‘THE FIRST SONTARANS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Sontarans, Rutans and Kaveetch with the Sixth Doctor and Peri
“There will only be one law! Sontaran law!”
‘The First Sontarans’ is the third adventure in a trilogy of ‘Lost Stories’ featuring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri. This is an excellent audio drama! I enjoyed ‘The First Sontarans’ when I first heard it and it’s gained its place as a highly regarded and popular audio story.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘The First Sontarans’ signed by Colin Baker at ‘Dimensions 2013’ in Newcastle, October 2013 and by Dan Starkey and writer Andrew Smith at the ‘Big Blue Box 2’ convention in Tunbridge Wells, March 2013. I’ve enjoyed meeting and chatting to these three guys.
‘The First Sontarans’ was originally meant for TV and is a four-part story by Andrew Smith, who wrote ‘Full Circle’ in ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ with Tom Baker. I’ve enjoyed chatting to Andrew Smith about this story and it’s amazing that ‘The First Sontarans’ got trumped by ‘The Two Doctors’ on TV.
The Sontarans are one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ monsters in the series as well as the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Master. I’ve been intrigued by their code of war and how scary they can be as a military force even in potato head-like form. They have had more appearances in plenty of mediums.
I’ve even featured the Sontarans in one of my ‘Doctor Who’ stories in ‘The Fifth Doctor by Tim Bradley’ series on my blog called ‘The Stockbridge Terror’. Whilst writing the story in the summer of 2012, I was fortunate to be listening to ‘The First Sontarans’ to help me to provide some inspiration.
Like I said, ‘The First Sontarans’ was originally meant for TV and would’ve been an intriguing story to feature the origins story of the potato-headed warriors. I’m pleased with the job Andrew Smith has done in portraying the Sontarans’ origin story and doing something very completely different with it.
I’m glad Andrew hasn’t done a similar ‘Doctor Who’ origins story in the style of ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ and ‘Spare Parts’ with the Sontarans. He manages to keep the Sontarans in the action of the story since he unveils the mystery surrounding on who the Kaveetch are in relation to the Sontarans.
Having listened to the story a number of times, it’s amazing the BBC allowed Big Finish to give the ‘Doctor Who’ fans the origins story of how the Sontarans came about when cloned to be bred for war from their home planet of Sontar. It’s something that has been resurfaced lately in the TV series.
In the story, the Doctor and Peri visit 19th century Earth and come across the original inhabitants of Sontar – the Kaveetch – who are being hunted and threatened by the Sontarans. The Doctor and Peri get to learn exactly who the first Sontarans are and know the secrets of what occurred to them.
I like how the story starts by being a visit to the moon for the Doctor and Peri before turning into a seeming historical adventure on 19th century Earth before it becomes a war zone between the Sontarans, the Kaveetch and the Rutans. Oh yes! Even the Rutans make an appearance in the drama.
Andrew Smith cleverly weaves the threads on how and why the Kaveetch disguised themselves on Earth and reveals the history of what happened when the original inhabitants of Sontar created their own clone war bred for war. It was shocking that the Sontarans turned traitor to their own creators.
The writing and the character drama featured in this audio drama has been mesmerizing to listen to as well as the action adventure. There are some intriguing concepts of cloning and brutal experiments being made in the story. This is a contrast to how Sontarans are depicted in other tales.
Colin Baker is on top form as the Doctor in this adventure. I like how the Sixth Doctor seems to be at ease in his life especially with Peri as the two enjoy being in each other’s company. I told Colin how much I enjoyed this story at ‘Collectormania Glasgow 2012’, Braehead Arena, Glasgow, August 2012.
Colin agreed with me and said that the story was getting very popular according to his Twitter fans at the time back in 2012. I loved the scene between Colin’s Doctor and Anthony Howell’s character of Meredid Roath when they were mourning the seeming loss of Peri and Leandra in their prison cell.
Nicola Bryant is equally on top form as Peri in this adventure. The Doctor calls Peri as a ‘brave soul’. I loved the scenes where Peri and the Doctor get to tease and wind each other up. I loved it when Peri spoke in a deep gloomy voice, saying the message “WE ARE HERE!” and the Doctor makes fun of her.
Peri is given a lot to do by Andrew Smith in the story with being on the Kaveetch ship with Leandra and saving the Doctor from the Sontarans. I loved the scene where Peri gets to dress up as a Sontaran trooper; knocks Fleet Marshall Jaka out and the Doctor can easily see through the disguise.
Dan Starkey guest stars as Fleet Marshall Jaka in this story. Dan Starkey is well-known for playing the Sontarans in the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ as well as in the Big Finish audios. I like Dan Starkey playing Sontarans and he seems to enjoy doing them, especially ones that are from the classic series.
There’s this unique repertoire that Dan Starkey has in playing Sontarans. He mainly plays Fleet Marshall Jaka in this story and is supported by his Sontaran subordinates – John Banks (who’s voiced two Sontarans in ‘Heroes of Sontar’) as Commander Lork and Cameron Stewart as Lieutenant Strek.
Anthony Howell guest stars as Meredid Roath, a Kaveetch who takes on the human alias of Jacob Gilley in the story. I’ve seen Anthony Howell before in a BBC production of ‘Wives and Daughters’. He’s also been in ‘Foyle’s War’. I’ve greatly enjoyed hearing to Anthony Howell’s performance in this.
Meredid Roath is disguised as a 19th century landlord when the Doctor and Peri first meet him before he turns out to be more than he appears. He teams up with the Doctor and Peri, as they go through harrowing events. Meredith is under pressure and filled with loss over his children and wife.
The guest cast also includes Lizzie Roper as Leandra Roath, Meredid’s wife, a Kaveetch who takes on the human alias of Jane Ross in the story. She posed as Major Thessinger’s housekeeper. Leandra is a tough cookie and she appears to be separated from her husband despite still being in love with him.
John Banks also plays the mysterious Gentleman who turns out to be a Rutan in this story. Cameron Stewart (who’s been in ‘Trouble in Paradise’ with Nicola Bryant) also plays Major Peter Thessinger in the story. Dan Starkey also plays Barclay, a servant at Major Thessinger’s house before he gets killed.
‘The First Sontarans’ is a very good audio adventure with Colin Baker’s Doctor and Nicola Bryant’s Peri. It’s one of my favourite stories from the Sixth Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ as well as for many fans. And with the Sontarans and their origins to unravel, it is hard to resist this thrilling audio story.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Discs 1 and 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew, including Colin Baker; Nicola Bryant; Dan Starkey; Anthony Howell; etc. At the end of Disc 2, there’s a trailer for ‘The Masters of Luxor’ with Carole Ann Ford and William Russell.
‘The First Sontarans’ rating – 10/10
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