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P.R.O.B.E. is a series of direct-to-video science-fiction films mostly written by Mark Gatiss and produced by BBV Productions. It is the first live-action Doctor Who spin-off series.

The series features Caroline John as Liz Shaw, working for the Preternatural Research Bureau. Many former Doctor Who actors, including former Doctors Jon Pertwee, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, appear in the series playing different roles. (Due to licensing restrictions, no overt reference to The Doctor is permitted.) Doctor Who alumna Louise Jameson co-stars with Caroline John in the original four films, as Patricia Haggard.

Originally released on VHS, the series was not widely available on video. When an interviewer commented to series author Mark Gatiss that he had never seen the series, Gatiss replied "No, and you never will. One, they're not available. And two, I forbid it. Christ, for all I knew, they were the only things I would ever get to make. And I learned a frightening amount from working on them."[1] The four original films were released on DVD on 3 March 2012 exclusive to Galaxy 4 shop with a 12 rating.[2]

A fifth film, written and directed by Bill Baggs, was released 20 April 2015 with Hazel Burrows taking over as Liz Shaw.[3]

In 2020 the P.R.O.B.E. series was revived by Arcbeatle Press, starting with the release of Shadows of Doubt. Under Arcbeatle Press the series made the transition to the prose format.[4]

The Zero Imperative (1994)

1 – The Zero Imperative
Production
Directed byBill Baggs
Written byMark Gatiss
Produced byBill Baggs
Executive producer(s)Andy Grant
Running time60 minutes
First broadcastJanuary 1994

The Zero Imperative was released direct-to-video in January 1994 by BBV.

Synopsis

Former UNIT luminary Liz Shaw and her assistant Bayliss are investigating a series of bizarre murders, all committed near a soon-to-be-closed psychiatric hospital.

When the hospital is unexpectedly reprieved by rich Industrialist Peter Russell events seem to move out of Liz's control. Are the incumbent director of the clinic, Doctor Dove and his predecessor Doctor O'Kane harbouring the killer? What is the centuries-old horror hidden in the grounds?

And what exactly is the secret of room zero?

Cast

Trivia

The Devil of Winterborne (1995)

2 – The Devil of Winterborne
Production
Directed byBill Baggs
Written byMark Gatiss
Produced byBill Baggs
Running time80 minutes
First broadcastJanuary 1995

The Devil of Winterborne was released direct-to-video in January 1995 by BBV.

Synopsis

When P.R.O.B.E. are summoned to investigate the savage murder of retired headmaster Mr. Whittaker and his dog, Liz Shaw is disturbed to find evidence of a satanic ritual near the scene of the crime. The trail leads of deceit and corruption extends to the current occupants of nearby Winterborne School, where it appears that someone is determined to cover up an ancient secret – at any cost. With another animal having bit the dust, the current headteacher accused of murdering a pupil, and one of the school's oldest employees having been stabbed with a knife, Liz finds herself under increasing pressure from all sides to produce results, especially with P.R.O.B.E. under threat from within – and the death toll mounting. However, a shocking revelation from headteacher Gavin Purcell reveals that The Devil of Winterborne is at large – and only Liz can stop it.

Cast

Unnatural Selection (1996)

3 – Unnatural Selection
Production
Directed byBill Baggs
Written byMark Gatiss
Produced byBill Baggs
Running time47 min.
First broadcastOctober 1996

Unnatural Selection was released direct-to-video in October 1996 by BBV.

Synopsis

In 1975, the British Government quietly closed down a secret evolutionary project codenamed BEAGLE, ordering the destruction of all research materials.

Today, the horrific discovery of several oddly mutated bodies alerts Liz Shaw and P.R.O.B.E. to the fact that something is stalking the original site of project BEAGLE – something which may challenge the very nature of humanity itself!

With a crack security team at her disposal, Liz desperately attempts to track down the perverted results of the project.

But who or what is hunting whom?

Cast

Ghosts of Winterborne (1996)

4 – Ghosts of Winterborne
Production
Directed byBill Baggs
Written byMark Gatiss
Produced byBill Baggs
Running time42 min.
First broadcastNovember 1996

Ghosts of Winterborne was released direct-to-video in November 1996 by BBV.

Synopsis

The Devil of Winterborne has only recently been exorcised by P.R.O.B.E.

But when the body of its last victim disappears, and a book of black magic spells is stolen from a local museum, Liz Shaw begins to wonder if the ghosts of the past have really been laid to rest.

Forced into an unholy alliance with the school's disgraced headmaster, Liz must fight not only her own warring emotions, but a festering evil that threatens to corrupt the Earth again after 100 years.

But how do you fight a shadow from hell?

Cast

Story Notes

When to Die (2015)

5 – When to Die
Production
Directed byBill Baggs
Written byBill Baggs
Produced byBill Baggs
Running time63 min.
First broadcast20 April 2015 (2015-04-20)

When to Die was released direct-to-video on 20 April 2015 by BBV.

Synopsis

Liz investigates the government execution of an immortal Corporal who 'no longer has a use'.

Cast

Shadows of Doubt (2020)

6 – Shadows of Doubt
Production
Written byHunter O'Connell, James Wylder, James Hornby,
Running time3 minutes
First broadcast28 April 2020 (2020-04-28)

Shadows of Doubt was released on YouTube on 28 April 2020 by Arcbeatle Press.

