K-9In a dystopian world, street kids Starkey and Jorjie seek refuge from omnipresent police patrols in the secluded lab of Professor Gryffen, an enigmatic scientist who is trying to retrieve his family from another place in time and space. Spooked by what he’s witnessed, Starkey tries to make his escape… and promptly ruins Gryffen’s experiment. The space-time coordinates of Gryffen’s equipment shift and a group of vicious aliens called the Jixen appears through the portal, followed shortly thereafter by a robot dog who takes on the Jixen single-handedly. Declaring the battle an unwinnable situation with its dwindling power reserves, the dog warns the humans to retreat so it can self-destruct and eliminate the Jixen. In the resulting pile of debris, Starkey finds an electronic “heart” – and it soon begins to hover under its own power, building a new metallic body: a smaller, more mobile version of the metal dog that saved them. Starkey, Jorjie, Professor Gryffen and Gryffen’s cocky lab assistant Darius Pike are too stunned by this to notice that the original K-9’s destruction left one of the Jixen alive… and dangerous. But the authorities are more interested in finding Starkey – also known as Stark Reality, a voice favoring a resistance against the near-totalitarian rulers of London – and once the new K-9 begins exploring the city, he attracts attention as well.

Season 1 Regular Cast: Robert Moloney (Professor Gryffen), Keegan Joyce (Starkey), Philippa Coulthard (Jorjie Turner), Daniel Webber (Darius Pike), John Leeson (voice of K-9)

written by Shayne Armstrong and S.P. Krause
directed by David Caesar & Mark DeFriest
music by Christopher Elves
K9 theme music by Michael Lira

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner)

K-9Notes: Filmed on a soundstage outside Brisbane, Australia (which is also where the cast and crew hail from), K-9 isn’t technically a spinoff of Doctor Who. It utilizes the K-9 character created by the late Dave Martin and executive producer Bob Baker outside of the Doctor Who context. In online pre-publicity, Baker mentioned that this K-9 was the original K-9, which remained on Gallifrey with Leela in the Doctor Who story The Invasion Of Time (1977), though this isn’t ever established in on-screen dialogue, and with the new Doctor Who series’ assertion that Gallifrey was destroyed in a war with the Daleks, begs for an explanation of where that K-9 was during those events. (This also assumes that one overlooks the destruction of Leela’s K-9 in the Big Finish Gallifrey audios.) In any case, the London depicted in this series is clearly not a London that has been seen in Doctor Who, so everything here – including K-9 – may be in a parallel universe handily unencumbered by the still-unfolding Doctor Who mythology. However, taking Baker’s mention of Leela’s K-9 as gospel may explain why the original model has the ability to regenerate (a term actually used numerous times in dialogue) – Leela’s K-9 may well have been upgraded with Time Lord technology. No elements of Doctor Who mythology are mentioned in dialogue at all. Baker’s attempts to create a K-9 spinoff have been in progress for many years, as documented in the 2000 video documentary K-9 Unleashed! (which happened to have been written by series co-creator Paul Tams), featuring a primitive computer-generated flying K-9 not entirely dissimilar to the one which appears in this series. Baker’s attempts to launch K-9 on his own – thanks to a loophole in UK copyright law which allows the creators of characters or situations to control and exploit their creations even after inclusion in a larger franchise like Doctor Who – languished with Doctor Who off the air, but with the new series thriving, Baker finally found parties interested in funding a K-9 spinoff (and allowed one-off Doctor Who appearances of the “original model” in School Reunion, Journey’s End, and the Sarah Jane Adventures series). K-9 had, in fact, been central to the very first attempt to launch a Doctor Who spinoff, 1981’s K-9 & Company. The series airs on Disney XD in the UK and Europe, and the airdate of this episode reflects its world premiere as a “sneak preview” special; the series proper would not begin until 2010. Bob Baker gave permission for the “original model” K-9 to make more appearances than usual in the third season of The Sarah Jane Adventures, perhaps in an attempt to draw additional attention to this spin-off.

LogBook entry by Earl Green