Doctor Who: Kate Lethbridge-Stewart Vid Neglects One Important Person

Doctor Who: Flux has its finale this weekend, and with it comes the return of fan-favourite secret military organization UNIT and its current leader Kate Stewart, played by Gemma Redgrave). Naturally, the BBC would release a compilation video of Kate Stuart's scenes from the show. And once again, the video ends up neglecting its subject.

Doctor Who: Video Compilation of Kate Stuart Neglects its Subject
Jemma Redgrave as Kate Lethbridge-Stewart in "Doctor Who", BBC

Kate Stewart is the daughter of fan favourite supporting character Brigadier Alastair Lethbridge-Stewart, played by the late Nicholas Courtney, who had been in the show since the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) era in the 1960s, first introduced as a British Army colonel who witnessed the Cybermen's invasion of London, became the commander of UNIT during the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) era where UNIT became the Doctor's base of operations during his exile on Earth, which was when UNIT became a fixture on the show. It played to fans' love of the military and guns even as the Doctor objected to their tendency to go in shooting rather than talking first. The Doctor and the Brigadier became close friends. UNIT took a back seat during the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) runs and returned once during the Seventh Doctor's (Sylvester McCoy) era with the retired Brigadier having retired but showing up one last time on the show. Lethbridge-Stewart showed up one final time on The Sarah Jane Adventures before Courtney passed away.

Showrunner Steven Moffat introduced Kate Stuart as a scientist who became the new head of UNIT after her father passed away. She was introduced during the Eleventh Doctor's (Matt Smith) 2nd season and made frequent appearances during his run and the Twelfth Doctor's stories, including the Zygon invasion where The Doctor makes one of his – and Moffat's – finest speeches about the horrors of war, included in this video. Yet most of her most prominent scenes are left out of this compilation in favour of long scenes featuring only the Doctor. Granted, these scenes remind us Smith and Capaldi were fun to watch that Moffat's run on the show was more fun than virtually any episodes of current showrunner Chris Chibnall's run. However, we kept thinking "Hang on, isn't this video supposed to be about Kate Lethbridge-Stewart?"

Who is in charge of cutting these videos together anyway? Who reviews and approves these videos? Is there any real editorial oversight on these videos? Are they secretly throwing shade on Chibnall's run? Granted, they're promotional material, aimed at drawing attention to the show. They're advertising the show, and they're meant to be topical, often to highlight certain characters or monsters who might be appearing on the show that week. You can't really go wrong with compilation videos about Daleks or Cybermen. It's when they're highlight characters who haven't had that many scenes that the videos start to have problems. In recent months, they tend to take the focus away from their stated subjects to focus on something else, mostly The Doctor. You could say that's logical since the Doctor is the star and main focus of the show, but then the reason anyone would watch these videos is they're already a fan of the show. There's no need to sell The Doctor any further. The name of the channel is "Doctor Who" after all. Why do these videos keep letting their subjects down?

Doctor Who: Flux is on BBC America in the US.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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