’90s ‘Doctor Who’ spin-off ‘Downtime’ is coming to DVD

Downtime, a British sci-fi movie set in the Doctor Who universe will finally arrive on DVD next month.

Originally released on video in 1995, the 70-minute adventure sees Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen, Deborah Watling and Jack Watling reprise their roles as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sarah Jane Smith, Victoria Waterfield, Professor Edward Travers respectively.

Downtime Nicholas Courtney Elisabeth Sladen

Downtime is released on DVD on Monday 16 November and is an unofficial sequel to the Second Doctor serials ‘The Abominable Snowmen’ and ‘The Web of Fear’.

> Buy Downtime on DVD on Amazon.

Extras will include ‘Behind the Lens’, a behind the scenes look at the production with never before seen footage, and ‘Post Production’, a glimpse into the editing, sound and visual effects work.

Downtime dvd

The official synopsis reads: “We follow The Brigadier and Sarah Jane Smith of UNIT who investigate New World University; a sinister school run by old enemies Victoria Waterfield and Professor Travers. The technology obsessed University holds a gateway to Earth made by classic foe the ‘Great Intelligence’.

“Fighting alone this time – without their famous time-travelling scientific advisor – The Brigadier and Sarah Jane are hard pressed to decide who is friend or foe as they search for a missing Locus, which binds the Intelligence’s power. The battle is broadened when the Brigadier’s own family is threatened and UNIT faces a powerful new breed of Yeti!”

Have you seen Downtime before? Let us know below…

  • This is actually surprisingly good. Of all the many many fan-made oddities from “the wilderness years” there’s a reason this is the most fondly remembered. It’s also been made canon by the revived series’s inclusion of Kate Lethbridge-Stewart so it’s worth a look for that too. It’ll be nice to finally have this on DVD.

    • Brendan Semph

      Big Finish really kept it alive during that time, and most of it (at least the 8th Doctors) is canon based on Night of the Doctor. Also the 8th Doctors Big Finish series are some of the best stories in Who history

      • Love the Big Finish stuff. They’ve redeemed 8th of his disappointing TV tenure and proved just how great 6th truly is as well.

    • Mack59

      I had this on video and Daemos Rising which was watchable in a weird sort of way.

    • Christopher Connor

      It’s not “made canon” by NuWho. It was already as “canon” as anything else, because they had license to make it. Just like Big Finish isn’t “canon” because of Night of the Doctor, it was always “canon.”

      • Alright, go with “confirmed as canon” instead. That better? :p

        • Christopher Connor

          …No, it’s not. You’re still acting like NuWho has any control over what’s “canon,” when there is no canon. Even if NuWho never mentions something or outright contradicts it, that doesn’t mean NuWho is more “correct” than whatever else.

          • BuzzTimeout

            Get a life pal, and stop spending your childhood (I presume your still a spotty teen who masterbates) wrapped in a DW universe. I love DW but I don’t breath it or sleep inside a Tardis douvet or have a peri doll.

          • Christopher Connor

            *you’re *masturbates *duvet

            If you must know, I have an Eight doll. Not Peri.

          • Actually, the BBC has been squishy on what is and is not cannon with regards to materials outside of the television show. Saying “they had license to make it” doesn’t mean it’s cannon by any stretch of the imagination. Beyond the many things from books, comics, and Big Finish that have been ignored (and occasionally contradicted) there’s the fact that “they had license to make it” would mean that the Doctor was a human scientist named Who at one point in his life, and that he’s half human on his mother’s side.

          • Christopher Connor

            Contradictions don’t mean anything in a show where time is rewritten all around everyone all the time. (see the minisode with Amy)

            Dr. Who and the Daleks was *deliberately* set outside of mainstream Who, like the Big Finish Unbound series.

            Eight may very well be half-human on his mother’s side. He’s had his memory messed with a lot, a whole arc about his timeline being interfered with, and Ten once claimed he used a half-broken chameleon arch to fool the Master.

          • You realize that you just put forward a position that entirely undercuts your prior position, right?

            “Contradictions don’t mean anything in a show where time is rewritten all around everyone all the time.”

            You’ve just said with that one line that NuWho does in fact have control over what is and is not canon. The 11th Doctor essentially recreated the universe. NuWho has also been really big on pointing out that time can be rewritten. That means that anything that NuWho wants to write into or write out of canon they can and do.

          • Christopher Connor

            The mutability of time means that two contradictory statements, perhaps one from NuWho and one from Big Finish, can BOTH be true at once.

            > That means that anything that NuWho wants to write into or write out of canon they can and do.

            NuWho can rewrite time, but so can Big Finish, or the Iris Wildthyme and Faction Paradox series from Obverse.

