Doctor Who Monsters, Aliens and Villains

Sontarans
A Sontaran
A Sontaran
 Name: Sontarans

 Format: Television show and Book.

 Time of Origin: Planet unknown, but they have apparently been at war since before Man evolved and exist into the future

 Appearances: "The Sontarans", "The Time Warrior", "The Sontaran Experiment", "The King of Sontar", "The Invasion of Time", "Heroes of Sontar", "The Five Companions", "Twelve Doctors of Christmas: Sontar’s Little Helpers", "Lords of the Storm", "Warmonger", "The Two Doctors", "The First Sontarans", "Terror of the Sontarans", "Shakedown", "Starlight Robbery", "The Eight Doctors", "The Sontaran Ordeal", "Master of the Daleks", "The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky", "The Sontaran Games", "The Last Sontaran", "The Taking of Chelsea 426", "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang", "The Gunpowder Plot", "A Good Man Goes to War"; Strax appears with the rest of the Pasternoster Gang in "A Good Man Goes to War", "The Snowmen", "The Crimson Horror", "The Name of The Doctor", "Deep Breath" and "Silhouette"

 Doctors: First Doctor, Second Doctor, Third Doctor, Fourth Doctor, Fifth Doctor, Sixth Doctor, Seventh Doctor, Eighth Doctor, Tenth Doctor and Eleventh Doctor.

 Companions: Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom, Jamie, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan, Leela, K9, Nyssa, Tegan Jovanka, Turlough, Peri, Melanie Bush, Bernice Summerfield, Roslyn Forrester, Chris Cwej, Elizabeth Klein, Will Arrowsmith, Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Amy Pond and Rory Williams.

 History: After the obvious examples of the Daleks and the Cybermen, the Sontarans may be The Doctor’s most recurring alien adversary. A race of warriors, the Sontarans are apparently all clones, natural reproduction having seemingly ended long ago. Their exact origins are unknown to the galaxy at large, but some sources claim that they are all descended from the genetic stock of General Sontar (or Sontaris), who used newly developed bioengineering techniques to clone millions of duplicates of himself and annihilated the non-clone population, renamed the race after himself and turned the Sontarans into an expansionist and warlike society set on universal conquest.

Video - The Time Warrior
The Time Warrior
 Originating from a high-gravity world in the southern spiral arm of the galaxy, the Sontarans are significantly stronger than humans, recharging through a ‘probic vent’ on the back of their necks rather than by eating (Although the vent is also their only weakness; the Fifth and Tenth Doctors - as well as the Tenth Doctor’s companion Donna Noble - have escaped Sontarans by hitting them on the vent with a cricket ball, a tennis ball, and a hammer respectively, thus leaving the Sontaran temporarily disorientated and allowing them to flee, and one Sontaran was killed simply by firing an arrow into the vent). While their technology appears straightforward, the Sontarans’ armour has been noted as being particularly advanced, to the extent that a Sontaran once jumped into molten lava and was unaffected ("The Sontarans"). The Sontarans have long been at war with a race of shape-shifting jellyfish-like aliens known as the Rutans, a war that had essentially been waged since before Man walked upright, and with both sides now ignorant of what started it, although The Doctor noted that the Rutans’ rapid ability to divide and the Sontarans’ accelerated clone hatcheries suggested that the Sontarans were created specifically to contain the equally-rapidly-reproducing Rutans even before he learned the truth about their origins ("The First Sontarans"). Thorough in their military planning, the Sontarans take care to study every race that they may go up against before entering into conflict with them, with every action they take being defined by a military viewpoint. They consider themselves as having a sense of honour, such as only attacking other warriors, and respect other species only so long as they have proven themselves in a military campaign or combat, but their military mindset means that they regard any race as an enemy, while their arrogance causes them to denounce others as inferior simply because they are not Sontaran. Despite their abilities as warriors, the Sontarans’ focus on the Rutans has limited the threat they may pose to the rest of the universe, with the result that, aside from ensuring that innocents are not caught up in the war, The Doctor has only ever acted to maintain the détente established by the Sontaran/Rutan war rather than end it as the resolution of the conflict would leave the winner free to turn on the rest of the universe.

 The Doctor initially confronted the Sontarans in his first incarnation while on the run from the Daleks with Steven Taylorand Sara Kingdom ("The Daleks' Master Plan"). Attempting to rest on a moon-sized asteroid on a figure-of-eight asteroid belt between two gas giants, the three became caught in a conflict between members of the Space Security Services and a Sontaran platoon, the SSS forces seeking to take control of a Sontaran space cannon that would allow them to destroy any human ships passing through the only safe path through the asteroid belt (Which was made more complicated as Sara knew of this event from history, although Steven was only aware of the Sontarans from his past history as a pilot without ever having faced them directly). Despite the Sontarans infiltrating the SSS team using a stolen Rutan device to transform one of their own into a human, as well as the Sontarans managing to capture and interrogate Steven after a cave-in separated him from the rest of the team, the TARDIS crew and the SSS team leader were able to reach the cannon and destroy it with the aid of the asteroid’s native population. Although the cannon was no longer a threat, Sara’s knowledge of the future revealed that the asteroid would be found deserted around a year from then, suggesting that the Sontarans would kill them in revenge for this action, although the natives decided to hope for the best.

