Reeltime Pictures

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Reeltime Pictures is a British multimedia film and video production company founded in 1984 by Keith Barnfather. It is known for its many documentaries about the long-running television series Doctor Who (Barnfather was a founding member of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society) and in particular for The Myth Makers, a series of interviews with people associated with the making of the series. Many of these programs were hosted by actor Nicholas Briggs, who would later provide the voice of the Daleks in the 2005 series of Doctor Who.

Reeltime Pictures also pioneered a technique of creating direct-to-video Doctor Who spin-offs, despite the BBC's close guarding of the series, by building the spin-offs around incidental characters and monsters licensed directly from the writers who created them. Their first effort, 1987's Wartime, was a small-scale piece built around Sergeant Benton of UNIT, a recurring character from the 1970s. In 1987, Reeltime produced Myth Runner, a parody of Blade Runner written and directed by and starring Briggs and featuring outtakes from the Myth Makers video series.

Later and more ambitious productions include Mindgame, Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans, Downtime, and Dæmos Rising. Ironically, despite their non-BBC-licensed status, novelisations of both Shakedown and Downtime were released as part of the BBC licensed Virgin New Adventures and Virgin Missing Adventures Doctor Who spin-off novels. The narrative of "Shakedown" was expanded to incorporate the Doctor, a character missing from the video version for copyright reasons, with the narrative of the original production forming the middle third of the novel.

The success of these ventures opened the door for later releases by BBV and Big Finish Productions with storylines featuring characters and races from Doctor Who, but not necessarily the Doctor himself (although BBV would produce two series featuring Doctor-like characters portrayed by Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, while Big Finish would also obtain a license that allowed them to feature the Doctor).

Video Dramas[edit]

  • Wartime (1988) - This was the first ever independent spin-off production from Doctor Who, and the only one released while the series was still broadcasting. The storyline features UNIT soldier John Benton finding himself trapped in an alternate reality.
  • Mindgame (1998) - A Sontaran, a Draconian and a Human are trapped together by an unknown enemy. Sophie Aldred, who had played Ace in Doctor Who, stars alongside the villainous Sontarans and Draconians.
  • Mindgame: Trilogy (1999) - Following up from Mindgame with 3 separate shorts showing what happened to the characters after their escape.
  • Dæmos Rising (2004) - The only Reeltime Pictures independent drama to be released on DVD first. The story features Doctor Who monsters The Daemons and was written by David J. Howe, previously known for writing many successful nonfiction Doctor Who books, and for publishing Doctor Who fiction under the Telos Publishing imprint.

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