A DOCTOR WHO SPINOFF
By ANDY LANE & HELEN STIRLING
Running time : 30 minutes
A Reeltime Pictures Production (C)1997
During the late 1960's the United Nations, acting on a series of highly classified reports formed a secret global taskforce. Its brief was to investigate the increasing number of incidents involving the abnormal, the unexplained, the dangerous. In fact anything on Earth...and beyond. Its name : United Nations Intelligence Taskforce. UNIT recruited specialists from every field. One of these was John Benton. Not all of Benton's work was for UNIT. Sometimes it was closer to home.
<Voiceover : Cast Credits>
Benton : Greyhound four, over.
Brigadier : Oh there you are, Benton. What's your current location?
Benton : Just outside Bolton, Sir. Over.
Brigadier : How long will it take you to reach UNIT HQ? Over.
Benton : Hopefully about four hours, Sir. I know these roads like the back of my hand, over.
Brigadier : Good. Any problems? Over.
Benton : We saw a car behind us sometime earlier, but I reckon it was just a coincidence, Sir. Nothing now. Over.
Brigadier : Who's your driver? Over.
Benton : Willis, Sir. Private Willis. Regular army. Over.
Brigadier : Right Benton. Be alert. Look after that shipment. Out.
Benton : Yes Sir. We'll be careful with it. Greyhound four, out.
(A UNIT truck drives down the road. No other cars are about. SERGEANT BENTON is in the passenger seat and PRIVATE WILLIS, a young brown haired soldier is driving. Unknown to them, as they pass a road leading onto another, a hidden car pulls out and follows closely behind. The UNIT van reaches a crossroad and stops. In his head, BENTON sees an image of a young boy laughing.)
Benton : Go left.
Willis : Are you sure, Sir?
Benton : Yes. This will only take a minute.
(The van turns left. In the back of the truck are some boxes with yellow and black radiation symbols on them. The rock back and forth. A moment later, the car following reaches the crossroads and turns right. WILLIS is still driving. In the distance is a tall tower; it disappears behind some trees as the car stops by the side of the road. The door opens and BENTON climbs out.)
Benton : Wait for me here. I won't be long.
Willis : Sir! We've got to be at UNIT HQ by five!
(BENTON isn't listening.)
Willis : Sir. Where are you going?
(He walks round a brick building and enters a small graveyard. He walks straight up to one of the graves at the back and holds his head in his hands. He kneels on the ground. Next to the grave is a small white flower in a pot. In his head, BENTON sees more images. He sees a dark tower, a small boy running up to the top...and falling downwards.)
Benton : Oh Chris. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.
(BENTON stands up then walks slowly away. From behind the stone, a small blond haired boy appears. He reaches the car and it drives away, continuing it's journey. By this time the following car has come back to the crossroads and goes in the opposide direction. In his head, BENTON hears a voice.)
Young Benton, Voice : Where are you going?
Chris, Voice : To the old tower. Straight over there.
Young Benton, Voice : Mother will be angry.
Chris, Voice : Are you coming or what?
Benton : No Chris, NO!
<Credits shown over shots of trees>
Screenplay by Andy Lane and Helen Stirling
Music by Mark Ayres
Produced and directed by Keith Barnfather
(The army truck enters a quiet clearing. It pulls to the side of the road and BENTON and WILLIS get out. The car seems to have broken down. WILLIS lifts up the bonnet and looks inside. Meanwhile, BENTON gets his gun from the front of the vehicle and gets ready to fire.)
Willis : Trouble Sir?
Benton : If there was going to be trouble Willis here is the spot I'd choose.
(He points his gun around. WILLIS fiddles with the engine and it splutters. BENTON speaks into a radio.)
Benton : Greyhound four to trap one. Greyhound four to trap one. Do you read me, over. Greyhound four to trap one. Greyhound four to trap one. Come on, come on. What's wrong with them? Why don't they answer?
(The car which was following is getting closer to the clearing. BENTON hears something and stands on his guard.)
Benton : Willis?
Voice : (echoing) It's dangerous...
Willis : Sir?
Benton : Which direction did that come from?
Willis : Did what come from, Sir?
Benton : The grenade, man! The grenade. Didn't you hear something?
Willis : No Sir.
(BENTON looks puzzled.)
Benton : I'm going to check that out. Get the jeep fixed. If I'm not back in ten minutes get out of here.
(He moves off cautiously as WILLIS continues adjusting the engine. When BENTON is gone, everything around WILLIS moves in slow motion... In the woods, BENTON moves carefully, hiding behind trees and peering through clumps of bushes. Nothing else can be seen. No buildings, no people, no animals. At last he comes to a bridge. He stands in the middle, puts his gun on his back, looks around, then walks away. Soon he comes to more steps near a small waterfall. He climbs them. He sees a pond and looks down into it. BENTON climbs to the highest point he can, then rests.)