 Based on The Doctor’s future recollections, his next encounter with the Sontarans took place in his third incarnation while investigating some missing scientists at a conference (Where he also first met his long-term companion Sarah Jane Smith). Having crash-landed on Earth in the twelth century, a Sontaran warrior known as Linx, determined to escape and return to the war against the Rutans, formed an alliance with a local warlord known as Irongron, providing Irongron with advanced weapons (Admittedly only musket rifles, but they were impressive by the standards of the time) in exchange for somewhere to repair his ship. Using an osmic projector, Linx managed to draw back scientists from the twentieth century and mesmerise them to repair the ship for him, but The Doctor and Sarah managed to follow the scientists (Although Sarah initially thought The Doctor was the man responsible). Aided by Sir Edward of Wessex, The Doctor repelled one of Irongron’s attacks, subsequently drugging Irongron’s food to knock his men out while he sent the scientists back to the present. Linx attempted to escape in his ship, but was killed by an arrow to the probic vent shortly before his ship exploded, presumably due to the incomplete repairs it had undergone.

Video - The Sontaran Experiment
The Sontaran Experiment
During a visit to Earth in the distant future, the planet currently almost uninhabited as it recovered from serious solar flares several millennia ago, the Fourth Doctor, Sarah and Harry Sullivan discovered that Sontaran warrior Styre was carrying out experiments on a human team of astronauts who had landed on Earth to assess its condition, Styre wanting to determine human weaknesses before the Sontarans invaded Earth in force. Having determined the location of Styre's ship and assessed his experiments to date, The Doctor challenged Styre to single combat, claiming that he was the true warrior-class of the human race while Styre had just been assessing their slaves. Although The Doctor was unable to defeat Styre, he was able to use Styre's inexperience with Earth's gravity to keep him occupied long enough for Harry to sneak into Styre's ship and sabotage the system that provided Styre with energy when he needed to recharge. When Styre returned to his ship, weakened by his fight with The Doctor, Harry's sabotage caused the ship to feed on Styre rather than the other way around, leaving The Doctor to contact the Sontaran fleet and bluff them into abandoning their invasion now that Styre's data had been destroyed and the humans were ready for them.

Audio - The King of Sontar
The King of Sontar
(John Dorney)
When the Time Lords diverted the TARDIS to the planet Dowcra ("The King of Sontar"), The Doctor and Leela found themselves facing General Strang, a Sontaran general created when the hatchery that should have created an entire Sontaran platoon was 'concentrated' into one Sontaran, with the result that Strang was around seven feet tall, significantly stronger and smarter than the average Sontaran, and even lacked the usual weakness of a probic vent. Considering the Sontaran leadership to be inferior as they focused on the Rutans alone and took prisoners rather than kill their defeated enemies, Strang 'defected' from the Sontaran army, killing most of his old platoon and establishing a team of mercenaries, intending to use a space/time portal that had been discovered on Dowcra by the scientist Rosato to destroy the Sontaran leaders and then replace the Sontaran race with clones of himself. Although Leela managed to stage an uprising among the slaves while The Doctor tried to convince Rosato to stop, Rosato had spent so long convincing himself of the value of the portal that he couldn't accept the need to destroy it, until the sight of Strang trying to strangle The Doctor and Leela after ordering the execution of his prisoners forced Rosato to recognise that his more benevolent dreams for the portal's use would never come to pass. When Leela triggered the bomb to destroy the portal as Strang and Rosato fell into it, the resulting explosion scattered their atoms all over the cosmos as the portal lost its integrity, Leela subsequently destroying Strang's cloning vats despite The Doctor contemplating 'reprogramming' their genetic reproduction to make the clones more benevolent as she felt that The Doctor's idea was too risky.

Video - The Invasion of Time
The Invasion of Time
 During The Doctor’s next encounter with them, the Sontarans launched their most ambitious scheme to date, as they attempted to conquer Gallifrey itself ("The Invasion of Time"). To this end, they used a race called the Vardans to provide a ‘cover’ for their invasion, the Vardans sending out a message that they were seeking to make an alliance with a renegade Time Lord to penetrate the transduction barriers around Gallifrey. To stop one of the other rogue Time Lords out there from doing it instead, The Doctor pretended to betray his planet, opening a hole in the barriers to allow the Vardans through and subsequently using the teleportation to locate the Vardan homeworld and trap it in a time loop. Taking advantage of the brief hole in the barriers, the Sontarans arrived on Gallifrey, but The Doctor managed to end the threat by trapping the Sontaran leader in the TARDIS and killing him with a forbidden Time Lord weapon; the De-Mat Gun, which erased the target from Time itself.

