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Surgeon-Lieutenant Harold "Harry" Sullivan was a companion of the Fourth Doctor.

He was a Royal Navy surgeon in the employ of UNIT and later worked for NATO and MI5.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Harold Sullivan, who preferred to go by Harry, (PROSE: Millennium Shock) was born in May 1942. (PROSE: Harry Sullivan's War) His great-grandparents were Athena James and Albert Sullivan, a 19th century navy surgeon whom he greatly resembled. (COMIC: Gaze of the Medusa) He was christened in Harrow on the Hill. (PROSE: Harry Sullivan's War)

As a boy, Harry enjoyed reading the adventures of Captain Jack Harkaway in The Ensign magazine (PROSE: Scratchman) and, at Christmas and on birthdays, Harry would visit his step-brother, Will Sullivan, who viewed him as more of an uncle than an older brother. (AUDIO: Buried Secrets) He studied medicine at Dartmouth Naval College, (PROSE: Harry Sullivan's War, PROSE: The Face of the Enemy) where he befriended Teddy Bland, played rugby and rowed with the Dartmouth College Ace Eight, (PROSE: Harry Sullivan's War) and became a Surgeon-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, telling Will stories about his experiences and encouraging him to study medicine as well. (AUDIO: Buried Secrets)

During his first year as a fully commissioned officer, he served on the Ark Royal. (PROSE: The Face of the Enemy) Whilst at Pompey Barracks, he caught his nose in a sliding door. (TV: The Ark in Space) He was posted at Faslane in Scotland and was occasionally visited by Esther, Teddy's sister whom he fancied. It was during his time there that he first encountered UNIT, meeting Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. (PROSE: The Face of the Enemy) He often boxed whilst in the navy. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Giant Robot)

Harry decided to propose to Esther but, before he could do so, he was seconded to UNIT (PROSE: Harry Sullivan's War) to serve as their new Medical Officer. Shortly after joining, the Brigadier summoned him to help see the Third Doctor through during his apparent coma. However, when Sergeant John Benton woke the Doctor up by offering him a cup of coffee, the Brigadier cancelled the call for his assistance. (TV: Planet of the Spiders)

Joining the Doctor[edit | edit source]

Harry was summoned to the laboratory by the Brigadier some weeks after the false alarm to see to the recently regenerated Fourth Doctor. He had him taken to the sick bay and, after being tied up and left in the cupboard by his patient, joined him and the Brigadier in visiting Emmett's Electronics, the scene of one of K1's robberies. He volunteered to infiltrate the Scientific Reform Society and escaped with the help of Sarah Jane Smith after being discovered and tied up.

Following K1's defeat, Harry saw the Doctor and Sarah go to enter the TARDIS and expressed his incredulity, prompting the Doctor to invite him in. (TV: Robot) Despite the Brigadier shouting that the Doctor was forbidden to leave, he quickly dematerialised the ship, taking Harry on his first adventure in time and space. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Giant Robot)

Adventures with the Doctor[edit | edit source]

The Nerva saga[edit | edit source]

Harry, perplexed by Space Station Nerva (TV: The Ark in Space)

Promised a journey to the Moon, Harry fiddled with the helmic regulator, causing the TARDIS to instead arrive on Space Station Nerva. Harry found Sarah after she was put in suspended animation and, in trying to find a resuscitation unit, came across the corpse of a Wirrn, later working with the Doctor to perform a brief autopsy on a Wirrn Queen. Following the Wirrn's defeat, Harry joined the Doctor and Sarah in going to the uninhabited Earth by transmat. (TV: The Ark in Space)

On Earth, Harry found himself separated from his companions, eventually spotting Sarah and Roth as Styre took them prisoner. He attempted to help a man who soon died due to Styre's experiments, looked after Sarah when she passed out from fear and, on the Doctor's instruction, removed the terullian diode bypass transformer from Styre's ship, causing the Sontaran's death. (TV: The Sontaran Experiment)

The trio were intercepted by the Time Lords as they returned to Nerva and were instead transported to Skaro to prevent the creation of the Daleks. Harry and the Doctor were interrogated and scanned by the Kaleds, eventually escaping and rescuing Sarah from the Thal City before returning to stop Davros, to which end Harry dressed as a guard in an attempt to stop Nyder. Upon reclaiming the Time Ring given to them, they departed (TV: Genesis of the Daleks) and were scattered across the Adelphine Cluster due to temporal disruption.

