UNIT:Assignment Earth

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by nezza, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. nezza Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 1: And So It Begins

    "I've never hid my dislike of Dr Who. I thought it was silly and too violent but I also knew it was pulling in 10 million viewers a week. Brian was inspired casting and he and Nicola were a great double act. So bearing all that in mind when JNT came to me with an idea I had to put my personal feelings to one side and listen to him"

    Michael Grade talking in 1993.

    "The notion of a spin-off on British Television was something of a novelty in the mid 1980's. The USA were past masters of this and were making it a ratings and financial success. In 1985 I had been in the states for meetings with NBC about Brian's second series. One night at the hotel I was channel switching and saw the start of The Colbys. The next day I read that it topped the ratings and that started me thinking"

    John Nathan Turner 1994

    "Looking back now I think I can say that that was the moment the Saturday Night Wars started. The BBC had set in motion this incredible lineup and we had to match them simply to keep parity"

    Greg Dyke, Director of Programmes ABC Television 1986 to 1991. Talking in 2005

    "I remember thinking that we were in trouble"

    Anthony Simmons-Gooding. Chief Executive British Satellite Broadcasting speaking in 2000.
     
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  2. nezza Well-Known Member

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    British Television in 1984
    BBC1 and 2

    ITV as OTL but with following divergences:
    No Border Television, ABC and ATV still exist as programme producers. No separate breakfast licence. Good Morning is run by ITN and Thames with regional optouts
    .

    Channel 4.
     
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  3. nezza Well-Known Member

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    "I wanted a writer with a proven track record. Someone with an ability to weave humour with action. There was only one man I knew of and that was Brian Clemens

    JNT 1994
     
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  4. nezza Well-Known Member

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    Radio Times August 1985: vlcsnap-2019-03-04-20h10m54s661.png

    Any thoughts?
     
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  5. Emote Control Plenty of genius, not enough sense.

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    We need more information to decide.
     
  6. nezza Well-Known Member

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    Oct 9, 2011
    Certainly.

    Its a variation on a theme. I'm basing it on the timeline "Who's The Doctor" It starts in 1984 and looks not just at the creation and transmission of the first DW spinoff "UNIT" but also at how that programme plus others created what will become the "Saturday Night War". A ratings battle initially between the BBC and ITV but as the late 80's and early 90's approach bringing in other players specifically BSB and Sky. This will look at how Films, sports (not just football but both NWA and WWF) and entertainment will lead to at least a decade long clash between 5 networks.

    (NB a warning. This TL will have references to both football hooliganism and tragedy, specifically Heysel and Hillsborough and censorship)

    BTW the sixth doctor is Brian Blessed.
     
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  7. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    I’m not up on Doctor Who but this has potential.
     
  8. tallthinkev In a band Donor

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    Cambridge. The real one!
    Nice idea, couple of points.
    Who is going to be in a new UNIT the Brig is retried, Yates 'left' sometime before and to have Benton in charge, well he was an NCO, if of course it is set in 1985.
    A totally new cast could well be, well not good. Spin offs will little or no continuity from the first program have not always been well excepted.
    Were's the money going to come from? Doctor Who was being starved of funds at the time so this new program is unlikely to have any money at all.
    A much better option would be an idea from 1978, I think, Jago and Litefoot. They have had 11+ cd's out on Big Finish
     
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  9. nezza Well-Known Member

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    The new UNIT will be a spin off from a DW episode where the Doctor is invited to a reunion but discovers the sea devils are still alive. The story will be a backdoor pilot.
    In this TL even though Grade still hates the show he puts business first and invests.
    As regards J and L. Watch and see.

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
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  10. nezza Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 2: Heavens Above

    "We thought that we were going to have a clean run.We had the money, we had the backing and we were the establishment choice. As far as I was concerned we were going to be the third network"

    Simmonds-Gooding, 2000

    "The new consortium to be called British Satellite Broadcasting or BSB will initially offer six stations each with a specific programming style.

