Tuesday, April 25, 2023

#AtoZChallenge2023: Doctor Who U.N.I.T.

Doctor Who U.N.I.T.
While not a companion in the strictest sense, a group of people have played a similar role for the Doctor, and that is the fine men and women of U.N.I.T.

U.N.I.T., originally the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, is a military organization controlled by the UN. We see U.N.I.T. officers in Britain, America, Germany, and China. 

The task of U.N.I.T. is to protect the Earth from alien threats. Though the history of U.N.I.T. is murky (different on-screen explanations), one thing is for certain U.N.I.T. owes a lot to the Doctor.

We (and the Doctor) spend the most time with the U.N.I.T. HQ in England, first under the command of Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, played by the amazing Nicholas Courtney. The Brig was the perfect foil to the 3rd Doctor's shenanigans. But you knew there was always respect between the two, and even a fondness as seen in the actions of the 5th, 7th, 11th, and 12th Doctors. In fact every Doctor from the 2nd Doctor on (with the exceptions of the 6th Doctor and the 8th Doctor of course) has a U.N.I.T. story. Even the 1st Doctor, played by David Bradley in this one, has an encounter with Army officer "Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart" the Brigadier's Grandfather. Though agewise it is more likely it should have been his father. 

The Brig and U.N.I.T. have been so important to the history of Doctor Who that in the modern era when have Kate Stewart, the Brig's daughter and current leader/scientific advisor to U.N.I.T. and played by Jemma Redgrave. 

U.N.I.T. and the Doctor

I talked about U.N.I.T. a bit when I talked about Quatermass. They share quite a number of similarities. 

U.N.I.T. is also a great stand-in for the Doctor in various stories and Role-Playing Games

We had a Torchwood spin-off, I always thought a U.N.I.T. spinoff would be fun. There are U.N.I.T. novels, audio dramas, and supplements for the major Doctor Who RPGs. So one can get involved in the Doctor's universe and never even see the Doctor. He becomes, as Maj. Blake says in The Christmas Invasion, "the stuff of legends." 

A to Z of Doctor Who

All images are used with permission from the BBC and are copyrighted 2023 by the BBC.


PT Dilloway said...

So they're kind of a more official Men in Black-type squad?

Timothy S. Brannan said...

A little bit. If the MIB used guns and the army.

Joy said...

A U.N.I.T spin-off would be great to see!

Joy's Book Blog

doccarnby said...

Did I hear they were working on a UNIT spinoff recently or did I dream that? There's a mod for the original X-Com called The X-Com Files, and in the early game you can dig into the files of previous anti-alien teams for information, and UNIT's one of them.