Captain Yates as in The Green Death
2 January 1971-8 June 1974
Terror of the Autons (regular)
Planet of the Spiders (regular)
Dimensions in Time (guest)
Number of Series:
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source TARDIS Wikia
Captain Michael Alexander Raymond “Mike” Yates (The Devil Goblins from Neptune) worked alongside Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sgt Benton and the Third Doctor in UNIT. Years later, he also had a series of adventures with the Fourth Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey.
Yates had family links to Aberdeen on his mother’s side. He gained a knowledge of northeast Scotland due to spending much of his childhood there. (Vengeance of the Stones)
In his childhood, Yates attended prep school before being sent to public school and joining the British Army. (The Rings of Ikiria)
Yates had three brothers, and his mother thought he was the most sensitive. (Deep Blue) Yates also had a sister. (Starfall)
Yates spent two years posted at Fort George in Inverness. (Vengeance of the Stones)
Two conflicting accounts exist depicting Yates’s early UNIT career; in one account, he began as an enlisted man in UNIT, while a second account shows him being recruited from the RAF.
Yates first met the Third Doctor when he had just come off of “clean-up duty”. He also came to see UNIT as cash-strapped. The Brigadier took Yates into his confidence and admitted neither the UN nor the UK government would give UNIT enough money for additional officers. He was forced to ask that Yates and Benton shoulder more responsibility than would typically be required of non-commissioned officers. He was subsequently chosen to follow The Doctor and Liz Shaw through a time bridge that The Doctor had accidentally created back to Salutua in 1934, where he became acquainted with Amelia Grover. He was deeply affected by her final transformation into an angelic being, but he accepted The Doctor’s observation that Amelia could be trusted with her new power. (The Eye of the Giant)
After his adventure in the Pacific Islands, Sergeant Yates was part of a group that went to Smallmarshes in Kent, which was The Doctor’s last known location, and also where a Silurian had reportedly been seen. When The Doctor returned to Smallmarshes, The Doctor, the missing boy Marc Marshall, and the Silurian hybrid Tahni were taken aboard a stealth plane. Yates knocked out the C19 lookout guard and quickly changed into his clothes, infiltrating the craft as it flew to the C19 Vault in Northumberland. Yates helped The Doctor escape the Pale Man, and after Yates had the craft’s hangar opened, UNIT troops led by the Brigadier entered the Vault, stopping the rogue C19 group’s plans to take over the world. The Doctor and Yates freed Tahni, but were unable to save Marc. Yates was promoted to a captain afterwards; Benton feeling that Yates was better suited to the more political aspects of being a captain than he was despite Benton’s longer career with UNIT. (The Scales of Injustice)
Yates first encountered The Doctor in his eighth incarnation, as well as Charley Pollard, when he was a local military lieutenant serving at an RAF base in Scotland, where they were trying to get rid of a time roach. (Foreshadowing)
Soon after that, he was temporarily enlisted by the Brigadier to help him and the Third Doctor investigate the disappearance of an RAF fighter jet in the area. The Doctor and Yates found the missing pilot, Frank Parry, heading for the Easter Aquhorthies stone circle near Inverurie. Parry died from an electrical discharge when he pressed his palms against the recumbent stone. Later, the Brigadier ordered Yates to place a security cordon around the circle. A group of the last surviving Armidians rescued Yates from being atomised from an energy packet that was launched from the circle and took him to a derelict house on a cliff near Portsoy that was surrounded by a perception barrier for questioning on humanity’s weapons capabilities. The Doctor tried negotiating with the Armidians, telling them that their planet Tharos no longer existed, but Yates broke free and Benton opened fire on them as they escaped. With the Armidians still in the local area, the Brigadier ordered the Tharon stone the Armidians used to draw power from igneous rock to be destroyed. Yates led one of three groups to find the stone circles the Armidians had teleported to. Under The Doctor’s orders, Yates’s group earthed the Tharon stone at the Easter Aquhorthies with the nearby wire fencing, rendering it powerless. Afterwards, the Brigadier invited Yates to join UNIT full-time, which came with a promotion to captain. (Vengeance of the Stones)
Yates would spend most of his first year with UNIT searching for Silurian nests with Sergeant Benton. (Call to Arms)
ASSISTING THE DOCTOR
He travelled with The Doctor to Sark to investigate some crop circles. When the Ikiria arrived he was one of the people not possessed by her, due to the Rings she gave them. He was determined to find where The Doctor had gone. (The Rings of Ikiria)
During The Doctor’s early exile on Earth, Yates was tasked with combing the British countryside for signs of Auton and Silurian debris. The Brigadier assigned him to headquarters duty around the time of the investigation in the South Pacific that led UNIT into an encounter with Brokk. (The Eye of the Giant)
