Original Screenplay by Andy Lane & Helen Stirling
Benton & U.N.I.T. created by Derrick Sherwin
Music by Mark Ayres
Produced & Directed by Keith Barnfather

John Levene (Benton), Michael Wisher (Father), Mary Greenhalgh (Mother), Peter Greenhalgh (Chris), Steven Stanley (Johnnie), Peter Noad (Willis), Paul Flanagan (Man), Nicholas Briggs (Soldier), Nicholas Courtney (Voice of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart)*.

* uncredited

During all his years working for the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, Warrant Officer John Benton never failed in his duty - but once, long ago, he did.

While on a seemingly routine delivery run for the Brigadier, Benton finds himself close to his childhood home, where ghosts from his past have never rested easily...

Trapped in a nightmare world where past and present are one, will he be lost forever or can he fight his way back to reality, where he is desperately needed?

  • This was the first official “Doctor Who” spin-off produced professionally.
  • The video release also includes “The Making of Wartime” documentary.
(drn: 35 minutes)
During the late 1960’s the United Nations, acting on a series of highly classified reports, formed a secret global taskforce.
Its brief was to investigate the increasing number of incidents involving the abnormal, the unexplained, the dangerous. In fact anything on earth …and beyond.
Its name: The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce.
U.N.I.T. recruited specialists from every field. One of these was John Benton.
Not all of Benton’s work was for U.N.I.T.
Sometimes it was closer to home.

Delivering radioactive cargo through Bolton to UNIT HQ for the Brigadier, Benton orders his driver, Private Willis of the Regular army, to make a small detour. This temporarily throws a sedan following them off. Benton pays a visit to his brother, Chris’, grave. He’s been plagued by visions of his brother’s death. Chris was killed in a fall while playing when him and John Benton were children. After leaving the gravesite, the apparition of a small boy rises from behind the tombstone.

Sometime later, the engine stalls. While Willis is examining the engine, Benton gets out his rifle. He tries to get in contact with the Brigadier but the radio won’t respond. Benton hears an explosion, but Willis doesn’t hear anything. Benton goes off to investigate while Willis tries to get the truck started. If he’s not back in ten minutes, Benton orders him to go on without him. Shortly after Benton leaves, the truck mysteriously starts up again.

While exploring the area and some local stone ruins, Benton comes across the initials ‘CB + JB 1944’. (“How many times did we play here when we were kids?”). Benton grew up here. His family would come out here for picnics during the Second World War. This is where Chris died. Benton suffers a flashback to his brother’s death. Suddenly he hears somebody call “Johnnie” followed by a scream. He goes to investigate.

Meanwhile, a bored Private Willis is waiting patiently back at the truck smoking a cigarette. Unknowingly been watched from the bushes by a Man with a gun.

Benton hears more explosions but can’t find the source. His rifle turns into a stick (“Somebody’s playing games.”). He throws the stick away not knowing it is just an illusion. The rifle reverts but to its original form. When he sees his reflection in a pool of water, he looks like a seven-year old boy.

He sees two small boys run by playing soldier. One looks like Chris while the other looks like he did as a small boy. He chases them through the ruins. When he finally catches up with them, they don’t seem to know he is there. The boys run off. Chris Benton’s death is replayed. And it looks like Johnnie pushed him.

A woman in a pink evening gown and a man in World War II army combat uniform (including gas mask), are seen dancing on a stone bridge. They are Benton’s Mother and Father. Father accidentally lets Mother fall off the bridge. But when Benton goes to where she was suppose to have fallen, all he finds is a white rose. He picks up the flower then blood appears on his hands.

Chasing the sound of Chris’ voice, he hears Chris calling out to him mockingly with childish catcalls. Changing tactics, Bento plays along, trying to bring Chris out into the open. Chris appears, but changes into the Man and shoots the warrant officer. (“Bang! You’re dead.”)

Benton comes too, he sees his mother. He’s seven years old again. On a picnic with his family while his father is on embarkation leave. Chris begs Father not to go back, but duty calls. Johnnie asks Father if he can be a soldier, and he says of course he can but gently scoffs the idea of him being an officer. Chris is petulant and spiteful about the war and the army until Father silences him. Mother calms things down. No reason to make their last few moments together unhappy ones. Chris runs off with Johnnie in tow. Flash forward a few weeks. Another family picnic - minus Chris. The mood is much more somber. Now Johnnie is begging his father not to go. Father tells Johnnie what he told Christopher, but not nearly as kindly. He tries to warn Father that he’ll be blown to pieces by a grenade in a town in Normandy (“I still have the letter!”).

Normandy, 1944. Warrant Officer Benton finds himself in that town. Smoke, explosions and bullets fill the air. He sees a soldier take the impact of a grenade. When he takes his gas mask off, it isn’t his father. Father comes around a corner. Seeing the bloodied soldier, Father swears and runs back the way he came to meet his fate. All Benton can do is watch helplessly.

Benton tries to comfort his bereaved Mother by telling her he’ll look after her now. He promises to be just like his Father one day.

Back in the present, Benton continues to run through the stone walkways. Trying to outrun the ghosts, bad memories or whatever is chasing him.

He comes face to face with his long dead Father. Benton tries to deny that Father is there, but it does no good. It’s time for Warrant Officer John Benton to confront his ghosts. Father ridicules Benton’s accomplishments, or lack of. Chris had always been Father’s favourite. Always given what John had to fight for. All he had ever wanted was Father’s approval. Father accuses Benton of murdering Chris out of jealousy, which Benton heatedly denies.

Reality begins to unravel. Benton is assaulted mentally by images of Father and Chris and their mocking voices (“It’s our game Johnnie”). Chris appears holding Benton’s rifle and threatens him with it. Benton tries to get away and again finds himself reliving the incident that lead to Chris’ death. Benton grabs for Chris as he falls only to come back with his shoe. He did try to save his brother.

Willis is attacked back at the truck.

Benton wakes up back at the initials and hears Willis cry out. Benton races back to the truck. He gets the drop on the Man as he tries to steal the cargo. The two fight briefly, but Benton over powers him.

Willis recovers. He tells Benton the Man came out of the bushes just after Benton left. No time seem to have passed since he left. Willis is okay to drive and they load the attempted hijacker into the back of the truck. Benton gets in back to look after the Man and takes one last look back (for more hijackers or whatever was playing with him in the ruins).

As they drive away, Father’s reassuring voice can be heard drifting through the trees: “It was a game Johnnie. But it’s over now.”

Source: Ben O'Hara

Continuity Notes:
  • Benton is a Warrant Officer and Lethbridge-Stewart is still in command of UNIT. So this story is probably meant to take place somewhere in between Robot and Terror of the Zygons.
  • We meet Benton’s parents and brother but no mention is made of the kid sister introduced in The Android Invasion. Either Benton’s mother remarried or she was pregnant at the time of his father’s death.
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