 While attempting to visit the Lake District, The Doctor, Romana and K9 found themselves apparently caught up in a Sontaran conflict with humans on an unidentified planet ("The Eternal Battle"). However, when The Doctor and Romana witnessed various Sontarans and humans become reanimated as ‘zombies’ after they were killed, they realised that something more was going on, prompting The Doctor to try and make contact with the human forces with Sergeant Major Stom while Romana tried to find an explanation for the reanimation. In their search, The Doctor and Stom learned that the battle was one of many that had been taken out of time by the Cycons, a mysterious race from the twilight of the universe, who had brought various minor battles into their time to use as an example of the futilities of war, with the reanimation effect the result of the time loops intended to revert each battle to its beginning breaking down. Revealing that the Cycon civilisation had died out in the distant past in an unknown conflict, The Doctor convinced the Cycon A.I. that it had to release the remaining combatants, leaving the few surviving soldiers to make some kind of life for themselves on the barren planet, The Doctor suggesting that Stom could act as a leader to these soldiers after the independent thought and curiosity he had shown in his time with The Doctor.

Audio - Heroes of Sontar
Heroes of Sontar
(Alan Barnes)
 While attempting to find a peaceful location to visit, the Fifth Doctor took his companions Tegan Jovanka, Turlough and Nyssa to the planet Samar ("Heroes of Sontar"), only to discover that it was currently on the outskirts of the ever-expanding Sontaran empire, the Sontarans having infected the planet with a biological weapon - the resulting virus infecting Nyssa, although her companions were able to find a cure - after the natives had unleashed a mysterious being known as the 'Witch Guard' on any Sontarans visiting the planet, the Witch Guard consisting of seven swordsmen who had torn through the Sontaran forces sent against them. Attempting to end the apparent 'curse' of the Witch Guard, who had decreed that the Sontarans would know only defeat until seven of Sontar's greatest sons were sacrificed to repay the blood spilled, the Sontarans sent a squad of seven Sontarans, each one a deliberately -weakened clone of a great Sontaran hero, to the planet. In a confrontation with the Sontaran mothership that had sent the squad, the Fifth Doctor soon realised that the 'curse' was actually the result of one of the Witch Guard 'contaminating' the Sontaran commander of the original mission; since Sontarans cloned the leaders of successful campaigns such as the original victory over the Witch Guard, his tainted DNA caused his clones to make numerous subtle errors, although the original was the only one paying close enough attention to realise what was happening. The Doctor was able to escape back to Samar and warn his companions, but the Witch Guard had already absorbed most of the Sontaran squad. Fortunately, the last member of the Squad took his suicide pills before the Witch Guard could absorb him into its gestalt nature, his death while part of the resulting gestalt destabilising the Witch Guard and causing it to explode.

 When investigating a distress call, the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough discovered a small fighter craft and a freighter bound for a distant colony, the freighter populated only by robots as it was intended to ship supplies to the colony ahead of the colonists ("Twelve Doctors of Christmas: Sontar's Little Helper"). Just as the fighter was identifyied as the source of the distress call, the three travellers were captured by Sontaran Lieutenant Braast, who swiftly identified The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough by species. Confirming that Turlough had a military rank from his peoples' old civil war, Braast decided that he would use Turlough as the new pilot of the fighter; Braast had only recently emerged from his clone vat and sought to defeat another species in battle to prove his worth, but the original fighter pilot had fled and suffocated before Braast could catch up. With Turlough forced to pilot the fighter, he was able to keep Braast occupied long enough for The Doctor to take components from the freighter's robot crew and use them to construct an override circuit that took control of the robots Braast was using to keep the TARDIS crew 'hostage'. With Braast's robots now under The Doctor's control, his ship was programmed to return to the Sontaran fleet, Braast doomed to face punishment for his failure while The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough took the freighter on to the colony it was scheduled to visit.


Book - Lords of the Storm
Lords of the Storm
(David A. McIntee)
During a visit to the human colony world of Raghi - located in an area of space that had once been populated by The Tzun - the Fifth Doctor and Turlough ("Lords of the Storm") discovered a strange new disease that was sweeping the colony as well as several missing scientists. Discovering that the Sontarans had taken control of Raghi’s sister colony Agni and were kidnapping the scientists, The Doctor soon discovered that Raghi’s entire population were being used as bait for a Rutan trap. The strange disease The Doctor was investigating caused all humans infected with it to register as Sontarans on the Rutan scanners, driving the Rutans to avoid that area of space, and thus giving the Sontarans unrestricted access to Tzun technology. Contacting the Rutans, The Doctor managed to make a deal with them, exchanging the truth about the colony - while avoiding to mention the Tzun technology - for their promise not to harm the humans, provoking a conflict between the two enemies that ended when one of The Doctor’s allies sacrificed themselves to stop an unstable ship from destroying the colony. Returning to the TARDIS, The Doctor and Turlough escaped, unaware that a disguised Rutan agent had escaped after learning that the Sontarans had uncovered some vital information about the Rutans.

