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The Paternoster Gang (Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors)

A trio of misfits in Victorian London who assist the Doctor, notably in his Eleventh and Twelfth incarnations. Since their introduction in "A Good Man Goes to War", they have become very popular, with many fans demanding a spin-off, and Big Finish naturally obliged — following Early Bird Cameos from Strax and Vastra in Jago & Litefoot and The Churchill Years respectively, the gang's first appearance together came in the form of a Poorly Disguised Pilot as part of "The Eighth of March", a special release to mark International Women's Day. The first series of their spin-off proper was released in June 2019.


In General:

  • Artifact Collection Agency: At the end of "The Crimson Horror", Strax talks of "another one for the vault", implying this trope.
  • Breakout Character: Due to their immense popularity, they eventually got their own spinoff series of audio dramas by Big Finish in June 2019.
  • Expy: Apparently, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based Holmes and Watson off of Vastra and Jenny.
  • Family of Choice: Vastra, Jenny and Strax's dynamic is that of a family, with Vastra and Jenny being the parents and Strax the child. This is especially evident in "The Crimson Horror", where Vastra scolds Strax for acting overexcited and asks him whether he’s been eating too much sherbet. Strax acts like a misbehaving child being told off by his mother.
  • The Gay '90s: Post-Demon's Run, all their appearances on screen and off have been restricted to this decade.
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  • Lovely Angels: Jenny and Vastra. Even better, they're an Official Couple.
    Vastra: Good evening. I'm a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife.
  • Put on a Bus: They haven't been seen or heard from since Twelve's premiere episode save for Strax, who had a one-time adventure with Jago and Litefoot in a Big Finish drama and Vastra, who crossed paths with a young Winston Churchill in another Big Finish audio. That changed once Big Finish gave them their own series in 2019.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Both Vastra and Strax have had offscreen adventures with the Doctor prior to their debut, but were otherwise never mentioned before.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Vastra and Jenny love to go back and forth at each other, with Strax as the straight man.
  • They Fight Crime!: Vastra eats Jack the Ripper, and is shown to have captured another Serial Killer in "The Name of the Doctor". However, "The Crimson Horror" states that they're also in the business of investigating the bizarre and unusual.
  • True Companions: To each other, as well as to the Doctor. The Doctor undertakes great personal risk in "The Name of the Doctor" to save Vastra, Jenny and Strax, saying that they were there for him after he lost Amy and Rory. In "Deep Breath", they also look after the Doctor after his traumatic regeneration.
  • Two Girls and a Guy: Jenny and Vastra are the two girls, and Strax is the guy (which is kind of a given for a Sontaran).
  • Weirdness Censor: Many seem to assume that Vastra and Strax suffer from some kind of skin malady and physical deformities, but because of Victorian social etiquette, are simply too polite to say anything! Then again, they do live in Victorian London.

Madame Vastra
Played by: Neve McIntosh (2011–2014)

"Good evening. I'm a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife."

Vastra is a Silurian warrior living in Victorian London as a detective with her human maidservant, lover, and eventual wife, Jenny. They were recruited by the Doctor to fight in the Battle of Demon's Run. After that, Strax came to live with them as their butler, and the Doctor spends quite a lot of time with them. Vastra apparently knows the Doctor very well from offscreen encounters.

