The entity crashed to Earth in the Weserbergland Mountains in Lower Saxony in 1283, and by 1284 had broken loose from the meteorite by feeding on the local inhabitants' fear of the plague. He acted benevolent to the people of Hamelin and rid them of their infestation. However, they refused to pay him and as his first major act, he used his powers to lure the children away in order to elicit fear from their parents; thus he became known as the Pied Piper. (TV: The Day of the Clown)
The Pied Piper took the children to his own realm, which included such wonders as toffee apple trees and lemonade fountains, but they soon tired of these and began longing for their parents. The First Doctor, John and Gillian arrived and decided to help free the children. They travelled to the Pied Piper's castle, where the Piper challenged the Doctor to pass three tests or become his prisoner. The Doctor used various technological tricks to pass the tests, then led the children back to Hamelin. (COMIC: Challenge of the Piper)
Over the next seven hundred years, he continued to abduct children in order to create fear. One notable stint was an eight year period between 1932 and 1940, in America, as "Odd Bob the Clown". He was also responsible for instilling coulrophobia in young Sarah Jane Smith as he saw her as a potential threat in the near future.
In 2009, he set up Spellman's Magical Museum of the Circus in London in order to steal children from the city. This was made possible by the fact that the Weserbergland Meteorite was on loan to the nearby Pharos Institute. The now adult Sarah Jane Smith prevented him from stealing the children, but he abducted Luke Smith and imprisoned him in his hall of mirrors. With the help of Rani Chandra and Clyde Langer, Sarah Jane overcame her fears, which weakened him to the point where she could force him back into a fragment of the Weserbergland Meteorite. She then placed the fragment in an alien box from which nothing could escape. (TV: The Day of the Clown)
The Pied Piper was a very powerful entity. Its powers included teleportation, telekinesis, telepathy, shape shifting, limited reality-warping and mind control, although the victim needed to touch or be holding something for him to channel it into them, such as the balloons or tickets. The entity needed fear to power his abilities and keep himself in existence. He was greatly susceptible to laughter as it weakened his power, since he fed off fear.
Shape shifting was one of his powers. The Pied Piper transformed his body, clothes and voice to new forms; he only showed three forms in total to Sarah Jane but hinted he could have more. Unless he was trying to lure children into his trap to feed on their parents fear, the Pied Piper stayed as Elijah Spellman and ran "Spellman's Magical Museum of the Circus". (TV: The Day of the Clown)
Behind the scenes
- Odd Bob seems to have some similarities to Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King's It: both kidnap children, share some very similar abilities, claim to own a fantastical circus, sometimes offer balloons to children before revealing their malice, and look similar. They also share the same name: Pennywise calls himself "Robert Gray" and the Piper's name is Odd Bob, Bob being short for Robert. It also shares a similarity to Carrie White from King's novel "Carrie" as they are both telekinetics.
- Odd Bob also has some similarities to the Clown from the Star Trek: Voyager episode, The Thaw. Both characters are personifications of fear, who take the form of clowns. In the Voyager episode, Neelix suggested using laughter to defeat the Clown, as Clyde did, but the rest of the crew dismissed this as being ridiculous.
- The Pied Piper's persona of Elijah Spellman resembles the Ghostmaker from TV: From Out of the Rain.
- Odd Bob was mentioned in an episode of The Chase, which is hosted by Bradley Walsh, dated April 6, 2012. A contestant who was a Doctor Who fan said he wanted Bradley Walsh's autograph as he had a role in a Doctor Who spin-off, which Bradley recounted as Odd Bob the Clown from The Sarah Jane Adventures.