I Am Clever

alec_towser


A Fine Line - Between Chaos and Creation

Everybody seems to think I'm lazy; I don't mind, I think they're crazy...


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My Head-Canon; Let Me Show You It
I Am Clever
alec_towser
My personal UNIT-canon logic; something I figured I should clear up before I posted any more stories featuring Yates and/or Benton:

In my canon-‘verse, I [somewhat] play fast and loose with both Benton and Yates’ ages (and completely ignore the UNIT dating controversy), as the only depictions of their ages in audio/prose/TV make little to no sense (especially considering their actors’ ages, and the descriptions of their characters). So I’ve tried to make it a little more logical by making them closer in age.



In TV canon, John Benton is never given an explicit age, but in the movie Wartime, it talks about him being roughly 7 years old in 1944. This would make him 33 at the time of the Third Doctor’s appearance in 1970, assuming the year of the air date lines up with ‘current time’ in the show. His actor, John Levene was 29 at the time.

As for Mike Yates: his age is never stated on TV either, and the only actual reference to his age (other than descriptions referring to him as ‘the young Captain’/similar) is in Richard Franklin’s audiobook The Killing Stone. This reference makes him 23 immediately following the events of the Third Doctor’s final serial in 1974, assuming, again, that the year of the air date lines up with ‘current time’ in the show. His actor, Richard Franklin was 38 at the time.

These ages for their characters make very little sense to me, as Benton’s ‘canon’ age makes him nearly as old as the Brigadier, (who, canon states, is born in 1930) as well as being older than his actor by about 5 years, and John Levene/Benton doesn’t look anywhere near that age. However, as there is not too much other evidence to support this theory, he theoretically could be this age; I just choose to change it for my personal canon, as there are many instances of Benton being described as young, both in prose and TV (and I highly doubt someone upwards of 30 would be described as young).

Yates’ ‘canon’ age is easier to dispute, as this makes him a Captain at the age of 20 (at least; he first shows up in 1971, and we’re told he’s been there at UNIT for a while), which is next to impossible. Becoming a Captain takes a minimum of 5 years, or 3 if you hold a degree. Given the minimum age of enrolment of 16, it’s not very likely that he would have either received a degree by that point (which still doesn’t add up, age-wise), therefore the youngest possible age he could have been at the start of the show would be at least 21-22. (AN: Yes, this makes Richard Franklin at least 13 years older than his character, but let's face it - if anyone can pull it off, it's him - I was surprised when I found out his age.)

The only explanation that would make sense of Yates’ impossibly-young age would be the story from the Target novels, which have him start as a Sergeant at UNIT, but get promoted to Captain for outstanding service (see: The Scales of Injustice and The Eye of the Giant). The only problem with this theory is that this sort of promotion would likely never happen.

Therefore, in my canon, I’ve retconned and made Yates’ birth year to be 1949, which makes him 22 in his debut in 1971 (January 16 is Richard Franklin’s birthday, and I’ve kept it so for Yates). As for Benton, I can’t recall offhand if canon actually states that he’s older than Yates, but in my head, I picture him to be roughly 3 (ish) years older than Yates, so his birth year is 1945 (John Levene’s birthday is December 24, and I’m keeping it the same).

As for Benton’s backstory, (as it now makes no sense given his age), my canon has the same circumstances take place, only moved forward - Chris Benton still dies the same way, but instead of their father going to fight in WW2, it’s now the Korean War.

And there you have it - my version of canon for Mike Yates and John Benton, making (hopefully) more sense than actual canon. No other characters have been changed (or if they have, I haven’t realized it yet), as their backstories/ages all make a fair amount of logical sense. It’s just that the issue of Yates’ and Benton’s ages made no sense to me, so I felt I had to rectify it.

TL;DR = I messed with Yates’ and Benton’s ages, making Yates slightly older and Benton slightly younger in my head-canon.

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Logic?! You're bringing logic into "Doctor Who"?! ;)

That's interesting reckoning. I had never considered that Yates could be so young, and I think Richard Franklin's estimate is a bit off there. For the Brig to hold so much store by him, you'd have to be right, and he would have to be older. I wrote a story once that gave Yates a birthdate of 1944, which must have seemed about right to me at the time (it was somewhere back in the 90s, so I don't remember any particular reasoning). I would definitely agree on Benton being at least a bit older. He has that more worldly-wise air to him, and he's the career non-com type, with no intention of becoming an officer, so his comparatively low rank has nothing to do with age. Yates joining as a sergeant never made sense. Sandhurst is much more likely.

Well, I have to try. :P You can't really write stories about people without having a decent grasp of their backstory, and official BBC-canon makes no sense with some of their facts, so I changed them to suit me and how I think it would make the most sense. I often wonder just what they were thinking when I look at some of the facts (the quite literally impossible Sergeant-Captain promotion, especially) that are in their materials.

As for Yates' age, I always saw him as younger, but when I saw a summary of The Killing Stone stating Yates' "retirement at the age of 23", I couldn't believe it. There's no WAY he could have been that young. My research of the British Army notwithstanding, I'm a commissioned member of the (Canadian) armed forces myself, and I know that you can't just reach that rank that quickly.

I always figured Benton was older, but not all that much older. I was shocked to find the summary to Wartime declaring him as being nearly as old as the Brig. My opinion is that Benton and Yates are relatively close in age (as the actors themselves were), but with the age-seniority reversed.

This is a thought process I've had in my head for a while; since I started watching the Pertwee-era Who and started getting ideas for fics. I figured I should get it all out in writing as to how my brain was working in regards to this, and explain it to others who might read my stories so they don't get confused. :)

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