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For his counterpart from a parallel space-time continuum, see Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart (parallel space-time continuum).


Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart in 2009

Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, CBE was a British Army officer and the head of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce's operations in the United Kingdom until his retirement in 1976. He later served as a special envoy for the organisation.

Early history[]

Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was born into the Clan Stewart. (DW: "Terror of the Zygons") His ancestry was seven-eighths Scots, as his Granny McDougal was half-Italian and related to the Verconti family of San Stefano Minore. ("The Ghosts of N-Space") He did not receive a classical education. (DW: "The Time Monster") Beginning his military service in 1946, he attended Sandhurst with Billy Rutlidge. He served in the Royal Artillery and the Brigade of Guards, including the Coldstream Guards. (DW: "Mawdryn Undead", "The Invasion", "Inferno", "The Dæmons")


Lethbridge-Stewart (centre) during his early career

He was once stationed at Aldgate during his service. (DW: "The Green Death") He had memories of visiting the Epsom races and smelling bougainvillea in the Caribbean. On the occasion of his grandfather's death, he drank the best malt Scotch he would have until his visit to Space World in 1974. ("The Paradise of Death")

While at a Brighton hotel in 1964, he was given the gift of an engraved gold wristwatch from a young woman named Doris as a mark of her gratitude to him. He had been an item with Doris in his twenties, but after he was posted overseas he had the feeling that her father had encouraged her not to keep in contact with him. Lethbridge-Stewart believed this was because her father thought he was not good enough for her. He would later discover that her father had hidden all the letters and telegraphs that he had sent to Doris. (DW: "Planet of the Spiders"; "Liberty Hall")


As a lieutenant colonel in 1967

In 1967, areas of central London were cordoned off and abandoned following the disappearance of a number of people within an unusual fog that had spread across the district. Reports of a mass of moving fungus in the London Underground caused the tube system's use to be discontinued, and the Yeti were sighted days afterwards. Weeks into the emergency, Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart took command of the British Army fortress at Goodge Street. He was initially distrustful of the Doctor, an intruder who was an acquaintance of civilian adviser Professor Travers, but came to rely upon him for his previous experience with the threat they were facing. The crisis ended when Lethbridge-Stewart managed to cut off the contact that the Great Intelligence, the entity responsible for the events, had with Earth. (DW: "The Web of Fear")

He was recruited by the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, at this point commanded by General Farquhar, sometime after Computer Day in July 1966. At the time of Farquhar's death in 1967, he was attached to UNIT HQ, London. (DW: "Survivors of the Flux", "The War Machines")

UNIT commander, UK[]


As a brigadier in 1972


During his retirement in 1983


Called out of retirement in 1997

Following the incident with the Yeti, Lethbridge-Stewart was promoted to brigadier and put in charge of UNIT. DW: "The Invasion") He held the title of "Officer Commanding the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce in the UK". ("The Paradise of Death") He was sceptical about things such as alien life before joining UNIT. (DW: "Terror of the Zygons")

Later life[]

After he left UNIT, Lethbridge-Stewart was awarded the CBE for "unspecified services to the Crown." He had a "wonderful day" with his family at Buckingham Palace. His daughter, Kate, and Gordon were in attendance. By this point, he was divorced from his first wife. ("Liberty Hall")

Brendon School[]

"Oh, of course, I could have retired on my army pension, grown vegetable marrows and died of boredom in a twelve-month, then this job turned up. Bit of admin, bit of rugger, CO in the school corps."
- Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart (DW: "Mawdryn Undead")

An old friend of Lethbridge-Stewart from the regular army had retired a few years earlier and had taken up a post at Brendon School teaching English. He was involved with the cadet initiative and had asked Lethbridge-Stewart for help. In Lethbridge-Stewart's words, "one thing lead to another" and he ended up in the mathematics department. ("Liberty Hall")

In 1977, (DW: "Mawdryn Undead")

