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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 12 September 2011
I had to laugh listening to this - the Sontarans sound like a cross between Blackadder's hapless cronies and Dad's Army. With that, and with genuinely funny lines, this starts off as a definitely humorous story. A Sontaran crew with a hapless Major are sent behind enemy Rutan lines to the Samur - funnily enough, where the Tardis has just landed. But why is Samur not as the Doctor remembers?

I was surprised at first that the Sontarans were so far from what they always seemed to have been in the tv series - but this is explained in the course of the story; and why they are so different,and what is so special about the 7 who are sent to Samur on a `special mission' is also explained. I enjoyed the fact that these Sontarans were so distinct in their behaviours and mannerisms and had back-stories - they seemed to be more `real' than perhaps in earlier stories. But while the humour may seem gratuitous at first, it becomes part of a story that is definitely not humorous, and is tinged with horror and a little sadness.

The only grumble I have, and one of the reasons I listened to this story twice through, is that (and I'm writing somewhat cryptically here so as not to introduce a spoiler) the voice of a character in the latter part of the story is somewhat indistinct and therefore it's hard to hear exactly what is said - a little disappointing there.

The Doctor and his companions are in fine form - particularly Tegan, who hasn't learned that sometimes it's better to say nothing at all - and the interaction between them all is great. Turlough even gets to be a little more than his usual self in this story. And at the end, as the Tardis fades into the space-time continuum, Samur is changed - and the listener is left feeling a little sad about the poignancy of the story.

Fantastic story - wonderful characters, brilliantly played - highly recommended.
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A new Doctor Who audio play, and the start of a run of three stories that feature Peter Davison as the Doctor. Along with Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson as companions Tegan and Turlough. Plus Sarah Sutton as Nyssa.

This one follows on The Cradle of the Snake (Doctor Who) but a story arc from there about Nyssa looking for a cure to a disease is only briefly mentioned. And although there is one reference to events in a much earlier fifth doctor story that might confuse casual listeners, this one does rather stand on it's own and thus those who haven't heard every other big finish story shouldn't have too much trouble getting into it.

The story runs for four episodes of thirty minutes approx each in duration, and is spread over two cd's.

It's the first audio to feature an appearance from the Sontarans. The potato headed war mongering clone race. Here a group of seven Sontarans are sent to a desolate world with sealed orders from a field marshal. Only trouble is, they're not the best warriors in the Sontaran empire.

When the TARDIS arrives there as well, the Doctor and his companions need to keep their wits about them in order to deal with the Sontarans. But with Nyssa having fallen prey to an infection, they face a race against time to cure her. And the secrets of the planet are about to come to light.

Although the Sontarans are clones, every one we've ever seen in the tv show has had a distinct personality of their own. This story builds on that approach in order to give them character. The ones in the group the Doctor and friends encounter are either stupid or vain or both, and not the best soldiers the Sontaran empire has ever seen. This plus their habit of taking things literally results in a lot of character comedy earlier on, with funny lines flying this way and that. More of that comes in the exchanges the TARDIS crew have with the Sontarans as they deal with them.

This approach may seem a bit too comedic to some at first and thus this may quickly alienate some listeners. But if you can go with that it does result in some genuinely funny lines and some very good character interaction. All the laughs do come out that rather than being thrown in for effect.

Beyond that, the plot does take a while to get going as the mystery of this planet is slowly revealed. But episodes three and four do offer some decent developments and surprises. And there are some memorably emotional moments to be had as well.

Although with seven Sontarans with different personalities it can be a bit difficult to keep them all straight in your head.

This is a story the style of which may not appeal to all, but if the approach of the writing does work for you, then it should turn out to be quite enjoyable.

This trilogy of fifth doctor stories continues in Kiss of Death (Doctor Who) a trailer for which can be found on the penultimate track of disc two.

There's roughly thirteen minutes worth of interviews with cast and crew after that.

And nine minutes or so of music from the story on the last track of disc one.
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on 14 December 2011
An audio adventure of the 5th Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa.

The story follows the Doctor and companions stuck on a planet with a group of Sontarian warriors.

However rather than the usual ultimate warriors this bunch are distinctly second rate, and the title of this review will give you some idea of who the warriors are based on.

A more comedic adventure than usual for Doctor Who which has always had an element of humour and therefore depends on how funny you find it.

This is one of my favorite adventures of this year, moving on at a good pace, with a twist in the plot and each of the companions playing up to their traditional images as much as possible.
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Unfortunately the previous reviewer's scathing comments aren't too far from the truth. I thought the idea of 'humanising' the Sontarans was potentially a dodgy one anyway - they are so much better as sadistic glory-obsessed warriors.
Peter Davison and co. provide their usual reliable performances, however the storyline is uninspired and the dialogue occasionally jars. The Witch Guards are pretty stock Big Finish monsters too, although the drama unfolds pacily and the incidental music and sound-effects are accomplished and effective.
Overall not a complete fail but I am hoping that the recent run of mediocre BF plays will end soon.
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on 21 April 2011
Created by Robert Holmes for his Jon Pertwee adventure, The Time Warrior, this is the first time that the Sontarans have featured in a Big Finish audio adventure. On the basis of this poor offering, it may also be the last. Big Finish have opted to play the Sontarans for endless cheap laughs, with a long series of 'height' jokes, and self indulgent 'witty' comments that the writer is keen for the listener to view as 'satire' as he gives Tegan a line of dialogue to make this point loud and clear. With the Sontarans played and written as bumbling comic fools this dire offering limps along with the regular cast, in particular Sarah Sutton, doing their best to give a good performance. Not even their efforts come close to making this anything other than feeble, one can almost see the writer and director sitting in their control room during recording, laughing behind their hands as they try to come to terms with their own incredible cleverness. Gone it seems are the days when Big Finish made top quality Doctor Who time and time again; thankfully many top quality releases are still available from Amazon. Sadly, Heroes of Sontar is best avoided. Past releases such as Night Thoughts, Davros and Dust Breeding show just what Doctor Who audio fiction can, and should, be.
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