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Stargate SG-1: Lines of Communication by Luke Mansell

01/03/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Stargate SG-1: Lines of Communication in the USA - or Buy Stargate SG-1: Lines of Communication in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 60 minutes. Price: CD: 9.99 (UK), Download; 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-406-1) cast: Gary Jones and Beth Chalmers

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He's always there, every episode for ten seasons. Like Radar O'Reilly in 'M*A*S*H', but a silent solid presence rather than a chatty fixer. He was never named other than in the script. His lines were sparse but it was regular work. He was christened it seems by mistake. A combination of errors by Richard Dean Anderson and the late Don Davis led to him being called Walter Harriman. That's Chief Master Sergeant Harriman to you.

It's a normal quiet shift for Walter. He's on duty but there's no scheduled activity so it should be a quiet night. The SG-1 team are off-planet and the General is in Washington. A simple diagnostic triggers a major problem with the stargate and suddenly personnel are injured and Walter is stuck inside a locked-down base and at the centre of a controversy.

When the phone rings, he finds he is talking to a hostage negotiator, Major Gina Roberts, who believes he is responsible for what is happening at the gate. Somehow, he has to convince her he's not and at the same time find a solution.

'Lines Of Communication' is essentially a two-handed spoken audio. More than a book, it is not quite a drama. Some of the suspense is lost through the medium but this is inevitable with this kind of presentation.

Despite being thrilled that Walter has finally found his voice, the story is limited to the base control room and a lot of it is thinking aloud. With the threat to life effectively cancelled by the fact that Walter is relating the story from a future time, there is only the fear that he might be wrongly imprisoned and it fails to ignite. As yet another siege story, it doesn't add anything to 'Stargate SG-1' saga but feels like a low budget TV episode when the money ran out mid-season. Perhaps as an introduction to Walter Harriman it might lead to a more spectacular episode in the future.

Sue Davies

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