Book - Warmonger
Warmonger
(Terrance Dicks)
 The Doctor’s subsequent meeting with Sontarans remains unique among his battles with them; in this instance, he actually worked with them rather than against them. Arriving at a time period in Gallifrey’s own past, The Doctor found himself pitted against a past version of his old enemy Morbius, who was attempting to conquer the galaxy ("Warmonger"). Forced to recruit his own army to oppose Morbius, The Doctor gathered together such diverse races as the Draconians, Ice Warriors, Cybermen, Ogrons and Sontarans into an Alliance that would confront the former Time Lord President, although the Sontarans mainly joined with the intention of learning the strategies of the others in the event of future conflicts. During the war, The Doctor earned a great deal of respect from the Sontaran commander, Battle-Major Streg, for his unconventional approach to the conflict; Streg even gave his own life in the final battle to save The Doctor from being fired upon by a ground-mounted laser cannon, his last words being to thank The Doctor for allowing him the honour of a place in a legendary battle and a glorious death. On The Doctor’s insistence, rather than being thrown into the burial pit with the other bodies, the Sontarans buried Streg with full military honours, in a ceremony attended by the entire Alliance, before The Doctor departed from his role as military leader.

 The Doctor’s next encounter with Sontarans, while not one of the most challenging, was certainly one of the most personal, particularly since it involved two different incarnations of him; the Second Doctor and the Sixth Doctor ("The Two Doctors"). During his period of working for the Celestial Intervention Agency ("World Game"), the Second Doctor was sent to investigate a space station that was conducting experiments in time travel, led by his old friend Dastaari. However, Dastaari’s assistant, Chessene, was an artificially augmented Androgum - a race who exist solely for the pleasure of eating new things - and her resolve to put herself among the gods had driven her to form an alliance with the Sontarans to give them time travel. They attempted to duplicate the Second Doctor’s Rassilon Inprimatur - the symbiotic nuclei that gave Time Lords a link to their TARDISes - so that non-Time Lords could safely use the time travel capsules (The Doctor's companions were always protected by the presence of The Doctor in the TARDIS) but the Sixth Doctor managed to rescue his past self and sabotage the time-travel capsule, causing the Sontaran who used it to collapse as the stresses of the time vortex disrupted his biodata while the rest were killed by a trap set by Chessene that doused them in coronic acid.

Audio - The First Sontarans
The First Sontarans
(Andrew Smith)
 The Sixth Doctor and Peri had another particularly significant encounter with the Sontarans when they arrived in 1872 on a trip to the Moon and witnessed a crashed object on the Moon ("The First Sontarans"). Examining the object in the TARDIS, they found a satellite relay that had crashed on the Moon, repeatedly sending a message into space, which The Doctor’s examination revealed was simply ‘We are here’ repeated. Tracking the signal back to its approximate origin, they discovered the presence of a group of alien refugees on Earth, identifying themselves as the Kaveetch, hiding from the Sontarans after the destruction of their homeworld. Befriending Kaveetch scientists Roath and Leandra, The Doctor and Peri learned that the Kaveetch were the creators of the Sontaran race; the original inhabitants of Sontar, the Kaveetch had created the Sontaran clone-warriors to defend their planet against the Rutans millennia ago, only for the Sontarans to turn on the Kaveetch after the war was over as they represented a potential strategic threat due to their knowledge of Sontaran weaknesses, a few hundred Kaveetch being the only survivors after they used their time-travel technology to send themselves into the future. Although Leandra had attempted to form an alliance with the Rutans to stop the Sontarans, the Sontarans managed to track down the Kaveetch before the weapons could be put into mass production, destroying all Kaveetch survivors save for Roath and Leandra when they tried to evacuate via transporter when the Sontarans destroyed the Kaveetch ship. Fortunately, despite the Sontarans’ attempt to capture The Doctor and Roath and take them back to the Sontaran homeworld for trial, Peri and Leandra were able to escape and rescue their friends, a subsequent Rutan attack resulting in the destruction of both ships while the four of them retreated to the TARDIS. Roath and Leandra decided to abandon their previous thoughts of revenge, recognising that it had done nothing but cause more pain, The Doctor taking them to a new, unnamed planet to start again, creating a new family as they set to work rebuilding their race together.

