Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

This week we are Connecting the Docs. (Thanks KarenD for that name suggestion!) Join Deb, Liz, Lynne, and Tansy as they connect Season 13’s “War of the Sontarans” to the 4th Doctor story “The Sontaran Experiment”. We also take a side journey to revisit “The Time Warrior” as well as “The Sontaran Stratagem”.

Terrifying or hilarious? And how do you situate The Sontarans among the Trifecta of Big Bads? More ruthless than the Daleks? More methodical than the Cybermen? Drop us a tweet or let us know in the comments!


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Extra-special thanks to this week’s editor, Steven Schapansky of Castria!
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Comments on: "The Sontaran Experiment Gum" (6)

  1. Rebecca Rondomanski said:

    If any of you have not listened to Tom Baker read “Scratchman” I would encourage you to do so. It has Sarah Jane and Harry and I absolutely adore them. I wish we had gotten a few more episodes with good ole Harry.

  2. scooter27 said:

    With the Sontarans, besides their potato heads, they impressed me. As a military power, they look the part (in Classic Who). Daleks are Daleks, the early Cybermen were too robot-ish for me, but the Sontarans were built like Warriors! They looked like threats. In ‘Invasion of Time’ they even give Gallifrey a scare!

    When they were reintroduced in New Who, SUCH a disappointment! Now they were comically small, and they lost so much for me. I liked them more in “Flux”, but that story has its own issues.

    Speaking of 13, congratulations to Jodie on her pregnancy!! Wish her and her family the best!

  3. Icon_UK said:

    Some random thoughts, in no particular order, so sorry about that.

    Do you mind if I ask what the pun in the episode title is? I can normally spot them, but “Sontaran Experiment Gum” doesn’t ring any bells.

    The Sontarans remind me, in a way, of Star Trek’s Klingons inasmuch as they enjoy war and fighting for the sake of it. They also have the odd sense of honour, but almost refreshingly unlike the Klingon’s they’re not that obsessed about it,if it inconveniences them or gets i their adherence to strict military discipline.

    I liked the mention in The Time Warrior that they are short because they developed on a high gravity world, and as such are so densely muscled that they are incredibly physically strong on Earth, though I don’t think we’ve often seen that.

    In terms of the bureaucracy element (as well as the “Helmeted aliens whose heads actually match the weirdly shaped helmets”) they also make me think of the Judoon, and I know their design was modified in the new Serieas to blue uniforms, in ordre to avoid them looking too much like Judoon.

    If I remember A Good Man Goes to War correctly, Strax being a nurse was a punishment from the Doctor rather than someone the Sontarans made him do. It was to restore the lost honour of his clone batch, though we never did find out what that meant.

    I don’t imagine Sontarans having anything even equating to a nursing profession. If you’re injured you either heal on your own, or just accept that you’ve failed your batch and, well.. die.

    I did enjoy the return to brutish basics in Flux, especially picking the Crimean War ONLY because their Commander wanted to ride a horse (Given their dense muscle mass, I can only pity the poor horse). The junk food addiction was definitely a choice too.

  4. I really struggled with a name for this ep! I eventually gave up and went with “spearmint gum” because it’s tasty! 😀

    I really thought the Sontarans punished Strax, not the Doctor, but it’s been a while since I saw the ep in question.

    • Icon_UK said:

      The Sontara Ex-spearmint??!?

      I’m not sure how to typographically do justice to “the heartfelt groaning sound echoing from your deepest soul on realising just how awful the magnificently awful pun was”, so I’ll leave it to your imagination. 😀

      You may be right on the Strax bit, it is a bit vaguer than I recall. Using the probably reliable chakoteya [dot] net site the exchange is;

      HARCOURT: Commander Strax. I just have to ask. A Sontaran nurse?
      STRAX: I serve a penance to restore the honour of my clone batch. It is the greatest punishment a Sontaran can endure, to help the weak and sick.
      HARCOURT: Who came up with that one?
      (The sound of the Tardis materialising.)
      STRAX: Tonight, though, perhaps my penance is over.

      The timing of the TARDIS arriving and Strax recognising it’s sound, and thinking the Doctor can release him from his task, made me think it was the Doctor’s idea. But it may well have been the Sontaran higher ups instead.

  5. I am always brimming with joy when you look at stories from my favourite era, and like them! Seasons 11, 12 and 13 are basically when I fell in love with the show so it’s hard to be objective about them, but my love for them has not diminished over the years.

    The Time Warrior was one of the first stories I watched and I can tell you that Lynx taking his helmet off was one of the scariest things 4 year old me had ever seen! It gave me nightmares for weeks, and I found Styre only slightly less terrifying when I was 5! I’m convinced these experiences are part of the reason I first fell in love with horror, so both of these are very close to me heart.

    Invasion of Time is weird, but when I was a kid, I LOVED that we got to see more of the inside of the Tardis, even if it looked strangely like a disused hospital…

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