- You may wish to consult
Probe (disambiguation)for other, similarly-named pages.
The Preternatural Research Bureau — also known as P.R.o.B.e. or PROBE — was a department within the Ministry of Defence that was tasked with investigating phenomena that was out of the ordinary. It was based in a single small office at Ashley House in London, but was later expanded and relocated to Parliament Square.
In the late 20th century, Dr Liz Shaw was invited to set up a special division within the Ministry of Defence to investigate unusual phenomena, a request that she suspected was because of the nature of her work at the University of Cambridge. Whilst setting up the department, she read about cases such as Isaac Greatorex and his cult. (HOMEVID: The Zero Imperative, The Devil of Winterborne)
The organisation, P.R.o.B.e., was not what she had been promised, its base being a cramped office and the only other member being Louise Bayliss. It was also under-funded and, by 1994, at risk of losing funding entirely if it handed over a case to Scotland Yard. Although the stream of work was usually "comatose or dead", Liz remarked that she and Louise were doing the work of twenty. Liaison to the Ministry Patsy Haggard was sympathetic to P.R.o.B.e. and had a close relationship with Liz. (HOMEVID: The Zero Imperative)
The minister to whom P.R.o.B.e. was answerable was Sir Richard Stevenson. Although he was old-fashioned, after quite some time Patsy managed to make him see the merits of P.R.o.B.e.'s existence, after which he became "most helpful". (HOMEVID: The Devil of Winterborne)
By August 1994, Liz had connected eight murders to the Hawthorne clinic and had to beg Patsy not to allow Scotland Yard to take on the case as it would risk P.R.o.B.e.'s funding. Liz and Louise's investigations uncovered Dr Colin Dove's plan to unleash the reservoir of evil through sensitives Daniel O'Kane and Peter Russell. (HOMEVID: The Zero Imperative)
Due to the rarity of P.R.o.B.e. being called out, Brian Rutherford did not see the merits of the organisation and, as his first act as minister, transferred Louise to another department whilst Liz was mourning her father. He threatened to shut down P.R.o.B.e. altogether but required Patsy's approval in order to do so, which she refused to give. After working on a case with Liz, D.I. Burke applied for a transfer to P.R.o.B.e. He was apparently unsuccessful. (HOMEVID: The Devil of Winterborne)
The organisation received as little support from the police force as it did from the department, as shown by Burke's initial scepticism, and also by the "practical joke" instigated by a policeman which sent Dr Shaw to investigate a poltergeist for two weeks. After Rutherford's kidnap by Alfred Emerson, and the revelation of his past dealings with Emerson's creator Julius Quilter, he quit his position. (HOMEVID: Unnatural Selection)
Liz again became associated with UNIT and was at the Moonbase during the Eleventh Doctor's supposed funeral in 2010. (TV: Death of the Doctor) By 2014, Liz was still working at P.R.o.B.e., which was ordered to carry out the execution of Corporal Paul Reynish per Patsy's recommendation to Defence Secretary Brian Williams. (HOMEVID: When to Die)
P.R.o.B.e. was set up by Liz Shaw who, despite the promises of the Ministry, had only one fellow team-member - an assistant, Louise Bayliss. (HOMEVID: The Zero Imperative) Louise was transferred to another department by Brian Rutherford in his plan to have P.R.o.B.e. shut down. D.I. Burke applied to join but apparently was unsuccessful. (HOMEVID: The Devil of Winterborne) Giles was working as a technician and second-in-command of the organisation by 2014 and repaired Box, who helped Liz with the Paul Reynish case. (HOMEVID: When to Die)
Behind the scenes Edit
- P.R.o.B.e. was introduced in a series of independent films produced by BBV Productions, which featured Liz Shaw from the Doctor Who series. Although not aimed for broadcast on television, this series of films nonetheless constituted the first ongoing spin-off set in the Doctor Who universe, predating the similarly themed Torchwood by more than a decade.
- Although the film series is called P.R.O.B.E., the organisation's name is never spelt this way in-universe. It appears as "P.R.o.B.e." on the office door and Liz's ID card in The Zero Imperative and as "PROBE" on Rutherford's file in The Devil of Winterborne. The spelling alternates between "PRoBe" and "PROBE" on the backs of the DVDs.