Hello everyone! 🙂
Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!
I’ve seen the second of two birthday presents given to me by my best mate from school Stephen this year. And it’s a ‘Doctor Who’-related item. I thought it was very thoughtful of Stephen to give me this since he knows about my love for ‘Doctor Who’ in general. I am glad I’ve seen ‘Wartime’ at last!
The ‘Wartime Chronicles’ DVD is a collection of ‘Doctor Who’ items related to U.N.I.T., Sergeant Benton and Jon Pertwee’s Doctor. The DVD’s main feature is of course ‘Wartime’, but that’s something I’ll get into more as we go through the review. It’s taken a while to get this DVD release. 🙂
‘Wartime Chronicles’ was released by Koch Media. They released two previous ‘Doctor-Who’-related productions onto DVD. In 2015, they released ‘Downtime’ and in 2016, they released ‘The Mindgame Saga’. I had both those DVD releases for Christmas in 2015 and 2016 and I enjoyed them.
It wasn’t the same for the ‘Wartime Chronicles’ DVD that got released in 2017. All three productions including ‘Downtime’, ‘The Mindgame Saga’ and the ‘Wartime Chronicles’ were produced by Keith Barnfather of Reeltime Pictures. Reeltime Pictures also made the fantastic ‘Myth Makers’ interviews.
I suppose the reason why I didn’t purchase the ‘Wartime Chronicles’ immediately in 2017 is because I’m not really a fan of John Levene as Sgt. Benton. Oh don’t get me wrong. I like him as an actor and he’s very good as Benton. But I’m not so excited about Benton as I am with Nyssa, you see.
I was also hoping for a DVD release of ‘Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans’, which is still yet to happen unfortunately. There have been other Reeltime Pictures releases by Koch Media over the years, but I’ve veered off purchasing them unless the need arises. Anyway, I have ‘Wartime Chronicles’ on DVD.
And I’m happy! The DVD itself contains a number of enjoyable items. The first thing it has is an introduction by producer/director Keith Barnfather with Katy Manning who plays Jo Grant in ‘Doctor Who’. Katy Manning is hilarious with Keith Barnfather as they do the introduction together on DVD.
The main feature of course is ‘Wartime’ starring John Levene as Benton. ‘Wartime’ is interesting as a production as it was the first spin-off drama of ‘Doctor Who’ to be made outside the BBC. The production was made in 1987. At the time, ‘Doctor Who’ was unloved by the BBC when it was made.
‘Wartime’ is a 30-minute short film featuring Benton’s character. I did feel disappointed after watching it as so much was happening and I didn’t fully understand what was going on. I wish this had been an hour long to absorb everything that was happening. But it was still entertaining indeed.
What was interesting about this short drama is that it explores Benton’s past as a character. In the story, Benton gets trapped in a nightmare world while he’s on his way back to U.N.I.T. HQ. We get to see what his past was like as a child as the worlds of the past and the present seem to merge in one.
John Levene is very good as Benton and it was interesting to see how he portrayed the layers to his character when confronting his past. The drama also features Michael Wisher as Benton’s father as well as Nicholas Briggs as a soldier. There’s also the voice of Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier here.
I was disappointed the Brigadier didn’t get to make a proper appearance in the drama, but then its 30 minutes so what are you going to do? I found it interesting to discover that there was an accident between John Benton as a little boy and his brother Chris. It’s interesting Benton had a brother once.
The rest of the ‘Wartime Chronicles’ are as follows. There’s ‘Wartime In Perspective’, which is like a five-part documentary series on the making of ‘Wartime’. There’s also a ‘Wartime Slideshow’ which is a picture gallery. There are also the two bonus documentaries ‘ReUNITed’, which is a history of U.N.I.T. and the ‘Jon Pertwee & U.N.I.T. Live on Stage’ convention panel that features Jon Pertwee. 🙂
I enjoyed ‘Wartime’ on the ‘Wartime Chronicles’ DVD. It was disappointing that it wasn’t long enough and it was 30 minutes. But I found it interesting highlighting Benton’s character. I look forward to revisiting ‘Wartime Chronicles’ to give a more in-depth analysis of the short drama itself.
Thanks for the birthday presents, Stephen. I really like them!
Thanks for reading!
Bye for now!