New to Doctor Who or returning after a break? Check out our guides designed to help you find your way!



audio stub
You may be looking for the concept of recruitment.

Recruits was the sixth story in the first series of Doctor Who: Redacted podcast series, published by BBC Sounds and was written by Ken Cheng with additional writing by Ella Watts.

It starred Charlie Craggs as Cleo Proctor, Lois Chimimba as Abby McPhail, Holly Quin-Ankrah as Shawna Thompson, Ingrid Oliver as Petronella Osgood and Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor.

Publisher's summary[]

Welcome to UNIT: the Unified Intelligence Taskforce, home to the largest collection of alien artefacts in the British Isles. Under the competent leadership of Chief Scientific Officer Dr Petronella Osgood, UNIT is prepared for any and all eventualities – including this so-called 'blue box', and the mysterious 'Doctor' behind it.


Inside UNIT HQ, Cleo, Abby, and Shawna are sat down watching a highly out-of-date UNIT recruitment video from several decades earlier, as Dr Anthony Sinclair speaks to the camera about their role in investigating the uninvestigated. Sinclair continues, discussing extraterrestrial life forms that they have met, but upon introducing one, the video twice glitches and is replaced by the familiar static screeching. After the video ends, Abby wonders why this happened, and Cleo immediately links it to the Doctor, whom Abby and Shawna have again forgotten. Abby insists that UNIT can help them, and although the other two are highly sceptical given their recent kidnapping, they decide to play along as they know the truth.

Suddenly, the girls are interrupted by Dr Petronella Osgood entering, introducing herself as Chief Scientific Officer at UNIT, having forgotten the existence of Kate Stewart. She explains that Roberts has been sacked since threatening them and that the UNIT digital archives are currently highly corrupted, coupled with hundreds of new objects appearing in their basement with no record. Osgood offers to show the girls a tour of the warehouse.

With no knowledge of where the new objects have come from, Osgood explains that UNIT are trying to catalogue all of them but it is proving near-impossible with their corrupted database. After experimenting with an alien laser gun, Osgood surprises Cleo with a bottle of Adipose Industries pills, proving that their podcast was telling the truth, which is why UNIT requires their help to sort the artefacts. As Osgood goes to debrief Abby, Cleo and Shawna are left in the warehouse with their very boring head archivist, Joel. Walking to her office, Osgood explains to Abby that she is a fan of The Blue Box Files.

Meanwhile, Joel directs Cleo and Shawna to a touchscreen panel that categorises the archive, which briefly reacts with the familiar distorted noise. The girls realise that almost one hundred files are missing and everything else is badly corrupted, even the Adipose and Judoon sections; one file simply reads "Bad Wolf". They decide to search for the surname Proctor but find no information on Cleo's brother or father. Lastly, searching for "Doctor" causes the entire database to crash. Cleo asks Joel for the most exciting thing they have to try to take her mind off her familial worries.

Osgood begins to interview Abby, where she quickly reveals that she considers Abby a great fit as a UNIT recruit. She finds this extremely exciting, especially when Osgood adds that they could accommodate Abby working from home to look after her mum. Honoured, she begins to open up about her history with the paranormal.

Joel hands Cleo and Shawna a stick of sonic mascara, demonstrating its use by blowing up a cup of coffee. This sets Cleo's mind racing and she starts filming demonstrations of it causing bottles of Diet Coke to explode. Joel briefly pretends to be cross with them before recommending they use ginger ale instead. Shortly, a wheelie chair race is set up between Joel with exploding ginger ale and Shawna with exploding Diet Coke.

Later, after recovering themselves, Cleo discovers the armour of the Ravulox robot that was attacking Rani Chandra. As Shawna goes to recover her phone, Cleo listens to an alien radio and hears the voice of the Thirteenth Doctor, desperately asking if anyone can hear her. Eventually, they get a clear signal and talk, although the Doctor is unable to reveal her identity for Cleo's safety. She tries to pass on a serious warning of something hunting her down and killing people, but very few of her words get through. The Doctor tries to tell Cleo to find someone who can help, but the name is cut off and the radio promptly blows up. Shawna then draws Cleo's attention to a figure they vaguely recognise - a Dalek.

Osgood shows Abby a secret artefact, the Osgood Box, although she has totally forgotten its origin and purpose. Abby begins to worry that it came from the blue box, but Osgood is sure she has never seen it, admitting that she is aware that all other people known to have made contact with the blue box have disappeared.

Cleo is certain that she has seen a Dalek before, but cannot say when, and admits she is scared of it. They decide to ask Joel, but he refuses to explain, reluctantly adding that a top-secret storage room may hold the answers and that he could provide an excuse as to why they are missing.

Arriving at the warehouse's locked doors, Cleo finally snaps about not wanting to be dragged into this. Shawna attempts to reassure her and blows open the doors with the sonic mascara, revealing a room full of people's clothes, which Cleo quickly realises is for people who have died after meeting the Doctor. Later, Shawna uncovers a box marked with the name Andy Proctor: Cleo's father. She verifies his items and furiously leaves to talk to the UNIT agents.

Cleo and Shawna storm into Osgood's office, calling UNIT "sickos" even when Osgood promises that she was unaware of the connection to Cleo, and getting even angrier when Abby tries to defend her. They decide to leave immediately but are dumbstruck when Abby admits that she wants to stay behind. Although Abby claims that this all ties into a mystery that is bigger than them, her friends refuse to accept that, storming out and leaving her.



  • Written by Ken Cheng
  • Additional Writing by Ella Watts
  • Produced and Directed by Ella Watts
  • Executive Producer: James Robinson
  • Sound Engineer: Paul Clark
  • Studio Assistant: Jacob Tombling
  • Sound Design: David Thomas
  • Additional Sound Design: Arlie Adlington
  • Original Composition: David Devereux
  • Production Co-ordinators: Sarah Sharpe and Sarah Nicholls
  • Script Editor: Tasha Dhanraj
  • Recorded at Sonica Studios, Clapham

A BBC Studios Production for BBC Sounds




External links[]