So, more supremely fanw*nky thoughts on UNIT dating, pulled together in the course of writing this Brig fic
I’ve got on the go.
As at least one commenter on the previous post, and various people over the years, including the likes of Ben Aaronovitch, have astutely observed, if they hadn’t stuffed it up royally in explicitly setting Mawdryn Undead
in 1977/1983 and stating that the Brigadier left UNIT in 1976, then there wouldn’t be a UNIT dating controversy at all. We could just take the comments in The Web of Fear
at face value and assume that the main UNIT stories all took place in the then-futuristic mid-late 1970s, running into the even more then-futuristic early 80s, when the cars, clothes, money, hairstyles and social attitudes just happened
to resemble those of a decade or so earlier.
On that basis, we could simply say, as the new series has at numerous points, that “time can be rewritten” and that Mawdryn Undead
all took place in some weird parallel reality, possibly deliberately created by the Black Guardian to trap the Doctor. Except that on the one hand that seems like a slippery sort of solution to the issue, and on the other you’d expect the Doctor himself to notice and comment on something like that if that was indeed what was going on.
Also, where’s the fun in it? ;)( It gets worse! )
tl:dr: On the basis of all of the above evidence, and in the spirit of “the death of the author” and all that jazz, I propose that while it’s impossible to say for certain, the preponderance
of information we do have suggests that The Web of Fear
takes place in either late 1967 or early 1968 at around the time of its real life production and broadcast.
And I went on rather longer than I intended to there. Next time (I know you can’t wait! ;D) we’ll consider The Invasion
and Spearhead from Space
and wade right into the stinking morass that is actual UNIT dating…
Dun dun dun!