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The Terror of the Autons

The Brigadier as in The Terror of the Autons

Facts

Played by: Nicholas Courtney
Tenure 27 September 196827 September 1989
First appearance
The Web of Fear (guest)
Last appearance The Five Doctors (guest)
Last appearance Dimensions in Time (guest)
Appearances 28 stories

Gallery

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Biography

source TARDIS Wikia

 Nicholas Courtney sadly died on 22nd February 2011

EARLY LIFE AND MILITARY CAREER

Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was born in 1930 (Blood HeatNo Future) of Scottish descent. (Mawdryn Undead) An only child, he was raised in Simla, India. He was sent to an English prep school. His mother died after he left for England. (Island of Death) He was strongly pressured by his namesake grandfather, Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, to join the military. For Christmas 1938, his grandfather gave him a box of toy solders and then asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (The Warkeeper’s Crown) He attended Holborough, where he first met Teddy Fitzoliver. (The Paradise of Death)

Young Alistair was pressured to live up to the military traditions of the Lethbridge-Stewart family. (The Warkeeper’s Crown) He began his military career around 1953 and attended Sandhurst Military Academy with Major General Rutlidge. (The Web of FearMawdryn Undead) He had great ambitions even then. (Who Killed Kennedy)

Shortly after the end of the Second World War, twenty-one-year-old Alistair was assigned to a Royal Navy mission to update British maps of the Greek Islands. He ended up in Albania on a mission against Stalinist rebels. This was his first encounter with the extra-normal. He ran into the Immortals and went on a quest into the Greek Underworld; his mind was wiped of these memories. (Deadly Reunion)

He later joined the Scots Guards and was stationed for a time at Aldgate. (The Green Death)

RELATIONSHIPS

Lethbridge-Stewart lost his virginity to a girl named Vera whilst drunk on the night of his passing out as a fully commissioned second lieutenant.

In Greece, he fell in love with the immortal Persephone. He entered the Underworld and fought against Hades for her. They spent two weeks together before she reluctantly wiped his memory. They met again in the 1970s, when his memory was restored.
(Deadly Reunion)

In Sierra Leone, Lethbridge-Stewart met Mariatu, the daughter of a chieftain, who bore him a son, Mariama. (Transit)

Some time in the 1960s, eleven years before the spider invasion, he had a romantic encounter with Doris on the Brigadier on Beach. (Planet of the Spiders) Their relationship ended when Lethbridge-Stewart was dispatched overseas. (The Warkeeper’s Crown)

On returning to Britain, the the Brigadier met and married Fiona. Fiona and he had one child, conceived after the London Event, whom they named Kate. (The Scales of Injustice, Downtime)

FORMATION OF UNIT

Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart was the second commander of the British Army forces opposing the Great Intelligence’s assault on London. He replaced the deceased Colonel Pemberton. He was the sole survivor of a Robot Yeti assault at Holborn before heading down to the London Underground to take command. It was at this time that Lethbridge-Stewart first met the Doctor, in his second incarnation. Lethbridge-Stewart showed a quick, decisive manner and a ready acceptance of events, even believing the story about the TARDIS from the start. (The Web of Fear)

Soon after the London Event, Lethbridge-Stewart met with Air Vice-Marshal “Chunky” Gilmore and learned of the Shoreditch Incident from him. Hostile aliens had visited Earth in 1963. Gilmore himself had helped fight them off with the Seventh Doctor. He also learnt of evidence of alien visits to Earth that went back thousands of years. (Downtime)

The Colonel went to the government and pitched the idea of a permanent military intelligence group with rapid-reaction capability to investigate alien and other unusual phenomena that threatened the nation. This was turned down. He risked his career by petitioning the United Nations to form such a group. (Who Killed Kennedy) UNIT was organised and Lethbridge-Stewart was promoted to Brigadier and appointed head of the United Kingdom branch. (The Invasion) This made him unpopular with many senior British officers. (Who Killed Kennedy)

THE UNIT YEARS

Four years after the Yeti invasion, UNIT investigated the mysterious activities of electronics industrialist Tobias Vaughn. Vaughn was allied with the Cybermen in their attempt to conquer Earth. With the help of the Second Doctor, the Brigadier and his men thwarted them. (The Invasion)

When the Doctor was forced to regenerate into his third incarnation and exiled to 20th century Earth by the Time Lords, the Brigadier took on the new Doctor as UK UNIT’s scientific advisor. (Spearhead from Space)