Yates took charge with escorting the Thunderbolt missile to be dumped at the bottom of the ocean. He was wounded when the convoy was attacked by escaped prisoners from Stangmoor Prison who stole the Thunderbolt. He followed the stolen convoy to a hangar at an abandoned air field, where he got captured. After escaping, he informed UNIT of the Thunderbolt’s location, and evacuated the area around the Thunderbolt. (The Mind of Evil)
When The Doctor was recovering from being frozen at the Devil’s Hump, Jo asked Benton and Yates to come to Devil’s End. They came in the Brigadier’s helicopter as soon as it was light outside. Yates took Jo back to The Cloven Hoof pub to recover from her injuries when she fell out of Bessie. When The Master and his Sabbat took Jo to be sacrificed inside the church’s cavern, the Sabbat tied up Yates, but he escaped and warned The Doctor. When The Doctor entered the church, Benton and Yates were joined by UNIT reinforcements to get past Bok to save The Doctor and Jo, but to no effect. Bok was made immobile when Jo’s attempt to save The Doctor in an act of self-sacrifice caused Azal’s powers to turn against him. (The Dæmons)
Yates once investigated strange weather phenomenons across the country, one of these included the freezing of Hyde Park which killed people in the middle of June. Jo believed that Diamond Jack had something to do with the killings. (The Magician’s Oath)
He accompanied The Doctor and Jo to the planet Karfel. On the way, they stopped on the planet Nooma. He was killed and resurrected as one of the Dead. The Doctor was able to restore him to his original body before they left. (Speed of Flight)
A photograph existed in UNIT’s Black Archive showing Yates next to Sara Kingdom, indicating a meeting between the two at some point during Yates’ UNIT career. (The Day of the Doctor)
The chain of events leading to Yates’s retirement from UNIT started when, while working undercover at Global Chemicals, he was hypnotised by the computer BOSS. Mike was given a command to kill The Doctor, and pointed a gun at him inside the Nuthutch. Lethbridge-Stewart entered the room as Mike prepared to shoot, but Mike hesitantly ordered him to stay back, still trying on some level to avoid murder. Having ventured to Metebelis III, The Doctor used the Metebelis crystal he obtained there to break the mind control. Mike’s mind locked on to the crystalline patterns and it wiped clean the conditioning placed on his neural pathways, but the resulting nervous pain from erasing the control rendered him unconscious. After being forced to turn a weapon on a friend and colleague, Yates was devastated. The terrible event had a lasting impact on Mike’s resolve as a captain and a human being. (The Green Death)
After this incident, Mike went on leave. (Council of War) As a result of the hypnotism, he began suffering from bouts of depression, prompting him to undergo a course of pathological assessment and take some compassionate leave. After returning to duty, he helped the Fifth Doctor defeat the Xaranti. (Deep Blue)
Yates’s brush with ecological disaster apparently made him very concerned about the future of the planet. He was easily recruited by Sir Charles Grover into the secret Operation Golden Age project, which would have reverted the whole of Earth to prehistoric times. The conspiracy was thwarted by The Doctor. In return for his past service to UNIT, the Brigadier allowed Yates to take medical leave and quietly resign. (Invasion of the Dinosaurs)
Mike later decided to go to a Buddhist mation centre to find solace. Here, he uncovered strange events, which he reported to Sarah Jane Smith, since he felt that UNIT would consider him untrustworthy. Sarah communicated this to The Doctor. Through it all, The Doctor still considered him an ally. (Planet of the Spiders)
He briefly met the Fourth Doctor at the Brigadier’s Christmas party. (The Stuff of Nightmares)
In 1976, he helped the Seventh Doctor defeat the Vardans while acting undercover in the terrorist organisation Black Star. However, Yates noted that he would resign from UNIT once this crisis was over, as he had come to sympathise with Black Star’s motives regarding their anger at government manipulation even if he disagreed with their methods. He and Kevin Doyle decided to start up a co-operative food shop, a booksellers with a printing press. (No Future)
In 2009, Mike Yates was running an ecology project in San Francisco with Brendan Richards. He was invited to Sarah Jane Smith’s aborted wedding with Peter Dalton, but couldn’t make it in time. (The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith)
REUNITING WITH THE DOCTOR
HUNT FOR THE HORNETS
At some point after his retirement from UNIT, Yates answered a magazine advertisement seemingly directed specifically at him about “light household duties” leading him to a house called Nest Cottage in the village of Hexford. There he reunited with the Fourth Doctor, who told him about his encounters with the alien Hornets. He listened to stories that The Doctor recited about how he faced the menacing insects. (The Stuff of Nightmares)
The Doctor used Francesca’s ballet shoes and his TARDIS’s dimensional stabiliser to shrink himself, Mike Yates and Mrs Wibbsey, to enter the hive of the Hornets. During the expion into the hive of the Hornets, Mike became paranoid and suspicious of Mrs Wibbsey, leading him to handcuff her, and direct her to the centre of the hive. This resulted in a confrontation with the Hornet Queen. It was during this confrontation that the Hornet Queen revealed she had taken possession of Mike, feeding off the negative emotions he felt in his life as a result of his breakdown and his betrayal of UNIT during the Golden Age incident and using them as a means of taking control of his mind.