Audio - Terror of the Sontarans
Terror of the Sontarans
(John Dorney and Dan Starkey)
 While responding to a distress call, the Seventh Doctor and Mel found themselves in an abandoned human mining colony that had been re-appropriated as a Sontaran research base ("Terror of the Sontarans"), only for the Sontaran research team assigned there to have gone insane, most of them now dead and the surviving commander now a gibbering wreck hiding in the cells under a blanket made from his former uniform. When a new Sontaran force was sent to investigate, The Doctor realised that the cause of the mental imbalance being experienced by everyone in the colony was the telepathic influence of a silicon-based life-form in the base's former mines, which identified itself as 'the Bloom', absorbing the emotions of the residents of the facility to allow itself to grow. While the original miners had only been affected by the Bloom after prolonged exposure to it, the Sontarans' experiments at influencing human emotions as part of their research had given the Bloom far more emotional material to 'feed' on, the Bloom's further efforts driving the Sontarans and the former prisoners to increasingly irrational actions, such as Sontarans fighting each other in the dark in a brief panic and one of the prisoners trying to break a glass observation dome despite the planet's tainted atmosphere. As a result of this emotional 'stimuli', the Bloom had achieved sentience at the cost of making it far more hostile due to the Sontarans' violent nature, now manifesting as a dust cloud that consumed the humans and Sontarans to gain their knowledge and experience. Despite acknowledging the Bloom as a sentient creature with a right to exist, The Doctor refused to let it continue in its current state due to the danger it posed to others, tricking the last Sontaran present into carrying bombs directly into the Bloom while he, Mel and the remaining human survivors retreated to the TARDIS, The Doctor hopeful that the explosion would disperse the Bloom to such an extent that it would have to start its 'evolution' over again and hopefully become something more peaceful.

Book - Shakedown
Shakedown
(Terrance Dicks)
 Two incarnations after the confrontation on Raghi, the Seventh Doctor, now accompanied by Bernice Summerfield, Chris Cwej and Roslyn Forrester, set out to track down the Rutan agent and learn what had been discovered in the Sontaran data banks ("Shakedown"). Despite the agent's attempt to escape, The Doctor eventually discovered that the Sontarans had learned of the existence of a natural wormhole between the Rutan homeworld and the planet Sentarion. The Rutans had intended to use the wormhole to allow their Queen to escape if the homeworld was ever directly attacked, but it could just as easily be used to send a Sontaran strike force directly after the Queen. Unwilling to allow the Sontaran/Rutan war to end and leave the winners free to turn on the rest of the universe, The Doctor managed to re-route the wormhole just as a Sontaran ship entered, turning it into an infinite loop that could never be escaped, the remaining Sontaran forces subsequently being overpowered by the Sentarii (Who had long worshipped the Rutans as gods).

 Some time later, while searching for the recently-abducted Kurt Schalk, creator of the 'Persuasion Machine' that could make anyone within a certain range believe anything programmed into it ("Persuasion"), the Seventh Doctor, accompanied by Elizabeth Klein and Will Arrowsmith, was forced to infiltrate an alien arms sale organised by the frog-like Garundel to acquire Schalk and the plans for the machine ("Starlight Robbery"). Although Garundel's true agenda was to steal the weapons of all the attendees while only 'selling' fakes and makeshift versions of the true weapons, the Sontarans were able to recover the armoury he was attempting to steal, only for The Doctor to use Garundel's makeshift Persuasion machine to 'convince' the Sontarans to recharge while he and his companions retrieved the equipment. However, it was later revealed that the Schalk who was on sale at the auction was actually the original Schalk's assistant, Schalk having used the machine to convince himself and his assistant that they were each other to hide his memory of the plans, Garundel having set up the auction to throw off other people from searching for Schalk while his true 'allies', the Daleks, sought the original Schalk ("Daleks Among Us").

Book - The Eight Doctors
The Eight Doctors
(Terrance Dicks)
 During a brief period where he had contracted amnesia and was visiting his past selves to regain his memories ("The Eight Doctors"), the Eighth Doctor’s visit to the Fifth was complicated by the actions of a renegade Time Lord called Ryoth who had acquired the Timescoop, ancient Time Lord technology that plucked people out of one location in time and space and sent them to another. Attempting to kill The Doctors, Ryoth initially sent a Raston Warrior Robot to The Doctors’ current location, but when The Doctors overloaded it by using their identical brainwaves to confuse it - it seemed to be sensing the same target in two different places - he sent a squad of Sontarans to confront them. Fortunately, the Eighth Doctor managed to convince Commander Vrag that the Raston Robot was a vital part of the TARDIS operating system. Vrag thus reactivated it, and the robot slaughtered its way through the Sontarans until Vrag was able to stop it momentarily by tearing its head off. The Doctors then rigged up a device to generate temporal feedback, and when the infuriated Ryoth attempted to send a Drashig after them, it materialized instead in the Timescoop chamber, where it ate both Ryoth and the Timescoop machinery before being caught and destroyed by Chancellory guards.

 As Time Lord/Dalek relations became increasingly tense, the Sontarans were used by the Daleks as raw material to create new Dalek troops, although this was not a purely Dalek scheme but part of a plan by the Master to make a deal with the Daleks for control over a number of conquered worlds in exchange for aiding them in the conquest of Earth ("Master of the Daleks"), but The Doctor defeated this plan by stealing the Master's TARDIS, leaving him trapped in the middle of a Dalek/Sontaran war (The exact outcome of this conflict is unknown, but most likely the Master stole a Dalek time transport to escape and the Daleks eventually defeated this wave of Sontarans).

