John Benton

From Tardis Wiki, the free Doctor Who reference
John Benton Appearances Talk
You may be looking for John Benton from a parallel universe.

John Benton (HOMEVID: Wartime) was a member of UNIT, serving before, during, and after the Third Doctor's exile on Earth. He was promoted from Corporal to the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1, holding the post of Regimental Sergeant Major. One source says that he later achieved the rank of Lieutenant. While he was mostly associated with the Doctor in his third incarnation, Benton also found himself serving in a companion-like role to the Second Doctor during the First Omega Crisis.


Early life[[edit]]

John Benton's grandfather met the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler in the trenches of World War I in 1914. (COMIC: The Forgotten) He also had an aunt, who was supposedly a medium and died in the late 1960s. (PROSE: The Eye of the Giant) John's father also served in the military. (HOMEVID: Wartime) John was the second of the four Benton children: George, Chris and Charlotte. (PROSE: Wartime)

As a boy, John wanted to be just like his father, while his younger brother Chris did not want to be a soldier, despite being more favoured than John in their father's eyes. In 1944, while his father was on embarkation leave, John, his parents and Chris had a picnic in the woods outside Bolton, (HOMEVID: Wartime) while George stayed at home to look after baby Charlotte. (PROSE: Wartime) While the boys were playing, Chris fell from the high wall of a ruined tower to his death. John tried to save him, but failed and blamed himself ever after. Some time later, his father was killed in the Normandy landings by a grenade. (HOMEVID: Wartime)

Military career[[edit]]

As a corporal[[edit]]

Corporal Benton completes surveillance work. (TV: The Invasion)

Benton was a corporal when he met the Doctor for the first time, though he was doing surveillance work rather than serving in uniform. He helped the Second Doctor defeat the Cybermen and Tobias Vaughn. (TV: The Invasion)

Discovering RAF Lieutenant Mike Yates in a derelict Portsoy house, Benton opened fire on the Armidians holding him hostage there as Yates broke free. The Armidian group vanished. With the Armidians still in the local area, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart ordered the Tharon stone the Armidians used to draw power from igneous rock to be destroyed. Benton led one of three groups to find the stone circles the Armidians had teleported to. Benton's group killed one of the Armidians that was trying to use the stone circles to wipe out humanity. According to this account, Yates was then promoted to captain when being recruited to UNIT by the Brigadier. (AUDIO: Vengeance of the Stones)

As a sergeant[[edit]]

Following Sergeant Robin Marshall's death, (AUDIO: Shadow of the Past) Benton was promoted to Sergeant. (TV: The Ambassadors of Death)

Benton was part of a team who investigated the Glasshouse. He had discovered that someone had kidnapped Barbara Redworth, a police officer who had seen Silurians while murdering everyone else on the floor. He led UNIT troops in successfully fighting off a Silurian invasion fleet on the Kent coast. He detonated a bag full of flares at an invading Myrka, killing it. He turned down a promotion to Captain because he preferred being a soldier to an officer. The promotion instead went to Mike Yates, who in this account had already been working for UNIT as a sergeant. (PROSE: The Scales of Injustice)

While Benton tried keeping surveillance on Captain Chin Lee, Chin Lee used the Keller Machine to psychically incapacitate Benton, allowing Chin Lee to escape. He later helped Yates escort the Thunderbolt missile to be dumped at the bottom of the ocean. Benton was wounded when the convoy was attacked by escaped prisoners from Stangmoor Prison who stole the Thunderbolt. After recovering, he helped take Stangmoor Prison back from the Master and the prison's prisoners. Benton then became the prison's acting governor. (TV: The Mind of Evil)

Benton and Yates kept surveillance on Axos. Afterwards, they faced an invasion from the Axons. (TV: The Claws of Axos)

Yates and Benton in the UNIT helicopter above Devil's End. (TV: The Dæmons)

When the Doctor was recovering from being frozen at the Devil's Hump, the Doctor's assistant Jo Grant asked Benton and Yates to come to Devil's End. They came in the Brigadier's helicopter as soon as it was light outside. Benton discovered Olive Hawthorne had been tied up and put in a chest in the village church. He freed Miss Hawthorne, and they hid in the cavern beneath the church. Benton was rendered unconscious by a forcefield in the cavern, and Miss Hawthorne carried him to The Cloven Hoof pub when the Dæmon Azal killed Garvin. Miss Hawthorne saved Benton from an attacking Morris dancer — hitting the attacker over the head with her handbag, which contained her crystal ball (or "reticule", as she referred to it). She and Benton helped stop the villagers from burning the Doctor when they tricked them into believing he was a mighty wizard. When the Doctor entered the church to save Jo, Benton and Yates were joined by UNIT reinforcements to get past Bok to save the Doctor and Jo, but to no effect. Benton fired a bazooka at Bok, but Bok's body immediately reformed. When Azal's powers turned against himself, rendering Bok immobile, the Master ran out of the church. UNIT arrested the Master, and Benton was ordered to take the Master with him. (TV: The Dæmons)

