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UNIT stands for United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, a fictional entity in Doctor Who.

UNIT first appeared in the Second Doctor serial The Invasion, (1968), although Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart had appeared earlier in The Web of Fear (1968) as a colonel.

UNIT went on to feature in many Third Doctor stories, as the Doctor is shown being exiled to Earth in Spearhead from Space (1970), and becomes UNIT's Scientific Advisor following the Auton attack. The Doctor would maintain this post in subsequent incarnations. UNIT is a large organisation and many personnel have featured in Doctor Who over the years. Some lead, supporting and recurring characters have worked for or have been affiliated with the organisation. The most notable personnel include The Brigadier, Sergeant Benton, Mike Yates, Petronella Osgood, Kate Stewart, and Martha Jones.


Brigadier Winifred Bambera

Brigadier Winifred Bambera
Doctor Who character
Portrayed byAngela Bruce
In-universe information
Home era20th century
Appears inBattlefield

Brigadier Winifred Bambera, played by Angela Bruce, appeared in the Seventh Doctor serial Battlefield (1989) as UNIT's commanding officer. She works alongside the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in defeating the extra-dimensional forces of Morgaine and Mordred in Carbury. She is in command during the mid-1990s and is tasked with transporting a nuclear missile across Britain. Bambera is shown able to fight with weapons and in hand-to-hand combat. She takes a no-nonsense, by-the-book approach to command that warrants the respect of those under her. Major Husak and Sergeant Zbrigniev reports directly to her. She uses the word "shame" as an expletive.[1]

Bambera appears briefly twice in the Virgin New Adventures novels, in Head Games (1995)[2] and The Dying Days.[3] It is revealed that she has married Ancelyn, the Arthurian knight from Battlefield, and that the couple have twins.[citation needed] She is mentioned as having served as a Colonel under Brigadier Crichton in the novelisation of Downtime (1996).[4] Her later life is seen in the Prelude to Transit (where she holds the rank of General) and the short story "Excalibur of Mars" in the Bernice Summerfield anthology Present Danger (2010).[5]

In the IDW comic The Forgotten (2008–09), the Ninth Doctor uses the name "Brigadier Bambera" as an alias when visiting World War I.[6]

She reunites with the Seventh Doctor and Ace in the Big Finish Productions Lost Stories audio Animal (2011).[7]

Corporal Bell

Corporal Bell
Doctor Who character
First appearanceThe Mind of Evil
Last appearanceThe Claws of Axos
Portrayed byFernanda Marlowe
In-universe information
Home era20th century

Corporal Bell, played by Fernanda Marlowe, is one of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's administrative support staff. She appeared in the Third Doctor serials The Mind of Evil (1971)[8] and The Claws of Axos (1971).[9] In the Virgin Missing Adventures novel The Eye of the Giant (1996) by Christopher Bulis, her first name is given as Carol.[10]

Sergeant Benton

Main article: Sergeant Benton


The Doctor

Main articles: Third Doctor, Fourth Doctor, Seventh Doctor, Tenth Doctor, Eleventh Doctor, and Twelfth Doctor

See also Dr. John Smith, below

UNIT's principal scientific advisor since his third incarnation was exiled to Earth (having periodically collaborated with UNIT during his second incarnation)[11][12] the Doctor has maintained a loose affiliation with UNIT in all[dubious ][citation needed] his subsequent bodies. The Doctor departed from UNIT's full-time employ during his fourth incarnation,[13] leaving a space-time telegraph[14] (and, later, the TARDIS's telephone number)[15] with which he could be summoned in emergencies. He retains his credentials, still bearing his third incarnation's portrait;[1] and, initially, UNIT personnel Surgeon-Lieutenant Harry Sullivan and Sarah Jane Smith as his companions. Despite the looseness of his UNIT affiliation and his frequent disagreements with the organisation, the Doctor continues to consider UNIT's scientific advisor to be his job, even into his eleventh incarnation; when advising UNIT leader Kate Stewart in "The Day of the Doctor" (2013), the Eleventh Doctor insists to a sceptical Clara Oswald, "I work for them. … This is my job."[16] Kate echoes this sentiment in "Death in Heaven" (2014) when warning an invading Cyberman that Twelfth Doctor is "on the payroll".

