To War fans have been asking for more Vastra, Jenny, and Strax.  They’ve even begged for a spin-off series, but Steven Moffat has said he’s far too busy for something like that.  We’re not getting the three in a full series, but at least they’re being brought back for the Christmas special, which is pretty great.  If you’d like to re-familiarize yourself with Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint, and Commander Strax, the BBC’s Doctor Who website has character profiles for each.  Click the picture of each character below to be taken to their individual profile page.

Image courtesy BBC

Madame Vastra

Image courtesy BBC

Jenny Flint

Image courtesy BBC

Commander Strax








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Tom Gardiner