  • All There in the Manual: The Brilliant Book of Doctor Who 2012 contains 4 pages worth of Victorian newspaper articles and letters from Vastra hinting at how she first met the Doctor and Jenny, as well as some adventures Vastra and Jenny have had independent of each other. Apparently, she was even part of Henry Gordon Jago's theatre shows for a bit.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The reason why Jack the Ripper was never caught? Vastra ate him after catching him herself.
  • Clueless Detective: In regards to the Great Intelligence, despite the Doctor's explanation to the point she thinks the Great Intelligence possessed Dr. Simeon instead of being his subconscious mind. (Though the Doctor was being vague about how the snow was a parasite and neglected to mention that the alien snow naturally had no mind and how the Great Intelligence was Simeon's subconsciousness).
  • Covert Pervert: She tries to invite Clara to remove her clothes.
  • Crazy-Prepared: She sent Clara a letter containing a candle that would release a sedative when burned. Knowing that Clara wouldn't light it, she also coated the letter itself with the sedative.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Vastra can get quite deadpan at times.
    Strax: I'm not an expert on alien species ...but you're both woman ones aren't you?
    Vastra: It has been noted.
  • Does Not Like Men: Assumes Clara is upset at the Doctor's change only because she wanted pretty Matt Smith, and clarifies that humans are "apes", men are just monkeys.
  • Fantastic Racism: Vastra isn't exactly fond of "apes", which causes the occasional argument with her wife, and she really doesn't like the standards of Victorian London.
  • Great Detective: The inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • Happily Married: To Jenny.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: "Deep Breath" reveals she has a leather outfit similar to Jenny's.
  • Hero of Another Story: Most of her adventures are off-screen; the Paternoster gang even had its own comics run in Doctor Who Adventures and later a spin-off series from Big Finish.
  • Hugh Mann: Really isn't trying. She takes off her veil quite often, and explains her background to anyone who asks. The fact that she has to disguise herself at all annoys her greatly.
  • Interspecies Romance: Silurian (pre-historic humanoid dinosaur) and human.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Vastra uses a katana in battle.
  • Lady of Adventure: She's got lots of adventures of her own under her belt, to the point of being the original inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.
  • Lady of War: A dignified, very intelligent Lipstick Lesbian Silurian onna-bugeisha who ate Jack the Ripper.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Likes to conform to Victorian standards of female dress in non-violent situations. Even tells Strax that one of the appeals of the Victorian Era are the extraordinary dresses.
  • Living Relic: She comes from the era the Silurians were Earth's dominant species, about 65 million years ago, and is the only Silurian known to be awake in the Victorian period.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: She and Jenny are married crime-fighting serial-killer-hunting katana-wielding Victorian interspecies lesbians. Vastra herself is a Victorian, Silurian, katana-wielding, human-eating, crimefighter.
  • Noble Bigot: Vastra, who frequently criticizes "apes" and has eaten them (well, Jack the Ripper) off-screen, despite being married to one. Jenny just rolls with it, though she does call Vastra out on it from time to time, and Vastra does try to rein it in, admitting in a "Good Man Goes To War" after one particularly insensitive comment that she sometimes wonders why Jenny puts up with her. She then knocks out a guard with her very long, very flexible prehensile tongue, and the two share a smirk.
  • Official Couple: With Jenny, to whom she is married.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: For the audience at least, her veil is very transparent.
  • Perception Filter: Her veil has one.
  • Retired Monster: Vastra was hunting workmen on the London Underground when the Doctor first met her.
  • Son of an Ape: Calls humans "apes" a lot. She also uses "monkey" as a male-specific insult.
  • To Serve Man: Vastra ate Jack the Ripper and was preying on workmen in the London Underground before the Doctor made her stop, as mentioned above. We don't know if she routinely does this anymore, or if Jenny joins in at all.
  • Troll: Asks Jenny to pose in her underwear (as near as naked as makes no difference for Victorians) under the pretences of painting a portrait. Once Jenny cottons on that this isn't true, Vastra asks her to keep posing.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Wears a green one in "A Good Man Goes to War" when she goes to Demon's Run.

Jenny Flint
Played by: Catrin Stewart (2011–2014)

"Naah, Doctor, this one's on me."

Madame Vastra's wife and Ninja Maid, who was cast out by her family for her preferences and subsequently took up a life of detective work, lock-picking and katana-wielding.

  • Spy Catsuit: Sometimes wears one in combat situations.
  • Token Human: She's the only human in the trio, working with a Silurian and a Sontaran.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Wears a blue one in "A Good Man Goes to War" when she goes to Demon's Run.
  • The Watson: The original Watson who allegedly inspired Sir Conan Doyle's stories, but does not actually fit the trope because she doesn't need her wife to explain things to her.

Played by: Dan Starkey (2011–2014)

"Do not attempt to escape or you will be obliterated. May I take your coat?"

Strax was, at one time, a Commander in the Sontaran army, but was demoted to the status of nurse. At some point he encountered the Doctor and the two began an Odd Friendship, leading Strax to participate in the Battle of Demon's Run, where he was killed (or, perhaps, simply fainted). The Doctor managed to get Strax brought Back from the Dead (although he Came Back Wrong a bit), and he began living with Vastra and Jenny in Victorian London.

Showed up in Big Finish Doctor Who, where he got to team up with Jago and Litefoot... because he got hit on the head and thought they were Vastra and Jenny.