Benton was present at the World Peace Conference at Auderly House. He helped defend it from the Daleks and Ogrons from an alternate timeline. (TV: Day of the Daleks)

Benton, after being regressed to a baby. (TV: The Time Monster)

Benton was asked to go to the TOMTIT demonstration at the Newton Institute. The Master's TOMTIT machine regressed Benton to a baby. When restored to adult form, he appeared before his UNIT colleagues stark naked. (TV: The Time Monster)

Benton also worked with the Third Doctor and his previous incarnation whom the Time Lords had called in to help against Omega. Benton was delighted with the reunion. It was during these events that Benton travelled for the first and only time in the TARDIS — namely the short journey in the anti-matter universe from the displaced UNIT H.Q. to Omega's palace. (TV: The Three Doctors)

The displacement of the H.Q. building turned it into a space-time Waypoint. As a result, it was involved in a temporal crisis that affected the Doctor's incarnations throughout the timeline. The Thirteenth Doctor got a premonition that Clara Oswald would pass by UNIT HQ, and had K9 Mark IV (newly fitted with a vortex manipulator circuit) warn Benton about her, telling him not to get in her way. He was still in the lab when Jo Grant dropped in, looking for the Doctor. While they were both in the lab, the vortex energy suffusing UNIT HQ caused a Cyberman from the earlier invasion to reanimate and break out of the UNIT Vault. However, Jo was able to kill it with her gold bracelet. (GAME: Lost in Time)

While undercover in Kettering, Benton met Margery Phipps around Christmas time the year Jo left UNIT and they began dating. They were still dating in spring when dinosaurs appeared in London. He was sent to Kettering in the place of Mike Yates when he was recovering. (AUDIO: Council of War)

As a Warrant Officer[[edit]]

Shortly after the return of the Doctor to Earth and his regeneration into his fourth incarnation, Benton was promoted to Warrant Officer — a rank which entitled him to be addressed as "Mister". (TV: Robot) As a Regimental Sergeant Major, Benton helped fight against the Zygons. (TV: Terror of the Zygons) He was stationed at the Space Defence Station at Devesham during the Kraals' attempted invasion of Earth, and was due to meet his younger sister Charlotte at eight o'clock outside the Chinese takeaway and take her to a dance at the Palais. However, he ended up being knocked unconscious in a corridor and replaced by one of Styggron's android duplicates. (TV: The Android Invasion)

Benton met the Ninth Doctor when he was put on a team with Harry Sullivan and sent to the West Country to investigate a missing member of UNIT and a subsequent series of "monster" sightings. Though this was after his promotion, the Doctor and the Brigadier still referred to Benton as "Sergeant", and his uniform also bore the rank of a sergeant. (COMIC: Official Secrets)

While transporting radioactive cargo by UNIT Land Rover through the woods outside Bolton with his driver, Private Willis of the Regular Army, Benton was haunted by the ghosts of his brother and father. He overcame the feelings of guilt that were apparently the source of the hauntings and returned to his post in time to prevent the cargo from being hijacked by a dangerous criminal. (HOMEVID: Wartime)

Later career[[edit]]

By 1979, Benton had left UNIT and had become a used-car salesman. (TV: Mawdryn Undead) His business was called JB Motors. (PROSE: Legacy of the Dominator) Benton attended the UNIT reunion of 1983, by which point he had returned to active service. (PROSE: Business Unusual)

One account stated that by 1986, Benton had returned to UNIT and become a commissioned officer with the rank of Lieutenant, subsequently leading a UNIT team to the Snowcap tracking base in Antarctica to clear up the chaos left by the Cybermen's attempt to drain Earth of its energy in December of that year. (PROSE: The Power of the Daleks)

By 1999, he was a Regimental Sergeant Major, working in a UNIT office. He was married and had three children. (PROSE: Genocide) He later had a grandson. (PROSE: Faithful Friends: Part 3)

After leaving UNIT[[edit]]

In 2009, John Benton was invited to Sarah Jane Smith's aborted wedding with Peter Dalton, but couldn't make it because he was doing something secret in Malaysia. (PROSE: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith)

