(Unified Intelligence Task Force)

Originally known as The United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, UNIT was created to investigate strange goings on and fight against alien invasions. Here are some of the more prominent folks who worked for UNIT in the classic and modern Doctor Who series.


Played by Nicholas Courtney

     We just about covered everything you need to know about the great Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart and actor Nicholas Courtney in our "Classic Companions" section. But if you are landing here first, here's the short version. We first met "The Brigadier" in the 1968 story "The Web of Fear", where he was Colonel Lethbridge - Stewart of the Scots Guards and met The Second Doctor. One year later, he had become a Brigadier in UNIT, then known as the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, where he met the Third Doctor. Most of the Brigadier's screen time in the series was with the Third and Fourth Doctors, but he appeared on and off with most of the later Doctors of the original series.

     For our fuller appreciation of The Brigadier and Nicholas Courtney, see our classic Companions section on this site. If you don't want to go there right now, here is the short version: he was awesome.

BRIGADIER: Now, is the perimeter secure? This whole area is crawling with armed extra-terrestrials and they're hostile.
DOCTOR: Same as ever, eh, Brigadier?


Played By John Levene

     The Brigadier's underling, Sgt. Mike Benson, worked with The Second, Third and Fourth Doctors from 1968 to 1976. A loyal, level-headed non-commissioned officer at UNIT, Sgt. Benton was willing to bend or break military rules to help The Doctor face down all kinds of baddies, including Cybermen, Daleks, and The Master. According to The Brigadier in the Fifth Doctor story "Mawdryn Undead" (1983), Benton eventually left the military to become a used car salesman. While several UNIT underlings showed up in the classic era, Benton was likely the one most people remember.

     John Levene played both a Cyberman and a Yeti in the series before becoming Sgt. Benton.


Played By Caroline John, Katy Manning, Elisabeth Sladen

     When Liz Shaw (played by Caroline John) showed up in "Spearhead from Space", Jon Pertwee's debut episode, it was a one of several turning points in the show. Ever since Ian and Barbara left The First Doctor in 1965, each new companion, not counting Jamie McCribbons, seemed to be a tiny, beautiful young lady from the past or the future. Liz Shaw was in the the "now", and, like Ian and Barbara, she often felt like the adult in the room, while The Doctor and The Brigadier squabbled like children. Liz Shaw was the first of three successive companions that would change the face of the series. From here on in, most of the most famous companions would be women. Without these three, we might not have had such strong companions such as Leela, Romana (1 and 2), Ace, Rose Tyler, Martha Jones... you get the drift.

      For more on these three characters and actresses, see our "Classic Companions" section elsewhere.


Played by Ian Marter

     Harry Sullivan, Doctor at UNIT, was placed in charge of handling the newly regenerated Fourth Doctor in the first Tom Baker story "Robot". Sullivan was fooled and outwitted several times in the episode and yet, when push came to shove, he would be found right there helping The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith in trying to save the world from a Nazi-like organization determined to take over the world. Not the most exciting character ever, Harry Sullivan was nevertheless an important member of UNIT as well as a trustworthy, if clumsy, companion to The Doctor. One of those characters in Doctor Who that was so normal, you might have forgotten how good a character he actually was.


Played by Various Actors

     The Third Doctor, stuck on Earth without a properly working TARDIS, agreed to be an adviser at UNIT with the caveat that scientist Liz Shaw be his personal assistant. Two more assistants - Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith - would follow. Although The Doctor later abandoned UNIT to return to his own lone adventures, he never did give up his UNIT credentials, so he was still an occasional official UNIT adviser , working for or with UNIT in many of his incarnations. In the Modern series, he returns to UNIT as The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) and The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi).

     As The Third Doctor, he helped UNIT defeat the Autons, The Master, the Silurians, The Master, the Primords, The Master, and occasionally even The Master.


Played by Angela Bruce

    Brigadier Bambera appeared in "Battlefield" (1989), one of the last episodes of the original series before it was canceled. A tough, no-nonsense leader, Bambera was a strong character who could have been a semi-regular had the series gone on. She could fight with or without weapons and seemed totally unperturbed by all the sword and sorcery nonsense going on in the episode, treating it as if it were just another day at the office. Which, for her, it was. I wish there were more episodes with her. As Don Corleone said to Michael, "There just wasn't enough time."


Played by Rupert Holliday-Evans

     In "The Sontaran Stratagem" (2008), we find Colonel Mace filling in for The Brigadier at UNIT. He quickly bumps heads with both The Tenth Doctor and companion Donna Noble. The Doctor,  contacted by UNIT's Martha Jones to help defeat the warrior race known as the Sontarans, takes an instant dislike to Col. Mace  because of The Doctor's own long-standing distaste of the military and guns, a theme that has existed in the series since the beginning. While The Doctor insists that the Sontarans cannot be defeated with military tactics, Col. Mace believes otherwise and eventually receives well-earned respect from The Doctor for finding a way of turning the tables on the enemy. At the turning point of the battle, with the Sontarans on the run, The Colonel personally kills Commander Skorr, the Sontaran second-in-command.