          • Now you look like you’re just trolling.

            “NuWho can rewrite time, but so can Big Finish, or the Iris Wildthyme and Faction Paradox series from Obverse.”

            No, no they can’t, and it’s hard to believe that anyone with even the vaguest familiarity with the BBC or Who would honestly put forward the notion that licensed side projects that have gone largely unmentioned in television canon would have the ability to officially rewrite the official canon of the primary medium’s history.

            There was a 10th Doctor comic story ‘The Lodger’ which later became a television story of the same name featuring the 11th Doctor. Similarly there’s the unfinished 4th Doctor TV serial ‘Shada’ which was referenced in canon. It was later adapted into an 8th Doctor webcast of the same name.Do you honestly believe that the BBC is going to nix television canon in favor of licensed properties over their bread and butter television property?

            Not
            going
            to
            happen.

          • Christopher Connor

            There IS no official canon or history. The BBC policy is that they’re not making a policy. Everything with licensing from the relevant copyright holders is on equal ground as far as the “Doctor Who Universe” is concerned. BBC doesn’t even have jurisdiction over everything in the DWU — Bernice Summerfield, Iris Wildthyme, Faction Paradox, Brenda and Effie, Time Hunter, Lethbridge-Stewart, Erimem, Charlotte Pollard, Confessions of Dorian Gray, Graceless, Vienna, Big Finish Sherlock Holmes, The Minister of Chance, and Downtime itself are all in the same universe as the Doctor Who TV, novel and audio series but aren’t owned by BBC.

            > licensed side projects that have gone largely unmentioned in television canon

            You could equally say that (pre-2015) NuWho was largely unmentioned in Big Finish. They’re all in the same universe. That doesn’t mean they have to get caught up in each others’ continuity. It doesn’t mean that just because NuWho is television puts it a level above everything else in the universe.

            Are the Virgin New Adventures “non-canon” just because they’re novels instead of TV? They WERE Doctor Who when they were written. What about the Eighth Doctor Adventures, which were made by BBC itself? Blake’s 7 is in the same universe as Doctor Who, and it’s mostly television. Is Blake’s 7 “non-canon”?

            What makes you want non-NuWho stuff to be considered inferior? They’re equally good, sometimes better stories. There’s no reason to pick one or the other as “canon” when HISTORY ITSELF is rewritten left, right and center.

          • “You could equally say that (pre-2015) NuWho was largely unmentioned in Big Finish.”

            You can say that, but it would make you look foolish in this discussion since the Who comic books, novels, Big Finish stories, strips, etc are not considered actual canon.

            Richard Grant played the 9th Doctor in two stories that were “official” Who stories. Scream of Shalka was created by the BBC and sent out on the official BBC Who website. Then Who went back to TV. The powers that be decided that the television show had priority over the non-televised stories and the 9th Doctor was now completely different. Are you going to tell me that Grant’s Doctor is canon anyhow?

            “What makes you want non-NuWho stuff to be considered inferior?”

            And you now resort to fake side arguments that no one has made so that you have something you can easily swat down.No one here has said that they want non-NuWho stuff to be inferior. Not me, not any other person who has commented here.

            Big Finish did a story called ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ in their unbound series. It’s absolutely, unarguably not canon. I consider it one of my favorite Who stories.

            “There’s no reason to pick one or the other as “canon” when HISTORY ITSELF is rewritten left, right and center.”

            So Curse of the Fatal Death is canon?

            How about this? In Big Finish’s ‘Davros’ it’s established towards the end that he has no eyes. He lost them in the accident that crippled him. Is that canon? He still has his eyes in the new series. Yeah, you can make up an explanation that he got eyes surgically put back in later, but that makes zero sense and he did refer to them as HIS eyes.

            One can easily appreciate all the alternate Doctor Who stories while still understanding that not every story that exists outside of the television history is canon- and some of that isn’t even canon. Likewise, one can be a longtime fan of the original series of classic Who and still acknowledge that the new series that’s on the air now dictates what is official canon.

            Look, we had in almost 50 years of Who never once heard in actual canon of the concept of Time Lords changing gender during regeneration. We got talk ever so often about casting a woman as the Doctor, but it was never overly serious talk. Suddenly someone decided that “it’s time” that we consider a female Doctor and we get the 11th Doctor talking about Time Lord friends who switched gender and we get a 12th Doctor who now faces a female version of The Master.

            Regeneration…

            For that matter, what’s been on television is sometimes nixed as not canon. The “half human, on my mother’s side” bit has been quietly nixed. So has what we’ve seen with regeneration.