By 1983, Lethbridge-Stewart was a teacher of A-level maths and served as commanding officer of the school corps. (DW: "Mawdryn Undead")

In 1984, Lethbridge-Stewart went to Brighton for a spot of leave to see if he could catch up with Mike Yates. By pure chance, he ran into Doris at a Royal Pavilion concert. Within six months, they were married. She persuaded him to leave the school and go to the country. ("Liberty Hall")

Final decades[]

Before 1997, Lethbridge-Stewart again became involved with UNIT when he went on "unofficial" surveillance during an incident at the fogou. ("Liberty Hall")

As of his interview with Philip Clarke in the 2000s, the last time Lethbridge-Stewart was on "unofficial" was during his time in Malebolgia in the United States during the year 2000. During this incident, the Doctor suddenly reappeared. ("Liberty Hall")






  • Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart was played by actor Nicholas Courtney.
  • In Doctor Who Monthly issue number 72, Courtney recalls that writers Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln had created a character named Colonel Lethbridge for "The Web of Fear", "a rather straight-laced, up-and-down bloke when he was first conceived," and director Douglas Camfield offered the role to actor David Langton. Langton "politely declined" the role and it was offered instead to Courtney, already cast in the production as the ill-fated Captain Knight. "One way or another I did a bit of thinking," Camfield explained, "Could we make the Colonel more interesting, younger and more dashing? Someone like 'Mad Mitch' of the Argyles [sic] who was making headlines out in Aden. Perhaps he could be one of those Anglicised Scottish aristocrats found in the Highland regiments?" The character of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart was born.
  • Langton, the actor who was originally offered the part, was seventeen years older than Courtney. Producer Peter Bryant felt that the clean-shaven Courtney, who was thirty-eight years old at the time he first played the role, looked too young to be a brigadier. With the intention of making him look more mature in the role, Courtney wore a false moustache when playing Lethbridge-Stewart. This was because the character was thought to need a moustache that was clipped and military in appearance, but Courtney's own attempt to grow one was deemed unsuitable.
  • In "The Web of Fear", Lethbridge-Stewart is seen to wear a glengarry (a cap typically worn by Scottish regiments) with the cap badge of a thistle, which is not the symbol of any British Army formation in the real world. Beginning in "The Invasion", Lethbridge-Stewart's uniform displays several military and chivalric awards. These include the Order of St Michael and St George, the Order of the British Empire (Military Division), the Distinguished Service Order, the General Service Medal (1962) and the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal. Foreign awards include the medal of a Legionnaire of the Legion of Merit, the medal of a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour and the Canadian Forces Decoration. The mess uniform worn in "The Dæmons" (which bears the badge of the Coldstream Guards) displays only six awards, none of which are seen on the regular uniform. In "Mawdryn Undead", the Lethbridge-Stewart of 1977 wears the tie and blazer of the Brigade of Guards (which is the unit to which the Coldstream Guards belonged), with an accompanying patch bearing the formation's motto. In "Battlefield", Lethbridge-Stewart's uniform displays ten awards. These include the Order of St Michael and St George, the Order of the British Empire (Military Division), the General Service Medal (1918), the General Service Medal (1962), the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal. Foreign awards include the Legion of Merit and the medal of a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
  • Between "The Invasion" and "Terror of the Zygons", Lethbridge-Stewart regularly uses a Browning Hi-Power as a sidearm. In "Battlefield", a retired Lethbridge-Stewart is armed with a Webley Mk IV Revolver, which he is established to have retained from his service days. Lethbridge-Stewart was previously depicted as carrying a revolver in "The Ambassadors of Death".
  • Between "The Invasion" and "Robot", Lethbridge-Stewart's service dress uniform bears a 2nd class (or board) crimson aiguilette on his right shoulder, typically worn by military members of the Defence Board and the Army Board and the personal staff of governors. The next appearance of Lethbridge-Stewart in service dress, in "Battlefield, does not feature the decoration.