DVD Review: Downtime

The current series of Doctor Who may have come to an end but there’s a DVD release fans can enjoy between now and the forthcoming Christmas special.

Downtime is a unique British 1995 sci-fi movie from the Doctor Who universe (but unofficial) featuring treasured characters and talent from the franchise and only now released on DVD – it’s a must see for fans of the Time Lord.

The adventure features Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) and Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) of UNIT who investigate New World University; a sinister school run by Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling) and Professor Travers (Jack Watling). The technology obsessed University holds a gateway to Earth made by classic foe the Great Intelligence. Fighting alone and without the aid of their 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!

An unofficial sequel to the Doctor Who serials The Abominable Snowmen and The Web Of Fear, Downtime neatly bridges the gap between classic Doctor Who and the new series, utilising familiar characters and monsters. Perhaps the most interesting inclusion in this story is the introduction of The Brigadier’s daughter, Kate (played here by Beverley Cressman) who has become a recurring character in the Doctor Who series in recent years.

The two disc DVD available now from Koch Media features the complete Downtime film written by Doctor Who writer Marc Platt and directed by Christopher Barry as well as second disc looking at the making of the film and post production clips.

  • A version of this review by Andy Howells appears in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on December 11, 2015

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