Downtime (home video)

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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, but were allowed to use several BBC-owned characters, such as Sarah Jane Smith. The video was directed by long-time Doctor Who director Christopher Barry. It was also notable for introducing Kate Stewart, who would go on to become a recurring character in various DWU media.


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 Second Doctor on Earth in the 20th century, she was lured back to the Det-Sen Monastery in Tibet 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.

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".

FIND THE LOCUS appears repeatedly on a computer monitor at New World University.

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.





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".



  • Sarah Jane drives a Triumph Spitfire car.
  • A UNIT Land Rover arrives at New World University.

Story notes[[edit]]


  • K9 was supposed to appear. (Although K9 appears in the novelisation, he was never planned to appear in the video. The rumour most likely circulated due to John Leeson's role in the production.)

Filming locations[[edit]]


  • Victoria mentions her father's death on Skaro, in TV: The Evil of the Daleks [+]Loading...["The Evil of the Daleks (TV story)"], and jokes that she's technically 140-years-old, referencing her origins in the Victorian era as established in that story.
  • Victoria's previous visit to the Det-Sen Monastery is recalled by the Lama, referencing the events of TV: The Abominable Snowmen [+]Loading...["The Abominable Snowmen (TV story)"].
  • Sarah is still working for the Metropolitan as an investigative journalist, as she was in her introduction during TV: The Time Warrior [+]Loading...["The Time Warrior (TV story)"].
  • Sarah has read reports concerning the London Event from TV: The Web of Fear [+]Loading...["The Web of Fear (TV story)"]
  • The Brigadier is still teaching at Brendon Public School, as he was in TV: Mawdryn Undead [+]Loading...["Mawdryn Undead (TV story)"], though he is planning to retire, as had been seen in TV: Battlefield [+]Loading...["Battlefield (TV story)"].
  • Upon awaken from his dream on the beach, the Brigadier once again believes he was in Cromer, a callback to TV: The Three Doctors [+]Loading...["The Three Doctors (TV story)"].
  • The "Blood and Thunder Days" of UNIT are known to include battles with Cybermen, referencing TV: The Invasion [+]Loading...["The Invasion (TV story)"]. The list also includes the Dæmons from TV: The Dæmons [+]Loading...["The Dæmons (TV story)"] and the Robot Yetis from TV: The Web of Fear [+]Loading...["The Web of Fear (TV story)"].
  • The Brigadier recounts the time UNIT was involved in the destruction of the church at Devil's End, which happed in the climax of TV: The Dæmons [+]Loading...["The Dæmons (TV story)"])
  • Before he passes out after fighting off two Chillys, the Brigadier asks Harrods, "Is that you? Have you changed yourself again?" — implying that he thinks Harrods is a new incarnation of the Doctor. The Brigadier had personally witnessed the Third Doctor's regeneration into the Fourth Doctor in TV: Planet of the Spiders [+]Loading...["Planet of the Spiders (TV story)"].
  • The Brigadier kept the Yeti carving that was placed on him by Staff Sergeant Albert Arnold during TV: The Web of Fear [+]Loading...["The Web of Fear (TV story)"].
  • Travers once again laments his folly in bringing the Great Intelligence to London, as he had done prior to TV: The Web of Fear [+]Loading...["The Web of Fear (TV story)","The Web of Fear"])
  • Sarah tells the Brigadier that the Doctor once mentioned Victoria to her when she wore one of her dresses, though she doesn't refer to the Doctor by name. This event occurred during her travels with the Fourth Doctor in TV: Pyramids of Mars [+]Loading...["Pyramids of Mars (TV story)"].
  • Kate Lethbridge-Stewart would later pointedly reference "Yetis" among the monsters she'd faced before in TV: The Giggle [+]Loading...["The Giggle (TV story)"].

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.

External links[[edit]]