Harry Sullivan is an oft overlooked companion of the Fourth Doctor. Despite appearing in seven of Tom Baker’s first nine stories as the iconic Time Lord, his character has rarely been featured by Big Finish. With this particular Short Trip, #HarrySullivan, the balance has been redressed.
August 2019 is the month of Harry Sullivan. Firstly, fans can now purchase a Harry Sullivan action figure for the first time ever. It also times nicely with those fans still enjoying their Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 12 boxset. Now Big Finish have created a story which attempts to get him trending on social media. #HarrySullivan is an odd choice of title but it’ll all make sense on listening to this short trip.
This story slots neatly into the gap at the end of Season 12 before ‘Terror of the Zygons‘ and fits that era of Doctor Who perfectly. The Doctor remains less than impressed with Harry, no doubt still considering him to be an imbecile. However, Harry is crucial to saving the lives of a freighter full of people. All they have to do is make him a celebrity.
It makes for an intriguing setup and cleverly analyses the way in which news stories can be manipulated. The climate of ‘fake news’ and how we engage with media is an obvious area for Big Finish to explore. However, it is a theme which is approached within the context of a logical science-fiction yarn. Although it seems very simple there is a neat little twist at the end which further exposes people’s attitudes to being a celebrity. No doubt having your every move chronicled by trailing journalists and photographers does become wearing after a while.
Read by Louise Jameson
Louise Jameson makes for a great narrator. She doesn’t attempt impressions of the characters but varies her vocals to correspond with each individual very well. As a result, this particular story flies by in seemingly no time whatsoever. This is a great little story written by Eddie Robson. Smart, insightful and thrillingly lets a companion so easily dismissed become the hero. Once he has discovered the peril and how it can be reversed the Fourth Doctor is largely powerless. Everything is down to #HarrySullivan.
Although Ian Marter is sadly no longer with us, it is lovely that his work in Doctor Who is receiving more attention. With this short trip Harry Sullivan not only becomes a celebrity but also gets to save the day. Maybe he isn’t as much of an imbecile after all?