The latest Short Trip, a satire on celebrity culture, features the popular line-up of the Fourth Doctor, Sarah and Harry.
Created in anticipation of the casting of an older Doctor, Harry Sullivan was UNIT’s Medical Officer. A good, old fashioned British gent, he was often the butt of the Doctor’s jokes, and occasional ire, and remained a stalwart companion throughout Tom Baker’s first season.
Eddie Robson’s story is one which could not have existed in 1975, transplanting today’s social media obsessions into a futuristic setting. Approaching an exclusive resort planet, the TARDIS becomes ensnared in a powerful trap that even the Doctor cannot overcome. Aboard a ship full of journalists, and without sufficient media profile, Sarah realises they must fashion Harry into a celebrity to save the day.
The tale celebrates Sarah’s adaptability; though technology has changed, her journalistic know-how remains just as relevant. Unfortunately, it is not so kind to Harry despite his new-found fame. We had hoped that his medical skills might play into the resolution, but he simply bumbled through instead. While amusing, Harry felt underused and rather generic.
As both companion actors are sadly no longer with us, the talented Louise Jameson narrates. An engaging storyteller, she makes no attempt to impersonate the famous trio but carries the story with an engaging pace. However, due to what might be a lack of familiarity with the character, Harry felt incorrectly pitched to us; here he is more of an everyman than a Naval officer.
Despite the catchy title and fun concept, we found this a rather inconsequential affair which lacked a final layer of satisfying conclusion. Also, though Mark Plastow’s rendition of Ian Marter as Harry is glorious, the cover star felt curiously underserved by the story within.
‘#HarrySullivan’ is available on download from BigFinish.com