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Downtime is a 1995 direct-to-video production featuring elements from the Doctor Who universe, but not the Doctor. Reeltime Pictures did not have a licence from the BBC to use the character — and were not even allowed to refer to him directly. The video was directed by long-time Doctor Who director Christopher Barry.
The Brigadier and Sarah Jane Smith investigate New World University, a sinister school run by none other than Victoria Waterfield and a gateway to Earth by the Great Intelligence which has taken her over.
Some time after Victoria parted company with the Doctor on Earth in the 20th century (at the end of Fury from the Deep), she was lured back to the Det-Sen Monastery in Tibet (from The Abominable Snowmen) by a dream telling her she would be reunited with her late father there. Instead, she found she had been contacted by the Great Intelligence, which still possessed the mind of Professor Travers (last seen in The Web of Fear).
Nearly fifteen years later, in the present day, Victoria is now the vice chancellor of New World University. New World is an institution that claims to offer spiritual guidance to distraught youth. In reality New World is the centre of operations for the Intelligence's plan to conquer the Earth by infecting the global network of computers. Both the administration and students await the coming of a "new world" that will be heralded by the arrival of the chancellor, the Intelligence-possessed Travers.
Victoria's motives are well-meaning but misguided, having been manipulated with a promise of the "light of truth". The students themselves have been brainwashed through their computer courses and are slaves of the Intelligence. Outsiders refer to them as "Chillys".
The Intelligence needs a final missing Locus to attain its goal. It believes it is in the possession of the Brigadier, but it is actually with his daughter Kate and grandson Gordon on their narrowboat.
New World attempts to gather information on the Brigadier by requesting an investigation by Sarah Jane Smith. Sarah lies about her knowledge of the Brigadier and later warns both him and UNIT. The Intelligence then arranges a meeting between the Brigadier and a corrupt UNIT captain named Cavendish.
Throughout the story the Brigadier is aided by a New World student named Daniel Hinton, a former student of his from Brendon Public School. The Intelligence's conditioning failed on Hinton, though at times he is still under its influence and at one point becomes a Yeti. He can communicate with the Brigadier through the bardo or astral plane.
- Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney
- Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
- Victoria Waterfield - Deborah Watling
- Professor Travers - Jack Watling
- Kate Lethbridge-Stewart - Beverley Cressman
- Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart - Alexander Landen
- Daniel Hinton - Mark Trotman
- Harrods - Geoffrey Beevers
- Christopher Rice - Peter Silverleaf
- Anthony - John Leeson
- Captain Douglas Cavendish - Miles Richardson
- The Lama - James Bree
- Receptionist - Kathy Coulter
- Chilly 1 - Jonathan Clarkson
- Chilly 2 - Miles Cherry
- Lead Yeti - Richard Landen
- Yeti - David Howe, Tony Clark, Conrad Turner
- UNIT Soldiers - Stephen Bradshaw, Keith Brooks, Mark Moore, Gabriel Mykaj, John Reddington
- Chillys - Caroline Adlem, Bernardo Allen, Patrick Barker, Daniel Beagles, Daisy Beevers, Tom Beevers, Helen Bibby, Will Bird, Hannah Boutton, Michelle Brady, Louise Bullock, Sally Burrell, Emma Butt, Chris Challis, Rebecca Colley, Paul Coslett, Myoko Costello, Simon Cox, Neil Currant, Nina Dobson, Anita Frank, Pasquale Frewer, Louise Gray, Helen Greenwood, Lisa Grigg, Ian Hayllar, Joe Hickey, Alex Izzo, Derek Johnson, Marina Johnston, Richard Jones, Robin Lindsay, Charles Marenghi, Ben Marion, Gabriella Mauch, Scott Miller, Dave Owens, Sonia Paternosta, Emma Penruddock, Matthew Radford, Simon Raisey, Peter Robinson, Sergio Rosendo, Andrew Savory, Heike Schroder, Steven Shaw, Ben Shepherd, Eli Silverman, Lucy Smith, Zeb Soanes, Andrew Stitt, Romek Szczesniak, Nina Terlinden, Posy Walton, Matthew West, Kelly Westlake, Richard Wood
- Writer - Marc Platt
- Director - Christopher Barry
- Producer - Keith Barnfather
- Associate Producer - Ian Levine
- Associate Producer - Paul Cuthbert-Brown
- Associate Producer - Andrew Beech
Kate Lethbridge-Stewart Edit
- Beth was a good friend of Kate. She looked after Gordon when Kate wasn't around.
- Jonathan was the father of Gordon.
- Her son is almost five, and was born in September 1990.
Victoria Waterfield Edit
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart Edit
- The Brigadier is still teaching at Brendon Public School.