Alone on Jand, Harry utilised his medical skills to save lives during a battle. He was reunited with Sarah after leaving the planet aboard the Oranos and went on to find the Doctor, whose amnesia Harry inadvertently resolved by mentioning the TARDIS. The three were given a new Time Ring (PROSE: A Device of Death) which took them to the Desolii. There, Harry was believed to be a patient and was tortured by robot psychiatrists, making him wonder if he wanted to continue travelling with the Doctor. (PROSE: The Last Thing You Ever See)

Harry examines the dying Warner. (TV: Revenge of the Cybermen)

According to one account, the travellers arrived on Nerva centuries before they left and had to wait for the TARDIS to drift back to them. In the meantime, Harry transmatted to Voga with Sarah to save her from the Cybermen's virus. (TV: Revenge of the Cybermen) According to another account, the three of them arrived on Nerva later than intended and fought the Cybermen before eventually learning of the TARDIS's location. (AUDIO: Return of the Cybermen)

Further adventures[edit | edit source]

Having received a summons from the Brigadier on the space-time telegraph, the Doctor attempted to pilot the TARDIS to Scotland (TV: Revenge of the Cybermen / AUDIO: Return of the Cybermen) but instead landed in 24th century Prague where Harry performed an autopsy on the body of Professor Hrabal. (PROSE: Nanomorphosis) Further adventures took the travellers to the Zephyr, which Harry was able to save by becoming a celebrity on Deraxis, (AUDIO: #HarrySullivan) and to 2086 Takhail, where Harry began turning into a zombie. (COMIC: Black Destiny)

Harry was accidentally stranded in England in November 1936 when the TARDIS took off without him and met the Eighth Doctor. He helped combat werewolves and defeated Hester Stanton using the Holy Grail before rejoining his Doctor and Sarah in the TARDIS. (PROSE: Wolfsbane) On their way to Scotland, Harry dropped the crystal ball containing the Carrionites, freeing them. They took no notice of Harry and were defeated when the Doctor allowed them to be devoured by the Reapers, after which the TARDIS finally landed in Scotland. (PROSE: Toil and Trouble)

Returning to Earth[edit | edit source]

Returning to Earth, the trio then assisted UNIT in defeating the shape-changing Zygons and their giant, dinosaur-like beast, the Skarasen, in Scotland. After the Zygons' defeat, Harry decided to stay on Earth, choosing to take a train back to London. (TV: Terror of the Zygons)

One of the core reasons he decided to stay, he later told Sarah, was his realization that he had never had the ability to appreciate the places the Doctor took him due to his focus on the instinct of survival. He noted, for instance, that he had no idea how many moons Skaro had, nor any memory of the sky.

The next time Harry had leave from his UNIT work, he returned to the Highlands and explored them again by foot, now having time to appreciate his surroundings, causing his neck to become "sore from looking up." (PROSE: Hello Goodbye)

Sometime after the attempted Zygon invasion, Harry developed a Zygon-killing gas called Z-67 while working on captive Zygons at Porton Down. However, the gas was confiscated by the Doctor. (TV: The Zygon Invasion/The Zygon Inversion)

When the Doctor and Sarah returned to Earth, Harry helped them against the Kraals, who had also created an android duplicate of him. (TV: The Android Invasion)

On one occasion when the Doctor and Sarah left a note that simply said "Gone on holiday", the Brigadier questioned Harry on the letter but he did not know anything as he had recently returned from leave. (PROSE: A New Life)

Harry again meets a future incarnation of the Doctor. (COMIC: Official Secrets)

At some point during his UNIT career, Harry was put in charge of a team and sent to the West Country to investigate a missing UNIT team member and a subsequent series of "monster" sightings. He met up with the Ninth Doctor and his companions, Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness, and together they found the missing man and solved the mystery of the "monsters". (COMIC: Official Secrets)

Resumed travels with the Doctor[edit | edit source]

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According to some sources, Harry did not travel in the TARDIS again by the time the Doctor "quit UNIT," (PROSE: Hello Goodbye, Harry Sullivan's War) while other stories suggested that Harry did travel with the Doctor and Sarah after the Zygon and Android encounters. (PROSE: Scratchman, et al)

Harry rejoined the Doctor and Sarah on their travels after a time. The Doctor was in UNIT HQ working on an Oscillating Reverberator Unit to improve the TARDIS. After being briefly interrupted by Benton, the Doctor convinced Harry and Sarah to join him to test out the gadget, after relieving the former about the worries he had deserting his post at UNIT by telling him it would only take five minutes. They found themselves under attack from a galleon in space. Sarah and Harry were forced to walk the plank of the ship by the captain before being rescued by the Doctor. (PROSE: Avast There!)

Post-UNIT career[edit | edit source]

In the early 1980s, Harry worked at NATO. (TV: Mawdryn Undead, PROSE: Harry Sullivan's War) According to one source, he did not see Sarah again until ten years after he left her and the Doctor in Scotland. (PROSE: Harry Sullivan's War)

By 1997, he was Deputy Director at MI5. At that time, via the agency of time travel, he met up once again with a familiar version of the Doctor, as well as a much younger Sarah Jane Smith, for whom little time had passed. (PROSE: System Shock) He still worked for MI5 in 1999, (PROSE: Millennium Shock) and became Chief of Staff at some point prior to 2015. (PROSE: Damaged Goods)

By 2005, he was back at NATO, having achieved the rank of Commodore. The Brigadier asked him for a favour at the time. (AUDIO: The Wasting)

To commemorate an anniversary date, Sarah Jane had yearly meetings with Harry Sullivan. By 2006, Harry had been missing in action for some time, though Sarah kept coming to the same place they used to meet. She "talked" to him and raised a toast to him wherever he was. (AUDIO: Buried Secrets) Harry was still missing in 2009. (PROSE: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith)

