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P.R.O.B.E. was a multi-media spin-off series of Doctor Who. The series starred Caroline John as Dr Liz Shaw and featured her adventures working at the Preternatural Research Bureau, investigating unusual phenomena whilst struggling with the indifference and derision of the government and the police.

The series was originally released as direct-to-video films produced by BBV Productions, with four of its five instalments being released during the period of Doctor Who's cancellation.

In 2020, Arcbeatle Press made a publishing partnership with BBV and "revived" the series, starting with the release of Shadows of Doubt.[1]

Premise Edit

The series followed Liz Shaw some years after she left UNIT and the Doctor. As established in The Zero Imperative, Liz was headhunted to set up a department for the Ministry of Defence called the Preternatural Research Bureau (or P.R.o.B.e.) because of her work at the University of Cambridge. She accepted but was unaware that P.R.o.B.e. was to be grossly underfunded, understaffed and based in a single cramped office at Ashley House.

Unlike UNIT, P.R.o.B.e. was a special division answerable to the British government with its purpose being to investigate the strange and the out of the ordinary. Liz's only colleague was assistant Louise Bayliss, who was transferred by minister Brian Rutherford in a bid to have the organisation closed. However, permission was required from Liz's ministry liaison and later lover Patsy Haggard, who refused to do so and frequently went out of her way to assist Liz.

Although mention of the Doctor and the events of season 7 was forbidden due to licensing restrictions, a number of Doctor Who actors featured in the series in new roles, notably Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy and Louise Jameson in the recurring role of Patsy.

The first four films were written by Mark Gatiss and directed by Bill Baggs. After Caroline John's death in 2012, the role of Liz was recast and given to Hazel Burrows in When to Die, a tribute to John written and directed by Baggs. Jameson did not return as Patsy, who was instead played by Georgette Ellison.

Production team Edit

All five P.R.O.B.E. films were directed by Bill Baggs, who also produced all of them bar The Zero Imperative which was produced by Andy Grant. Mark Gatiss wrote the first four films whilst Baggs wrote When to Die. Mark Ayres, who did music for season 25 and season 26 of Doctor Who, made original music for the first few films, with the fifth being done by Olivia Thomas.

Doctor Who actors Edit

A number of actors from Doctor Who played the roles of other characters throughout the P.R.O.B.E. series. Louise Jameson played Patsy Haggard in the first four films, Jon Pertwee played Jeremiah O'Kane, Peter Davison played Patient One and Gavin Purcell, Colin Baker played Peter Russell, Sylvester McCoy played Colin Dove, Sophie Aldred played a public relations officer, Geoffrey Beevers played Brian Rutherford and Terry Molloy played D.I. Burke.

Stories Edit

Home video Edit

Title Author Featuring Released
The Zero Imperative Mark Gatiss Liz, Patsy, Gilchrist January 1994
The Devil of Winterborne Liz, Patsy, Andrew, Gavin, Rutherford 1995
Unnatural Selection Liz, Patsy, Gilchrist, Rutherford January 1996
Ghosts of Winterborne Liz, Patsy, Andrew, Gavin 1996
When to Die Bill Baggs Liz, Patsy, Giles 15 April 2015

Webcast Edit

Title Author Featuring Released
Shadows of Doubt Hunter O'Connell, James Wylder, James Hornby Giles 28 April 2020

Short stories Edit

Title Author Featuring Released
The Door We Forgot James Hornby, James Wylder Giles, Agamya, Bedevere, Maxie, Tasha 5 May 2020
She Came From Another World! James Wylder Giles, Maxie 8 August 2020

Footnotes Edit

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