He and his brother Lawrence grew up in Monaghan with an abusive father. When Harold ("Harry") was seven, he accidentally killed his dad whilst trying to save Larry's life. He misremembered the incident, believing that Larry had killed their father on purpose.
As adults, both went into journalism - Michael taking the name Harold Chorley - and covered up their familial links, as well as working to give themselves English accents for their career.
When the British government decided to allow only one correspondent into the London Underground to cover the British Army's fight against the Great Intelligence and its robot Yeti, Larry Greene was selected for the job by the press industry. However, he suggested that they choose Chorley in his place, wanting him to have the opportunity for what would be a huge career move. At first he was proud to be chosen for this unique assignment, but when he realised the danger he was in, he panicked and attempted to flee. His disappearance caused several people, including Jamie McCrimmon, to suspect him of working for the Great Intelligence. During the crisis, he met Colonel Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. (TV: The Web of Fear)
When he tried to reveal the truth of what happened, the government had him blocked and blacklisted from the BBC. Chorley took Larry's career with him. (PROSE: The Schizoid Earth, Mutually Assured Domination) In his attempts to reveal the truth, he deeply researched Travers' history. (PROSE: The Lost Skin) In 1969, Chorley was a freelancer who was still struggling to work, found himself mocked by figures like Vanessa Redgrave, and was separated from his wife.
After covering an anti-war protest and saving two hippies from police violence, Chorley was drawn into a conspiracy around Dominex Industries. He became tied to Lethbridge-Stewart after phoning him to get bailed out of jail, and promised to report what he found at Dominex. The company turned out to be a front for the Dominators and after looking into it with Lethbridge-Stewart, Chorley was captured and brainwashed into doing puff pieces for the aliens. The brainwashing failed at a crucial moment and Chorley was able to save Lethbridge-Stewart, but his memories were left a confused jumble. (PROSE: Mutually Assured Domination) He became increasingly more erratic and a heavier drinker, his career falling apart, and he followed Lethbridge-Stewart in a desperate hope to learn what had happened. The memory damage even affected his knowledge of aliens.
He ended up accidentally falling in with ex-CIA agent Hannsen's attempts to bring down the Nazi Vilhelm Schädengeist, who was constructing a bunker under Billy Lovac's TV studio. He narrowly escaped being captured by Schädengeist's men during an investigation and tried to bring Lethbridge-Stewart in. The colonel used him as a cover for investigating the studio and when snooping around for a story, Chorley witnessed the brutal murder of a staff writer by Schädengeist (disguised as the actor Aubrey Mondegreene). To keep Chorley quiet, Lethbridge-Stewart convinced the disintegrating Lovac to give Chorley a fake story about what happened and that the murder was just special effects. Chorley, mentally recovered thanks to his tabloid-level scoop, sold the story to the Evening Standard and decided to get his wife back. (PROSE: The Showstoppers)
Near the end of that year, Chorley was still trying to expose Lethbridge-Stewart and forcing Larry Greene to assist, even as his obsession continued to retard his career. (Chorley remained bitter and envious of Greene's own recent career successes) Chorley learned Lethbridge-Stewart was working with the army in Scotland but arrived after the brigadier had already gone on leave abroad. (PROSE: The Lost Skin)
After leaving journalism, he supplemented his retirement fund by ghost-writing autobiographies.
Behind the scenes
- The article A Brief History of the Lethbridge-Stewarts, available as a download from the Lethbridge-Stewart website, is an in-universe history of the Lethbridge-Stewart family credited to Harold Chorley. Because it is non-narrative, it is not a valid source on this wiki.
- A reporter named Harold Chorley was briefly mentioned in the Sherlock episode The Lying Detective.