The new Doctor and he lacked the easy rapport they had enjoyed during the Doctor’s previous incarnation. Their relationship was further strained when Lethbridge-Stewart set off explosive charges around the Wenley Moor Silurian colony after promising the Doctor he had no hostile intentions towards them. The Doctor considered this murder, if not genocide. (Doctor Who and the Silurians) It was shortly after this incident that the Brigadie answered a call for help from an old friend and colleague Kolonel Heinrich Konrad, UNIT commander at Kriedskind Castle. Discovering that Konrad had authorised and taken part in an experiment with an extract from an alien plant, which caused previous occupants of the Castle to manifest themselves, the Brigadier called the Doctor for assistance. After what happened on Wenley Moor, he was not sure the Doctor would come – but he arrived in time, and set up a jamming device that kept the temporal attackers at bay just long enough for the UNIT troops to get away from the Castle before it was destroyed. (Old Soldiers)

About the time of the second encounter with the Silurians, the Brigadiers marriage to Fiona began to fail. (The Scales of Injustice)

Fiona and the Brigadier later divorced. When their daughter Kate, was older, she became estranged from both her parents, but contacted her father again when she felt threatened by the students from the New World University, and from then on they enjoyed a good relationship. (Downtime)

Later, the Brigadier employed Jo Grant as the Doctor’s new assistant and promoted Mike Yates to Captain. Immediately after, they were plunged into another Nestene invasion where the Brigadier met the Master for the first time. (Terror of the Autons)

Lethbridge-Stewart oversaw UNIT when it provided security for a World Peace Conference, while the Doctor investigated anunusual machine at Stangmoor Prison. However, both their jobs coincided, as the Master had devised an elaborate plan to disrupt the conference, first through an assassination attempt and then through a hostage situation at the prison. With the Doctor trapped inside, the Brigadier and UNIT infiltrated Stangmoor to retake control and rescue the hostages. However, the Master’s allies within the prison hijacked a missile as well. Due to some careful bargaining by the Doctor, the Master was distracted enough for UNIT to destroy the Machine and the missile, although the Master managed to escape. (The Mind of Evil)

When a wave of violence swept across Britain, the the Brigadier met Persephone again and his memory was restored. The the Brigadier also found himself against Hades and so he and the Doctor had to make an alliance with the Master. (Deadly Reunion)

While in talks over an international incident, the the Brigadier arranged an investigation about the ‘ghost’ that delegate Sir Reginald Styles had apparently met at Auderly House before the delegates arrived for the World Peace Conference. After the Doctor drove off in the the Brigadier Land Rover to follow some 22nd century guerilla fighters, the Brigadier took part in the Conference.

The Doctor returned from the 22nd century and helped the the Brigadier evacuate the building, as Shura’s dalekanium bomb would have killed all the delegates inside, sparking off World War III. (Day of the Daleks)

After the Doctor and Jo left for Peladon, (The Curse of Peladon) the the Brigadier and UNIT found themselves attacked by a fascist version of Earth. The Brigadier first employed Ian and Barbara Chesterton and, reluctantly, the Master to help combat the infiltration. (The Face of the Enemy) The Brigadier was never aware that an alternate version of him once existed there. (Inferno)

The Doctor’s formal ties with UNIT gradually faded when his exile ended (The Three Doctors). During this time the Brigadier met Sarah Jane Smith. The ties clearly severed in his fourth incarnation, though he left the Brigadier a space-time telegraphto contact him. (Revenge of the Cybermen) Even so, the Doctor was openly resentful when the the Brigadier used it to summon him back to Earth. (Terror of the Zygons)

During the Kraals’ second attempted invasion of Earth in 1976, the Brigadier was in Canada investigating sentient electricity pylons. (The Oseidon Adventure)

Shortly before he left UNIT, Lethbridge-Stewart was made a Commander of the British Empire. (Downtime)

  • Position: Head of the British division of UNIT
  • Years: Formation – 1976
  • Succeeded by: Charles Crichton

AFTER UNIT

1970s and 1980s

Lethbridge-Stewart retired from UNIT and the army. He took a post as an A-level maths teacher at Brendon Public School. In 1977, Alistair Gordon Leighbridge Stewart saw and touched hands with his own future self from 1983. The time differential shorted out, causing an energy discharge. The Brigadier fell unconscious and spent the next six years in a state of partial amnesia, having forgotten ever meeting the Doctor. In 1983, when his pupils included the humanoid alien Vislor Turlough, the Brigadier encountered >the Fifth Doctor, whom he did not recognise, and met his past self from 1977. This completed the temporal paradox. (Mawdryn Undead)

The Brigadier was attending an anniversary reunion of UNIT when, along with the Second Doctor, he was captured and transported to the Death Zone on Gallifrey. (The Five Doctors)

At some point after, the Brigadier met both the Second and Fourth Doctors, the Fourth Doctor was involved in a search for the Key to Time. (Heart of TARDIS) He willingly abandoned the quest for the Key to Time to make sure the Brigadier was safe.

