The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Leela to the site of an unlikely sight: Sontarans fighting another Sontaran. But the target of this operation is no ordinary Sontaran. A Sontaran platoon has been sent to kill – and has failed to kill – a seven-foot-tall Sontaran renegade called Strang. Thanks to a mishap with one of the clone warriors’ cloning vats, Strang has received the concentrated DNA of multiple Sontarans, making him almost unstoppable, and he has his eyes set on wiping out Sontar and its race of “inferior” Sontarans. The Doctor believes that the Time Lords have once again deposited him at a critical moment in history to do their dirty work: to stop Strang from making the Sontarans a far more dangerous race. And just as happened on Skaro, the Doctor has grave misgivings about carrying out this assignment… but others feel differently about the matter.
Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Dan Starkey (Strang / Hutchins), David Collings (Rosato), John Banks (Vilhol / Mercenary), David Seddon (Irving / Garn / Tashan / Mercenary 2), Jenny Funnell (Reaver)
Notes: Technically, this is Leela’s first encounter with the Sontarans, pre-dating The Invasion Of Time.
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: A two-parter heavy on action (which isn’t always the forte of an audio production), The King Of Sontar is a spiritual cousin to Genesis Of The Daleks, and the whole point of the story seems to be: what if, while the Doctor was asking himself “Have I the right?” and agonizing over it, someone else blew the charges for him? To some extent, we’ve seen something not unlike that before – one need only revisit the closing scenes of Doctor Who And The Silurians to see how betrayed the Doctor is when the Brigadier decides that the Time Lord isn’t the sole arbiter of right and wrong – but here we have the stark contrast between the stiff-upper-lip British crew that the Doctor had with him to face the Daleks, and the much more savage Leela, who has no qualms about eradicating an enemy fighting force before it is born. She pushes the button and feels no need to rationalize her decision – it’s purely a tactical, defensive measure, and it might just save countless worlds as well as dealing with their immediate dilemma.
Dan Starkey brings surprising new dimensions to Strang, bestowing something almost noble on the new model Sontaran before revealing that Strang is merely a more eloquent murderous brute. Tom Baker, on the other hand, gets to engage in almost-funny “strangulated” acting in numerous scenes. David Collings returns to the Big Finish fold to voice the misguided scientist Rosato, who doesn’t really care if he’s working for humans or for Sontaran killers. That character provides The King Of Sontar with a lot of its dramatic weight and ethical ambiguity.