  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: His appearance at Monster's Day Out was in Cahrrdeef.
  • Affably Evil: Not evil per se, but he frequently remarks to people that he hopes to one day kill them for the glory of the Sontaran Empire. Note that this is a compliment from a Sontaran's perspective.
  • Alien Gender Confusion: It's a Running Gag that Strax cannot identify humans by sex, and always guesses wrong, because he's a Sontaran, a race of clones who're only male.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Given that no other Sontaran acts like Strax, one does start to wonder. This gets much more pronounced after he "died" in his first appearance, which changed his personality quite a bit.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Strax's first, second, and third choice for any situation.
  • Axe-Crazy: His first instinct for any approach is to attack, kill, or destroy.
    Jenny: It's beautiful.
    Strax: Shall I destroy it?
    Vastra: Shut up, Strax.
  • Back from the Dead: We see Vastra and Jenny fixing him up in the "Two Days Later" minisode, where it's stated that he actually fainted instead.
  • Badass Adorable: Whenever he is excited to go into battle, he becomes this.
  • Bad Boss: Has a tendency to "execute" horses for failure, especially when he's hungry.
  • Bar Brawl: His idea of a fun weekend off is getting into one of these with a Violent Glaswegian.
  • Battle Butler: Now serves this role to Vastra and Jenny. He's got the battle down, and he's trying hard on the butler part.
  • Bizarre Alien Sexes: Hailing from a monosex clone-race, "two genders is a bit further than he can count". He defaults to male pronouns to comic effect, even when he's making an effort.
    Strax: I'm not an expert on alien species, but you're both... woman-ones, aren't you?
    Vastra: It has been noted.
    Strax: Don't you need a man-one?
    Vastra/Jenny: No.
    Strax: Am I the man-one?
    Vastra/Jenny: No!
    • In his report on the different incarnations of the Doctor, he is convinced that the Eighth Doctor is a woman because of his long hair.
  • Blood Knight: He is a Sontaran, after all. He was excited to be recruited for the Battle of Demons Run.
  • Came Back Wrong: Regardless of whether one thinks he died at Demon's Run, or accepts the minisode explanation that he merely fainted, his personality changes rather drastically from "A Good Man Goes to War" upon his return in "The Snowmen".
    The Doctor: He gave his life for a friend of mine once, and another friend brought him back. I'm not sure all his brains made the return trip!
  • Character Development: At first, he longed to destroy Earth and hated his punishment, but he seems to have gotten used to it (and even enjoys some bits of Earth).
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • He declared war on the Moon, having determined that it had been over them far too long and had gained a tactical advantage. When informed that the Moon was uninhabited, he merely insisted that that just meant that now is the best time to strike because "They'll never see it coming!"
    • He executed three horses in a week, because he believed they failed their missions. And he was implied to have eaten them, too. (He gets prevented from executing a fourth.)
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Turns out he was right about something living on the Moon.
  • Combat Medic: A Sontaran Nurse.
  • The Comically Serious: Strax says pretty much everything in the most serious fashion a Sontaran can manage.
  • Death Seeker: He finds the glorious Sontaran death is a bit less pleasant than he expected. After being fixed up, he initially insists that he's most sincerely dead and they should leave him.
  • Disney Death: He "died" at the Battle of Demon's Run.
  • The Ditz: The Doctor suggested that he Came Back Wrong, though part of his apparent ditziness may be because he's a Sontaran trying to fit in Victorian London.
    • In “The Snowmen” he repeatedly holds a memory worm without using gloves, thereby constantly erasing his own memory to the Doctor’s frustration.
  • Fate Worse than Death: For a Sontaran, being forced to save lives is one of the greatest shames imaginable.
  • Foil: To Rory, who is a nurse-turned-warrior, while Strax is a warrior-turned-nurse. Also as Vastra and Jenny's butler.
  • Friend to All Children:
    • His appearance at Monster's Day Out taking questions from a group of little children.
    • In the show proper, he gets along with kids just fine, and seems quite upset that Rory won't let him nurse Melody.
  • Genius Ditz: Still retains his medical and combat knowledge after he Came Back Wrong.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: He is, like all Sontarans, extremely quick to violence, but he means well enough and his antics are Played for Laughs.
