Sunday, 20 September 2015

4th Doctor 3.1 - The King Of Sontar

Some things are effortless, genuinely effortless, Tom Baker and Louise Jameson’s performance in The King of Sontarfor example, two superb actors so in tune with their characters that the performance comes naturally. In fact, I closed my eyes whilst listening to this audio and was immediately transported back to a Saturday tea time in 1977, the sound design is so reminiscent of that era, the pictures of my mind were on 4:3 video with dodgy blue screen!
So, the plot, well, The Doctor is sent on a mission for the Time Lords, his TARDIS is dragged off course as used to happen on a semi regular basis, and he is immediately dropped I to the middle of a conflict between the Sontaran Empire and one of their rogue General’s, the 7 foot tall General Strang, played by everybody’s favourite Sontaran actor Dan Starkey. Strang has betrayed his species to take control of a space time anomaly that will allow him to transport his troops to any part of the universe, he is preparing a clone hatchery to fuel his conquest of Sontar to create a new and better Sontaran Empire.
Meanwhile, Leela is paired with Sontaran “coward” Vilhol, who was not executed by Strang as he pleaded for his life on the execution block, an excellent 3 dimensional character that could have been just comic relief, but has real pathos
As good as the characters are and the performances of the actors, the weak point in this play is the plot, it is very “season 15″, it has rebels, a scientist who has lost his conscience and regains it, betrayal, melodrama, a bonkers plan from a bonkers villain, it all just seems very familiar, familiar is good, but I was hoping for something a bit different.
Then again, this is a season 15 pastiche and as such is a triumph, it could slot in quite nicely alongside Horror of Fang Rock and The Invisible Enemy.
If you are a Tom Baker fan (and let’s face it, who isn’t) there is plenty to love here, he is on great form, but as a whole, it didn’t quite work for me 6.5/10.