Audio - The Sontaran Ordeal
The Sontaran Ordeal
(Andrew Smith)
 When the Time War between the Daleks and the Time Lords began in earnest, the Sontarans sought to become part of this great conflict, but were always ignored by both sides. When the history of the planet Drakkis was permanently rewritten to one of perpetual conflict after a battle in the Time War disrupted this part of the vortex ("The Sontaran Ordeal"), the Sontarans sent a battlefleet there to try and make contact with either side of the war, only for Drakkis to become a focus for a feud in the Sontaran fleet. Sontaran Commander Jask had recently attempted to report his fellow commander Stenk for a recent conflict where Stenk had left ten thousand of his men to die in a pointless conflict simply to cover his own escape when there was still a chance to retrieve them, only for Stenk to prevent Jask making contact with Sontaran High Command and later set Jask up as a failure by sending him to attack one of Drakkis's major cities after giving him inadequate information and manpower. Faced with disgrace, Jask was forced to undertake the Sontaran Ordeal, where Sontarans would perform a dangerous task to redeem their honour if they survived, Jask testing an attempt to modify the Sontaran teleport relay pads to transport organic matter rather than just inorganic objects, as a means of bypassing their current dependence on receiving platforms for organic teleportation. The attempt initially appeared successful, but Jask was soon forced to ally with the Eighth Doctor - who had attempted and failed to divert the Time War from Drakkis before its history had been corrupted - and volunteer paladin Sarana Teel (who had volunteered to negotiate a truce between Drakkis's two major cities in the face of the Sontaran threat) when Stenk sent down a Sontaran lieutenant to ensure that Jask didn't return. When The Doctor determined that the teleportation test had actually damaged Jask's cellular structure and he only had days to live at most, Jask agreed to help The Doctor defeat Stenk, recognising that any invasion of Drakkis would only be to ensure Stenk's personal glory rather than being of any benefit to the Sontarans' greater goals. Using the scoutship that had brought Jask's would-be assassin down to Drakkis, the three travelled up to the Sontaran flagship so that The Doctor could sabotage the teleportation system before Jask 'killed' The Doctor (actually stunning him and putting him in the incinerator used for Sontaran dead, The Doctor having already programmed a set of teleport relays to transport the TARDIS there after the incinerator doors closed) and announced Stenk's true actions to the rest of the fleet, Stenk being taken for court-martial while Jask cancelled his planned invasion of Drakkis.

Video - Bred For War
Bred For War - The Sontaran Collection
 Initially, it was believed that the Sontarans would not be returning in the new series, although their influence was still witnessed; their appearance went on to inspire the look of the helmeted Judoon, a rhinoceros-like race who wore domed helmets and black armour that resembled the Sontarans. The Sontarans themselves returned in the two-part adventure "The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky", where they attempted to invade Earth by making contact with teenage genius Luke Rattigan, providing him with the means to create global navigation systems for every car on the planet - the navigation systems being equipped with gas bombs, - while ‘promising’ him that they would take him and a select group to another planet to begin again. They even managed to infiltrate UNIT by brainwashing soldiers, going so far as to create a clone of the Tenth Doctor’s past companion Martha Jones, although the clone required the original Martha to be kept alive to allow it to access her memories and thus present a convincing front to the UNIT senior staff. Fortunately, The Doctor easily identified Martha as a clone, leaving her alone so that he could pass on disinformation to the Sontarans while working out their plan. Having analysed the gas, he realised that it was the same gas used on Sontaran clone worlds; the Sontarans intended to turn Earth into another clone planet, thus allowing them to grow multiple clones and thus gain even more forces in the Rutan war. Convincing Rattigan that the Sontarans had no intention of keeping their word - and with his fellows having abandoned his insane plan, - The Doctor used an atmospheric generator Luke had created to destroy the gas already in the atmosphere. Knowing that the Sontarans would now simply destroy Earth, The Doctor reprogrammed the atmospheric generator to ignite the atmosphere in the Sontaran ship, subsequently teleporting up to the ship to give the Sontarans one last chance to depart, regardless of the fact that igniting the atmosphere would kill him as well. Even after the Sontarans rejected his order for them to depart, The Doctor was unable to trigger the generator, but, at the last minute, Rattigan used the Sontaran teleporter to switch places with The Doctor, sacrificing himself to destroy the Sontarans and redeem himself.