  • Humiliation Conga: For a once-mighty warrior general, being demoted to Nurse and having to help the weak and sickly is the worst humiliation imaginable.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: He's probably one of the most likeable guys who will ever threaten to melt you with acid.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sontarans can be violent and brutish, but this one's the Doctor's friend. Plus he offered to breast-feed Amy and Rory's baby. He can produce magnificent quantities of lactic fluid!
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: When introduced, he states that he is forced to serve as a "healer of the weak and sick". To his mind, as a member of his Proud Warrior Race, this is the most shameful of all professions, as he is on the battlefield, but not only is he not fighting, but he is actively undoing the results of the fighting done by others. He tolerates this only because it is a penance imposed on him, heavily implied to be one imposed by the Doctor himself.
  • Large Ham: To a certain extent.
    "I have gene-spliced myself for all nursing duties. I can produce MAGNIFICENT quantities of lactic fluid!"
  • Literal-Minded: As Clara finds out, Strax has issues with metaphor and euphemism. And surprisingly good aim with a newspaper. This one isn't unique to Strax, however, as other Sontarans have shown confusion over human slang before.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: He prefaces the cinema version of "The Day of the Doctor", warning viewers that texting or unauthorized filming will be punished severely but popcorn is a-okay.
    Strax: Remember — popcorn can feel pain! [crunch] Ah, those tiny screams!
  • Mister Seahorse: He's not technically got a gender, but mentions undergoing gene-splicing to allow him to produce breast milk.
  • Mood Whiplash: He provides this gem from "The Snowmen":
    Strax: Do not attempt to escape, or you will be obliterated! [politely] May I take your coat?
  • Noodle Implements: Some of the weapons Strax will inevitably suggest using at the nearest opportunity sound ridiculously overpowered or just flat-out insane.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever caused him to be demoted to nurse to restore the honour of his clone batch. Some Expanded Universe material suggests the Tenth Doctor may have been involved, as Strax really doesn't like him.
  • "No Talking or Phones" Warning: Provides one for the cinema version of "The Day of the Doctor".
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In "The Name of the Doctor", when the Great Intelligence attempts to rewrite the Doctor's entire timestream and remove his positive influence on the universe, Strax is briefly transformed into a psychopathic Sontaran warrior (more so than usual) and even attempts to murder Madame Vastra because as a Silurian, she was "racially impure".
  • Plucky Comic Relief: He plays this role ever since his second appearance, which is a sharp contrast from most of his species.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: In "The Crimson Horror", Vastra scolds him for getting overexcited. Strax goes into a sulk and storms outside to play with his grenades.
  • Psycho Sidekick: The only reason why he isn't trying to conquer Earth is because he sees Vastra, Jenny and the Doctor as his superiors and works towards their objectives.
  • Running Gag: Several. His inability to distinguish between genders, his fondness for violence, his poor grasp of human behaviour, and his habit of suggesting attacks with multiple ludicrous weapons. With these weapons, acid seems to be a favourite option of his, given how often he suggests using it.
  • Stout Strength: Can throw a newspaper hard enough to knock someone over on a second floor. Justified given that he's a Sontaran.
  • Sweet Tooth: He apparently gets into Jenny's Sherbert Fancies from time to time.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: In "The Crimson Horror", he grumbles that Madame Vastra never lets him use his grenades.
  • Token Evil Teammate: He is a Sontaran after all, albeit one reduced to the status of Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. His suggested solutions to problems are usually horrifically violent and can't help but include death threats in his daily discourse. He also apparently murders a horse every couple of days for "failing its mission".
  • Violent Glaswegian: He isn't one, but Strax seems to feel more of a kinship with them than any other humans. Whenever he has a day off, he travels to Glasgow for the express purpose of getting in bar fights.
  • When All You Have is a Hammer…: Violence is all he knows. He recommends extremely violent solutions involving grenades or acid for dealing with any situation, regardless of how mundane it is. He's always overruled by Vastra, Jenny or the Doctor, so we never get to see the "hammer" in action.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • He considers the Doctor a worthy enemy of the Sontarans, though he prefers some incarnations over others. Six is his personal favourite, Three gets singled out for his super-spy heroics, and he despises Ten for humiliating his clone batch.
    • When he's not fighting his favourite Violent Glaswegian to the death in an epic bar brawl, he's on quite friendly terms with him.