            Regeneration keeps getting called a tricky business. It’s unpredictable. You never know what you’ll get, and it can’t be controlled. Yet in the 4th Doctor’s era we saw Romana choose to take on the appearance of someone they’d met. When the Doctor disapproves, she changes bodies multiple times, including taking on an alien appearance with one, before going back to the one she first picked. It was done under Douglas Adams’ time on the show. It was nixed as a concept that was canon in later years.

          • Christopher Connor

            > You can say that, but it would make you look foolish in this discussion since the Who comic books, novels, Big Finish stories, strips, etc are not considered actual canon.

            They’re not considered canon because NOTHING is considered canon. There is no official canon.

            > Richard Grant played the 9th Doctor in two stories that were “official” Who stories. Scream of Shalka was created by the BBC and sent out on the official BBC Who website. Then Who went back to TV. The powers that be decided that the television show had priority over the non-televised stories and the 9th Doctor was now completely different. Are you going to tell me that Grant’s Doctor is canon anyhow?

            Of course Shalka’s canon. Maybe time was rewritten. Maybe the REG Doctor’s actually a clone. Maybe there are just multiple diverging Doctors running around. (it happens more than you’d think) Maybe he’s just a young War Doctor on a break from the Time War. Someday there might be a throwaway line that explains everything, but for now they’re just apparently conflicting accounts with no official explanation.

            > And you now resort to fake side arguments that no one has made so that you have something you can easily swat down.No one here has said that they want non-NuWho stuff to be inferior. Not me, not any other person who has commented here.

            You are arguing that NuWho is superior. You’re saying it defines “canon” and nothing else. Is that just because it’s more popular? Big Finish has been going on far longer than NuWho has, and at a much greater pace.

            > Big Finish did a story called ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ in their unbound series. It’s absolutely, unarguably not canon. I consider it one of my favorite Who stories.

            I love Sympathy for the Devil, but it’s INTENDED to be an alternate timeline. They even reference that in Paul Cornell’s Six/Evelyn story, “The 100 Days of the Doctor.”

            > So Curse of the Fatal Death is canon?

            It doesn’t intend to be in mainstream continuity either — but then, there is the line from The Gallifrey Chronicles about the Doctor having three ninth incarnations.

            > How about this? In Big Finish’s ‘Davros’ it’s established towards the end that he has no eyes. He lost them in the accident that crippled him. Is that canon? He still has his eyes in the new series. Yeah, you can make up an explanation that he got eyes surgically put back in later, but that makes zero sense and he did refer to them as HIS eyes.

            Davros has been blind since “Genesis of the Daleks,” even if it was “Davros” that made it explicit. That’s what makes the revelation of him having eyes work. Steven Moffat was deliberately trampling roughshod over continuity, and that’s fine by me. It doesn’t mean every mention of him being blind before was wrong. It just means that time’s been rewritten, or he got new eyes, or he’s actually a clone of the original Davros, or however fans want to reconcile it.

            > One can easily appreciate all the alternate Doctor Who stories while still understanding that not every story that exists outside of the television history is canon

            There’s nothing “alternate” about Big Finish audios, or the Missing Adventures, or anything else.

            > – and some of that isn’t even canon. Likewise, one can be a longtime fan of the original series of classic Who and still acknowledge that the new series that’s on the air now dictates what is official canon.

            Just because a story exists doesn’t mean they can’t contradict it. That’s been happening since The Deadly Assassin and Atlantis. But the old, contradictory stories are still canon. Big Finish has just as much power to make totally history-breaking stories as NuWho. Neither of them is more “correct” than each other or the original stories they contradict.

            > Look, we had in almost 50 years of Who never once heard in actual canon of the concept of Time Lords changing gender during regeneration. We got talk ever so often about casting a woman as the Doctor, but it was never overly serious talk. Suddenly someone decided that “it’s time” that we consider a female Doctor and we get the 11th Doctor talking about Time Lord friends who switched gender and we get a 12th Doctor who now faces a female version of The Master.

            For one thing, that’s factually incorrect. Gender changes have been mentioned before, and they’re nothing compared to the outright species changes we have known are possible from sources outside of NuWho. Circular Time: Spring talks about the gender, species and class politics to regeneration. In Seasons of Fear, the Doctor says he’s not a glamorous woman “at the moment.” During the War, the Time Lords often abandoned humanoid form entirely for the sake of armor and in-built weaponry.

            For another thing, so what? NuWho isn’t and shouldn’t be held captive by what’s been said in previous stories, and the same applies to other creators of DWU information. A contradiction doesn’t erase a story from our collective consciousness. NuWho can show Time Lord children, but Lungbarrow and looms are still around, and just as legitimate.