Book - The Sontaran Games
The Sontaran Games
(Jacqueline Rayner)
Despite the devastating nature of this defeat, a single Sontaran managed to escape the destruction in the form of Command Kaagh. Attempting to avenge his peoples’ defeat, Kaagh attempted to annihilate humanity by bringing Earth’s satellites down to crash into the nuclear power plants, trigger a chain reaction that would destroy the human race, but his plan was discovered by Sarah Jane Smith and her ‘team’ of teenage investigators, her adopted son Luke reprogramming the computer that Kaagh had been using to ground the satellites while Kaagh was knocked out by Chrisse Jackson - the mother of Sarah’s young friend Maria -, forced to return to his homeworld in disgrace after his ship’s engines were disabled ("The Last Sontaran"). Kaagh returned to Sarah Jane’s life while working with Mrs Wormwood - a member of the alien race known as the Bane, who had created Luke Smith as part of their plan to invade Earth ("Invasion of the Bane"), Sarah’s defeat of their plan leaving Mrs Wormwood exiled from her kind -, the two having been exiled from their kind for their failures. In an attempt to gain new power, the two attempted to trick Sarah into helping them uncover the resting place an ancient immortal warrior known as Horath, whose body and mind were separated at the moment of his defeat, by stealing the fabled Tunguska Scroll - containing the location of Horath’s body - from UNIT’s Black Archives, claiming that the Bane were after it for themselves when in reality Mrs Wormwood and Kaagh had discovered Horath’s mind and now sought his body (Horath was actually a computer powerful enough to command the physical laws of the universe). With the aid of the now-retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sarah was able to gain access to the scroll, which led them to a stone circle that served as the ‘door’ to the pocket dimension where Horath’s body had been left after his defeat. After Luke managed to convince Kaagh that Mrs Wormwood had no intention of sharing power with him after she had awakened Horath, Kaagh sacrificed himself to defeat Mrs Wormwood and restore his honour ("Enemy of the Bane").

The Tenth Doctor had another confrontation with the Sontarans when visiting the British Academy of Sporting Excellence, training elite athletes for the Globe Games, prompted to investigate reports of the recent strange deaths of some of the academy’s students ("The Sontaran Games"). Witnessing Sontarans in the corridors while examining the dead students - swiftly determining that the victims had been killed by electrocution -, The Doctor and his allies were trapped in the Academy when the Sontarans surrounded the building with a force field while also electrifying the TARDIS to prevent The Doctor escaping. While The Doctor was forced to compete against the humans in various sporting events in an outside arena, his new friend Emma was able to disable the force field that the Sontarans had erected to keep the javelins, hammers and discuses away from the humans, allowing the humans to kill their enemies. Although The Doctor deduced that ‘Emma’ was really a Rutan who had killed the real Emma to take her place and trigger a diplomatic incident at the Games, he gave her the option of travelling with him after he realised that she had shown concern for the other athletes at the Academy when she hadn’t needed to do so, but an attack by the injured General Stenx resulted in the two enemies destroying each other before The Doctor could learn what Emma’s answer would have been.

Book - The Taking of Chelsea 426
The Taking of Chelsea 426
(David Llewellyn)
The Doctor’s third encounter with the Sontarans in his tenth incarnation took place on the colony Chelsea 426, in orbit of Saturn, in the twenty-sixth century. Arriving on the colony for a brief holiday, The Doctor attending the local flower show out of idle curiosity, but was shocked to learn that the show was exhibiting strange plants discovered on Saturn itself, with matters becoming further complicated when the Sontarans arrived. Allowing himself to be arrested so that he could talk to the Sontaran commander, The Doctor learned that the plants were actually part of a Rutan attempt to infiltrate the Sontarans, the plant spores being Rutans and the plants having been left on Saturn - apparently during the events of "The Sontaran Strategem/The Poisoned Sky" - with the intention that the newly-produced Sontaran clones on Earth would be infested by the plant spores, only for the failure of the Sontaran plan resulting in the spores being left on Saturn for centuries until the colony discovered them. Although The Doctor was unable to convince the Sontarans to depart by pointing out the impracticality of them trying to identify the Rutan hosts among the colony, he realised that the Rutan spores depended on ammonia to exist after luring one of them into the TARDIS, where its air-filtered atmosphere caused the Rutan to ‘starve’ and the human to regain control. Having distracted the Sontarans by generating a low-level sound frequency - based on a comment from an old soldier who sacrificed himself to save The Doctor and his allies, the frequency operating on the same principle of dogs being able to hear certain sounds that humans couldn’t -, The Doctor modified the colony’s air systems to filter out the ammonia, later tricking the Sontarans into abandoning the colony by having the humans pretend to still be under Rutan control, the Sontarans’ numbers now too limited to fight them.

The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky
The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky (2008)
A Sontaran made a brief appearance at the conclusion of "The End of Time", when a single Sontaran - possibly another survivor of the ATMOS attack - attempted to kill the now-married Martha Jones and Mickey Smith, the two working as freelance alien hunters after Martha left UNIT following the events of "The Stolen Earth/Journey's End" and "Children of Earth". Fortunately, The Doctor defeated the Sontaran for them, hitting it on the probic vent when it was about to shoot them during a fight at a construction site, but he only remained long enough for Martha and Mickey to see him before he departed, his body on the verge of regeneration as he used his last hours in this incarnation to say goodbye to his companions.

