Professor Alistair Gryffen was a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who worked in many fields, including alien technology, robotics, cybernetics and time-travel. He worked for the Department, an agency of the totalitarian government of 2050s London. He was one of K9 Mark 2's friends.
Alistair Gryffen was born in Canada in 2012. (TV: Taphony and the Time Loop) He was at one point a full professor at MIT. (TV: The Custodians) His early work included the development of the Thought Matrix, a revolutionary robot brain. (TV: Robot Gladiators) Gryffen moved to London before his role in the Great Cataclysm, a disaster caused by him and other scientists who created a device to cool the Earth. (TV: The Korven, Aeolian)
Alistair was married to Eleanor Gryffen and had two children, a daughter, Mina and a son, Jacob. In 2040, when the family went on holiday, Gryffen stayed behind while his wife and children went on a walk and were lost. (TV: The Fall of the House of Gryffen) Gryffen never forgave himself, (TV: Liberation) and developed agoraphobia, a condition that kept him from leaving his home. (TV: Regeneration)
When the CCPCs were activated in 2048, Gryffen was moved by the Department to one of the last active police stations in London for his new workplace and home. (TV: The Last Precinct) Because of his agoraphobia, the Department delivered items of interest for him to investigate. He was also aided in his work by Darius Pike, (TV: Regeneration) the son of former police officer Harry Pike. (TV: The Last Precinct)
At some point, Gryffen was awarded the Nobel Prize, (TV: The Custodians) and assisted the Department in creating a Time Blank, which resulted in the creation of Taphony. (TV: Taphony and the Time Loop)
In 2050, his experiments with a Space-Time Manipulator to bring back his lost loved ones brought the Jixen and K9 Mark I to Earth. After K9's regeneration into his new form, Gryffen worked on him and helped him to save Starkey. (TV: Regeneration)
Gryffen let Starkey stay at the mansion to hide from the Jixen. When the Jixen went to Dauntless Prison, Gryffen monitored K9 as he made his way there. When K9 was disabled by the Department's defences, Gryffen reactivated him by making a familiar sound (the sound of throwing a ball). (TV: Liberation)
As he worked on the Space-Time Manipulator for hours on end, Gryffen dreamed of being reunited with his family and the limitless possibilities of time travel. When a Korven from 2618 came through the STM, he kidnapped the Professor to extract his knowledge of a Weather-Control device to convert Earth to Korven standards. Gryffen was saved by K9 and the rest of the gang. Later, he hacked into Starkey's Department file using a special encryption code clearing Starkey's criminal record. He also gave K9 and Starkey a room in the mansion. (TV: The Korven)
Gryffen tried to restore K9's lost memories. While K9 and Starkey were foiling a Department publicity stunt, Gryffen encountered Ahab, a bounty hunter who had come through the STM. Ahab told him K9 was wanted in the year 50000 for murder of Zanthus Pia, president of the Galactic Peace Assembly. Gryffen feigned ignorance but Ahab's voice analyser revealed that Gryffen was lying and he did know about K9. Ahab saw a news broadcast featuring Inspector Drake of the Department telling the people about a dissident and a "mechanical dog". Ahab went to the Department for help in tracking down K9. Gryffen explained to Jorjie, when she asked why K9 was hunted in his new life, that K9 might have a new body but was still the same dog. (TV: The Bounty Hunter)
Exploits with the K9 unit
After K9 was damaged by an experimental inhibitor used by the CCPCS, Gryffen worked on repairing him. He found that a bracelet which was circulating throughout Magdalene Academy, where Jorjie had been enrolled, contained cerulium, a substance which K9 noted caused the extinction of the civilisation on Ceres as it removed free will. As such, K9 saw that all the bracelets were destroyed. (TV: Sirens of Ceres)
One night, a trio of non-corporeal lifeforms came through the STM, taking on the appearance of Gryffen's lost family, and manipulating him into doing their bidding. Starkey convinced him that he, Darius and Jorjie were like family to him. Gryffen broke free of the apparitions' control, sending them back through the STM. (TV: The Fall of the House of Gryffen)
When Korven agents stole the STM to use it to create a portal for their army to attack Earth, Gryffen overcame his agoraphobia, made his way to their base and shut down the STM, resulting in the device's destruction, although it also destroyed all hope of being reunited with his family. (TV: The Eclispe of the Korven)
Alistair was a classic "absent-minded professor". His work on the Space-Time Manipulator often took up most of his time. He was a friendly, kind-hearted, trusting individual; he took in K9 and Starkey. He disliked lying, believing his role as a scientist "the pursuit of truth". (TV: Lost Library of Ukko) He often used phrases referencing famous scientists to express shock, such as "Schrödinger's cat and kittens", (TV: Oroborus) "blood of Pythagoras", "what the Heisenberg", (TV: Alien Avatar) and "Hawking's ghost". (TV: The Last Oak Tree)
Behind the scenes
Even though he is not a character on the parent show, Professor Gryffen is the first major Canadian character of either Doctor Who or its spin-offs. The actor who plays him is, likewise, Canadian.