It was this revelation that The Doctor realised that it must have been the control of the Hornets that forced him to put that advertisement in the magazine, using what knowledge she had taken from The Doctor’s mind. So she could draw Mike to Nest Cottage, believing him perfect to take control, since he had so many negative experiences as a result of his time with UNIT. The Doctor used the Hornet Queen’s desire for the Hornet’s royal jelly against her by filling Francesca’s ballet shoe with royal jelly, and the Queen overcome with the desire for the jelly, drank it out of the shoe. Then, using the residual energy of the Hornets in the shoe, and the sonic screwdriver’s connection to the dimensional stabiliser to shrink the Hornet Queen so small she could only exist in the micro-universe. This weakened the Hornets and gave The Doctor the opportunity to escape, so he could increase their size again. This allowed The Doctor to reactivate the dimensional stabiliser and put a force shield around the hive to contain all the Hornets in the stuffed zebra and sending them to the other side of the universe. This gave the occupants of Nest Cottage the chance to celebrate Christmas, the following day. (Hive of Horror)
TRAPS FOR THE DOCTOR
One year following the battle with the Hornets, The Doctor returned to Nest Cottage to celebrate Christmas with Mrs Wibbsey, Mike Yates and Captain (whom The Doctor gave to Mike to look after once the Hornets had been defeated). (The Relics of Time)
While he stayed in Nest Cottage, someone stole The Doctor’s spatial geometer, leaving behind a bag with five objects as clues. The first one, a storybook with images of the Doctor and Mike in it — drew them to a cave in eastern Europe, where they met a story teller, Albert Tiermann on his way to tell his stories to the king. But the materialisation of his TARDIS caused a blockage in the road on his route to the king. They were all forced to remain in a near by hotel owned by Frau Herz until the morning. Albert had discovered The Doctor’s copy of Albert’s storybook, containing stories he hadn’t written yet. Since he was suffering from mental block, and had to tell a new story to the king on pain of death, he had a desire to obtain the book. That night, an Ice Queen whom Albert had previously met in his childhood visited him, and further persuaded him to take the storybook.
The following morning, Albert’s coachman had been killed, and in an attempt to take Frau Herz hostage, the Ice Queen killed Hans, Albert’s footman. The Doctor pursued the Ice Queen to a cave nearby, full of dead husks drained of their life force, where Albert revealed that all his stories were created for him by the Ice Queen, in her elaborate plan to lure The Doctor here. The Ice Queen returned to the hotel, and threatened to kill Mike. It was now revealed that the hotel was really the dematerialisation chamber, and was in disguise for 40 years, unbeknownst to Frau, all for this moment. Direct threats from the Ice Queen to Mike did not hold The Doctor, so he tricked the Ice Queen into believing he was going to accompany her, allowing Mike, Albert and Frau to escape. Then, at the last minute, The Doctor escaped, leaving the Ice Queen empty-handed. But Mike had discovered more of the spatial geometer in the draws of the hotel.
The Doctor deposited Albert and Frau near the king’s palace, and allowed Albert to keep the storybook, and use it to write his stories in the future. (A Shard of Ice)
The Doctor ran into a trap in New York City in 1976. A meteorite landed in Central Park and bestowed super-powers to local resident Alice Trefusis. The Doctor investigated the comic book cover showing the event. When The Doctor, Mike and Mrs Wibbsey arrived, Alice was with Buddy, her boyfriend. As soon as The Doctor arrived, he felt weak and drained of energy. Mrs Wibbsey and Buddy had taken a now unconscious Alice to the ageing film star Mimsy Loyne’s apartment. Alice began to use her superpowers to combat crime and stop accidents, using the alias “Starfall.”
