Its long decline in mainstream popularity and eventual cancellation from television during the 1980s did not kill Doctor Who. It just forced the series to go underground. Doctor Who became far more of a cult during the 1990s than it had ever been during its original 26-year television run. This surfaced publicly as a boom in BBC Video releases, BBC2 repeats, charity specials, original BBC Radio serials, several long-running series of original new novels and an American TV movie special leading to an unbroken run of official new CD audio adventures from 1999, the start of the digital restoration of the original series for DVD and CD, a number of animated BBC Webcasts and a brand new digital radio series in the 2000s.
Beneath the surface were a network of dedicated and talented Doctor Who fans who had started out writing unofficial new stories for audio cassette circulation and unlicensed amateur video productions back in the 1980s. As their talents and media careers developed these fans became responsible for much of the original officially licensed, fan-funded Doctor Who fiction that kept the flame burning during the 1990s and early 2000s. The only thing that the fans could not do back in the `90s was bring Doctor Who back to our screens.
The Stranger was a neat way of making new and original Doctor Who stories publicly available on video to the fans whilst skirting around BBC copyright infringement issues. "Summoned By Shadows" and "More Than A Messiah" starred Colin Baker (the sixth Doctor) as the unnamed mysterious traveller and Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown) as his companion Miss Brown. Apart from Miss Brown's English accent (which had been American in Doctor Who) this is really fan-produced Doctor Who under another title. The whole series is, tellingly, almost exclusively populated by ex-Doctor Who actors.
In later episodes however The Stranger is given a positive identity and a fairly convincing back-story very much distinct from that of the eponymous Time Lord, but this also coincides with a dramatic change in the way the central character is played by Colin Baker and the absence of Miss Brown as his sidekick. It is a revision that suggests the programme-makers were being leaned on somewhat by BBC copyright lawyers and that the gig was up.
But the two stories on this video are atmospheric and well made considering the budget and technical constraints and genuinely feel like a couple of lost Doctor Who stories. Previously untelevised excursions in the Doctor's life. Highly recommended for fans of the sixth Doctor.