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The King of Sontar (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures) Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Jan 2014
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Top customer reviews
Tom Baker is my favourite Doctor, Leela one of the better companion characters.
Dan Starkey really impressed me in his portrayal of Strax in the television programmes but more importantly with his reading of The Devil in the Smoke.
(Now I can REALLY recommend that story to you. )
Doctor Who: Devil in the Smoke
But the title The King of Sontar really attracted this reviewer.
Now the title is very clever but you only realise this after listening to the story.
The story is a mere 60 minutes long it is short and leaves you wanting more which is no bad thing.
At double the time it would have been just as satisfying.
There simply is not a moment of dialogue wasted in this fast paced story.
The story opens with a 12 strong Sonatarian assasination squad invading the Dowcra Base. The fact that these are an elite set of... well you provide the adjective and are seeking out just the leader of the planet indicates that this is a big threat to them.
There is a wonderful scene where the elite squad meet the leader and ask him to surrender and be executed.
He warns them that they should surrender and takes out the whole 12 in one fell swoop!! Now I would love to have seen that but in an audio you see the scene in your mind.
A brilliant start.
The Doctor finds he has been sent by the Timelords to sort it out and his companion is the lovely Leela.
Leela of course is a warrior par excelence this provides a wonderful counter balance to the warrior sect of the Sontarians. She simply out thinks, outguns and out performs the elite Sontarian.
Tom Baker is wonderful as the Doctor, Louise Jameson is sublime and all the support characters, actors and actresses are wonderful.
Dan Starkey is wonderful as Strang.
True the scenario is predictable BUT the strength of the story and the actors carry this 60 minutes off wonderfully.
there is a cast interview on the single Cd and this really adds to your enjoyment of the Big Finish.
Just a little too short we want more.
In recent years, especially with Strax, the Sontarans seemed to have been used in a more amusing manner. Even their part in Trenzolore serves only to provide some comic relief. The Sontarans in this story are more serious, desperate and hence seem more deadly. This story re-instates them as a threat, one almost as dangerous as the Daleks or Cybermen. It does this from the play’s start. Indeed the story begins with an explosive opening that immediately sets the tone for what will come.
There is about as much action as you could possibly fit into and audio play. And the story warrants it. Without it the atmosphere would lack the manic chaos that permeates it. The fabulously produced soundtrack of explosions and gunfire ramps up the tension and gives the whole story a strong sense of pace and urgency. Of course this does mean that some lines of dialogue are delivered between exchanges of fire which feels a little artificial. But that is merely one of the drawbacks of audio.
However, the story is not all action. There are some delightful philosophical ponderings that briefly skirt around some of the issues raised in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’. They prevent the whole story from becoming just a lot of fighting and strengthen the motivations of the characters. They offer credible explanations for why they choose to act as they do. They also enable an exploration of an underutilised side to Leela and the Doctors’ relationship that looks as if it will continue into later stories of this particular series.
The Doctor and Leela are separated early on to allow them to play to their strengths. Much like ‘The Invasion of Time’ (Leela and the Doctors’ other clash with the Sontarans) Leela is left to stir rebellion from the outside whilst the Doctor works against his enemies from within. This also allows Leela to team up with a Sontaran and go into battle at his side, a combination that works really successfully.
Most importantly though, this story is about Sontarans and it provides two more great Sontaran characters. Vilhol is a disillusioned warrior whose shaken confidence needs Leela’s support. It is a very convincing performance. Dan Starkey (who now seems to be to Sontarans what Nicholas Briggs is to Daleks) is brilliant. His role as Strang is miles away from the numerous other Sontarans he has played and provides a great opponent for Tom Baker’s Doctor. The cliff hanger for the first episode maybe a bit predictable but that doesn’t matter as Tom Baker and Dan Starkey sell it so well.
Some great performances, a lot of action, a lot of fun and some serious subjects of debate to consider well after the play has finished.