Benton : How many times did we play here when we were kids.
(BENTON'S face changes between that of when was a small and back to his age now.)
Young Benton : 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 4 3 2 1 Coming!
(The YOUNG BENTON runs off.)
Chris : Johnnie! I can see you Johnnie!
(Another young boy is running away. Suddenly there is a scream. BENTON hears it and runs up some steps leading up into a tower. Back at the truck, everything is still moving slowly. WILLIS looks around but he is moving in slow motion. He lights a cigarette and waits. From behind a tree, a man with brown hair, a beard and green shirt is watching him. He lifts a gun from his pocket and pulls back the trigger.
BENTON looks around, his gun at the ready. There is an explosion and his gun turns into a stick.)
Benton : Somebody's playing games. And I don't like it at all.
(He throws the stick onto the ground and as he walks away, it turns back into his gun. BENTON go's back to the bridge over looking the pond. He looks again into the water, but this time his reflection is of himself as a boy.)
Chris (OOV) : Bang Bang!
(The two young boys fight with sticks. BENTON sees them below from the top of the bridge. He runs down and chases after them but they split up at a turning. He nearly catches up with CHRIS but looses him in the trees. )
Young Benton (OOV) : Bang Bang you're dead!
(The boys chase eachother. At last BENTON catches with them, both sitting on top of the bridge with sticks in their hands. He creeps up behind them.)
Benton : Stay here! I want to talk with you boys.
Young Benton : Come on!
(He gets up and moves away. CHRIS pauses and looks around. He doesn't seem to see BENTON.)
Benton : Who are you? Who are you?
(The boy shrugs and runs off with his stick. The boys catch up with eachother and start chasing again. CHRIS hides behind a wall as as YOUNG BENTON runs up the steps - up the tower. He creeps up the side of the tower as he sees CHRIS.)
Chris : Johnnie I can see you Johnnie!
(There's a scream. BENTON climbs up a wall and looks around.)
Benton : (Shouting) Chris! Chris! Chris!
(At the UNIT truck, everything is still moving slowly...
BENTON passes another bridge. A man and a lady are dancing at the top.)
Benton : Mother!
(He runs up the steps)
Benton : Mother! Father!
(His FATHER is wearing a gas mask and military uniform. His MOTHER is wearing a pink dress. They dance round hand in hand as soft music plays around them. Suddenly they both topple off the side of the bridge. BENTON reaches the top.)
Benton : No!
(He sees a white rose where they were dancing. He picks up the rose and blood appears in his hands. CHRIS watches as BENTON dashes back down the steps.)
Benton : Chris? Chris?
Chris : Come on slow coach. Last on to the tower's a sissy!
Benton : Chris please wait!
Chris (OOV): Sissy!
Benton : Where are you?
Chris (OOV) : Sissy!
(BENTON has an idea.)
Benton : Coming! Ready or not!
Chris : Sissy!
Benton : Pacts Chris. I've got pacts.
(CHRIS appears and holds out his fingers. The image of his older appears in his place as his fingers merge into a gun. This is the man who was following them in the truck earlier...The image changes back to him at eight years old.)
Chris : Bang!
Chris : You're dead.
(CHRIS, MOTHER, FATHER, JOHNNIE and BENTON are sitting on the ground with a picnic. JOHNNIE and BENTON are the same person...)
Mother : Afternoon sleepyhead. Feeling better now?
Benton : What happened?
Chris : You fell asleep, sissy.
Father : Now now.
Benton : Is that all?
Mother : What's the matter darling?
Benton : I'm not sure. I'm just not sure.
Father : A touch of the sun? You just missed the sponge cake.
Mother : Yes and it took a month of coupons just to get the eggs.
Father : Have to be making tracks soon. Embarkation leave's nearly over.
Mother : So soon? Seems only like yesterday.
Young Benton : Don't go Dad. Please don't go. I hate it when you leave!
Father : I'm a soldier, son. Duty calls. I love to go back.
Benton : Can I be a soldier, Father? A sergeant like you?
Father : Of course, son. Maybe even better.
Benton : An officer?
Father : Ah well.
Mother : Of course Johnnie if you want.
Chris : Well I don't!
Father : Enough!
Chris : Well I don't. I don't want to die.
Mother : Christopher.
Chris : It's stupid...
Father : (loudly) I said enough!
Mother : Father, no. Please.
(FATHER calms down.)
Chris : I'm off. Coming Johnnie.
(He runs off. BENTON stands up.)
Benton : Back soon.
Mother : Anyone want any more?