            > For that matter, what’s been on television is sometimes nixed as not canon. The “half human, on my mother’s side” bit has been quietly nixed. So has what we’ve seen with regeneration.

            The Doctor’s half-human nature has been referenced several times. He’s said that he either had a human mother, or came from a loom, but can’t remember which was a dream. The most recent explanation was “half-broken chameleon arch.” The half-human plot point is still canon, but it can still be contradicted.

            > Regeneration keeps getting called a tricky business. It’s unpredictable. You never know what you’ll get, and it can’t be controlled. Yet in the 4th Doctor’s era we saw Romana choose to take on the appearance of someone they’d met. When the Doctor disapproves, she changes bodies multiple times, including taking on an alien appearance with one, before going back to the one she first picked. It was done under Douglas Adams’ time on the show. It was nixed as a concept that was canon in later years.

            The official line is: The Doctor’s just rubbish at regenerating, and that was a manifestation of the TARDIS instead of Romana.

            Maybe it is a contradiction. But contradictions are wonderful things that remind us how unsure we are of reality, and how mutable time is.

          • “Of course Shalka’s canon.”

            And you’re trolling. Fine. Troll on own your own.

          • Christopher Connor

            I’m perfectly serious. Maybe I should have phrased it as “Shalka’s not canon, but neither is NuWho because there is no canon.”

            Would you consider the Time Hunter series canon since it crosses over with Daemos Rising, the sequel to Downtime? Time Hunter has two appearances from an incarnation of the Doctor apparently identical to the one in Shalka.

          • Ariel Simcha White

            You said that everything is on equal grounds because nothing has been declared cannon. That is a logical fallacy. Just because we don’t know for sure that they are on even ground does not mean that they are not. I think that it really makes sense that they are not all the same level of cannon and that the TV show is primary cannon. That being said, the fact that the TV show contradicts other things doesn’t inherently make them not cannon as the TV show has frequently been known to contradict itself (often in big ways such as with the Daleks’ timeline in classic who).

          • Christopher Connor

            A cannon any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellants to launch a projectile. You’re thinking of canon.

            Your perspective is ridiculously Doctor Who-centric. Look at it like this: Mad Dogs and Englishmen is an Eighth Doctor Adventures book with Iris Wildthyme. What’s “canon” to that book? Obviously Classic Who and the rest of the EDAs. But its sequels are too — i.e. NuWho and the Iris Wildthyme series. So there’s a universe that contains NuWho and Iris Wildthyme equally. You think there’s a separate universe that ONLY contains NuWho? The BBC has no jurisdiction over the Iris Wildthyme series, it belongs to Paul Magrs and Obverse.

          • John Hanson

            also *breathe

    • Ariel Simcha White

      You clearly don’t know how cannon works. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is cannon, as she is in the TV series. All of the various companions in the radio show are cannon as they were mentioned in The Night of the Doctor. Any stories about them, are not cannon. I could write a story about Kate. That would not make it cannon just because she is in the TV series. The BBC has never released an official canon guide. Until they do, the only things which are clearly canon are the old show, the new show, the movie, and the spinoffs. Might the radio show be cannon, sure, but there is absolutely no way to tell.b 7

  • Michael Tisdel

    Is this a UK only release or will it be available in the States?

  • We are foolish

    This is not doctor who
    And so you shouldn’t
    Say it is like big finish
    Is not doctor who but
    The tv series is proper
    Doctor who series

    • This became part of the TV series when Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, introduced in this production, showed up in the 2012 series. Big Finish is canon as well, see The Night Of The Doctor.

      • Ariel Simcha White

        You clearly don’t know how cannon works. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is cannon, as she is in the TV series. All of the various companions in the radio show are cannon as they were mentioned in The Night of the Doctor. Any stories about them, are not cannon. I could write a story about Kate. That would not make it cannon just because she is in the TV series. The BBC has never released an official canon guide. Until they do, the only things which are clearly canon are the old show, the new show, the movie, and the spinoffs. Might the radio show be cannon, sure, but there is absolutely no way to tell.

    • Ken

      0/10

  • Ludovicah

    Love the Brigadier, Love Sarah Jane… a big part of my childhood, Both actors died around the same time as my dad as well so it has added poignancy. Looking forward to seeing this

  • Ludovicah

    Love the Brigadier, Love Sarah Jane… a big part of my childhood, Both actors died around the same time as my dad as well so it has added poignancy. Looking forward to seeing this

  • Michael James Bradley

    The Star Wars EU *was* “official” canon, until they decided to make VII, then it wasn’t.
    The thing with a show involving time travel, anything can be canon without stepping on any other toes.

  • JelliclePat

    How about ‘Wartime’, the one-off short film about Benton?