The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang (2010)
The Eleventh Doctor faced the Sontarans again when they joined forces with his other enemies in a vast Alliance to trap him in the Pandorica - a legendary prison that had been spoken of in myth, created specifically to hold The Doctor - after they became convinced that he would be responsible for a temporal explosion that triggered the creation of cracks in the universe after the TARDIS exploded, unaware that the explosion had already taken place when his future companion River Song was piloting the ship. With the collapse of history, the various races in the Alliance were all erased from existence, leaving only statues of themselves gathered around the Pandorica as ‘after-images’, Earth the last fragment of time left in the universe thanks to the exploding TARDIS putting itself in a time loop at the moment of its destruction to act as a substitute sun for Earth. With The Doctor having taken the Pandorica into the TARDIS explosion, using the TARDIS itself as a power source to transmit the remaining atoms of the true universe stored within the Pandorica across all of time and space in a second explosion that restored the history of the universe, the Alliance was erased and history restored.

The Eleventh Doctor found himself facing the Rutans and the Sontarans simultaneously when he arrived on Earth in 1605, shortly before the events of the infamous Gunpowder Plot of November 5th ("The Gunpowder Plot"), tracking a sub-temporal distress beacon being broadcast by a Rutan ship that the TARDIS had briefly collided with while leaving thirteenth-century Japan. Having discovered that the crashed ship was a Rutan vessel, The Doctor, Amy and Rory learned that the Rutans had infiltrated the Gunpowder Plot to ensure its success so that they could destroy Parliament and enable their ship to escape from its current location underneath Parliament, also learning that the Rutans had been carrying a doomsday weapon that could end the war. Although Rory was briefly captured by the Sontarans, he was able to use a catapult and knowledge he had acquired from his Auton counterpart to knock the Sontarans out by striking them on the probic vent, managing to escape and warn The Doctor about their presence. Having saved Parliament by using a dimensional lesion to transport the empty building into orbit, The Doctor and his companions were able to trap the Sontarans and Rutans inside the building, keeping them occupied long enough for The Doctor acquire the two doomsday weapons and reprogram one before giving the two weapons randomly to each side. With no way to ensure that they possessed the weapon that would destroy their enemy, the Sontarans and Rutans abandoned the bombs, maintaining their ‘status quo’ and leaving Earth’s history to unfold as it should as The Doctor returned Parliament to its proper place.

The Snowmen
The Snowmen
(2012)
When mounting an assault on the asteroid base of Demon’s Run to rescue his companion Amy Pond ("A Good Man Goes to War"), one of the members of The Doctor’s ‘strike force’ was Strax, a Sontaran warrior who had been sentenced to work as a nurse caring for the sick after an encounter with The Doctor. Helping The Doctor in order to remove his shame, Strax assisted in the taking of Demon’s Run, but was subsequently killed by one of the Headless Monks in their counter-attack, his last words being to reflect that, despite his frustration with the events of his life, he had enjoyed a long run by Sontaran standards. Strax was apparently cloned back to life by Silurian warrior Vastra and her human wife Jenny under undisclosed circumstances, living in Victorian London with them and providing them with occasional assistance, but the new Strax appeared to be less medically inclined - to the point that he was repeatedly unable to distinguish between males and females, calling The Doctor’s new companion Clara Oswald ‘boy’ - and prone to moments of stupidity, such as constantly touching a worm that drained memories with physical contact, prompting The Doctor to note that his brain appeared to have been lost when he was restored ("The Snowmen").
 

THEIR TELEVISION APPEARANCES


Story Doctor Writer Originally Transmitted Episodes BBC Archive Status Released on Video/Audio Average Ratings (Millions)
The Time Warrior 3rd Robert Holmes 15th December 1973 - 5th January 1974 4 All held
Video
VHS & DVD
8.2
The Sontaran Experiment 4th Bob Baker and Dave Martin 22nd February - 1st March 1975 2 All held
Video
VHS & DVD
10.8
The Invasion of Time 4th David Agnew 4th February - 11th March 1978 6 All held
Video
VHS & DVD

10.5

The Two Doctors 2nd & 6th Robert Holmes 16th February - 2nd March 1985 3 All held
Video
VHS & DVD

6.5

The Sontaran Stratagem/The Poison Sky 10th Helen Raynor 26th April - 3rd May 2008 2 All held
Video
DVD
6.8
The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang 11th Steven Moffat 19th - 26th June 2010 2 All held
Video
DVD
7.2
A Good Man Goes to War 11th Steven Moffat 4th June 2011 1 All held
Video
DVD
7.5
The Snowmen 11th Steven Moffat 25th December 2012 1 All held
Video
DVD
9.9
The Crimson Horror 11th Mark Gatiss 4th May 2013 1 All held
Video
DVD
6.5
The Name of The Doctor 11th Steven Moffat 18th May 2013 1 All held
Video
DVD
7.5
Deep Breath 12th Steven Moffat 23rd August 2014 1 All held
Video
DVD
9.2
 
The Time Warrior
The Time Warrior
The Sontaran Experiment
The Sontaran Experiment
The Invasion of Time
The Invasion of Time
The Two Doctors
The Two Doctors
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at djfs@blueyonder.co.uk
 
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