While this was going on, Mike and The Doctor came upon a dead body drained of energy, similar to the dead bodies from previous time zones. It was at the scene, where police arrested The Doctor and Mike, believing them to be involved in the death. However, while in prison, Alice rescued The Doctor and Mike, taking them to Mimsy’s apartment. Buddy and Mrs Wibbsey then found a cult working in the apartment block, chanting around the final piece of the spatial geometer. This was used to create a telepath debilitator to confuse The Doctor, causing his weakness. Mimsy captured The Doctor, but was foiled when Alice broke up the chanting cultists necessary for the debilitator. During the confrontation with Mimsy, The Doctor took the remaining spatial geometer component. In frustration, Mimsy kidnapped Mrs Wibbsey, outright. The Doctor informed Alice that her powers would fade, but Buddy still had inspiration for his new comic book story. (Starfall)
Following the last item — a golden heart pendant — The Doctor and Mike went straight to Sepulchre, which took the form of a stately home, where they found Mrs Wibbsey, who had been there for three weeks and seemed to be possessed by some intelligence. The Doctor brought the telephone from Nest Cottage, and listened to a voicemail left by Ernetina Stott, regarding the burning down of the Cromer Palace of Curios museum. While they were exploring, The Doctor, Mike and Mrs Wibbsey found that their host, the Demon, no longer needing any disguises, sprang the trap on The Doctor, and transported them all to a dark cavern, using a mysterious green flame. He revealed he was actually working for Mrs Wibbsey, or rather, the Hornets that had regenerated inside of her, who had been present within her since their last encounter with them.
The Demon locked The Doctor in a sarcophagus, and started the process to extract all of knowledge of space and time from The Doctor’s mind, using it to create the Atlas of All Time for the Hornets so that they could use it to locate their Hornet Queen. A quick turnabout by Mike set Mrs Wibbsey in the sarcophagus instead, and the Atlas was reshaped only to contain Mrs Wibbsey’s knowledge of time. The Doctor convinced the Demon to cooperate with him, and they reconfigured the sarcophagus’ functions to transport anyone in it to anywhere in the Atlas.
Therefore, using what little remained of the Atlas, The Doctor transported the sarcophagus and the Hornets to the Cromer Palace of Curios, where it caused the museum to burn down with a green flame, quickly destroying the Hornets. However, The Doctor was able to rescue Mrs Wibbsey, but with the loss of the Hornet, it caused the destruction of the Atlas and Sepulchre. The Doctor, Mike, and Mrs Wibbsey escaped in one direction, using the TARDIS to go to Nest Cottage, and the Demon escaped in another direction, free to roam the universe.
While The Doctor, Mike and Mrs Wibbsey tried to celebrate a second Christmas at Nest Cottage, robots from the Robotov Empire forced their way into the cottage, knocking out Mike and capturing The Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey. Mike spent some time in the hospital recovering from his blow. (Sepulchre)
INVASION OF HEXFORD
Nine months after the encounter with the Robotovs, UNIT began picking up strange readings above the skies of Hexford Village. Shortly after this, a Skishtari-created clone of the Second Doctor posing as the real one showed up and warned UNIT about an impending alien invasion. Mike Yates was temporarily brought out of retirement to act as The Doctor’s handler as he and two other UNIT soldiers made their way to Hexford to warn the villagers and prepare for the impending invasion.
Although the villagers laughed at the warnings of UNIT and the fake Doctor, the villagers and Mike seemed to warm up to clone. Mrs. Wibbsey, however, was suspicious of the cloned Doctor’s behaviour. After a few weeks, the Fourth Doctor eventually turned up in Hexford along with a Skishtari spacecraft. Although the real Doctor was also suspicious about his supposed younger self’s activities, Mike still trusted the clone Doctor even as he covertly helped the Skishtari in their attempt to recover their lost gene egg, resulting in the whole of Hexford being teleported to the Rebel Moon via a Skishtari wormhole. (The Hexford Invasion)
Mike, The Doctor clone, and the rest of the population of Hexford remained trapped on Rebel Moon behind the force field created by The Doctor clone for three months. During this time, Mike became a figure of authority for the displaced village and formed a friendship with The Doctor clone, completely unaware of his attempts to contact the Skishtari and his search for their gene egg.
