‘THE TIME WARRIOR’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Hello Sarah Jane; Hail Commander Linx!
The Sontarans are one of my favourite monsters in ‘Doctor Who’!
‘The Time Warrior’ is the first Sontaran story in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series! It’s one of my favourite stories, as well as ‘Heroes of Sontar’, ‘The Five Companions’, ‘The Two Doctors’ and ‘The Sontaran Strategem’/’The Poison Sky’. This is where it all began and for the glory of Sontar!
I’ve now had the DVD cover of ‘The Time Warrior’ signed by Jeremy Bulloch, who played Hal in the story. Jeremy also played Boba Fett in ‘Star Wars’. He’s a really nice chap at conventions. I’m so pleased he signed my DVD cover of ‘The Time Warrior’ at the ‘Worcester Comic Con’ in August 2016.
The four-part story by Robert Holmes is a rip-roaring romp set during the Middle Ages, based on a straight-forward premise. An alien arrives in Medieval England and he alters Earth’s history by giving futuristic weapons to the natives. The Doctor needs to stop this alien before it gets worse.
It’s a clever approach to a story, and would you know it; writer Robert Holmes didn’t want to do it. Against writing a story to do with a historical setting, Holmes comes up with a clever tale of a robber baron; castles; sieges and introduces the first Sontaran we see – Commander Jingo Linx.
This is also the first time we see lovely Elisabeth Sladen make her first appearance as lovely Sarah Jane Smith. I purchased this story on DVD whilst on holiday in Scotland, 2007. I was looking forward to see the new series of ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ on CBBC on TV at the time.
It was great to see Sarah Jane in this her first ‘Doctor Who’ appearance. She comes across as very a strong and independent in her first outing. Lis Sladen enjoyed Robert Holmes’ scripts and she used Sarah Jane’s character traits from this story as a template for later stories in the series.
Sarah Jane works extremely well with Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, despite her suspicions of him at the start of the story. I was anxious about whether Sarah Jane would trust the Doctor, since she seems unfair to him at the beginning. But later on she trusts him and they become good friends.
Kevin Lindsay is superb as Commander Linx, who is the epitome of Sontaran brutality and war-mongering. ‘Nasty, brutish and short’ as the Doctor describes him. With no regard for human life, Linx is determined to leave Earth in his ‘golf ball’ ship and return to the war with the Rutans.
‘The Time Warrior’ is a great way to introduce a new ‘Doctor Who’ monster in the Sontarans. I enjoyed Linx’s scenes with Irongron and Bloodaxe. Some of Linx’s remarks about warfare; how Sontarans clone themselves and the humans’ reproduction cycle were amusing (and offensive!).
As a period piece and a drama, ‘The Time Warrior’ works very well. The set design and atmosphere of the Middle Age is authentic and the acting’s top quality. I liked the actors playing Irongron and Bloodaxe, as they come across being so rugged and villainous at the baron’s castle.
David Daker guest stars as Irongron, the robber baron at his castle. Daker delivers a spell-bounding performance as Irongron, as he comes across as funny and scary at the same time. He’s very ruthless when he wants to attack his neighbour and gain advanced weapons from Linx.
John J. Carney guest stars as Bloodaxe, and is the faithful servant to Irongron. I liked Bloodaxe as a character, as he seems to think Irongron is wonderful and seem quite dim. I liked those scenes where Irongron tells his plans to Bloodaxe. Bloodaxe becomes awed of Irongron in those scenes.
Jeremy Bulloch (who I mentioned before) guest stars as Hal the Archer. I enjoyed Jeremy’s performance as Hal the Archer in ‘Doctor Who’. Hal is faithfully loyal to his master, Edward of Wessex. Hal is very good in combat with a bow and arrow, like Legolas from ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
Donald Pelmear guest stars as Professor Rubeish (‘rubbish with an ‘e’, 😀 ). I liked Professor Rubeish in this story. He seems a kindly man and gets captured with scientists back to the Middle Ages. He is blind as a bat without his glasses, but he becomes very helpful to the Doctor.
The guest cast also includes Alan Rowe as Edward of Wessex; June Brown (Dot Cotton from ‘Eastenders’) as Lady Eleanor; and Nicholas Courtney who briefly appears as the Brigadier in this.
And let’s not forget Jon Pertwee as the elegant Doctor. I loved it when the Doctor sees that it is a Sontaran at the end of ‘Episode One’. I enjoyed the Doctor’s action sequences when he’s fighting Linx or when he’s running away from Irongron and his men at the close of ‘Episode Two’.
I enjoyed the Doctor’s first meeting with Sarah Jane and how he grows to like her, despite her distrusting him on the way. I enjoyed it when the Doctor confronts Linx in the castle cellars; when he stages a siege with stinky smoke bombs and dresses as a robot knight to fight Irongron.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s the ‘Beginning the End’ making-of documentary with cast and crew interviews and a CGI effects version of the story. I like the CGI effects version of the story, as it replaces some of the ‘dull’ effects in the original version of ‘The Time Warrior’.
There are continuities; a photo gallery; a commentary with Elisabeth Sladen; producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks and an info-text commentary option to enjoy. There are also two PDFs including a ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story and the 1974 ‘Doctor Who Annual’.
There’s also a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Key to Time’ DVD Boxset with Tom Baker. There are two Easter Eggs to look out for on this DVD disc on the main menu and special features menu.
