‘HEROES OF SONTAR’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
“Sontar, Sontar, we fight for Sontar, the glory of Sontar, the death of our enemies is why we live!”
♪ Who do you think you are kidding, Mr. Rutan? ♫
I love ‘Heroes of Sontar’! This is the one with the ‘Dad’s Army’ Sontarans in it! It’s very funny and it’s the first time that the Sontarans appear in a Big Finish audio drama. This audio adventure stars Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, Janet Fielding as Tegan and Mark Strickson as Turlough.
It is a four-part story by Alan Barnes and he tells a cracking good story with these ‘Dad’s Army’ Sontarans in it as well as with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough. It seems dodgy to have ‘Dad’s Army’-like personas in these Sontarans, but I personally loved this idea and I adopted it in one of my stories.
The story has the Doctor and his friends visiting the planet Samur. Very soon, the TARDIS team are not alone, as a platoon of seven Sontarans turn up on Samur and are under special orders. With the Sontarans and a deadly curse to deal with, Nyssa slowly is dying of this purple moss that is killing her.
The Sontarans are one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ monsters created by Robert Holmes. I’ve enjoyed watching the Sontaran stories on TV including ‘‘The Time Warrior’, ‘The Two Doctors’ and ‘The Sontaran Stratagem’/’The Poison Sky’. I’ve also written my own Sontaran story set in Stockbridge called ‘The Stockbridge Terror’.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Heroes of Sontar’ signed by the lovely Sarah Sutton, who is also a ‘Dad’s Army’ fan like me, at the ‘Regenerations 2013’ convention in Swansea, September 2013. I’ve also had the CD cover signed by Mark Strickson at the ‘London Film and Comic Con 2017’, July 2017 and John Banks, who plays two Sontarans in the story, at ‘Big Finish Day 6’ in Slough, January 2013.
‘YOU ARE LISTENING TO…’
PETER DAVISON as the Doctor
I enjoyed Peter Davison’s performance as the Doctor in this story. Peter never faced the Sontarans in the TV series, so it’s great that he faces them in the audio adventures. Peter stands up to the Sontarans well as he works out the mystery; shares scenes with Tegan and have a concern for Nyssa.
SARAH SUTTON as Nyssa
Sarah is lovely as Nyssa in this audio adventure. This is the older Nyssa in these stories with the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough. Nyssa seems to have met the Sontarans before, since she faced them when she was young in ‘The Five Companions’. It is good to know that Nyssa has met them already.
JANET FIELDING as Tegan
I liked Janet’s performance as Tegan in this adventure. Janet has faced Sontarans before in the mini-episode called ‘A Fix with Sontarans’ with Colin Baker. I enjoyed Tegan’s backfire at the Sontarans’ chauvinist ways. She calls Thurr ‘Shorty’ and nicknames him ‘Napoleon’, like Hodges does to Mainwaring in ‘Dad’s Army’.
MARK STRICKSON as Turlough
I also liked Mark’s performance as Turlough, as he gets to share more scenes with Nyssa and learns about the Sontarans from her. I found it very funny when Turlough gets easily annoyed with Trooper Vend’s questioning him. Turlough also gets to say “Stupid boy!” to Vend in that Mainwaring manner.
♪ We are the Sontarans who will stop your little game… ♫
I love these ‘Dad’s Army’ Sontarans. I liked that each of the Sontarans reminded me of a certain ‘Dad’s Army’-type character. I also liked the line-up scene in ‘Part One’ where all the Sontaran characters are gathered together and Field-Major Thurr is introduced to everyone by Sergeant Mezz.
DUNCAN WISBEY as Field-Major Thurr
Field-Major Thur is the leader of the ‘Sontar-on-sea’ platoon! Just kidding! 😀 Thurr is the Captain Mainwaring-type character, who is pompous and a very proud Sontaran commander. I enjoyed it when Thurr easily gets agitated by Sergeant Mezz and he seems rather bit dim for a Sontaran in this.
