Through the Ages

Through the Ages

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Sporadic Years: 1975 – 1983

From the eras of the Fourth and Fifth Doctors:

Terror of the Zygons

Director Douglas Camfield reckoned that the UNIT fatigues used previously “looked too soft”, so for “Terror of the Zygons” the look of the UNIT troops was updated and they were given DPM camouflage jackets, which brought them up-to-date with the look of the real British Army of the time.

UNIT OR in Combats

Disruptive Pattern Material (DPM)

The oval UNIT patch is not worn on the sleeves of the new DPM jackets.

UNIT troops in camouflage combat jackets

The UNIT cap badge was also modified from the plastic-looking white logo, to a new metallic-looking black-coloured disk.

RSM Benton sporting the new UNIT cap badge

The Brigadier retained his Barrack Dress and peaked cap, but reverted to his ’37-pattern webbing belt and flapless pistol holster.

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (left) and the Doctor (right)

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (right) in his Barrack Dress
He has reverted to his '37-pattern belt

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart discharges his pistol

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (centre) in his Barrack Dress
Behind him you can see UNIT troops in their new DPM jackets

Since UNIT were out on active service in Scotland for the duration of this serial, no Service Dress uniforms were seen.

The Android Invasion

In their next appearance, UNIT troops are dressed in Barrack Dress., although they don't wear the UNIT patch on their pullover sleeves. 

UNIT Private in Barrack Dress
UNIT Corporal in Barrack Dress

RSM Benton wears his Service Dress uniform throughout, and he appears to have finally been awarded a medal. His lanyard is again worn on his right arm.

RSM Benton (right) now wears a General Service Medal ribbon

(From left to right) Grierson, Lieutenant Sullivan, Colonel Faraday, and RSM Benton

Interestingly, the cap badges are now white again, with a slightly different design to the old style of UNIT globe. The outer circle is thinner, and it no longer appears to have UNIT written on it (though there are certainly markings where the lettering ought to be). There is also a black rim around the outside.

The UNIT cap badge now features a larger globe at the centre, and a black outline around the outer perimetre

Oddly, Benton appears to have reverted to wearing the old style of globe.

RSM Benton still wears the old style of UNIT cap badge

Instead of the normal cloth belts, the UNIT troops in this serial wear '58-pattern belts with their Service Dress, which allows for the addition of pistol holders.

RSM Benton wears a '58-pattern belt and pistol holster with his Service Dress
'58-pattern belt worn with Service Dress

Because actor Nicholas Courtney was unavailable for this story, the character of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is absent, replaced by the character of Colonel Faraday, who is said to be in charge while the Brigadier is away at UNIT HQ in Geneva. Oddly, Colonel Faraday wears no UNIT insignia; there is no oval patch on his arm, nor does he wear a red lanyard.

Colonel Faraday wears none of the distinctive UNIT insignia

This could suggest that he has only been temporarily seconded to UNIT just for the duration of the Brigadier’s absence. However, given the Top Secret nature of UNIT, this seems like an odd thing to do, when surely UNIT would have their own officers who could just take temporary command. My theory is that since the Brigadier is in Geneva, perhaps he is being groomed for bigger and better things there, so Faraday could have been sent to UNIT as the Brigadier’s potential permanent replacement. We know that the Brigadier retired from UNIT in 1976; we don’t know that at the point of retirement whether he was still in charge of the UK contingent, or if he had moved on to better things higher up the organisation. Additionally, since this story was broadcast in 1975 that is close enough to the Brigadier's 1976 retirement date to explain Faraday's appearance. To me, this is the most likely explanation since it would be unlikely that an organisation such as UNIT would have two such high ranking officers as a Brigadier and a substantive Colonel at the same time within the UK contingent.

Android duplicates of Lieutenant Sullivan (left), Colonel Farady (centre), and the Doctor (right)

Clearly Faraday stayed on with UNIT since he is mentioned in the audio drama “The Oseidon Adventure”, but it is stated he is away in Switzerland at the time of that adventure (set in 1979, three years after the Brigadier retired). However, by 1983 we know that he will have been replaced by Colonel Crichton (as seen in “The Five Doctors”).

Colonel Faraday
Could he have been Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's replacement?

"The Seeds of Doom

Again, Barrack Dress is the uniform worn by UNIT’s brief appearance in “The Seeds of Doom”.

UNIT troops in Barrack Dress and '58-pattern webbing

UNIT Sergeant (left) in Barrack Dress, with Sarah Jane (centre) and the Doctor (right)

In addition, Major Beresford gets to wear his Service Dress uniform. Oddly, he wears it with a UNIT beret rather than peaked cap, as all other officers have done. Also, one interesting thing to note is that Major Beresford is the only UNIT officer of the classic series, other than the Brigadier (and Benton in “The Android Invasion”), who wears any medal ribbons. However, on closer inspection you can see that Beresford’s medals look vaguely familiar as they are actually identical to the Brigadier’s! I suspect that they have just been recycled by the costume department. Note also that, like Captain Yates’s early appearances, Beresford wears no UNIT globes on his lapels.

Major Beresford (right) wears a beret with his Service Dress uniform

Again, the modified UNIT cap badges introduced in “The Android Invasion” are worn here.

Major Beresford (left) and the UNIT troops (right) wear the modified UNIT globe

Sir Colin Thackeray (left) and Major Beresford (right)

The Five Doctors

In this serial we see UNIT’s new commander, Colonel Crichton, wearing Service Dress, and a Sergeant wearing Barrack Dress. Crichton wears a UNIT patch on his left arm, and so does the Sergeant, indicating that it has returned to the Barrack Dress pullover, having being absent for the last two stories. The patch itself is slightly modified as the wide khaki border has once again been removed, making it look more like the original patch again. Crichton also has the red lanyard on his right arm that all UNIT personnel have worn up to this point. However, this story would be the last time we’d see it.

Colonel Charles Crichton

Colonel Crichton (left) in Service Dress, and a UNIT Sergeant (right) in Barrack Dress

Neither wear any headwear as they are indoors; however, Crichton’s cap can be seen on the coat stand (as a full Colonel, his headwear would be the same as the peaked cap previously worn by the Brigadier).

Colonel Crichton's peaked cap can be seen on the coat stand (right)

Through the office door we can also see the Sergeant’s beret hung on the coat stand in the ante-room. However, it appears to be black or navy blue rather than the sand colour we’ve previously seen. Could this suggest that UNIT had a darkly-coloured beret in the 80s, between the beige of the 70s and the blue of the 90s?

The Sergeant's darkly-coloured beret can be seen on the coat stand behind him

Captain Yates also re-appears in this episode, wearing Service Dress. However, his uniform has no UNIT markings on it (or any regimental markings whatsoever), though he does wear the red lanyard on his right arm.

The Captain Yates apparition wears the red lanyard but no other regimental markings

Though it should be noted that the Yates who appears in this story is merely an apparition engineered to fool the Doctor; any anachronisms with his uniform can easily be explained away if necessary.

No comments:

Post a Comment