‘The Time Warrior’ is a brilliant ‘Doctor Who’ story in two respects. It’s the first story to feature Sarah Jane Smith as a companion and the first to feature the Sontarans (one Sontaran at least). I enjoyed this story and cherish it always. It really is worth seeing and I highly recommended this.
‘The Time Warrior’ rating – 10/10
‘DOCTOR WHO AND THE TIME WARRIOR’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The First Sontaran Story in Book/Audio Form
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading/listening to this ‘Doctor Who and the Time Warrior’!
I purchased the Target novel of ‘Doctor Who and the Time Warrior’ with the 4-disc audiobook CD on Amazon. I enjoyed listening to Jeremy Bulloch’s reading of the story, as I reading the book at the same time with the CDs in the background. This is based on the original TV story, ‘The Time Warrior’.
I’ve had the CD cover of the ‘Doctor Who and the Time Warrior’ audiobook signed by Jeremy Bulloch, who played Hall the Archer in ‘The Time Warrior’ TV story. I’ve met Jeremy at conventions including one in Milton Keynes in 2014 and in Bournemouth in 2015. He’s a nice gentleman to meet.
The book ‘Doctor Who and the Time Warrior’ is by Terrance Dicks, who contributed regularly to the Target novelization range of ‘Doctor Who’ books. The book was published in 1978 and is divided into 17 chapters with a prologue by Robert Holmes, who was originally commissioned to write the novel.
Jeremy Bulloch reads this audiobook of ‘The Time Warrior’ story extremely well. I liked the tremendous enthusiasm he puts into reading the story as well as his performances of the characters from the TV story. I like Jeremy’s voices for characters like Irongron; Bloodaxe and Linx the Sontaran.
The voice for Irongron is impressive. It sounds exactly like how David Daker sounded in the TV story. Bloodaxe’s is equally good, although it does sound whimpering at times when he’s loyal to Irongron. I also liked Proffessor Ruebish, as he sounds like the kindly, out-of-depth professor in the TV story.
Jeremy’s voice for Linx the Sontaran is amazing. It sounds like Kevin Lindsay as Linx from the TV story. Jeremy would be pretty good doing voices for Sontarans in the Big Finish audios with Dan Starkey. I liked the balance of menace with the light, hissy tones of Linx’s voice in Jeremy’s reading.
The voice for the Jon Pertwee Doctor is one that sounds out for me. Jeremy doesn’t do a direct impersonation of Jon Pertwee’s voice for the audiobook. He uses his own voice for the Doctor and makes him sound noble and grand as he does in the TV series which I found great to hear on audio.
In terms of the story, the prologue is very lengthy. I was surprised by how much detail was put into the prologue by Robert Holmes for the story. There is a lot background detail on how Linx crash-landed to Earth in the first place as he was fighting and escaping a Rutan fleet during a space battle.
The detail that Robert Holmes puts in with Linx’s experience of the space battle is very compelling and absorbing to read/listen to in the novel/audiobook. My favourite line from the prologue and the novel is when it’s described how ‘a Sontaran rarely smiles, except at the death throes of an enemy’.
As I said before, Robert Holmes was originally commissioned to write the novelisation of ‘The Time Warrior’. Unfortunately he got waylaid with other assignments and he couldn’t get round to working on it. Therefore he wrote the prologue and asks his friend and colleague Terrance Dicks to finish it.
Terrance Dicks mentioned that Robert Holmes found it hard to write prose, saying it’s like ‘digging trenches’. I think he would have found it hard to write a lot of detail about the historical setting and the castle for the rest of the story, since he didn’t like writing historical adventures in ‘Doctor Who’.
Despite this, Terrance Dicks picks up from where Robert Holmes left off with writing the story pretty well. Since Terrance was involved as the script editor of ‘The Time Warrior’ in the TV series, he has insight knowledge of the story and was able to add more detail to the characters and their journeys.
This is especially true with Sarah Jane’s character, as Terrance develops her in the book. I liked how Sarah Jane start from having suspicions about the Doctor at the beginning before she eventually trusts him at the end. I also liked exploring Sarah Jane’s thoughts and feelings throughout the book.
I also liked how Linx the Sontaran was handled in the book by Terrance. The story explores how Linx maintains his composure throughout the story when he’s making bargains with Irongron at his castle by giving advanced weapons to him and his knights and allowing him to continue repairs to his ship.
There are new scenes added to the story in the book compared to the TV story. These new scenes took me by surprise as I wondered why they weren’t in the TV story. This included Hal canoodling with a serving wrench named Mary at Sir Edward’s castle. I enjoyed reading and hearing that scene.
There’s also the horse ride sequence of Sir Edward’s squire named Eric before he gets captured by Bloodaxe and his men. This scene and the Hal canoodling Mary were originally in the TV scripts for this story. But for whatever reasons, they were sadly cut out and never made into the story on TV.
I enjoyed the incidental music and sound effects for the audiobook of this story. The music is very action-packed and adds an extra dimension to the story. It’s very catchy when I heard it on audio.
Most of what’s was in ‘The Time Warrior’ TV story is the Target novelisation/audiobook. Having read the novel with the audiobook in the background made me enjoy the story again from the first time I read/heard it. It was invigorating to discover how ‘The Time Warrior’ was told in prose/audio form.
‘Doctor Who and the Time Warrior’ is a very good novelisation/audiobook of the TV story. I enjoyed Jeremy Bulloch’s reading of the story whilst I had the Target novel in my hand. I enjoyed Jeremy’s performances of the characters, as he makes them sound like the original actors from the TV story.
‘Doctor Who and the Time Warrior’ rating – 10/10
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