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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

The combination of Tom Baker, Louise Jameson and Dan Starkey as the Sontarian make this an irresistible draw.

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.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 21 December 2014
This is the first in the third series of Tom Baker Fourth Doctor Big Finish full cast audio adventures with Leela, played wonderfully as always by Louise Jameson. Neither Tom Baker nor Louise Jameson seem to sound a day older than they were when they played these character on tv in the 1970s, and their travels in the Tardis still sound as fresh as ever.

Of course, everyone who is about to listen to this story wants to know how it is that Leela can have this adventure, which clearly involves the Sontarans, and still not have her ‘first’ meeting with them until Invasion of Time. And it is done here, and it is done very cleverly – as John Dorney says in the booklet – “no memory wipe, no amnesia”.

The Tardis lands unexpectedly in the wrong place, and the Doctor is quick to understand that, for some reason the Time Lords have sent him on one of their ‘missions’ again – just like an odd job man, he grumbles as he and Leela set off to find out where they are, and what is wrong with the universe. Meanwhile, a twelve-strong Sontaran Assassination Squad has just been on the receiving end of their own punishment, and Strang has proven himself unkillable once again. But what is a Sontaran doing on Dowcra base, and why are the Sontarans trying to kill one of their own? Can the Doctor and Leela stop whatever is going on here, and can they even escape unharmed themselves?

This is a great story; it feels like a real ‘classic’ 1970s tv story, and you can imagine it being played out on the small screen wonderfully well. There is loads of action – from vast explosions to murderous killings, from beginning to end. And the Doctor and Leela are on top form – the Doctor is “mouthy” as Strang complains, and Leela is a “rogue female”. The supporting cast are excellent – from Dan Starkey as Strang, John Banks as Vilhol, and David Collings as Rosata in particular, to the other supporting cast members. Definitely a great Doctor Who story, and a great piece of John Dorney writing.
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on 19 July 2014
Great fun. Even though it's only an hour it really works. Good story and Tom Baker is on form with some really funny moments. I'll be buying more of these CDs.
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on 3 February 2016
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on 1 February 2014
I confess to being a big fan of Sontarans. Hence I’ve been eagerly awaiting this release that pitches them against the Fourth Doctor once more. Thankfully it doesn’t disappoint.

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.
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A new Doctor Who audio story. Featuring Tom Baker as the Doctor and Louise Jameson as his companion Leela. This is the start of a new season of audios for them.

This story is entirely stand alone and self contained and does not tie in with any other stories, so casual listeners can hear it without any problem.

The story runs for two episodes, of thirty minutes each [approx.] and is complete on a single cd.

It sees the TARDIS visit a remote base. Which is under the control of a ruthless leader, and where prisoners are being forced to work to aid an experiment. One that threatens all of the universe should it come to fruition.

Even a race who would usually oppose the Doctor want this stopped. Because the base is under the control of the greatest Sontaran ever cloned. A truly deadly foe. How can he be defeated?

Some people have said that the Sontarans have become a joke on the tv show, and aren't taken seriously any more. If you feel this way then you will want to listen to this story. Because this features Strang, a Sontaran who is entirely serious, immensely powerful and a truly excellent foe for the Doctor.

Actor Dan Starkey, who plays Sontarans on TV, voices Strang - among other characters - and as he did in the recent Seventh Doctor Audio 'Starlight Robbery' does some superb acting, making every character sound and act totally different.

Also in the cast is David Collings, best known as Silver in 'Sapphire and Steel' but also veteran of three Doctor who tv stories back in the day. He plays Rosato, a scientist, and turns in a wonderfully three dimensional performance, making him a man of many facets.

The story could have worked on tv at the time. As it features tunnels and running and shouting and shooting, and the Doctor and companion getting separated for a lot of it. But it's not just an action romp as all the supporting characters are so detailed it becomes a solidly character driven tale. And it presents them all with some moral dilemmas.

Leading to a final few scenes that you really won't forget in a hurry.

An excellent release and a great season opener. A highly recommended listen.