Despite enjoying UNIT's confidence and admiration, the Doctor's extraordinary abilities and independence concern UNIT to the point that the Black Archive is designed to be impenetrable by his TARDIS, although it remains vulnerable to his subterfuge.[16]


Jo Grant

Main article: Jo Grant

Jo Grant is a civilian employee of UNIT who was assigned as assistant to the Scientific Advisor, the Third Doctor. The character appears from the serial Terror of the Autons in 1971.[17] According to the novelisation, he holds the rank of Corporal.[18] until The Green Death in 1973.[19] She maintained communication with her former UNIT colleagues, as discussed in Invasion of the Dinosaurs (1974),[20] but was not seen again until 2010 when she met her old successor, Sarah Jane Smith, and the Doctor's eleventh incarnation in the Death of the Doctor serial of the spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures. It is shown at that time that UNIT still knows how to reach her thirty-seven years later, and invited her to their Snowdon base for the purported funeral of the Doctor.[21]

Grand Serpent

Main article: Survivors of the Flux


Private Carl Harris

Private Carl Harris played by Clive Standen codename "Greyhound 15", appeared in 3 episodes of Doctor Who fourth series. His first appearance in "The Sontaran Stratagem" and "The Poison Sky" (2008). He leads the UNIT operation into the ATMOS facility and teams up with Private Gray to secure the basement of the factory where they stumble across a cloning tank (complete with embryonic clone) and the Sontaran leader General Staal. Staal is impressed with Harris's courage, and declares him an "above average soldier" before disparaging Harris's heightist jokes against him and brainwashing Harris to act as a double agent for the Sontarans. He sets about capturing Martha Jones and assisting Commander Skorr with her cloning and then commandeering the TARDIS. Still hypnotised, he and Gray later reported to Skorr to fight alongside the Sontarans but are casually gunned down.[15][22]

He returned in the episode "Turn Left" (2008), leading a UNIT operation in a parallel universe and announcing the Tenth Doctor's death during the events of the attempted Racnoss invasion, the events of which occurred previous to the Sontaran invasion.[23]

On Page 129 of the reference book The Time Traveller's Almanac, Harris's first name is given as Carl.

Captain Hawkins

Captain Hawkins, played by Paul Darrow, fights against the Silurians before being killed by the Young Silurian when he comes to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's rescue in the Third Doctor serial Doctor Who and the Silurians (1970). According to the Doctor Who: Missing Adventures novel The Scales of Injustice (1996) by Gary Russell, his first name is Sam.[24]



Jac, played by Jaye Griffiths, is a UNIT operative, who appears in "The Magician's Apprentice" and "The Zygon Invasion". She is seemingly killed when tricked into a Zygon lair by a duplicate of Clara Oswald.

Dr. Martha Jones

Main article: Martha Jones

After her adventures with the Doctor, Martha Jones codename "Greyhound 6", becomes a medical doctor, and subsequently a Medical Officer for UNIT (revealed during an appearance on the spin-off series Torchwood).[citation needed] She contacts the Doctor so he could help UNIT in the episode "The Sontaran Stratagem" (2008).[15] She becomes trusted enough in UNIT to be given the Osterhagen Key, part of a mechanism for a program to destroy Earth, as shown in "Journey's End" (2008).[25] Martha resigns following the events of "Journey's End".[citation needed]


Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart

Main article: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart

Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (later Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart) is a founder of UNIT and the original commander of UNIT's British contingent. During the Doctor's exile on Earth, he hires the Doctor as his Scientific Advisor. He was the father of Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, another UNIT commander.[26] As Doctor Who show-runner Steven Moffat noted,[when?] "Out of all the people the Doctor has met, in all of space and time, Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was the only one who was ever his boss."[citation needed]