Synopsis

Giles fears for his team in light of the upcoming perihelion.

Cast

Case Files (2021)

7 – Case Files
Cast
Starring

Bill Baggs

Production
Written byJames Hornby & Bill Baggs
Produced byBill Baggs
Running timeapprox 6 minutes
First broadcast22 January 2021 (2021-01-22)

Case Files is a series of video diaries initially released on YouTube under the initial title P.R.O.B.E. Online starting 22 January 2021 by BBV Productions,[6] later released exclusively to the BBV Productions website.

Episodes

Presented as Case File video-diary entries by main character Giles, often including illustrations and references to various Doctor Who-related media. On 16 April 2021, episodes became available on the official BBV website & on DVD 10 June 2021.

Volume 1

This list ordered per the DVD release.[7]

Case fileTitleWritten byRelease date
1"First Entry"James Hornby10 June 2021 (2021-06-10)
2"Kelpie"James Hornby10 June 2021 (2021-06-10)
3"Peckham Poltergeist"James Hornby12 February 2021 (2021-02-12)
Giles and Archie investigate a home haunting.
4"Manchester"James Hornby5 February 2021 (2021-02-05)
Giles struggles to come to terms with the death of PROBE agent Archie MacTavish.
5"Stacey Facade"James Hornby22 January 2021 (2021-01-22)
Giles finds love, but not all is as it seems.
6"Shadow People"James Hornby26 February 2021 (2021-02-26)
Giles and the PROBE team are stalked by mysterious beings.
7"Varunastra"James Hornby12 March 2021 (2021-03-12)
Giles contends with a mythological weapon.
8"Doctor X"James Hornby26 March 2021 (2021-03-26)
Giles recovers a lost episode of 1950s television series Doctor X. Originally created by author Iain McLaughlin.
9"Goo!"Bill Baggs21 April 2021 (2021-04-21)
Giles and Liz investigate a conspiracy behind the global lockdown.
10"Sherwood Sorceress"James Hornby24 April 2021 (2021-04-24)
Giles helps Liz save a kidnapped child.

Volume 2

Case fileTitleWritten byRelease date
1"Ichor[8]"Bill Baggs5 July 2021 (2021-07-05)
Giles contends with the blood of the Gods.
2"Fog[8]"Bill Baggs6 July 2021 (2021-07-06)
Giles meets a curious alien prisoner.
3"Lauren Anderson[8]"James Hornby & Bill Baggs7 July 2021 (2021-07-07)
Giles tangles with shapeshifters.
4"Living Fiction[8]"Warren Lewis8 July 2021 (2021-07-08)
A mysterious film-reel is analysed by PROBE, proving to be very complex & deadly.

Crossover

Case fileTitleWritten byRelease date
1"Daylight Savings"James Hornby6 June 2021 (2021-06-06)
Crossover with the Faction Paradox line of spinoffs.

Cast

Crew

Audiobooks (2021)

P.R.O.B.E. Audiobooks
Cast
Starring

Bill Baggs (reader)

Production
Written byJames Hornby & James Wylder
Produced byBill Baggs
Running timeapprox 40 minutes
First broadcast8 May 2021 (2021-05-08)

P.R.O.B.E. Audiobooks are a series of narrated short stories released on the BBV Productions website.[9]

AudiobookTitleWritten byRelease date
1The Door We ForgotJames Hornby & James Wylder7 May 2021 (2021-05-07)
A free streaming/download version of this story read by Aubrey Guest was released by Arcbeatle Press 5 May 2020.
29 to 5James Hornby14 May 2021 (2021-05-14)
3A Worthy SuccessorJames Hornby & James Wylder14 June 2021 (2021-06-14)
4She Came From Another World!James Wylder17 June 2021 (2021-06-17)
5What Happened in ManchesterJames Hornby25 July 2021 (2021-07-25)
6Broken BondsJames Hornby3 October 2021 (2021-10-03)

Short Stories

Short prose stories published by Arcbeatle Press

References

  1. ^ "FindArticles.com - CBSi". findarticles.com. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Galaxy 4 - PROBE: 4 TITLE OFFER FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY". www.galaxy4.co.uk. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  3. ^ "Galaxy 4 - PROBE: When To Die". www.galaxy4.co.uk. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Arcbeatle Press PROBE Announcement". www.arcbeatlepress.com. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  5. ^ "P.R.O.B.E: The Zero Imperative @ The TARDIS Library (Doctor Who books, DVDs, videos & audios)". www.timelash.com. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  6. ^ "PROBE Online". news.drwho-online.co.uk. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  7. ^ "PROBE Case Files - Volume 1 (DVD-R)".
  8. ^ a b c d "PROBE Case Files - Volume 2 (DVD-R) (Pre-order)".
  9. ^ "PROBE Audiobooks". merchandise.thedoctorwhosite.co.uk. Retrieved 15 May 2021.
  10. ^ "PROBE: The Door We Forgot". www.arcbeatlepress.com. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  11. ^ "PROBE: She Came From Another World!". www.arcbeatlepress.com. Retrieved 8 August 2020.