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'Heroes of Sontar'

CD Audio adventure released April 2011. 4 episodes.

Writer: Jimmy Crof- sorry, Alan Barnes
Director: Ken Bentley

Roots: Dad's Army. The Seven Samurai (the planet Samur likely takes its name from this also) Kumbaya. Dad's Army ("We're doomed", "Napoleon", "Stupid boy" "Do Not Panic" etc) Labyrinth ("No, no. Can't hear you. Louder!") Turlough quotes from Virgil's Dulci Et Decorum Est (by way of Wilfred Owen, of course) and calls Vend "Humpty". The Sontarans' coronic acid tablets recall the cyanide tablets dispensed to senior officers by the German army in World War Two Blackadder Goes Forth (comic farce turns deadly serious on eve of actual battle) Tacitus ("He who turns and runs away lives to fight another day") The Doctor quotes the Scout promise, "I promise to do my best". Many of the Sontaran names are taken from cast members of Dad's Army (Thurr = Arthur Lowe, Clun= Clive Dunn, Mezz = Jon Le Mesurier, Nold = Arnold Ridley, Vend = Ian Lavender, Jorr = John Laurie, Pilot Bekk = James Beck). And of course, Dad's Army.

Intertextuality: Turlough's oath "Rehcthat alone knows how" invokes the villain of the companion spin-off novel Turlough and the Earthlink Dilemma.

Fluffs: A Witch Lord channels League of Gentlemen's Papa Lazarou: "The coward. It is you're taaaime naaaaow!"

Goofs: The names of Nyssa's children appear to be based on the unseen children in the Doctor's dream in Circular Time: Winter, rather than the one child she is revealed to have had, 'Neeka', in the same story.

"It's moss" "-Some sort of lichen, certainly", the Doctor agrees. Actually, there is a clear difference between the two. For a start, they're different species.

"Doubtless it'll set off any number of complex changes in the ecosystem" says the Doctor of the introduction of Sontaran DNA to a biological weapon, rather blithely. In fact, the faith among the TARDIS crew that Samur will recreate its entire ecosystem unaided is rather touching. Or it could just be a lazy wrap-up.

The Doctor confuses physiology with "physiognomy" (they're not interchangeable).

No wonder Nyssa's twice the biologist the Doctor is.

Dialogue Triumphs: "Come on, Turlough - show some backbone!" "-It's showing my backbone I'm afraid of - and all of my insides for that matter."

"The vexatiousness of these females. Doctor, how do you bear it?" "-Usually I just do as I'm told. Less painful all round."

Dialogue Disasters: "Humanoidlings"

The Martial Jurisdiction "gag"

"The traveller in time and space designated: The Doctor" (sigh)

"Hey, mind where you chunder!"

"What in the name of Rolf do you think you're playing at?" (A professional writing career, apparently)

Continuity: Samur is a refugee world, free from the Sontaran-Rutan conflict of the next galaxy. People from the middle galaxies used to visit Samur frequently for solace. Samur is in the Madillon Cluster, in the farthest reaches of the Sontaran Empire and for the past twenty years has technically lain in Rutan space. It has a rainy season. Traditionally one must be barefoot in the precincts of the Citadel, which have the wall of no division which stretch the length of the planet. The Citadel's ecosystem is a complex symbiosis between its buildings and their inhabitants.

The seven great clans of the Sontaran Empire are all clone descendants of the Empire's most decorated soldiers. According to Sontaran protocol the minimum number of trooper required for an execution party is three. Standing orders dictate that on field duty conservation of weapon energy is a priority. Standing Order 447 subclause 2 says mockery of a Sontaran officer is considered an act of war. The correct address to a Fleet Marshall is "your eminence". Sontaran comms work with organic crystallography. Sontarans do not recognise satire. Terra is a Class C civilisation by Sontaran reckoning.

The current theatre of battle between the Sontaran Empire and Rutan Gestalt is the Doghead Nebula. Other fields of battle include the Bloom Moons of Aldebaran. The Doctor declares himself to the Rutans as neutral "under the terms of the fifteenth treaty' "I and all of my associates should therefore be considered non-combatants and exempt from martial jurisdiction."

Clun is 35 years old - very old for a Sontaran, and was present at the carpet bombing of Samur under the orders of Fleet Marshall Stabb, with Agent Zed-oblique-stroke-zero-zero-two, a hundred canisters of which were deposited on the planet after six Sontaran divisions were slain by the Witch Lords, alien mercenaries hired by the Samuruians. The biological weapon looks like purple lichen or moss (see: Goofs). Stabb was honoured for his role and thus feted was cloned a million times over. He once had every tenth member of a division boiled down to make fabric liner for his uniform after it square-bashed in an unfavourable direction. Stabb's eardrums were blown out during the battle of Jenyk Zero by a ten million megaton detonation.

Fleet Marshall Stabb is on a Battle Sphere. Sontaran Battle Sphere contains a tank of Sontaran DNA fluid for potential reinforcements. Gravity spheres have forward-facing plasma cannons and no seatbelts. The door switch to a Gravity Sphere is the third panel on the left, while a yellow dial controls its scanner. Replenishing nutrient fluid is stored within the hull as a shock absorber. Clun's troops have an Attack Proximity Indicator. Every Sontarans use biotronic agitators to treat gangrene. Sontaran gravity clubs increase in weight automatically until one combatant can no longer wield their weapon, or succeed in bludgeoning the other. 560 pounds is too much for one Sontaran. Coronic acid destabilises the clone DNA - pills seem to only be issued to officers.

The reconstituted Witch Guard grows a head for each of its composite bodies. It is a gestalt entity, and is the most powerful as one body. It regards the Doctor as a great warrior. Witch Lords absorb memories as well as energies. The captured Witch Lord was vaporised with a plasma cannon. It dissipated into Stabb and corrupted his DNA before he was cloned further.

The TARDIS has a bio-agitator. None of the Doctor's companions have a TARDIS key [on them.]

Nyssa has a small grey data recorder from Terminus which she asks to be given to Lysarti on her death, containing the sum of her research into a Richters cure. The Doctor isn't to know about Lysarti for fear of jeopardising his own timeline. Her son Adric is a teenager ("not another one", says Tegan), while Tegan is older. Turlough says only Nyssa can operate the TARDIS.

Tegan's Aunt Vanessa was fond of saying "bog off"

Turlough pulls rank. 'Dulci et decorum est pro patria mori' is inscribed over the scroll of honour at Brendan School, dedicated to old boys who fell in war.

The Doctor carries a pocket knife.

Q.v. 'Sontarans and Rutans', 'The Sontaran-Rutan War'

Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor visited Samur less than thirty years ago.

Links: Castle of Fear, The Time Warrior ("I'm alive, by Linx I'm alive!"), The Invasion of Time (Stabb is apparently "still sore about that Gallifrey business"). The Doctor says "Brave Heart, Tegan." Nyssa uses the name Tremas as her access password (The Keeper of Traken) and mentions her husband Lysarti (Cobwebs and Circular Time) The Two Doctors (coronic acid). The Doctor refers to Daleks and Cybermen. Delta and the Bannermen (organic crystallography) Turlough refers to the underround complexes of Heiradi (Frontios)

Location: The planet Samur in the Madillon Cluster, Sontaran martial year 5709

The Bottom Line: "When a Sontaran calls you heroes, chances are you're doing the wrong thing."

There's a rather good story here beneath the ill-advised attempts at humour, but Tegan, written as a comedy Ocker, is at her most boorish, and if you're a Sontaran fan the eventual genuine pathos and pay-off may come too late after three episodes of the writer whacking you over the head with his big foam comedy mallet.

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