Kate Lethbridge-Stewart

See: Kate Stewart


Colonel Mace

Colonel A. Mace
Doctor Who character
Portrayed byRupert Holliday-Evans
In-universe information
Home era21st century
Appears in"The Sontaran Stratagem" / "The Poison Sky"

Colonel Mace is the commanding officer of a large contingent of UNIT, appearing in "The Sontaran Stratagem" / "The Poison Sky" (2008). He originally seems to view the Doctor as a superior officer, saluting him and taking his orders; however, the two clash and Mace begins to be irritated by the Doctor's manner and repeated casual dismissals of him and UNIT, while simultaneously irritating the Doctor through his overtly militaristic manner and insistence on a combat solution to the situation brought on by the Sontarans (Although both agree that the presence of 'Sir Alistair' would be of great assistance at this time).

Despite repeatedly being told UNIT could not face the Sontarans, he organises the troops for an assault on a Sontaran position, telling the Doctor he is not listening any more, and rallies the troops with a speech about how they would show "every passing alien with an axe to grind" to not mock them and see "what the human race is capable of". He even manages to impress the Doctor by having the Valiant clear away the poison gas surrounding the factory. He then successfully leads the recapture of the area, managing to personally kill the Sontaran second-in-command, Commander Skorr.[15][22]

Although Colonel Mace's first name was never mentioned on screen, the letter initial of A can be seen on the I.D. Card displayed on his uniform. On Page 129 of the reference book The Time Traveller's Almanac, it says that the A stands for Alan.

In the Torchwood serial Children of Earth (2009), John Frobisher and Colonel Oduya discuss Mace's posting in Vancouver.[27] There is also a reference to Colonel Mace's posting in Vancouver in the Eleventh Doctor novel The Forgotten Army (2010).[28]

Captain Erisa Magambo

Captain Erisa Magambo
Doctor Who character
First appearance"Turn Left"
Last appearance"Planet of the Dead"
Portrayed byNoma Dumezweni
In-universe information
HomeParallel Earth
Home era21st century

Captain Erisa Magambo is the UNIT officer in Donna Noble's parallel universe, working with Rose Tyler to restore the correct universe in the 2008 episode "Turn Left". Her UNIT team helps construct a time machine from the TARDIS to send Donna back into the past.[23]

Magambo returns in the 2009 episode "Planet of the Dead", this time on a non-parallel Earth, as a senior officer of a UNIT patrol. She leads a team of UNIT soldiers and Doctor Malcolm Taylor who were investigating a wormhole which was, unbeknownst to them, created by the deadly Swarm. Taylor and Magambo aid the Doctor's attempt to return to planet Earth from San Helios from the Earth side of the wormhole; however, when the Doctor refuses to give full details of the impending Swarm, she considers shutting the wormhole down to save the planet. Malcolm refuses to shut the wormhole without the Doctor coming back through and resists even under the threat of Magambo shooting him. Yet the Doctor was able to come back through with the aid of the modified 200 Bus and Magambo leads her troops in destroying the three Swarm aliens that come through the wormhole before its closure. After thanking the Doctor and bringing his TARDIS back to him (apparently it had been found in the gardens of Buckingham Palace), she comments on having to clear up the mess, to which the Doctor refused to help in the paperwork.[29]


Sergeant Osgood

Sergeant Osgood, played by Alec Linstead, serves in Devil's End as UNIT's Technical Adviser, during the Master's interference there, as seen in the Third Doctor story The Dæmons (1971). He fights against Azal and Bok. He has the unenviable task of trying to build a device designed by the Doctor to be used against Azal. According to the Doctor Who: Missing Adventures novel The Eye of the Giant (1996) by Christopher Bulis, his first name is Tom.[10] There has been no indication in aired canon whether he is related to Petronella Osgood (see below), although showrunner Steven Moffat has indicated in an interview that he did intend her to be Tom Osgood's daughter but deliberately left it ambiguous.