In 1984, the Brigadier sent Major Whitaker to Reykjavik to investigate an unnatural increase in volcanic and seismic activity. (The Fires Down Below)

In 1989, Lethbridge-Stewart conducted an investigation of the dealings of SenéNet and was captured. He was rescued by the Sixth Doctor, who uncovered and stopped yet another invasion attempt by the Nestene Consciousness. (Business Unusual)

1990s

In 1995, the the Brigadier worked with UNIT again during yet another attempt by the Great Intelligence to conquer Earth, together with two of the Doctor’s former companions, Victoria Waterfield and Sarah Jane Smith. He reunited with his estranged daughter, Kate, and for the first time, met his grandson, Gordon. At this time, the Brigadier was still working and living at Brendon Public School, and hadn’t yet appeared to be married to Doris. However, he was already in the process of retiring from teaching during this incident. (Downtime / Downtime)

By the 1990s, Lethbridge-Stewart had married his second wife, Doris, with whom he had a memorable holiday years before. (Battlefield) The Seventh Doctor changed time slightly so that he could attend the wedding, even though originally he had missed it because he had not known of it. (A Romantic Evening)

Lethbridge-stewart came out of retirement briefly to help UNIT and its new commander, Winifred Bambera, deal with an invasion from a parallel universe by the sorceress Morgaine. Once again, he met the Doctor, now in his seventh incarnation. Together they defeated Morgaine. Lethbridge-Stewart distinguished himself during these events, singlehandedly taking on the Destroyer and dispatching him, armed only with a revolver loaded with silver bullets. (Battlefield)

In 1997, the Brigadier collaborated with the Doctor’s eighth incarnation and Bernice Summerfield during an interplanetary crisis between the United Kingdom and Mars. At the end of this crisis, Lethbridge-Stewart was promoted to General, although he still preferred to be called “the Brigadier” (The Dying Days) He later had a role in Scotland’s devolution. (Minuet in Hell)

In 1999, he enlisted the help of the Fifth Doctor and his companions Tegan and Turlough to stop an invasion of Earth by the Jex. (The King of Terror)

At some point in the early years of his retirement, he rescued Susan Foreman from drowning in the lake on which his house with Doris was situated. At the time, the First Doctor and Susan were just beginning to experience humanity and had not yet settled in London in 1963. Nevertheless, due to the fact that he had already attended Lethbridge-Stewart’s funeral along with many of his other incarnations, the pre-Totter’s Lane version of the Doctor understood whom the Brigadier was. (The Gift)

2000s

When his former colleague, Captain Palmer, showed him a tape of seemingly invisible imps around a deserted village in April 2001, the Brigadier called the Doctor for assistance, subsequently working with the Sixth Doctor and journalist Claire Aldwych to uncover a conspiracy that stretched back to the Second World War and involved the secret son of Adolf Hitler. Although Claire was killed during a trip to 1945, the Doctor and the alistair gordon lethbridge-stewartadier defeated the Fourth Reich. (The Shadow in the Glass)

In 2003, Lethbridge-Stewart served as an undercover operative for the United Nations, while officially using his experience in devolution to advise the newly-formed state of Malebolgia. In the USA, he secretly investigated the use of a medical device that was used to alter human minds. He encountered the Eighth Doctor again. (Minuet in Hell)

While teaching at Sandhurst Military School, the the Brigadier met the Tenth Doctor. (The Warkeeper’s Crown)

At some point after being knighted, Lethbridge-Stewart continued his association with UNIT and with Sarah Jane Smith. He formally announced the true purpose of UNIT at a press conference without first telling anyone he would do so. (The Coup)

He ended up assisting UNIT and its agent, Colonel Emily Chaudhry, against their attempted replacements, ICIS, first by undermining their reasons for replacing UNIT in front of the media (Time Heals) and eventually with direct military action. (The Wasting)