Colleges and universities Edit
- The Brigadier still maintains contact with UNIT. He mentions to Cavendish that he was never promoted to General due to "internal politics".
- Victoria Waterfield visited the Det-Sen Monastery in the 1970s.
- Daniel Hinton first meets Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart on the astral plane.
Story notes Edit
- This was the final performance for Jack Watling as Professor Travers before his death on 22 May 2001.
- The next on-screen appearance of Sarah occurred in 2006's School Reunion; the Brigadier next appeared in Enemy of the Bane, a two-part story of The Sarah Jane Adventures broadcast in 2008. Kate first crossed over into the show for The Power of Three in 2012; she is, however, played by a different actress from that episode on.
- The chant used in the title sequence music, om mani padme hum, is a Buddhist mantra. In The Abominable Snowmen, the Doctor asked Thonmi to teach it to Victoria. It is also chanted by Lupton and his fellows in Planet of the Spiders.
- The Brigadier and Sarah quote the codes "NN and QQ" when contacting UNIT. These are the production codes for The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear, respectively.
- A private reconstruction project by Ian Levine attempted to incorporate an older Seventh Doctor into the events of this story by having him meet a resurrected Padmasambhava by a chessboard at Det-Sen Monastery, his TARDIS having been pulled to the monastery. Padmasambhava was reanimated by the Great Intelligence and is much more mummified, having shrivelled up from extreme age when he first perished.
- The Sarah Jane Adventures planned to use footage from Downtime for a flashback sequence: Gary Russell told Starburst "it would literally have been a clip – of Sarah with the Brigadier, I think. And the people behind Downtime said no."
- An official sequel novel, Downtime: Child of the New World, was published by Candy Jar Books as part of their Lethbridge-Stewart series. The paperback came out 17 July 2020.
- K9 was supposed to appear. (Although K9 appears in the novelisation, he was never planned to appear in the video.)
Filming locations Edit
- Sarah is no longer driving her MG, last seen in TV: Robot and now has a Triumph Spitfire. By TV: School Reunion she has a VW estate.
- Sarah tells the Brigadier that the Doctor (who is never mentioned by name — only as "he") once mentioned Victoria to her as she once wore his former companion's dress in TV: Pyramids of Mars.
- Sarah returned to Earth in TV: The Hand of Fear.
- The Brigadier last appeared chronologically in TV: Mawdryn Undead. He will (within his own chronology) meet the Doctor in TV: Battlefield. He would next meet Sarah on-screen in a 2008 episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Enemy of the Bane.
- Victoria Waterfield stopped travelling with the Doctor in TV: Fury from the Deep.
- Victoria's mother, Edith Waterfield, is said to have died on 23 November 1863, exactly one hundred years before An Unearthly Child, the first episode of Doctor Who, was first broadcast.
- By the early 21st century, Kate had become the head of Scientific Research at the British division of UNIT. (TV: The Power of Three)
- Before he passes out after being saved by Harrods, the Brigadier asks "Is it you? Have you changed again?" — a reference to the times he had seen the Doctor regenerate. (TV: Spearhead from Space, Planet of the Spiders)
- When Sarah states that Victoria must have been very young to have been involved in the London Incident, Victoria asks if she looks good for a woman of 140, referring to her birth in Victorian England. (TV: The Evil of the Daleks)
- Sarah was still working for the Metropolitan as an investigative journalist. (TV: The Time Warrior, Planet of the Spiders)
- Kate hasn't seen her father in almost six years, the last time being December 1989. (PROSE: Of the Future)
DVD, video and VOD releases Edit
Video release Edit
- This story was released on video on 2 September 1995.
- Original video publisher's summary from rear of video tape box
- "Find the Locus"
It is twenty-five years since The Great Intelligence last attempted an invasion of Earth, today its evil web is again reaching out towards us!
Using The New World University as its cover and the zombie-like Chilly students as its pawns, the Intelligence now seeks to control the minds of every human being.
Tangled in this new struggle are its old enemies Victoria Waterfield and Professor Travers - but whose side are they on?
Fighting alone this time, without their famous scientific advisor, The Brigadier and Sarah Jane Smith of UNIT are hard pressed to decide who is friend or foe as they search for the missing Locus which still binds the Intelligence's power.
Battle is joined as the Brigadier's own family is threatened and UNIT faces a monstrous new breed of Yeti!
DVD release Edit
- After being out of print for 20 years, One Media iP, a division of Koch Media, released it on DVD on 16 November 2015, with digitally restored video and alongside a new making of documentary using on-set footage and a post production featurette. It is the only Reeltime Pictures release to lack a digital version.
VOD release Edit
- Concurrent to the DVD release, Koch Media released the story for streaming on YouTube, alongside the making of documentary, for £4.99.