    A general entertainment channel called Galaxy will be offer general entertainment and will mix new programmes along with a 'best of British' selection from both the BBC and ITV
    Screen will be a 24-hour movie station and will initially be the only pay channel for an estimated £7 per month
    Stadium will show sports around the clock
    Zigzag will show programmes for children and teenagers
    Now will be a 24 hour rolling news station in the vein of the US' CNN. ITN will be providing regular bulletins for the channel.
    Performance will be an arts channels showing opera, musical performances and documentaries."

    With a launch date of Spring 1988 its set to be a frantic time but BSB are confident that they will be on air.."

    ITN report 1985
     
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  11. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

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    Is this the ABC which IOTL was forced by the ITA to merge with Associated-Rediffusion to form Thames?
     
  12. tallthinkev In a band Donor

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    Cambridge. The real one!
    Another few points if I may, the last post. Film not movies, and sport not sports. Also don't think rolling news would be used at that time, at least not in the UK. A 24 hour news station more than likely.
     
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  13. nezza Well-Known Member

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    Slight grammatical error. With the news channel I agree that rolling news in 1985 would have been highly unlikely.

    Yes, that's right. In this TL ABC was owned by the Kemsley-Winnick Group who in real-life was one of the original licensees:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kemsley-Winnick_Television
     
  14. Lord Wyclif Well-Known Member

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    With Brian Clemens involved, there would be plenty of ‘hard men’ actors who could be UNIT members.
    Martin Shaw
    Lewis Collins
    Bill Murray
    Denis Waterman
    Patrick Mower
    Ray Winston
    Bob Hoskins etc
    Though UNIT soldiers usually there to get exterminates by darleks
     
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  15. Emote Control Plenty of genius, not enough sense.

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    I know it's the 80s, but UNIT should have female representation.
     
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  16. Lord Wyclif Well-Known Member

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    Back in the day the female role was usually a love interest or as the baddies victim. That being said Blake’s 7 had a female as the lead baddie, so why not!
     
  17. Lord Wyclif Well-Known Member

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    Joanna lumley from sapphire & steel and the new avengers
    Jenna Knyvette and Jacquline Pearse both from Blake’s 7
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  18. nezza Well-Known Member

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    I'm delighted with the response so far. Thanks a lot. I shall return to UNIT later but in the meantime...

    "When I heard what he was doing I was dumbstruck. It was as if someone had plunged a knife into my heart. I thought 'you bastard'."

    Simmonds-Gooding 2000

    BSB faces rival network

    " A battle for the new satellite television market in the UK was launched yesterday when it was revealed that Rupert Murdoch's News International is to create its own network to rival British Satellite Broadcasting.
    Sky Television based in Luxembourg but broadcasting from London will beam 5 new stations into the country thus locking horns with the government backed service.

    The channels will be:
    Sky Channel showing general entertainment
    Sky Movies, a subscription based station
    Eurosport, Sky News and the Disney Channel.

    Murdoch who was defeated in the big to gain the IBA's licence said in conference yesterday

    "We will be providing a real choice for viewers and give BSB and the rest a real run for their money"

    This will leave viewers with a choice of networks and systems to buy"

    Ray Snoddy Financial Times 1985
     
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  19. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

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    They did have Brigadier Bambera in Battlefield in 1989.
     
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  20. NOMISYRRUC Putting a banging donk on it!

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    AFAIK the ex-ABC people became the dominant force within Thames. An alternative Thames could dramatically change ITV's output in the 1970s and 1980s ITTL.

    E.g. Cosgrove-Hall was a subsidiary of Thames. Therefore, we might not have Dangermouse ITTL.

    Another subsidiary was Euston Films, whose output included The Sweeney, Widows, Minder, Van der Valk and The Knowledge. IIRC Nigel Hawthorne's performance in the latter helped him get the part of Sir Humphrey Appleby.