The real Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey eventually arrived in Hexford, followed shortly after by Robotov soldiers in search of the Skishtari gene egg. Soon the Skishtari themselves revealed themselves, at which point The Doctor clone showed his true colours and stole the egg from The Doctor’s TARDIS to deliver to the Skishtari. The Skishtari egg ultimately hatched, with the serpent god that is born from it prepared to devour all of Hexford. This disaster was averted, however, as Tsar Alex of the Robotov Empire, was able to exercise control over the serpent god and turn it against its creators. Using the Skishtari spaceship to pull Hexford Village through the wormhole and back to Earth, The Doctor had Mike prepare the villagers for the journey as he successfully returned the village to its place of origin. Leaving Mrs. Wibbsey behind, The Doctor left Hexford Village for good. (Survivors in Space)
After the events in Hexford Village, Yates rejoined UNIT on a permanent basis, regaining his rank of Captain. He was sent on a mission to recruit Charlie Sato and Ruth Matheson for a mission to enter the Vault. Inside the Vault they found that Rees had animated the corpses of several aliens, as well as controlled the minds of previous UNIT soldiers who had been sent into the Vault. Rees escaped the Vault and Yates, Matheson and Sato pursued him. After realising that Rees had escaped their clutches, Yates sent word to Geneva for UNIT to call in The Doctor to help. (The Screaming Skull)
Choosing to retire, Yates moved to Hexford. (The Winged Coven) By 2010, he lived with a man named Tom, with whom he made honey. (Happy Endings)
Yates and his other retired soldiers attended a reunion at John Benton’s pub, the White Hart. A Silurian nest became active during his time there, and Yates met up with UNIT to help them deal with the crisis. He then became trapped in the Pub when the Silurian’s came after him. (Call to Arms) Kate Stewart appointed Yates, Benton and Jo Jones in command of UNIT forces during their invasion of the United Kingdom. Following the attack, he vowed to aide UNIT whenever they required his help. Kate passed local control of UNIT in the UK to Mike, Benton and Jo due to their experience with Silurians and Sea Devils before, whilst she couldn’t get back to base. He launched the Bird Flu protocol to stop the potential of the UK population being attacked by Silurian Plagues. With Josh Carter’s help he devised a plan to stop the Silurians. He went with Carter to face Jastrok at Westminster Abbey, to find out what he wanted. After the defeat, he told Kate that he knew UNIT was in safe hands. (United)
Yates was cool under fire, efficient, and both gave and carried out orders with a minimum of fuss. Despite his somewhat aristocratic demeanour, he had a good rapport with his men, although he did remind Benton on occasion that “rank has its privileges”. (Day of the Daleks) He was attracted to The Doctor’s assistant Jo Grant. (The Curse of Peladon)
Though as a young man he presented himself as straight and very “laddish”, (The Devil Goblins from Neptune) he later realised his attraction to men. By 1976 he had entered into a relationship with another man. (No Future)
By 2010, Yates had long hair and a bald spot which he hid under a fedora. (Happy Endings)
BEHIND THE SCENES
* Richard Franklin wrote a play featuring Franklin both as himself and as Yates (alongside Benton) called Recall UNIT: The Great Tea-Bag Mystery. He also wrote an unpublished novel featuring Mike Yates, The Killing Stone, set after the events of Planet of the Spiders. It was released as an audio book, read by Franklin, by BBV in 2002. It is unknown if the characters used were licensed by the BBC.
* More recently, a “guest book” entry on the tie-in website whoisdoctorwho.co.uk created by the BBC for the 2005 series saying how The Doctor changed his life (not necessarily for the better) is signed by a “Mr Yates”, a possible reference to the character. In it, he warns off those investigating him, stating, “I think it might be in your best interest to not concern yourself with The Doctor or his doings. He is not the man you think he is and he is not involved in the manner you think he is. I should know, he changed my life completely. The Doctor is protected by friends in high places.”
* His romantic life was barely explored in the TV series, but it was assumed he was straight. Part one of the Curse of Peladon implied that he was about to go on a date with Jo Grant before The Doctor took her to Peladon. And other dates were mentioned in Big Finish’s Companion Chronicles, and the first Issue of Titan Comics Third Doctor comic series
* In The Dæmons, he jokingly asks the Brigadier if he “fanc[ies] a dance.” This comment, and the Brig’s response, are a humorous rejoinder to the fact that, after the white witch had lassoed Benton for a dance, and Jo had dragged The Doctor off for a dance, there were no women left for either Yates or the Brig to dance with. Instead, the two went off to the pub for a pint. According to Richard Franklin, directly after shooting the scene Nicholas Courtney commented that Yates was clearly gay and the Brigadier was clearly an alcoholic.
* Franklin reprised the role of Yates for a series of five BBC Audio dramas under the umbrella title Hornets’ Nest which were released during the second half of 2009, alongside Tom Baker. He continued this performance in the two sequel series Demon Quest (2010) and Serpent Crest (2011).
* Mike Yates appeared once more on TV in Dimensions in Time, a story not covered as part of the Doctor Who universe for the purposes of this website.
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