Robin Hood described him as "a master of the lute and with the voice of an angel". He used to improvise songs about their adventures.
Along with his fellows, he encountered the Twelfth Doctor and Clara Oswald in 1190. Without his consent, the Time Lord extracted a specimen of his blood from his arm and examined it, to evaluate if he were human or not. He was found infected with several diseases, leading to a prognosis of six months of life expectancy, the news broken in a most pitiless manner by the Doctor, who did not believe Alan-a-Dale to be real and gave him a preemptive goodbye when told otherwise. He first noticed that the Sheriff of Nottingham stole only gold from the population. (TV: Robot of Sherwood)