In 2010, Sarah Jane recalled that Harry had worked in developing vaccines that had saved thousands of lives. (TV: Death of the Doctor)

In June 2015, though, Harry was alive and discovered a possible cure for HIV in blood taken from David Daniels. (PROSE: Damaged Goods)

Alternative timelines[edit | edit source]

A parallel Earth version of Harry served on a nuclear submarine in a world taken over by the Silurians after the death of the Third Doctor. He saved the life of the Seventh Doctor's companion Bernice Summerfield. (PROSE: Blood Heat)

Undated events[edit | edit source]

At some point, a photo of Harry existed in UNIT's Black Archive alongside Sergeant Benton and Sarah Jane to record him as a companion of the Doctor. (TV: The Day of the Doctor)

At another point, Harry was abducted by Adam Mitchell as part his plan to get revenge on the Doctor, in collaboration with the Master. He was placed in stasis alongside the Doctors' multiple other companions, before being released by the Doctors first eleven numbered incarnations with the help of Frobisher. (COMIC: The Choice, Endgame)

In the Hellscape[edit | edit source]

A version of Harry appeared in a "hellscape" dream the Eleventh Doctor created while the mind parasite Mr Waites fed off the worst thing Doctor could imagine. In the dream, the Doctor worked with Harry at the Department of Commonality. Harry revealed that the protest at the "square" was much larger than reported and that his sister's boyfriend had proof on his camera. After the Doctor didn't enjoy working at mediation and wanted to return to records, he reported to Mr Waites about the camera, and the peace officers arrested Harry. (COMIC: John Smith and the Common Men)

Personality[edit | edit source]

Harry was rather old-fashioned and stereotypically English in his attitudes. He often employed slightly archaic language, referring to Sarah affectionately as "old girl" or "old thing" — which somewhat annoyed her. (TV: The Sontaran Experiment, PROSE: Doctor Who and the Ark in Space) He was brave, one time saving the Fourth Doctor's life from a land mine on Skaro. (TV: Genesis of the Daleks) He had a "can-do" attitude, adapting well to the many strange situations in which he found himself. He could, however, be quite clumsy and unsubtle. This led the Doctor to declare in a moment of frustration, at the top of his lungs that "Harry Sullivan is an imbecile!", before passing out from the effects of a rockfall on Voga – caused by Harry. (TV: Revenge of the Cybermen) He flirted a bit with Sarah. Despite an outward annoyance at that attitude, once when thinking him dead, Sarah admitted she found it endearing. (PROSE: Wolfsbane)

He was good at cricket, and was able to throw a cricket ball over at least a metre. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Ark in Space)

Harry left the TARDIS considerably early compared to many other companions, such as Sarah Jane. When speaking with Sarah later, he reflected that he had chosen to leave the ship after realizing the Doctor had taken him to amazing places, but that he had been too "distracted by alien invaders" to appreciate them. It was his failure to take in Loch Ness due to the Zygon attack which truly had convinced him of this, but he also referenced Skaro as being an example of this problem. He had been to an alien world, he noted, but had no memory of what the sky looked like, or how many moons there were, because he had been too focused on the instinct of survival. Leaving the TARDIS gave him the chance to explore Earth. (PROSE: Hello Goodbye)

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Harry was a big and cheerful man with a square jaw, fair curly hair and blue eyes. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Giant Robot) He had sideburns which he shaved off after leaving UNIT, refusing Esther's requests that he grow them back. (PROSE: Harry Sullivan's War) He was in top physical condition, (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Giant Robot) having rowed and played rugby in college, (PROSE: Harry Sullivan's War) boxed in the navy (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Giant Robot) and regularly exercised in the gym. (PROSE: Harry Sullivan's War)

Sarah thought that Harry looked like the hero of a Boy's Own Paper adventure, reminding her of Biggles and Bulldog Drummond. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Giant Robot)

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

  • Harry was created as a companion to be a man of action much like Ben Jackson or Jamie McCrimmon. However, Tom Baker proved to be capable of handling the physical side of the series, leaving Harry with less to do.[1]
  • Laury L. Varnish, an alias used by Harry in Harry Sullivan's War, is an anagram of his own name.
  • Harry has many similarities to Martha Jones: They both worked as medical officers for UNIT whilst working with other organisations, they both had adventures with the Doctor after leaving the TARDIS, both were possessed by enemies of the Doctor, and they both battled Davros, Daleks and Sontarans.
  • Harry is a member of a small group of companions who did not feature in any TARDIS interior scenes. Although he is seen entering and emerging from the TARDIS several times, he is never seen within the TARDIS itself.
  • Doctor Who and the Rebel's Gamble, a story which this wiki does not consider to be a valid source, suggests that at some point Harry Sullivan shared an adventure with the Sixth Doctor.
  • According to an interview in Doctor Who Magazine #512 with writer Mike Bartlett, the character of Harry in the 2017 episode TV: Knock Knock was originally to have been identified as Harry Sullivan's grandson, but the reference was cut before broadcast. In this story, Harry's grandfather is established as having a boyfriend.

External links[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

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