The Heroes of Sontar (#146)

Big Finish Main Range

According to the CD extras, Alan Barnes wanted to make a story where the Doctor only deals with the “monsters” and this is definitely there, with a few companions thrown in for good measure. This is a very action packed story, with funny elements as the Sontarans are like the Keystone cops – sorry, not quite Three Stooges level! But they are goofy, each in their own unique ways. And that part is really fun to listen to!

And yet… (you can hear the big BUT coming in there) I just didn’t love the story. Perhaps it’s just that I like the way that the characters developed and moved on in future stories and this is going back to the older characterization of them, especially Turlough. I almost feel like saying ick, just run and don’t come back kiddo. But I really, really LOVE Turlough as a companion in the early Big Finish audios, such as Phantasmagoria and Loups-Garoux. So it’s a bit disconcerting but there’s plenty of room in between for his development. And Mark Strickson’s even reading the lines as if Turlough’s younger, with a bit of a different voice. Now that’s acting!

But the Witch Guard characters are extremely difficult to understand and honestly, I wasn’t interested in re-listening to their speech to try to get what they were saying. This is a very monster-oriented story but I just didn’t find the Witch Guard very threatening. They sounded all bad-ass when the Sontarans talk about them but then the Doctor explains what they are and it really just takes the teeth of out them, so to say. And the companions are threatened with death left and right yet I never really felt like they were in any real danger of dying. So I was just not impressed, despite the good points.

Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Mark Strickson, and Janet Fielding

Writer: Alan Barnes

Director: Ken Bentley

Release: April 2011

Laura Vilensky 2019