Dr Johan Drossel was a partially cyberconverted human who was the proprietor of Dr Drossel's Grand Theatre of Puppetry at the Vienna Exposition in Vienna, Austria in September 1873. He was also responsible for the so-called eyeless murders on the Ringstrasse.
Drossel was cruel, ruthless, dominating and smart. He had no compunction ordering people to be murdered or abducted, or stealing eyes from graveyards. When Mary Shelley tried to pretend to be Countess Wittenmeier, he easily saw through this, despite never meeting the Countess himself. When Alfred Stahlbaum refused to resume their collaboration, he came up with a clever scheme to use Stahlbaum's obsession with Sisi, the Empress of Austria, to try and persuade him. The Eighth Doctor commented on the pompousness of his speech saying that he "likes the sound of his own voice so much".
His character was affected by Cyber-ethics implanted into him by Cybermen. As a result, he became obsessed with the idea of building a new world populated by obedient puppets instead of people.
The Cyber-ethics caused Drossel to replace his own vital organs with cyber inlays, enabling him, in particular, to take two bullets to the chest without any apparent harm and even without bleeding.
Relationship to Cybermen
He bought two strange humanoid creatures from a forester who found them. Unknown to Drossel, these were two Cybermen from Mondas whose spacecraft has crashed to Earth. The Doctor believed that Drossel had cut off their legs to prevent them from escaping.
When Drossel's collaborator, Alfred Stahlbaum, stole one of the creatures intending him to perform under the name of the Silver Turk, Drossel used the other one, who had three arms and whom he treated as his dog, to make puppets for his puppet theatre and to murder people. He showed his "dog" graveyards where eyes for the puppets could be dug out. Drossel was not aware that Cybermen possessed superior technology. He did not even know that his "dog" could speak.
Drossel went to great lengths and committed many atrocities to retrieve the Silver Turk from and have his revenge on Stahlbaum. Despite his efforts, he has never seen the Silver Turk again.
When his "dog" revealed his ability to speak, his name, Gramm, and, more importantly, demonstrated that all the puppets obey him rather than Drossel, the latter switched roles with his former pet and for a time was eager to assist him in building a superlight transmitter. However, subordination not being his strong suit, at the first sign of weakness, he attacked Gramm causing him fatal injuries.
Relationship to the Doctor and his companion
The only reason Drossel came into contact with the Doctor was that they both were after the Silver Turk, although with completely opposing goals: Drossel considered the Turk his stolen property and wanted him back to help him with the puppets, while the Doctor was planning to destroy the Turk. This common goal brought both parties to Alfred Stahlbaum, the current owner of the Turk, and to Count Wittenmeier, one of his patrons.
The situation became more complicated when Drossel's puppets kidnapped the Doctor's companion, Mary Shelley, mistaking her for the Count's wife. This resulted in Drossel making a puppet of Mary and intending to gouge out her eyes for their unusual colour.
In addition, when the Doctor got a chance to examine a broken off thumb of one of Drossel's puppets, he realised that they are built using Cyber-Technology far ahead of what existed on 19th century Earth, meaning that the puppets too had to be destroyed to avoid a temporal paradox.
Once again, the Doctor's and Drossel's interests aligned tactically but not strategically: the Doctor wanted to find Drossel to deal with his puppets and hoping to locate the runaway Cybermen, while Drossel invited the Doctor with Mary in order to finish Mary's puppet. However, Mary guessed his plan and ran away leaving the Doctor to be incarcerated by Drossel. This resulted in a new puppet being made, this time of the Doctor.
Following his general practice of murdering people and turning them into puppets, Drossel ordered his puppets to kill all his prisoners: the Doctor, Countess Wittenmeier and Stahlbaum. This threat was averted by the sudden arrival of Gramm who overtook control of the puppets.
Drossel then assisted him in procuring the Doctor's sonic screwdriver intended to power the transmitter, but Mary managed to snatch the screwdriver from him and smash it to pieces.
After the final showdown between Drossel and Gramm, which was fatal for both, the Doctor disposed of all parts containing Cyber-Technology, including cyber inlays in Drossel's body.
Role as a master of puppets
Drossel's "dog" created many puppets for him, including puppets capable of creating new puppets. Some of these puppets, such as Columbinetta, Brighella and Pierrot, were intended for performances at the Marionettenburg at the Vienna Exposition.
Drossel opened his theatre only on 11 September 1873, not from the start of the Exposition. To attract spectators, he distributed free tickets inscribed: "The denizens of Marionettenburg perform for your delectation." The main attraction was the absence of strings on the puppets. However, Drossel moved his Marionettenburg away from the Exposition and into Count Wittemeier's house already the next day.
Drossel also had two horse puppets that could draw a cab without any driver.
Apart from these crude puppets, Drossel was also keen on creating puppet facsimiles of various people to be used to his advantage, ranging from the puppet of a cab driver to that of the Empress of Austria. Unlike the other puppets, these could speak copying the voice of their prototypes but typically possessed a severely limited vocabulary. Visually, however, they could be easily mistaken for their prototypes, enabling them to run errands for Drossel without causing alarm. These puppets were intended to fulfil Drossel's dream of a new race.
While Drossel believed to have command over all puppets, their real master was Gramm. Their obedience to Drossel continued only as long as Gramm did not issue alternative commands.
Involvement in the Ringstrasse murders
Unable to find the Silver Turk or, at first, even Stahlbaum's residence, Drossel resorted to murdering his former partner's patrons. In the newspapers, these murders were dabbed "the eyeless murders on the Ringstrasse" due to the fact that Gramm, who did the killing, typically gouged out the eyes to be used later for puppets. Unlike the murders of Dieter Wallmann and Leopold Krauss, the plan to murder Count Wittenmeier was temporarily frustrated by the police. Before the Count was finally murdered in a hospital, Drossel instructed Gramm to assault him even in a police station, where one of Count's eyes was gouged out.
Having too many cyber inlays, which stopped functioning with the death of Gramm, Johan Drossel, in effect, unwittingly killed himself along with Gramm on 12 September 1873 in Count Wittemeier's house. After the inlays were removed and destroyed by the Doctor, Drossel's mutilated cadaver was left for the police to find. (AUDIO: The Silver Turk)