Saturday, 15 March 2014

U.N.I.T Writers' Guidlelines

(Mockup Cover)

"We deal with the odd, the unexplained. Anything on Earth… or even beyond…"

The setting is 'the near future' in terms of the original airdate of the early-mid 1970s but no specifics, please. Britain has a space programme (Ambassadors of Death) and is still seen as a prime mover in global politics (The Mind of Evil/Day of the Daleks etc).

The Doctor, after the events of The Three Doctors, has been given back use of the TARDIS, if not total control, so events are parallel with Season 10 - how do U.N.I.T cope in the Doctor's absences? Sometimes Jo is with him, so she is also absent (Carnival of Monsters, Frontier in Space, etc.), on other occasions she is present (such as when the Doctor is testing TARDIS or wants a solo exploration - re: Metebelis 3 in The Green Death).

It is worth noting that U.N.I.T did not only deal with alien threats. In the Doctor's absence the threats can be from any quarter which is 'odd' or 'unexplained'. The Silurians/Sea Devils and Inferno showed 'alien' threats can be from Earth too. They can be environmental (The Green Death) or technological (Inferno), as well as 'paranormal' (The Daemons). Inspiration can also be drawn from the Doomwatch and Quatermass series, or other similar formats like Kolchak, The X Files, A Town Called Eureka and Warehouse 13.

Innovative looks at 1970s technology/environmental issues/paranormal/military issues would be preferred over straight sequels to televised adventures. Create new characters and threats that U.N.I.T has the remit to deal with! Remember that U.N.I.T, being United Nations, is also an international taskforce - we're not limited by a BBC budget to the home counties of England!

The Main Characters - the U.N.I.T 'Seven'

Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart (later Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart) was a founder of UNIT and the original commander of U.N.I.T's British contingent. During the Doctor's exile on Earth, he hired the Doctor as his Scientific Advisor.

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

Sergeant John Benton is the senior NCO of the British contingent of UNIT

Corporal Carol Bell, played by Fernanda Marlowe, was one of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's administrative support staff. She appeared in the Third Doctor serials The Mind of Evil (1971) and The Claws of Axos (1971).

Sergeant Tom Osgood, played by Alec Linstead, served in Devil's End as U.N.I.T's Technical Adviser, during the Master's interference there, as seen in the Third Doctor story The Dæmons (1971).

Dr. Harry Sullivan

Jo Grant

Other characters associated with U.N.I.T from The Invasion through to The Three Doctors may also be used.

We would prefer the Doctor to not appear, however he can obviously be mentioned as being off in the TARDIS etc. But the FANNUAL is essentially U.N.I.T's 15 minutes of fame - so don't overshadow them!

Additional Guidelines:

You are writing from the viewpoint of early 1973, and can use the U.N.I.T continuity up to and including Season 10 up to Planet of the Daleks, so you have no knowledge of any stories beyond that point. While we do not mind writers having a knowledge of U.N.I.T stories/chronology beyond this point, please do not make wholesale references or hang whole plot devices on them. In fact, we would prefer you use your knowledge to skirt any continuity busting issues! This also applies to later related series like Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures and K9.
The one exception *we* as editors have made is including Harry Sullivan, the U.N.I.T medical officer. He is newly seconded to U.N.I.T at this point and yet to know of the absent Doctor's unique physiology - something he will not discover until 'Robot'. We preferred a familiar face there, and are sure you do too.

Unlike the Cushing FANNUAL, where we allowed a free for all in terms of story and scope, we would prefer initial story pitches before committing, so we have a balance and not 12/13 stories of alien invasion only. We would prefer the scope of:
Space Programme
Strange creatures
Unusual Phenomena
and if you have any unique story ideas beyond these too.
There may also be a vague arc, and we want some stories to fit this.

Recommended reading/viewing:

The Making of Doctor Who, 1972 Piccolo Edition. Please note the Brigadier makes reference to the Doctor being found on 3 Jan 1970 (actually the airdate of episode 1 of Spearhead from Space). As stated above, the U.N.I.T stories take place in a period approximately five years beyond the transmission dates in a fictional and somewhat more technologically advanced parallel to our own reality but please, no specifics. You can have dates but hedge around the year (as seen in Day of the Daleks!).

The UNIT Dating Controversy - Day of the Daleks DVD

The Doctor Who UNIT Special (1991) - but again, concentrate on the 1973 Season and before. No references to Mawdryn Undead, Remembrance of the Daleks, etc.

The UNIT stories on DVD/in novelisation:
The Web of Fear
The Invasion
Spearhead from Space
The Silurians
The Ambassadors of Death
Terror of the Autons
The Mind of Evil
The Claws of Axos
The Daemons
Day of the Daleks
The Sea Devils (not U.N.I.T but Earth-based)
The Time Monster
The Three Doctors

The Doctor Who Annuals, 1971, 1973 and 1974

Please note that artwork is not to be signed and dated. All credit will be given in the index. This is in keeping with the general rule of the format of the World Distributors Annuals, even though there has been exceptions to this.

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