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Beyond Doctor Who: Harry Sullivan’s War to be Turned Into an Audiobook This Christmas

Harry Sullivan’s War, a Target book by Ian Marter which tells the story of the former companion’s adventures after his travels with the Doctor, is to be adapted for release as an audiobook later this year.

The book, first published in 1986, was part of a short-lived series of Doctor Who spin-offs under the banner The Companions of Doctor Who. Writing in the Doctor Who Magazine Target Books Special Edition (2019), Steve Lyons tells us that the range was prompted by the dwindling number of television stories still to be novelised by the mid-1980s, to the point where range editor Nigel Robinson explored original fiction based on the series.

The first two original novels to hit the shelves were Tony Attwood’s Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma in May 1986, which picked up on Turlough’s story after Planet of Fire, and Marter’s take on the character he had played on screen alongside Tom Baker’s Doctor, which followed in September, shortly before Marter’s death.

The book is a spy thriller, set on Earth and devoid of any sci-fi trappings, which sees Harry become tangled up in a conspiracy involving the unusually titled EARACHES (European Anarchist Revolution Anti-Chemical Hazard Environment Society, to give it its full name). The Brigadier and Sarah Jane Smith both make cameo appearances in a tale which climaxes at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Marter had wanted to kill Harry off but was persuaded not to by the publisher.

The book had its admirers but did not lead to a sequel, with the companions range quietly dropped after publication of an adaptation of K9 and Company by Terence Dudley in 1987. Further instalments had been considered, including stories involving Tegan, potentially written by Janet Fielding, and Victoria, which Victor Pemberton would have tackled.

A successful range of original novels based on Doctor Who would have to wait until the series itself was off the air with the advent of Virgin’s New Adventures, but Robinson was surely ahead of his time in commissioning the companions books. One only has to consider the plethora of Big Finish audio spin-offs featuring characters from the series to see that it was an idea with legs.

Doctor Who: Harry Sullivan’s War: Beyond the Doctor, to give the BBC audio its full title, is available to pre-order from Amazon with a release date of 5th December 2024 (though that could be subject to change). Christopher Naylor, who has played Harry on audio for Big Finish, will be the narrator, as confirmed by DWM (and check out his Twitter profile pic!).

Jonathan Appleton

A regular Doctor Who viewer since Pertwee fought maggots and spiders, Jonathan isn't about to stop now. He considers himself lucky to have grown up in an era when Doctor Who, Star Trek and Blakes 7 could all be seen on primetime BBC1. As well as writing regularly for The Doctor Who Companion he's had chapters included in a couple of Blakes 7 books.

Beyond Doctor Who: Harry Sullivan’s War to be Turned Into an Audiobook This Christmas

by Jonathan Appleton time to read: 2 min
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