Played by Freema Agyeman

     After leaving The Doctor in 2007's "The Last of the Time Lords", Martha Jones, now Doctor Jones, was recruited into UNIT partially because of a recommendation by The Doctor but also because of her own not-too-shabby medical and field skills. In 2008's "The Sontaran Stratagem", she called The Doctor, who still had her cell phone, to help fight a possible alien invasion. In 2008's "The Stolen Earth / Journey's End", Jones, now working at a UNIT base in New York City, was trusted with the Osterhagen Key, a device that would trigger 25 nuclear bombs spread out across the Earth if needed to keep the human race from suffering under the rule of The Daleks. Thankfully, she never had a chance to use it.

     Sometime after her final adventure with The Doctor, Jones left UNIT, married Rose Tyler's former boy friend Mickey Smith, and along with Smith, became an alien hunter.

      Note: Do you think the picture above is really Martha? Ha! Got you! It's "Clone Martha" from "The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky". Still a knockout though, for a clone.


Played by Billie Piper

     Although she was locked on a parallel Earth after the events of 2006's "Doomsday", you can't keep a good Rose Tyler down. When the walls of alternate dimensions started bleeding into each other (I smell an evil Davros scheme in there someplace), Rose found her way around from one dimension to another, and at one point joined UNIT in an alternate timeline, a timeline created unsuspectingly by Donna Noble. It was a world where The Doctor had died because Donna was not there to calm him down. (Sarah Jane Smith and Martha Jones were two others who died because of Donna's unintentional actions). In the end, Rose worked things out with Donna and the real world and The Doctor were once again normal. So we had Sarah Jane and Martha back, which is always a good thing.


Played by Noma Dumezweni

     Captain Magambo worked for UNIT in two different worlds. In "Turn Left" (2008), she and Rose Tyler worked to reverse a series of events that created a parallel timeline in which Donna Noble never meets The Doctor. In 2009's "Planet of the Dead", she returns to the series as the same character, leading a UNIT team in trying to figure out why a wormhole has opened up and swallowed a bus carrying The Tenth Doctor. Although she respects The Doctor, who, of course, is a member of UNIT himself, Captain Magambo attempts to close the wormhole before The Doctor and the other bus riders can get back to Earth. When The Doctor did return, there seemed to be no hard feelings on either side. She also turned a blind eye to wanted criminal cat burglar Lady Christina de Souza (Michelle Ryan) when The Doctor helped her escape from the police. Not Captain Magambo's problem.


Played By Lee Evans

     There are those who are fiercely loyal to The Doctor, and then there's Malcolm Taylor. A brilliant UNIT scientist, Prof. Taylor puts his own life on the line, refusing to close the above-mentioned wormhole while The Doctor is still on the other side of it, stranded on a desert planet. Throughout the episode ("Planet of the Dead"),  The Doctor and the Professor are in constant contact, with many of Taylor's ideas to help The Doctor return leading to The Doctor calling him "brilliant" and "my new best friend". When Malcolm does get The Doctor back, he can't help but repeatedly tell The Doctor "I love you!".

     Yeah, you could say Malcolm Taylor was a fan.


Played by Jemma Redgrave

     One of the wonderful things about the series is the decades of back history the writers can fall back on for ideas and characters. Thus, when they needed a character to be a higher-up at UNIT, they remembered Kate Stewart, daughter of the late beloved Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, who was a prominent ally of The Doctor in the original series. The character of Kate Stewart was originally created for a direct to video story called "Downtime" in the '90s, but had never appeared in either the original series or the new one. Beverley Cressman played Kate Stewart in the video story. Kate Stewart (played by Jemma Redgrave in the new series) made her first official appearance in the Matt Smith years, storming at Rory and Amy's home in the episode "The Power of Three". She would return in "The Day of the Doctor" Anniversary Special, and later met The Twelfth Doctor in "Death in Heaven" and The "Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion".

DOCTOR: "How did you survive?"
KATE STEWART: "Five rounds rapid."


Played by Ingrid Oliver

      Osgood was the biggest fan of Doctor Who in the world. Not a fan of the show Doctor Who, which, of course, didn't exist in the Doctor Who world, but rather a fan The Doctor himself. Osgood was obsessed with The Doctor and his history, and in his honor, she would often wear question mark collars (Seventh Doctor), a bow tie (Eleventh Doctor), a scarf (Fourth Doctor) or a sprig of celery on her lapel (Fifth Doctor). Working for UNIT, she was indispensable. Osgood was so smart, even The Twelfth Doctor admired her, which is saying plenty, given that Doctor's lack of chumminess with most humans.

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- The Tenth Doctor