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Doctor Who Ally Profile: Strax

Doctor Who Ally Profile: Strax

Dan Starkey as Doctor Who ally Strax


Portrayed by: Dan Starkey

Doctor: Eleventh Doctor

Story: 4 stories- “A Good Man Goes to War”, “The Snowmen”, “The Crimson Horror”, “The Name of the Doctor”

Background: Strax was a commander in the Sontaran fleet when he encountered the Doctor. To restore the honor of his clone batch, the Doctor sentenced him to service as a nurse, constantly having to help others recover from their wounds rather than inflict them, and this role actually suited him well, despite the bluster he initially demonstrates. Strax quickly grew into a firm ally of the Doctor, a wholly individual Sontaran, unlike his clone batch brethren. Thus far, Strax appears to be an anomaly- all the other Sontarans we meet are solely focused on conquest with very little if any unique or defining characteristics.

Family/Friends: Strax technically has innumerable genetic family, his clone batch, but his actual ties are to his friends in the Paternoster Gang, Madame Vastra and Jenny, with whom he lives and for whom he buttles. They keep him in check, when necessary, and the three make a diverse, strong team.

Personality: Despite his singular identity, unlike the rest of his people, Strax is undoubtedly a Sontaran. He is easily excitable, delights in (justified) battle, as well as non-lethal sport in his down time, and he’s almost always direct and forthright. Strax is a large personality, taking most elements of his personality and his life to extremes. Honor is incredibly important to him and though he is a bold and courageous fighter, Strax is far from the most intellectual of the Doctor’s allies. Often deployed for comedic effect, Strax is a very literal person and though he was bred for battle, he’s learned to enjoy the simple things in life (he’s particularly fond of sherbet fancies).

Special Skills: Military expertise, loyalty, penchant for grenades (imagine if he got his hands on some Nitro-9…)

Highlights: Desire to nurse Melody in “A Good Man Goes to War”, frustration with his horse in “The Crimson Horror”

Lowlights: That Tom-Tom gag was pretty terrible in “The Crimson Horror”. Also, while Strax is a great character, by killing him in “A Good Man Goes to War” only to fudge the rules and bring him back (and doing the same with Jenny in “The Name of the Doctor”), the series has undermined almost entirely its dramatic stakes. Character deaths are no longer permanent, making the life-or-death struggles each week significantly less suspenseful and effective.

Memorable quotes:

– “It’s strange. I have often dreamed of dying in combat. I’m not enjoying it as much as I’d hoped.”  “A Good Man Goes to War”

Strax: “Madam Vastra was wondering if you needed any grenades.”
The Doctor: “Grenades?”
Strax: [thinking] “She might have said help.”   “The Snowmen”

– “Horse! You have failed in your mission! We are lost with no sign of Sweetville. Do you have any final words before your summary execution?”  “The Crimson Horror”

Other notes: Strax is the first recurring Sontaran on the series and one of only a handful of non-human Companions or recurring allies.