The Coup

UNIT: The CoupCalled out of retirement to participate in a press conference following an apparent attack in the heart of London, Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart finds that life as a member of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce hasn’t changed a bit; a helicopter attacks the limo carrying him to deliver his speech. The driver is killed in the attack, but Lethbridge-Stewart’s steady aim helps to bring the helicopter down – where he discovers that its crew consisted of one human and one Silurian. Convinced that this incident has something to do with the planned handover of UNIT’s responsibilities within British borders to a new agency called ICIS, Lethbridge-Stewart takes drastic measures to preserve UNIT’s authority – even if it means blowing decades of covert operations involving alien invaders wide open.

written by Simon Guerrier
directed by Ian Farrington
music by David Darlington

Cast: Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier), Siri O’Neal (Colonel Emily Chaudhry), Scott Andrews (Scott), Matthew Brenher (Silurian voices), Sara Carver (Captain Winnington), Michael Hobbs (Francis Currie)

Notes: The Coup was one of two stories included on a free CD given away with Doctor Who Magazine, along with the Bernice Summerfield/Cybermen adventure Silver Lining. Neither has been released separately or for individual sale. Lethbridge-Stewart says that he encountered the Silurians 30 years ago, though this raises the thorny continuity question of what years were depicted in the Jon Pertwee era; if one sets those TV stories in the same year that they were first broadcast, that puts The Coup in the year 2000, 30 years after 1970. However, Sarah Jane Smith, introduced at the beginning of Pertwee’s final season as the Doctor, later claimed (in Pyramids Of Mars) to have met the Doctor in the year 1980, which would place the first Pertwee season around 1975 or ’76, which would place The Coup in the present day of its release, 2005. (It’s also worth noting that the Brigadier himself said “Yes, Ma’am” to the Prime Minister on the phone in the Tom Baker story Terror Of The Zygons, which, despite being broadcast in 1976, would appear to be set during the Thatcher era, again lending credence to the UNIT stories being around 5 years ahead of their time.) It’s also possible that Lethbridge-Stewart’s memory fails him, but given that he’s still a crack shot with firearms in this story, that doesn’t seem likely. Lethbridge-Stewart was a General when he retired, a rank to which he’s risen in many of Doctor Who’s “expanded universe” media.

LogBook entry by Earl Green