‘TERROR OF THE SONTARANS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Sontarans with the Seventh Doctor and Mel
Here’s another Sontaran fest from ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish!
This is ‘Terror of the Sontarans’, a four-part story by John Dorney and…Dan Starkey! Yes, that’s right! This story is also co-written by the guy who plays the Sontarans in the new TV series of ‘Doctor Who’. It’s great to have Dan write a ‘Doctor Who’ tale with Sontarans in it as well as play them for audio.
This is also another ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure with Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Bonnie Langford as Mel. The two of them work well as a TARDIS team for Big Finish audio compared to the TV series. It’s also brilliant to have them face the Sontarans for the first time in this audio adventure!
In this story, the Doctor and Mel visit a hostile alien world after receiving a distress signal. The base that they find is deserted, apart from a few survivors. Very soon, the Doctor’s old enemies, the Sontarans, turn up and are searching for the remains of their research team. Will trouble be afoot?!
I certainly enjoyed the balance of humour and menace of the Sontarans in this audio adventure. The Sontarans are one of my favourite monsters in ‘Doctor Who’ and it’s always good to have them make an appearance in a Big Finish audio drama. The Sontarans have done a fair number very lately.
It’s also great that Dan Starkey gets to work with John Dorney, another brilliant Big Finish writer in ‘Doctor Who’, to make his writing debut in the series. Dan Starkey knows the Sontarans inside out, and it’s fair that he should write a ‘Doctor Who’ story with in it, knowing their war-like personalities.
This ‘Doctor Who’ story is interesting in showing the Sontarans being afraid of something. This is something that to a general Sontaran would be absurb, as Sontarans being afraid is a court-martial offence and humiliation. This is explored when Kayste and his troops find one scared out of his wits.
The survivors on this once-mining facility have also suffered under the fate of the Sontarans. They have been terribly tortured and express anger and getting revenge on their torturers. Anger and conflict is something that arouses the real enemies of this story’s setting and is not on the Sontarans.
I was quite surprised that the title of this story is actually ‘terror’ on the Sontarans and not ‘terror’ caused by Sontarans on other victims. Some of the Sontarans’ beliefs in military procedures in this audio adventure are pretty disturbing, especially when Kayste barks out very untoward commands.
Sylvester McCoy delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this audio adventure. This is of course the Seventh Doctor’s first chronological encounter with the Sontarans in ‘Doctor Who’. I like how Sylvester’s Doctor uses wit and cunning in order to tackle a dangerous situation with Sontarans.
In this story, Sylvester’s Doctor gets lured by an alien intelligence that wants to use his brains. At one point, Sylvester’s Doctor gets succumbed before he is eventually rescued by Anvil Jackson. I liked those moments when Sylvester’s Doctor challenge Kayste’s authority and questions his leadership.
Bonnie Langford is equally good as Mel in this audio adventure. Mel gets separated from the Doctor again in this adventure. But like as in ‘The Warehouse’ before this, Mel demonstrates great resourcefulness as a companion in ‘Doctor Who’ and she stands up well to the Sontarans and their beliefs.
Mel gets to use her computer skills again in this adventure, and share an interesting bond with Ketch and Tethneka when they’re prisoners of the Sontarans. Mel gets shocked when Tethneka becomes strange all of a sudden. I felt for Mel as she was frustrated with Kayste when he was barking orders.
Dan Starkey is brilliant as the voice of the Sontarans in this adventure. Dan has done a number of ‘Doctor Who’ audios with Sontarans and has played a variety of Sontaran characters as in ‘The Five Companions’. Dan is ‘Mr. Sontaran’ as he slips in between different Sontaran characters effortlessly.
The main Sontaran character that Dan voices is Field-Major Kayste. Kayste is a very belligerent Sontaran character who can easily get on your nerves with his Sontaran ways. Kayste can sometimes be very unreasonably and is disgusted when a Sontaran gets cowardly and strips them of their rank.
There’s also Skegg, a Sontaran who strips of his clothing and scrunches his Sontaran up into something else. This is quite disturbing to imagine a Sontaran with no clothes on. Skegg is the first Sontaran on audio who becomes afraid, and it’s interesting to hear him being scared out of his wits.
John Banks also voices a Sontaran in this audio adventure called Adjutant Commander Klath. John has voiced Sontarans before in ‘Doctor Who’ audio including ‘Heroes of Sontar’ and ‘The First Sontarans’. I like Klath who seems willing to obey Kayste’s orders before eventually questions them.
The guest cast also includes Daniel O’Meara as Ketch, a human who befriends Mel and suffered torture under the Sontarans. There’s also Jon Edgley Bond as Anvil Jackson, another human who meets the Doctor when he’s on his own without Mel and he saves the Doctor from a powerful force.
There’s also Andree Bernar as Tethneka, a telepathic alien woman who can suss out the Sontarans’ weaknesses to provoke them. Tethneka starts off as seemingly being a good character when she’s with Mel and Ketch. I was disturbed when Tethneka got taken over and her personality got changed.
There’s also another Sontaran character called Technician Gyte, voiced by Jon Edgley Bond in this adventure. There’s also Stettimer, a rather strange alien lobster character, voiced by John Banks. Stettimer almost sounded like a Sontaran, even when he was fighting them and calls one ‘egg man’.
I enjoyed ‘Terror of the Sontarans’ by John Dorney and Dan Starkey, with Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and Bonnie Langford as Mel facing Sontarans. It was good to hear another Sontaran audio adventure by Big Finish and also that Dan Starkey gets to have his debut in ‘Doctor Who’ as a writer!
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there’s a trailer for ‘Criss-Cross’ with Colin Baker. There’s also behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews with Sylvester McCoy; Bonnie Langford; Dan Starkey; writer John Dorney; etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Terror of the Sontarans’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Terror of the Sontarans’. There’s also a bonus Short Trip called ‘The Warren Legacy’ with the Fourth Doctor, read by Stephen Critchlow.
‘Terror of the Sontarans’ rating – 7/10
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