The Pied Piper was an energy entity originally from the Jeggorabax Cluster, a region known to house beings feeding on emotions. The Pied Piper manifested a need for fear in order to break loose from a piece of rock it was bound to, known as the Weserbergland meteorite.
The entity crashed to Earth in the Weserbergland Mountains in Lower Saxony in 1283, and by 1284 had broken loose from the meteorite by feeding on the local inhabitants' fear of the plague. He acted benevolent to the people of Hamelin and rid them of their infestation. However, the Mayor of Hamelin refused to pay the Piper the thousand guilders he had been promised and, as his first major act, he used his powers to lure the children away in order to elicit fear from their parents; thus he became known as the Pied Piper. (TV: The Day of the Clown)
The Pied Piper took the children to his own realm, which included such wonders as toffee apple trees, lemonade fountains and a barley sugar grove, but they soon tired of these pleasures and began longing for their parents. The First Doctor, John and Gillian arrived in the TARDIS and decided to help free the children. They travelled to the Pied Piper's castle, where the Piper challenged the Doctor to pass three tests or become his prisoner. The Doctor used various technological tricks to pass the tests, then led the children back to Hamelin. The Mayor gave the Doctor the thousand guilders to give to the Piper (after the Doctor threatened to take the children away again), but on returning to the cave in the Koppelberg Hills, the Doctor and his grandchildren discovered both the Piper and his realm had disappeared. Before the three departed in the TARDIS, the Doctor left the bag of coins in the cave in case the Piper came back to look for it. (COMIC: Challenge of the Piper)
Over the next seven hundred years, he continued to abduct children in order to create fear. One notable stint was an eight year period between 1932 and 1940, in America, as "Odd Bob the Clown". Among the kidnapped children were Louis Arbourne, Melissa Deaver, Barbara Knorr and 26 children of the Millhouse community. Odd Bob was also responsible for instilling coulrophobia in young Sarah Jane Smith as he saw her as a potential threat in the near future.
In 2009, he set up Spellman's Magical Museum of the Circus in London in order to steal children from the city. This was made possible by the fact that the Weserbergland meteorite was on loan to the nearby Pharos Institute. He managed to kidnap several children, among those were Tony Warner, David Finn, Jeremy Larsson and Tricia Chan. The now adult Sarah Jane Smith prevented him from stealing more children from Park Vale Comprehensive School, but he abducted Luke Smith and imprisoned him in his hall of mirrors. With the help of Rani Chandra and Clyde Langer, Sarah Jane overcame her fears, which weakened him to the point where she could force him back into a fragment of the Weserbergland meteorite. She then placed the fragment in an alien box made of Halkonite steel from which nothing could escape, not even thoughts. All the children that had disappeared within the previous weeks in Ealing reappeared when the Pied Piper was defeated, all of them with no recollection of what had happened. (TV: The Day of the Clown)
The Pied Piper was a very powerful entity. Its powers included teleportation, telekinesis, telepathy, shape shifting, limited reality-warping and mind control, although the victim needed to touch or be holding something for him to channel it into them, such as the balloons or tickets. The entity needed fear to power his abilities and keep himself in existence. He was greatly susceptible to laughter as it weakened his power, since he fed off fear.
Shape shifting was one of his powers. The Pied Piper transformed his body, clothes and voice to new forms; he only showed three forms in total to Sarah Jane but hinted he could have more. Unless he was trying to lure children into his trap to feed on their parents' fear, the Pied Piper stayed as Elijah Spellman and ran "Spellman's Magical Museum of the Circus". (TV: The Day of the Clown)
Behind the scenes
- Odd Bob was mentioned in an episode of The Chase, which is hosted by Bradley Walsh, dated 6 April 2012. A contestant who was a Doctor Who fan said he wanted Bradley Walsh's autograph as he had a role in a Doctor Who spin-off, which Walsh recounted as Odd Bob the Clown from The Sarah Jane Adventures.
- Critics believe that the Sarah Jane Adventures character Pied Piper is based on Stephen King's Pennywise the Dancing Clown in IT. Similar to Pennywise, the Pied Piper is an alien who feeds on the fear of children, makes children see and face their worst fears, uses red balloons when he appears, and grown-ups usually do not see Pennywise or the Pied Piper.
- Bradley Walsh later was cast as the Thirteenth Doctor's companion Graham O'Brien.