There's a trailer for the next release in this run on the cd track after the end of part two.

And just under ten minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the track after that.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 August 2015
All Sontarans are cloned equal - except Strang. He's the biggest, strongest, cleverest, most invincible Sontaran who has ever lived; the perfect Sontaran in fact - but the Sontaran Empire wants him stopped at all costs - and so do the Time Lords... 5* (2 episodes, 1 CD, 67 min + extras)

John Dorney's `The King of Sontar' is an exciting action adventure wrapped around a mystery and a moral dilemma. Strang and his plans pose a deadly threat - but to whom? Sontaran High Command has no doubts - they want him dead and send in the assassins. The Time Lords, foreseeing cosmic disaster, also send in their unofficial agents - because despite the Doctor's unshakable moral core, they know what he and Leela can do when they have to - but do they have the right...?

This is an excellent story that throws the Doctor and Leela into a cosmic crisis at the critical moment- as usual! On a bleak planet, at what was the scientific Dowcra Base, two dangerous experiments are coming together - one human, one Sontaran - and their combination could mean victory or disaster - but which and for whom? It depends who you believe. Should the Doctor and Leela trust a human scientist or a Sontaran general, or neither?

Tom Baker and Louise Jameson give superb performances as usual that are as perfect for their television era as are the writing and settings of the story. The Doctor is intense, flippant in the face of danger (but never overdoes it), is casually, even accidentally brilliant and displays a deeply-held morality that reminds us again that he's not human, he's better than that. But sometimes he might be wrong...

Leela is of course very human; an intelligent "savage" learning the Doctor's ways but still a warrior at heart. This is an excellent story for the character, giving her plenty of action and development and an ally who seems unlikely but is actually well-matched. He's also a warrior looking for victory and honour in battle - and Vilhol is a Sontaran. John Banks plays a Sontaran in a very untypical situation and makes a great companion for Leela throughout the story. It's a welcome reminder that the Sontarans are not just monsters (or comedy characters(!)) but militaristic aliens with their own warrior code, as Robert Holmes originally created them. Interestingly, this is Leela's first meeting with the Sontarans, *before* her `first meeting' with the Sontarans in `The Invasion of Time'... it does make sense, but it took me a while to work out why she wouldn't recognise them in the television story!

Dan Starkey adds another excellent Sontaran creation to his repertoire as General Strang, who definitely has his own `moral code' - but is it the usual Sontaran code of war and conquest, or not? His plans with human scientist Rosato (instantly recognisable as David Collings in another fine `Doctor Who' role) are certainly impressive - but are those plans for good or evil? Is Strang a traitor to his species, or is it Rosato, misled by scientific ambition? The Doctor has no doubts, but is he right? There's some clever misdirection in this story which shifts the listener's perspective around several times as we try to decide if the answers are the obvious ones or not.

This is definitely an action story in two episodes (32 + 35 minutes) full of explosions and gunfights in caves and corridor `sets' that are so easy to imagine from the 1970s peak of the classic series. Jamie Robertson's sound design conjures up the scenes and settings perfectly, David Seddon plays a convincing range of prisoners, mercenaries and Sontarans and Jenny Funnell plays Reaver, a mercenary who shows that some humans are worse than Sontarans!

But with the climax of the action come decisions for several characters - which side are they really on and how far will they go? The ending of the story is excellent and lifts it above being `just' an exciting adventure. With time fast running out, the Doctor has a moral and practical dilemma to solve which every fan of the classic television series will instantly recognise. It's a deliberate replay of an earlier decision - but this time, he isn't alone...

This adventure with depth is a `king' among Sontaran stories. 5*

(There's also the trailer for the next episode and an enjoyable 9 minute interview track. See if you agree with Louise Jameson about Leela's role in this one - I do!)
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on 1 June 2014
When I first listened to this release, I found it quite boring but when I listened to it again I found that I really enjoyed it. I don't know why I found it boring the first time but on the second listening it really is good. It's nice to hear the 4th Doctor and Leela together again. While not as good as some of the other 4th Doctor releases but it is well worth listening to.
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