Father : Not for me.
Benton : That was good. Thanks Mum.
Mother : Is everything alright?
Father : I'm fine. I'll have to be making tracks soon. Embarkation leave's nearly over.
Mother : Seems only like yesterday.
Benton : Please don't go Father, don't go. You know I hate it when you leave!
Father : I'm a soldier son. Duty calls. I have to go back.
Benton : But you'll die out there!
Mother : Johnnie!
Benton : You'll be blown to pieces in a town in Normandy! They'll throw a grenade and you'll be blown into so many pieces that they won't find enough to give you a decent burial!
Mother : Johnnie, that's terrible. Stop it! Please stop it. It's silly.
Benton : It's real! It's true! I still have the letter!
(BENTON reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a folded piece of paper. FATHER stares wildly. Suddenly everything changes. FATHER is fighting in the war surrounded by sounds of explosions and guns. A SOLDIER is killed and BENTON runs up and pulls off his gas mask. The SOLDIER'S face is bleeding. FATHER suddenly gets furious and runs shouting through the sandbags where he is killed by a loud explosion.)
Benton : No!
(MOTHER sobs over the letter.)
Benton : Don't worry Mother. I'll look after you. I'll be just like Father, I will. I'll be just like him!
(Back at the truck, WILLIS collapses.
BENTON is trying to get away when a masked man comes up behind him. It is his FATHER, wearing the same gas mask he was killed in.)
Father : Johnnie!
(FATHER laughs. BENTON holds his head in his hands.)
Benton : Go away Father! You don't exist! You're dead. You died years ago!
(The mask slips off his face and BENTON sees his FATHER'S face is painted like a clown but in the shape of a skull. Deep red eyes and a crooked black mouth. BENTON gasps.)
Benton : Go away!
(FATHER'S face changes back to normal.)
Father : The graves are a fine and private place, Johnnie. It's no disgrace to be dead. It's as if no life ends.
Benton : Yes but you don't understand, Father. You cannot exist. You're just a product of my imagination!
Father : Imagination? You have no imagination Johnnie! You never did!
Benton : I don't need imagination! Not in my job.
Father : Oh aye your job. What rank are you now Johnnie? Captain yet?
Benton : No!
Father : What?
Benton : No!
Father : Major?
Benton : No!
Father : Brigadier perhaps?
Benton : No. I'm a warrant officer, and that's good enough for me.
Father : Have to be better than your old Dad, eh Johnnie?
Benton : I wanted to be like you! Not better than you.
Father : Your brother Chris, now. He was officer material.
Benton : Yes, well. You always liked him better than you liked me.
Father : He'd have made a captain.
Benton : He was always your favourite. He was always given what I had to fight for.
Father : He'd have made Brigadier.
Benton : Yes but he didn't want to did he. He didn't want to join the army. He didn't want to live like you. I did! All I wanted was your approval like you gave Chris!
Father : So...you were jealous of Chris.
Benton : He was my brother. I loved him.
Father : You killed him Johnnie.
Benton : No. It was an accident.
Father : You killed him Johnnie!
Benton : No he fell Father!
Father : You pushed him Johnnie. You killed my Christopher!
Benton : No it was an accident. He fell!
Father : You killed him Johnnie. You killed him!
Benton : Stop calling me Johnnie! My name's JOHN!
(CHRIS appears wearing an army hat.)
Chris : (echoing) Sissy!
Father : It's our game Johnnie. We can call him if we want to.
Chris : Sissy!
Father : It's a game! And it's not over yet!
(Images appear in BENTON'S head.)
Benton : It was an accident Chris. I swear!
Chris : Time to run, Johnnie! I've come to get you!
(FATHER laughs as BENTON is chased by CHRIS. BENTON runs up the tower and CHRIS follows.)
Chris : Johnnie I can see you Johnnie!
(BENTON tries to stop him as CHRIS falls down the tower. BENTON is left holding his shoe.)
Benton : I was trying to save him. I was.
(Back at the truck : The man is trying to reach into the back.)
Benton : Hold it.
(He points his gun at him. The man hits him as they start fighting. He slams BENTON against the truck, but BENTON manages to knock him unconcious to the ground. WILLIS appears.)
Benton : Willis, what happened?
Willis : He came out the bushes, just after you'd gone, Sir.
Benton : OK. Come on.
(They put their guns into the vehicle and drag the man into the back.)
Benton : Are you OK to drive?
Willis : Yes Sir.
(They climb into the truck. BENTON sits next to the man with his gun pointing towards him.)
Father's voice : (Fading up into the trees...) It was a game Johnnie. And it's over now...
Voice of the Brigadier
Johnnie (young Benton)
20th-21st March 1999