October 24th, 2015

Five Rounds Rapid
  • jjpor

Rec: If Found, Please Return by Llywela

Story: If Found, Please Return
Author: Llywela
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 31,474
Author's Summary: Crossover between Classic Who and The Professionals. UNIT and CI5 would have been around at about the same time in the late 1970s. CI5 weren't keen on other agencies treading over their perceived jurisdiction and UNIT were learning to cope without the Doctor after his departure from Earth. So what happened when they found their investigations overlapping?
Characters/Pairings: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Harry Sullivan, Sergeant Benton, UNIT, plus crossover characters
Warnings: Some violence

Recced because: I don't know about you, but I love a really well-done crossover.

For the uninitiated, The Professionals was a British crime/action series that first aired on the ITV network between 1977 and 1983. Martin Shaw played Doyle, a "sensitive" (by the admittedly low standards of the average late 70s British male) former cop with an astonishing perm; Lewis Collins was Bodie, an ex-military hardman with a murky past and huge shirt collars. Together, they worked as agents for "CI5", a fictional crime-fighting department headed by the tough, no-nonsense George Cowley (Gordon Jackson out of Upstairs, Downstairs and The Great Escape). They regularly cut pesky legal corners and "fought fire with fire" in order to settle the hash of various gangsters, terrorists and anybody else foolish enough to tangle with them. They always drove cars with reckless abandon and frequently got into fisticuffs and shootouts with that week's villains before invariably "getting" the girl. They were even more reprehensibly macho (and unintentionally slashy in their relationship) than you might imagine, but the involvement of Brian Clemens, of The Avengers fame, meant that the self-consciously gritty proceedings were often lent a certain wry humour and sense of quirkiness.

In other words, crossing The Professionals over with Doctor Who, and even better teaming Bodie and Doyle up with the post-Terror of the Zygons UNIT lineup of the Brigadier, "Mr" Benton and Harry Sullivan, is as far as I'm concerned a stroke of fanfictional genius. Not only is it fun to see how the latter-day UNIT go about trying to deal with an alien threat without the Doctor's assistance, and to see how the agents whose day job involves dealing with human crimes react to one of their investigations suddenly colliding with otherworldly happenings, but all of the characters are portrayed deftly and true to themselves. You don't need to be familiar with the crossover to appreciate how well Bodie and Doyle are delineated from each other very economically via dialogue and the ways they respond to events, while at the same time the Brigadier and Cowley, on the face of it quite similar authority figures, are revealed to be very different in outlook and approach. One of the real strengths of this story, though, is that as well as everything else it is an excellent portrayal of a post-Doctor Harry Sullivan, who gets plenty of opportunities to do stuff and to shine while he's doing it, as well as the author taking time to think about some of the obvious and not so obvious ways that his time aboard the TARDIS may have left its mark upon him.

On top of the characterisations, there is also a genuinely complex and well thought out plot to be going on with, beginning with a pair of linked mysteries and gradually coming together to resolve itself neatly in the end. There are very well-written action sequences and some neat detective work by our teamed-up heroes, and the author-created aliens around which the plot revolves manage to be menacing and sympathetic at the same time. Throughout, the author demonstrates a keen eye and ear for the various tropes and distinguishing characteristics of British TV shows of the era in which the fic is set, and not just the obvious, endlessly-parodied ones either. I will say only this; there is one moment involving a car seat which had me shaking my head in admiration at the vivid period feel of this piece.

So, as you can see, I liked this one very much and I hope you will too. Take some time to read and absorb this fic, and then (I hope) tell the author what a fine piece of work it is.


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