ALEX LOWE as Sergeant Mezz
This is the Sergeant Wilson-type character in the story. Sergeant Mezz is sent with Field-Major Thurr on the mission to Samur. I enjoyed it when Mezz says that familiar line to Thurr, “Is that advisable, sir?” which is very similar to Sergeant Wilson’s “Do you think this is wise, sir?” line from ‘Dad’s Army’.
ANDREW FETTES as Corporal Clun
This is the Corporal Jones-type character in the story. I really like Corporal Clun and when he asks ‘Permission to speak, sir!’ to Field-Major Thurr. Clun is very keen to blow up Rutan scum to plasma and he does get to say “Do not panic!” and tells a story like Jones did in ‘The Two and a Half Feathers’.
JOHN BANKS as Trooper Jorr
This is the Frazer-type character in the story. Trooper Jorr is the doom-monger of the platoon, who keeps on saying “We’re doomed!” and regards Samur as ‘a dismal hole’. I found it funny when Jorr gets on Thurr’s nerves and Thurr tells him off in the gravity-sphere once they touch down on Samur.
This is the Sontarans’ ship’s pilot and I suspect is a Walker-type character. We don’t get to hear Pilot Bekk in this story, since there’s no actor playing him and he gets killed at the beginning which was rather annoying for me. I want to know what Bekk was like and whether he was a Sontaran spiff! 😀
ALEX LOWE as Trooper Nold
This is the Godfrey-type character in the story. Nold is very funny, since he’s a Sontaran who’s literally ‘lost his tongue’. He can’t speak since he bit his tongue clean-off. This is somewhat similar to Frazer puffing his cheeks with cotton wool as in the ‘Dad’s Army’ episode ‘Keep Young and Beautiful’.
DEREK CARLYLE as Trooper Vend
This is the Pike-type of character in the story. Vend is a young graduate from the Sontaran Academy. He’s interesting as a Sontaran character, since Vend begins to question his own Sontaran integrity during the story. He’s naive as a character and is very funny to listen to, especially when with Turlough.
JOHN BANKS as Fleet Marshall Stabb
This is the Colonel-type of character from ‘Dad’s Army’, or maybe it’s Captain Square. Fleet Marshall Stabb is the supreme commander of the Ninth Sontaran Fleet. Stabb is the one who sends Thurr and his platoon off to Samur and he later challenges the Doctor in a hand-to-hand combat in ‘Part Four’.
There are lots of ‘Dad’s Army’ in-jokes put into some the Sontarans’ lines in this story which I love. There are also references to previous Sontaran stories. I loved the Sontarans’ war chant in this story which goes, “Sontar, Sontar, we fight for Sontar…” as this is similar to “Sontar-Ha!” in the new series.
There’s a poignant scene where Nyssa reveals something to Tegan in case she dies. She tells her about her husband and two children. I liked this scene since it connects to ‘Circular Time: Winter’, from one of my favourite audio CDs. Tegan promises not to tell about Nyssa’s family to the Doctor.
I’ve enjoyed listening to all of the Big Finish audio adventures with Sarah Sutton as Nyssa. But I prefer the ones that Sarah does with just the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, since I find them more enjoyable than the ones with Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough. Sarah understood and appreciated this when I told her at the ‘Regenerations 2013’ convention in Swansea and I’m glad that she does.
‘Heroes of Sontar’ is a great story to listen to. I enjoyed it with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough in it as well as the ‘Dad’s Army’ Sontarans. Some say this is rather far-fetched, but I found it an interesting experiment with the ‘Dad’s Army’ Sontarans, despite the absurd plot and characters.
Who knows? Peter Davison’s Doctor might challenge the Sontarans to a game of cricket next! Incidentially that’s what I’ve done in my Sontaran story called ‘The Stockbridge Terror’ with the Fifth Doctor. 😀
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there is a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, writer Alan Barnes, etc. There’s a trailer for the next story with the Doctor, Tegan; Turlough and Nyssa called ‘Kiss of Death’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Heroes of Sontar’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Heroes of Sontar’.
‘Heroes of Sontar’ rating – 9/10
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