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'The First Sontarans'

CD audio adventure released July 2012. 2 episodes

Writers: Andrew Smith
Director: Ken Bentley

Roots: Let's Make a Deal ("What's behind Door Number Two?") Peri mentions Nancy Drew. "Peri kept her head while I was losing mine" (Kipling)

Dialogue Triumphs: "The Doctor in a coat looking like every headache I've ever had" (so good he said it again a few minutes later)

"Die in a Sontaran embrace!!"

Continuity: The Doctor says the Sontarans are thousands of years old. He hasn't heard of the Kaveechi, although they know of Time Lords. Clen, Straak, Ensign Hokk and Commander Lorc of the First Sontaran Battle Fleet were of the same clone batch and both survived the Chare of the Skyllid Reach against the Rutans.

Sontar was originally the Kaveechi home world, a blue-green planet now scarred with battle and fortified continents which look as though they themselves are armoured. Roath created the Sontarans after the Rutan Host staged repeat attacks on their world. Roath was chief of the science directorate, providing an advanced clone breeding programme to create an army bred only for war. On the high-gravity world of Almis, a moon of Sontar, three million hatched in one week and turned the tide of the war before turning on their parent race both for being a weaker species and for possessing knowledge of Sontaran biology and weaknesses. After their uprising the Sontarans destroyed and erased all record of the Kaveech, but not before a few hundred escaped the planet and two (Meredith and Liandra) reached Earth ten years ago.

Hatcheries on board scout ships provide up to six-hundred thousand individual hatchlings. The Field Marshall is guardian to the un-hatched clone litter and is required to protect them and defend them with his body if necessary. Killing of individuals for any other reason than military duty is a martial offence. Judgement is administered by the Grand Marshall and a Table of Seven.

A Sontaran patrol numbers seven. Sontaran survival packs include photon grenades and distress beacons. Sontarans use transporter cells to teleport the TARDIS to their command ship. The TARDIS is the subject of a Sontaran High Command imperative. Sontarans measure time in units called "luminals." Sontaran doors have keypads (c/w The Poison Sky)

Liandra's biospecific gun is encoded to Sontaran DNA, targeting clone cellular structure, beginning with antrocytes in the brain, then agitating the body's stromal cells and breaking down the haemotopic system leading to total cellular collapse. In non-Sontaran species it would cause a mere headache. Using Sontaran time corridor technology Roath travelled into the future (c/w The Five Companions where the Sontarans do not possess this technology)

The Krelliban of Krellibas were supposed allies of the Kaveech, but were enslaved by the Rutan centuries ago according to the Doctor.

Rutans are from Ruta 3, bleed green ichor and do not usually adopt human form very well (but can with practice.) In combat Rutans have the upper hand at close range, but out of tentacle reach the Sontarans have the advantage. A sensation of cold precedes the Rutans.

The Doctor has an audio recording of himself reciting Sir Walter Scott's The Lady of the Lake (with a poor Scots accent)

Untelevised Adventures: Fleet Marshall Jaka recalls that the Doctor was involved in the capture of the lead Fleet during the invasion of Mephistra Enclave. The advance group was captured before the fleet could pass through the defence shield.

Links: The Chase (The Doctor mentions the Daleks' involvement in the mystery of the Marie Celeste) Mention of the Zero Room. The Doctor says the Marie Celeste is a "fixed point"

Location: The Moon, Sussex 1872

The Bottom Line: "There are casualties in all wars, on all worlds. It's no shame"

Clever and stylish, and most impressively, restrained. It's hard not to listen to The First Sontarans, a story set aside to make way for The Two Doctors, without comparing Smith's story with what appeared onscreen. The two are very much separate entities, and yet Smith's story, devoid of returning Doctors and companions, and with a brief that not only tells the genesis of the Sontarans but does it in an engaging and original way AND includes a Sontaran-Rutan battle (a fanboy's cream) knocks the Savillean socks off the eventual story told by the Sontarans' creator. It's a real shame this wasn't filmed, and a great find by Big Finish.

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