Petronella Osgood

Petronella Osgood
Doctor Who character
First appearance"The Day of the Doctor"
Portrayed byIngrid Oliver
In-universe information
Home era21st century

Petronella Osgood, played by Ingrid Oliver, is a UNIT scientist and assistant to Kate Stewart in "The Day of the Doctor" (2013). She wears a long, knitted scarf of many colours, reminiscent of the Fourth Doctor's scarf, and suffers from a respiratory ailment for which she uses an inhaler when over-excited. She was once impersonated by a Zygon.[16] In the episode "Death in Heaven" (2014), she wears a bow tie reminiscent of the Eleventh Doctor and Converse reminiscent of the Tenth Doctor. She is shown to be eager to please the Doctor and admires him. The Twelfth Doctor hints that he might consider making her a companion, but she is disintegrated by Missy in "Death in Heaven". Osgood displayed a great deal of self-control as she near-calmly tried persuading Missy to spare her with logical explanations.[30]

Despite her apparent death, Osgood returned alongside the Zygons again in the two-part story "The Zygon Invasion" / "The Zygon Inversion", this time wearing a question mark shirt, reminiscent of the Sixth Doctor. It is revealed in that she and her Zygon duplicate from the Day of the Doctor, who constantly refer to each other as sisters, orchestrated the peace treaty between humans and Zygons and the death of one of the pair caused a breakdown in the treaty. Once the crisis is resolved in "The Zygon Inversion", Osgood gains a new "sister" in another Zygon named Bonnie who assumes her form to renew the treaty. Throughout the two-parter, the surviving Osgood adamantly refused to confirm whether she was human or Zygon.


Captain Marian Price

Captain Marian Price
Doctor Who character
First appearance"The Sontaran Stratagem"
Portrayed byBridget Hodson
In-universe information
Home era21st century

Captain Marian Price first appeared in the background in "The Sontaran Stratagem" (2008)[15] and was introduced fully in "The Poison Sky" (2008). She is in charge of monitoring systems and reports on how the planet was coping under the Sontaran gas, and controls the launching of UNIT-coordinated nuclear weaponry. After the Doctor clears the atmosphere with an atmospheric converter, she kisses Colonel Mace in excitement, only to remember herself afterward and awkwardly turns away. Like Colonel Mace she salutes the Doctor upon meeting him. Her collar dogs indicate that she is a member of the Royal Engineers.[22]


General Sanchez

Lieutenant General Sanchez, played by Michael Brandon, is the American officer commanding UNIT's Manhattan base in "The Stolen Earth" (2008). His authority includes oversight of Project Indigo, and he directs Martha Jones to use the Sontaran-based technology to find the Doctor. He also entrusts her with one of five Osterhagen Keys for use in case that search failed. Following Martha's escape it is heavily implied that he is exterminated by the Daleks. His right-sleeve shoulder patch shows that he formerly served in a combat theatre with the 82nd Airborne Division.[31]

Years later, a photograph of the late LTG Sanchez with Dr Jones hangs on a bulletin board in UNIT's Black Archive in the Tower of London during the tenure of Kate [Lethbridge]-Stewart as Chief Scientific Officer.[16]

Dr. Elizabeth Shaw

Main article: Liz Shaw

Originally drafted as Scientific Advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw accepts the position of Assistant when the Third Doctor took the job of Scientific Advisor.