On 24 April 2010, he attended the wedding of Bernice Summerfield and Jason Kane in Cheldon Bonniface. By this time, he was in his seventies, well-tanned and stocky. (PROSE: Happy Endings)

Benton attended a Christmas dinner hosted by the Eighth Doctor at the Brigadier's house. Together they shared a toast to faithful friends. (PROSE: Faithful Friends: Part 3)

Later life[[edit]]

Benton in his pub. (AUDIO: Call to Arms)

Later in his life, Benton owned a pub in Scafell called the White Hart. He decided to pack up with his wife Margery Phipps and go on a cruise. When Kate Stewart and Petronella Osgood arrived at the pub he helped him. When Jastrok arrived at his pub Benton became injured. He tried to then slow the Silurian. Benton spent his time restoring Bessie. Despite leaving military service as an RSM, he was referred to as 'sergeant' by all, including other members of UNIT. (AUDIO: Call to Arms) Kate passed local control of UNIT in the UK to Mike, Benton and Jo due to their experience with Silurians and Sea Devils before, whilst she couldn't get back to base. After Jo went off in a huff he went to check on her. He helped Osgood in her work. He took the Air Creatures the Silurians were using back to the Hebrides before he went back to his wife for their cruise. (AUDIO: United)

The Eighth Doctor later visited Benton to collect his third self's notes on Isaac's music. The Doctor then informed Benton that he would die soon. (PROSE: DS Al Fine)

Undated events[[edit]]

The Doctor and Jo once went ballroom dancing with Benton. (AUDIO: The Scorchies)

At some point, Benton accompanied Sarah Jane and Harry on a visit to UNIT's Black Archive. He also met Leela there on another occasion. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)


Benton was a down-to-earth British infantryman and non-commissioned officer — reliable, uncomplicated and with a good dose of common sense. When the Third Doctor asked him if he was going to comment that his TARDIS was bigger on the inside than on the outside as everyone did, Benton's classic reply was, "Well, It's pretty obvious, isn't it?" (TV: The Three Doctors)

Despite not understanding what the Doctor was doing or any of his explanations, Benton always took the Doctor at his word and trusted him implicitly. He was loyal, not just to the rank, but also to the people he worked with and was willing to disobey orders in order to help them. During one incident, he allowed himself to be rendered unconscious when the Doctor was framed so as allow him to escape and soon subdued Mike Yates and General Finch. (TV: Invasion of the Dinosaurs)

Benton proved open minded enough to accept more than one Doctor on the same place and time. (TV: The Three Doctors)

Other information[[edit]]

Jo considered Benton to be "quite a sweetie." During the 1970s, Benton owned an Allegro. (AUDIO: The Doll of Death)

Jo claimed that she once rendered Benton unconscious using karate. (AUDIO: Ghost in the Machine)

In the 1970s, Margery Phipps believed that Benton resembled James Bond, "not the new one, the one before him but without the Australian accent." (AUDIO: Council of War)

He was not a fan of Woody Allen's films, preferring the Carry On line when it came to comedy. He was familiar with Star Trek to the point of recalling the "episode where Spock had a beard" (namely "Mirror, Mirror") when the Third Doctor mentioned visiting a parallel universe. (PROSE: The Face of the Enemy)

Behind the scenes[[edit]]

  • Benton was initially supposed to have been portrayed by a different actor in The Invasion. The original actor cast – who shall remain nameless – was fired by director Douglas Camfield as he continually turned up late for filming, causing the carefully planned shooting schedules to be changed.
  • Benton's fate by the end of The Android Invasion was not made clear, as he was earlier knocked unconscious and his android duplicate ordered the removal of his body. The scene implies that Benton has been killed, although this was not the intention at the time. Thankfully, we learn in Mawdryn Undead that Benton is alive and well, and working as a used-car salesman.
  • Benton would have appeared in a cameo in the television story The Five Doctors, not recognising the Second Doctor and denying him admittance to UNIT's reunion. However, John Levene declined to take up the role again on the grounds that Benton would have remembered that version of the Doctor and not made such a mistake. Instead, he was replaced by a nameless UNIT sergeant.
  • During his on-screen Doctor Who appearances, Benton's first name, John, was never mentioned. It was first revealed in (Doctor Who) A Celebration, published 18 September 1983. It was first used on-screen in the video Wartime and later appeared in other licensed stories such as the novel Happy Endings.
  • Benton was the first companion to be portrayed by a juvenile or infant actor. (TV: The Time Monster)