a real world point of view
|Main character(s):||John Benton|
|Writer:||Andy Lane & Helen Stirling|
|Release date:||1987 (original issue)|
1997 (revised version)
Wartime (sometimes printed as War Time) was a short film produced in 1987 by Reeltime Pictures. Starring John Levene reprising his Doctor Who character John Benton and also featuring UNIT, it was the first independently produced (i.e. non-BBC) Doctor Who spinoff video. Under licensing rules, companies such as Reeltime (and BBV Productions from 1992 onwards) were able to obtain permission to use characters, races and concepts from their creators, except for those characters — such as the Doctor — that were wholly owned by the BBC.
A major difference between Wartime and the spin-offs that followed is that it was the only such production mounted while the original Doctor Who series itself was still in production. Most of the others were produced in the interregnum between the show's cancellation in 1989 and the 1996 TV movie.
Two versions of Wartime were released. A revised version issued in the mid-1990s added a voice-only cameo by Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier.
Warrant Officer John Benton has visions of his deceased father, mother and brother.
Benton and his driver, Private Willis of the Regular Army, are transporting through the peaceful wooded countryside outside Bolton a shipment of radioactive material to UNIT H.Q. by Land Rover. But the journey somehow takes Benton into his own past where he confronts the ghosts of his soon-to-be-widowed mother; his father, an army sergeant killed during the Second World War and whose approval he desperately wanted; and his younger brother Chris, killed in a fall from a high wall when they were boys and whose death he feels guilty about. Benton must fight his way out of a nightmare world where past and present are one, before he is lost forever, and back to reality where an armed and dangerous criminal is intent on hijacking the shipment...
- John Benton - John Levene
- Father - Michael Wisher
- Mother - Mary Greenhalgh
- Chris Benton - Peter Greenhalgh
- Johnnie Benton - Steven Stanley
- Private Willis - Peter Noad
- Man - Paul Flanagan
- Soldier - Nicholas Briggs
- Voice of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney (1995 version only)
- Benton uses the UNIT call-sign Greyhound Four.
- Benton is transporting radioactive material through Bolton under orders from Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
- Technically, the comedy video Myth Runner predates Wartime as the first independently made fictional story tied into Doctor Who. However Myth Runner was a simple send up with more of a connection to the real world actors featured in it than any sort of "Whoniverse" storyline, as opposed to Wartime which is a dramatic continuation of Whoniverse characters and concepts.
- Benton's first name, John, is mentioned on-screen for the first time here; although in general fan usage during the 1970s, it was never actually used in Doctor Who.
to be added
According to the credits it was shot entirely on location in Lancashire, United Kingdom.
to be added
- This story likely takes place between PROSE: No Future and TV: Mawdryn Undead, given that Benton is still a Warrant Officer and the Brigadier is still in command of UNIT. In the latter story, the Brigadier states that Benton left UNIT in 1979, so this story has to take place prior to then at any rate (unless Benton later rejoined UNIT, of course, just as the Brigadier did).
Video and DVD releases
- First released on VHS in 1987, only available as a mail order video.
- In 1997 it was re-released with a selection of previous made fan-movies at the start of the video and additional material added to the main feature, there was also a 'Making of' feature on the video.
- At the time of writing, Wartime has yet to be made available on DVD.