Sarah Jane Smith

Main article: Sarah Jane Smith

Sarah Jane Smith is an investigative journalist who becomes a UNIT associate by way of her companion relationship with the Third, Fourth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors. She first gains access to UNIT in the serial The Time Warrior (1973–74) by posing as her aunt and foster mother, the famous virologist Dr. Lavinia Smith—a guise through which the Third Doctor immediately sees, as he had read papers which Lavinia published when Sarah Jane was but a young child. Sarah Jane maintains contact with, and receives support from, senior UNIT personnel well after leaving their employ.[21][32]

Kate Stewart

Kate Stewart
Doctor Who character
First appearance"The Power of Three"
Downtime (spin-off)
Portrayed byJemma Redgrave
Beverley Cressman (videos)
In-universe information
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Eleventh Doctor
Twelfth Doctor
Thirteenth Doctor
Home era20th–21st centuries

Kate Stewart, sometimes known as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, is the Chief Scientific Officer and de facto leader of UNIT in the 2010s. She first appears in "The Power of Three" (2012), introduced by Chris Chibnall, before returning in 50th anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor" (2013) and subsequently recurring during the Twelfth Doctor's era. Redgrave reprised the role in "Survivors of the Flux" (2021), six years after her previous appearance.

Kate is the daughter of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney). The character was created for the unofficial spin-off videos Downtime (1995) and Dæmos Rising (2004), in which she was played by Beverley Cressman. In these videos she is a single mother to Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, who to date has not been referred to in Doctor Who.

Kate meets the Eleventh Doctor, and his companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams, in "The Power of Three", where UNIT investigates the appearance of small cubes across Earth. Despite her truncated name, the Doctor recognises her as the Brigadier's daughter through her approach to the organisation's leadership; she, in turn, attributes her "science leads" ethos to her militaristic father's friendship with the more scientific Doctor. In "The Day of the Doctor", Kate summons the Doctor to assist with a Zygon attack, during which she also meets his tenth incarnation and the previously unknown War Doctor, as well as Clara Oswald. When the Doctors cause Kate and her Zygon imposter to temporarily forget which species they belong to, they together create a treaty between humans and Zygons.

Kate's appearances with the Twelfth Doctor and Clara see her assist against Missy (Michelle Gomez), the Cybermen and the Zygons once more, after the peace treaty breaks down. She is herself aided by UNIT's Petronella Osgood, and the latter's Zygon clone "sister", in these situations.

"Survivors of the Flux" reveals that UNIT's closure in 2017 was the result of the temporal meddling of the Grand Serpent (Craig Parkinson), whose deception Kate recognised. After evading an assassination attempt, Kate remains in hiding for the next four years before leading the human resistance against the Sontaran invasion. In the course of this struggle, she meets the Thirteenth Doctor and joins her team working to neutralise the Flux.

Dr. Harry Sullivan

Main article: Harry Sullivan (Doctor Who)

Dr. Harry Sullivan, a Surgeon-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, is a medical officer in UNIT at the time of the Doctor's third regeneration and his companion for several adventures.


Corporal Tracy

Corporal Tracy, played by Geoffrey Cheshire, fights against the Cybermen in the Second Doctor serial The Invasion (1968).[11] According to the Doctor Who: Missing Adventures novel The Scales of Injustice (1996) by Gary Russell, his first name is Jack.[24]


Captain Mike Yates

Main article: Mike Yates

Captain Mike Yates was Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's assistant for several adventures during the Third Doctor's tenure with UNIT.

