The ‘Doctor Who’ New Year’s Day Special brought many surprises for fans. Perhaps the biggest was the doing away with one major element from the classic ‘Who’ years, U.N.I.T., the Unified Intelligence Taskforce.
Current ‘Who’ showrunner Chris Chibnall has worked painstakingly to have his series stand on its own. The episodes are written in a way that brings in viewers with little prior knowledge of the long-running series. While many previous seasons have drawn from references to the early years, Season 12 has made very few subtle references to previous Doctors including Tom Baker, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, or Peter Capaldi.
In ‘Resolution,’ the script, written by Chibnall, contained one scene with ties to the classic series. Faced with the threat of the Daleks, the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) put out a call to U.N.I.T., the Unified Intelligence Taskforce, an organization that has helped various Doctors throughout the years.
However, to the Doctor’s surprise, she is told that all U.N.I.T. operations have been suspended. It seems the organization has been suspended for two very politically charged reasons. The first reason pointed to a spending review. The United Kingdom has seen public spending slashed over the past few years. Between 2010 and 2015, the armed forces budget was cut by £8 billion. It would seem that these spending cuts reached the world of ‘Doctor Who,’ and the Government chose to remove funding for U.N.I.T..
The other reason could be an even more political move. According to ‘Who’ history, U.N.I.T. came about sometime in the 1970s, under the umbrella of the United Nations. In the world of 2019, the United Nations and the European Union no longer hold the same amount of clout. If the United Nations turned its back on U.N.I.T., the organization wouldn’t have had a chance.
As you can imagine, the reveal left many ‘Who’ fans feeling a little cheated, with some pointing out that the episode was not the time or place for political statements. Many took to social media to express their disappointment. One viewer wrote:
“So tuned into #DoctorWho in time for a presumed dig at Brexit ‘funding withdrawn by International partners‘. Off you go… Well done #BBC. You have additionally ruined New Years Eve with your anti-Brexit bol***ks right up until midnight and what I was looking forward to today.”
“Did #DoctorWho just suggest that Brexit caused UNIT to be suspended?”
Another fan pointed his anger at Chibnall, saying:
“‘Suspended’ Unit with a thinly veiled Brexit jibe… come on Chibs, I expected a bit more than that :/ #doctorwho.”
The disbanding of U.N.I.T. leaves Earth vulnerable to alien attacks, as the organization had used the years to build up their experience and resources to protect the people of Earth from almost every alien race known in ‘Doctor Who.’ It seems like Earth is now solely under the protection of the Doctor and her friends. Can they handle it? We’ll find out when ‘Doctor Who’ returns in 2020!