Counter Measures: Doctor Who and UNIT lacking both The Doctor and UNIT

By: ( +David Herron; Date: August 30, 2017

Tags: Big Finish

Having The Doctor on Earth working with UNIT to solve some kind of weird alien science thing, or an alien invasion, is a big part of Doctor Who lore. The 3rd Doctor spent most of his time headquartered near London, "working for" Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart as a "Science Advisor" taking care of all kinds of crazy technology things. That included dealing with the Loch Ness Monster, who turned out to be a Silurian pet, and fending off several insane schemes concocted by The Master.

Consider a slightly different story-line. One in which alien invasions and alien technology are affecting England in the 1960's, but there's no Doctor conveniently on-hand to solve the problems, and UNIT doesn't exist. Instead the top-secret organization tasked with these problems is run within the British old boys network of various Sir So-and-so's. That's Counter-Measures, an extremely hush-hush way beyond top secret agency tasked with taking care of alien incursion issues and other crazy items of technology.

Counter-Measures contains most of the elements of Doctor Who, except for time travel and the alien from a hugely advanced civilization. If you like the UNIT stories, you'll like Counter-Measures.

The cast focuses on four people comprising the Counter-Measures staff: Sir Toby Kinsella Apparently a former member of the House of Lords, who'd been involved in top secret stuff since World War II. Sir Toby is the leader of Counter-Measures, and his role is interfacing with the rest of Government like the Prime Minister. Group Captain Gilmore A Royal Air Force officer, whose career also spans back to World War II, who commands a group of soldiers, who conducts all kinds of secret special operations, and more. Rachel Jensen A senior research scientist from Cambridge (if I recall right) who'd specialized in artificial intelligence, but apparently could handle nearly any kind of science you'd throw at her. Allison Williams A junior research scientist, and long-time friend of Rachel Jensen, who was responsible for bringing Jenson on-board.

If you recognized some of those names, you know your Doctor Who history very well. The 7th Doctor adventure, Remembrance of the Daleks, which celebrated the 25th anniversary, included the Special Incursions Counter-Measures Unit staffed by Group Captain Gilmore, Rachel Jensen, Allison Williams and some others. What Big Finish did is to create new stories for those characters to play with.

Big Finish changed the name of the team to Intrusion Countermeasures Group - ICMG and added Sir Kinsella as the leader. Sir Toby is a long-time spy master with a zillion secrets and a way of saying the minimum possible while informing his staff of what's required for the current mission. While they appreciated his machinations, over time it grew to infuriate the ICMG staff especially after a couple extremely dangerous missions.

The audios released by Big Finish do not DIRECTLY include ICMG's adventure with the Doctor told in Remembrance of the Daleks. However, the team did have that event calling it "the Shoreditch Incident". It's mentioned in passing and not much is made of it.

Curiously a large portion of the stories involve some kind of mind control. In one case, transmissions from some equipment deluded some people in positions of great power into taking actions dictated by a secretive group with an insane plan. In another case, brain implants interfered with memory and perception, letting the affected people be controlled by another secretive group. In another case, some crazy invisibility technology was developed which served as a tool for committing bank robberies, but had unfortunate mental/emotional effects on the wearer.

Some adversaries appeared multiple times. For example The Light turned out to be a race of aliens who'd infiltrated high levels of the British government intent on invading Earth. That wasn't known until after their 3rd story, though.

Big Finish recorded four seasons of Counter-Measures set in the 1960's. These ended with a shocking story that I'll leave you to experience unspoiled. The team had a 10 year hiatus, and when reconstituted they began operating as Counter-Measures in the 1970's. As of this writing, Big Finish has recorded one season the New Counter Measures stories.


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