For this edition of Who Watch Wednesday we take a look at the lovable trio of Doctor Who characters known as the “Paternoster Gang”, comprising Silurian Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), her human wife and fierce warrior Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart), and comical warmongering Sontaran butler Strax (Dan Starkey). The three operate as detectives in Victorian England in 1888 and get their name from Vastra’s home.
The group have become so popular since they were introduced five years ago in the episode “A Good Man Goes to War” that many people have called for them to have their own spin-off.
But in a recent interview with Digital Spy Stewart, who plays Jenny, expressed concern that the departure of showrunner Steven Moffat after Series 10 next year would be the last we would see of the plucky group.
“Someone’s got to write it and now that Steven Moffat’s leaving, I think it could be the end of the Paternoster Gang. Hopefully not, but he’s the one who brought us to Doctor Who,” she said.
We can all hold out hope that future showrunner Chris Chibnall will continue to feature the Paternoster Gang and their wonderful antics. As we ponder their fate I thought it would be a good time to rank their best full episode appearances.
So, with a SPOILER ALERT in effect, allons-y, geronimo and here we go:
#5 The Crimson Horror (Series 7)
This episode was not very good. It starts off well enough with the gang investigating the missing Doctor but the whole Crimson Horror was not very scary nor interesting. And other than Jenny looking hot in that suit and a few Strax jokes the gang really does not get to shine here.
#4 Deep Breath (Series 8)
This is the sole adventure (so far) between the Paternoster Gang and the Twelfth Doctor, and was also the premiere episode of Series 8. The back and forth between Vastra and Clara is cool and the final battle is some bated breath tension. And I laugh every time I see Strax fall to the ground. But speaking of Strax, I found there was a bit too much slapstick and buffoonery, and his shtick did wear thin.
#3 A Good Man Goes to War (Series 6)
This was the episode that introduced the characters before they became the Paternoster Gang, and these weird heroes made an impact on fans from the word “go”. We have really great action as the characters and others battle against the headless monks, and Strax’s death is touching if somewhat short lived. This episode is also among my all time favorites of Doctor Who.
#2 The Snowmen (Series 7)
While “A Good Man Goes to War” introduced the characters, this is the episode that really introduced the Paternoster Gang and their sleuthing ways. We see the team seeking to restore the Doctor’s broken spirit following the departure of his beloved companions Amy and Rory. The comedy with Strax and the memory worm is hilarious, Vastra’s insight into the Doctor’s psyche intriguing and the battle with the Ice Governess is snowballs of fun. A very merry Christmas.
#1 The Name of the Doctor (Series 7)
What a fantastic episode and a wonderful showcasing of the Paternoster Gang. The nail biting conference call and Jenny saying that she has already been killed gave me chills watching it. Seeing Strax revert to his violent state after the Doctor was erased from his timeline and watching Vastra vaporise him was heart breaking. And then seeing them all restored was a wonderful moment indeed. This episode is a great evidence of why the Paternoster Gang are so beloved and why we deserve more of them, even post-Moffat.
So what’s your favorite appearance of the Paternoster Gang? Feel free to comment below.
For last week’s Who Watch Wednesday about Peter Capaldi wanting Susan to return you can read here and for the Top 9 stories from Series 9 you can read here. And for more TV posts through time and space you can follow me on Twitter @suprememango012 or subscribe via e-mail.
Got your back like a chiropractor. l8rs