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Captain Mike Yates is a fictional character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, played by Richard Franklin. He was adjutant of the British contingent of UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, later retitled: UNified Intelligence Taskforce for the new series), an international organisation that defends the Earth from alien threats.
Yates first appeared in the Third Doctor serial Terror of the Autons, the latest in a line of Captains assisting Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, although the Doctor implies that he was around for previous stories. He proved more durable than his predecessors, appearing semi-regularly in the programme from 1971 to 1974 alongside the Brigadier and Sergeant Benton. Together with the Doctor and his companions, Yates fought off alien invasions, the machinations of the renegade Time Lord known as the Master, rogue computers and mutated maggots.
Yates was a fairly nondescript character, typical of the British Army officer class,[according to whom?] and little is known of him outside of his time with UNIT. He was cool under fire, efficient, and both gave and carried out his orders with a minimum of fuss. He appeared to have a relatively good rapport with his men, although he did remind Benton on occasion that "rank hath its privileges". He was attracted to the Third Doctor's assistant Jo Grant and Jo was dressed up to go on a date with Mike at the start of The Curse of Peladon only to be taken on a trip in the TARDIS by the Doctor.
Yates's fall from grace started when he was brainwashed by the artificial intelligence BOSS in the 1973 serial The Green Death. The brush with ecological disaster apparently made Yates very concerned about the future of the planet, and he was easily recruited by Sir Charles Grover into a conspiracy to reverse time and return Earth to a "golden age" (Invasion of the Dinosaurs). The conspiracy was thwarted by the Doctor, and in return for his past service to UNIT, the Brigadier allowed Yates to take medical leave and then quietly resign (actor Richard Franklin believes the initial plan for this story was to kill off Yates).
Trying to recover, Yates attended a meditation centre but uncovered strange goings-on, which he reported to Sarah Jane Smith, since he felt that UNIT would find him untrustworthy. Sarah communicated this back to the Doctor, leading into the rest of the events of the Third Doctor's last serial, Planet of the Spiders.
As one of the more prominent recurring supporting characters in the television series, Yates is often listed as a companion of the Doctor and indeed is listed as such on the official BBC Doctor Who website. However, he is not always listed as such - John Nathan-Turner's book Doctor Who: The Companions, for instance, excludes Yates.
Notes for Mike Yates