During the Sontaran invasion of Earth in 2009, the Tenth Doctor wished that the Brigadier were present. Colonel Macementioned that Sir Alistair had been stranded in Peru during a mission, but took no offence to the Doctor wishing for him instead of Mace, saying that Lethbridge-Stewart was a good man. (The Poison Sky) Shortly after returning to England, Sarah Jane sought out his help to break into the Black Archive, a UNIT base which housed artefacts of great danger and power. He did so but was interrupted in his brief with Major Cal Kilburne. He helped Sarah Jane and Rani Chandra smuggle themselves into the Black Archive to get the Tunguska Scroll for the Bane called Mrs Wormwood, who claimed she wanted it for honourable purposes. As he escaped with Sarah Jane he was chased by UNIT officers. He killed Major Kilburne, who was actually a Bane himself. Sir Alistair’s wife, referred to only as Lady Lethbridge-Stewart, was out of the house when Major Kilbourne visited. (Enemy of the Bane) He would have attended Sarah Jane’s aborted wedding to Peter Dalton, but he was back in Peru at the time. (The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith) At some point during his prolonged regeneration, the Tenth Doctor visited the Brigadier. As of late 2010, Lethbridge-Stewart was still on assignment in Peru and could not attend the Eleventh Doctor’s staged funeral. (Death of the Doctor)

2010s

In 2010, along with Doris, Mike Yates and Benton, he attended the wedding of the Doctor’s former companion, Bernice Summerfield, to Jason Kane in Cheldon Bonniface. By this time he knew of his terminal illness. He had only weeks to live. As ever, danger and adventure followed in the Doctor’s footsteps and he had his youth restored to him and the disease rid from his system. (Happy Endings)

During a boat outing with Doris, Lethbridge-Stewart’s boat capsized and Doris was drowned. This haunted him for years. In 2012, the Brigadier met the Doctor’s eighth incarnation in Avalon where they got caught up in struggles between that realm’s ruler, Queen Mab, and the Unseelie Court. (The Shadows of Avalon)

One account shows the Brigadier and Doris meeting the Eighth Doctor in Cheldon Bonnifaceon Christmas Day 2017. (Not in My Back Yard)

LATER LIFE

His daughter, Kate, dropped Lethbridge from her name when she joined UNIT in an effort to avoid favouritism. He mentored her until his death. Among the positions he instilled in her was “science leads”, something he learned from “an old friend” (presumably the Doctor). She took his teaching to heart and, by the time she was posted as UNIT’s Head of Scientific Research, troops were subordinated to her office. (The Power of Three)

When the Brigadier was much older and Doris was long dead, the Eighth Doctor came to visit and brought many of his old friends to see him for Christmas. (Faithful Friends: Part 3)

DEATH

Lethbridge-Stewart died sometime before 2020. (The Power of Three) Towards the end of his life, Lethbridge-Stewart was living in a nursing home. He enjoyed telling stories about the Doctor and still hoped to see him one last time; (The Wedding of River Song) his daughter, Kate said that he spoke of the Doctor “even to the end”. (The Power of Three) Sir Alistair passed away peacefully in his bed, always asking that the nurses pour an extra brandy in case the Doctor came to visit. A few months after his passing, a nurse informed the Eleventh Doctor via telephone of his recent death. (The Wedding of River Song)

Another account suggests that Lethbridge-Stewart found his life extended and lived considerably past the normal span for humans of his era, into the 2050s. (The King of Terror)

Although the Eleventh Doctor received confirmation of the Brigadiers death, he was aware of the circumstances – or, at least, that the Brigadier was destined to die in bed – as early as his seventh incarnation (Battlefield). However, all incarnations of the Doctor attended his funeral, suggesting the Doctor was aware of this earlier. (The Gift) Several of the Doctor’s companions were also shown to be present during the the Brigadier’s funeral, including John BentonLiz Shaw, Mike Yates, and Jo Grant. (Shroud of Sorrow)

The Brigadier finally got his wish after being reanimated as a Cyberman by the Master; after saving his daughter and killing the Master, the Doctor looked towards him and gave him a long awaited salute. (Death in Heaven)

On 11 October 2013 it was announced The Web Of Fear was returned to the BBC

Related Links

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Invasion DVD
Spearhead from Space DVD
Five Doctors DVD
Battlefield DVD
UNIT Files DVD
Doctors guide
Minuet In Hell CD
Enemy of the Bane guide

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