See also



  1. ^ a b Aaronovitch, Ben (writer); Kerrigan, Michael (director) (6–27 September 1989). Battlefield. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
  2. ^ Lyons, Steve (October 1995). Head Games. Virgin New Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0-426-20454-1.
  3. ^ Parkin, Lance (April 1997). The Dying Days. Virgin New Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0-426-20504-3.
  4. ^ Platt, Marc (January 1996). Downtime. Virgin Missing Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0-426-20462-6.
  5. ^ Robson, Eddie, ed. (September 2010). Present Danger. Bernice Summerfield. Big Finish Productions. ISBN 978-1-84435-525-9.
  6. ^ Lee, Tony (w), Guerra, Pia, Stefano Martino, Kelly Yates (a). Doctor Who: The Forgotten (August 2008 – January 2009), IDW Publishing
  7. ^ Cartmel, Andrew (writer); Bentley, Ken (director) (30 June 2011). Animal. Doctor Who: The Lost Stories. Big Finish Productions.
  8. ^ Houghton, Don (writer); Combe, Timothy (director) (30 January – 6 March 1971). The Mind of Evil. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
  9. ^ Baker, Bob; Martin, Dave (writers); Ferguson, Michael (director) (13 March – 3 April 1971). The Claws of Axos. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
  10. ^ a b Bulis, Christopher (April 1996). The Eye of the Giant. Virgin Missing Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0-426-20469-5.
  11. ^ a b Sherwin, Derrick (writer); Camfield, Douglas (director) (2 November – 21 December 1968). The Invasion. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
  12. ^ Baker, Bob; Martin, Dave (writers); Mayne, Lennie (director) (30 December 1972 – 20 January 1973). The Three Doctors. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
  13. ^ Harris, Stephen (writer); Russell, Paddy (director) (25 October – 15 November 1975). Pyramids of Mars. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
  14. ^ Davis, Gerry (writer); Briant, Michael E. (director) (19 April – 10 May 1975). Revenge of the Cybermen. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
  15. ^ a b c d e Raynor, Helen (writer); Mackinnon, Douglas (director) (26 April 2008). "The Sontaran Stratagem". Doctor Who. Series 4. Episode 4. BBC. BBC One.
  16. ^ a b c d Moffat, Steven (writer); Hurran, Nick (director) (23 November 2013). "The Day of the Doctor". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One.
  17. ^ Holmes, Robert (writer); Letts, Barry (producer) (2–23 January 1971). Terror of the Autons. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
  18. ^ Dicks, Terrance (15 May 1975). Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons. Doctor Who novelisations. Target Books. ISBN 0-426-10639-3.
  19. ^ Sloman, Robert (writer); Briant, Michael E. (director) (19 May – 23 June 1973). The Green Death. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
  20. ^ Hulke, Malcolm (writer); Russell, Paddy (director) (12 January – 16 February 1974). Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC1.
  21. ^ a b Davies, Russell T (writer); Way, Ashley (director) (25–26 October 2010). Death of the Doctor. The Sarah Jane Adventures. CBBC.
  22. ^ a b c Raynor, Helen (writer); Mackinnon, Douglas (director) (3 May 2008). "The Poison Sky". Doctor Who. Series 4. Episode 5. BBC. BBC One.
  23. ^ a b Davies, Russell T (writer); Harper, Graeme (director) (21 June 2008). "Turn Left". Doctor Who. Series 4. Episode 11. BBC. BBC One.
  24. ^ a b Russell, Gary (July 1996). The Scales of Injustice. Virgin Missing Adventures. Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0-426-20477-0.
  25. ^ Davies, Russell T (writer); Harper, Graeme (director) (5 July 2008). "Journey's End". Doctor Who. Series 4. Episode 13. BBC. BBC One.
  26. ^ Chibnall, Chris (writer); Mackinnon, Douglas (director) (22 September 2012). "The Power of Three". Doctor Who. Series 7. Episode 4. BBC. BBC One.
  27. ^ Davies, Russell T; Fay, John; Moran, James (writers); Lyn, Euros (director) (6–10 July 2009). Torchwood: Children of Earth. BBC. BBC One.
  28. ^ Minchin, Brian (22 April 2010). The Forgotten Army. New Series Adventures. BBC Books. ISBN 978-1-84607-987-0.
  29. ^ Davies, Russell T; Roberts, Gareth (writers); Strong, James (director) (11 April 2009). "Planet of the Dead". Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One.
  30. ^ Moffat, Steven (writer); Talalay, Rachel (director) (8 November 2014). "Death in Heaven". Doctor Who. Series 8. Episode 12. BBC. BBC One.
  31. ^ Davies, Russell T (writer); Harper, Graeme (director) (28 June 2008). "The Stolen Earth". Doctor Who. Series 4. Episode 12. BBC. BBC One.
  32. ^ Ford, Phil (writer); Martin, Charles (director) (12–19 November 2007). The Lost Boy. The Sarah Jane Adventures. CBBC.