The Sontarans

The Sontarans first appeared in The Time Warrior (Classic Series) as a race of militaristic and belligerent clones who enjoy nothing better than engaging in battle. The Sontarans are humanoid with large bulbous heads, similar to a potato, with only three digit hands (two fingers and one thumb) and had green blood. Although the Sontarans reproduced by cloning, thus looking more or less identical to the next, some variations would occur in the number of digits on their hands or their skin colour. Sontarans hail from the planet Sontar, which has a high level of gravity granting the Sontaran warriors greater strength and resilience in low gravity planets such as Gallifrey or Earth. However, this strength was greater used for load bearing than leverage. The Sontarans had two major weaknesses, Coronic Acid that burnt or, in some cases, disintegrated them, and the Probic Vent on the back of their necks, through which they also absorbed energy. If the Probic Vent was hit, the Sontaran would be stunned and fall unconscious. If a sharp object was shoved into the Probic Vent then the Sontaran would die. This weakness meant that the Sontarans would generally enter battle facing their enemy, so as not to present the weakness to their opponent.

A Sontaran from the Classic Era of Doctor Who

The Sontarans are a martial species that are obsessed with war. The highest honour a Sontaran can receive is to be accepted to serve the Imperial Fleet, whereas to be disallowed to soldier was the greatest dishonour. They also consider it honourable to go into battle without a helmet on, showing their bare heads. Sontarans also had a chauvinistic attitude towards female members of a species, considering them unfit for warfare while occasionally insult their enemies by comparing them to women. Some Sontarans were known to possess titles relating to past victories or events that had occurred throughout their lives and would sometimes introduce themselves by their full name with any titles they owned. There were some ranks within the Sontaran military, though it was rare for those of a particular rank to have it displayed on their uniforms.

The Sontaran General Staal from Series 4

Although the Sontarans could make and use multiple weapons, their weapon of choice was usually a Rheon Carbine, a thin, metallic weapon which was specially designed to fit a Sontaran hand and used for hypnotism and energy projection. During the Sontaran invasion in 2009, they used rifle laser weapons which fired beams of bright red light that could kill humans without leaving any external damage. The Sontarans were also constantly at war with the Rutans which spread over a thousand years. In the late 13th Century, a Sontaran scout called Linx landed in England and claimed it for the Sontaran Empire in The Time Warrior, and made an alliance with Irongron, a local warlord and transported scientists from the late 20th century into the past before hypnotising them to work on his ship. In The Two Doctors (Classic Series) during the 1980’s, the Sontaran Warburg looked into the possibility of using time ships to win the war against the Rutans, while they were at battle with them in the Madillon Cluster, though neither attempt succeeded. They also attempted to invade Gallifrey in The Invasion of Time (Classic Series) but were forced back by the then Lord President and the Fourth Doctor.

A trio of Sontarans present at the end of Series 5, imprisoning the Eleventh Doctor inside the Pandorica

In 2009, in the episodes The Sontaran Stratagem (Series 4 : Episode 4) and The Poison Sky (Series 4 : Episode 5) the Sontarans were losing the war against the Rutans and so made plans to convert Earth into a cloning world. They created ATMOS with the help of Luke Rattigan which stored gas poisonous to humans inside cars. When the Doctor attempted to meddle with this, they activated the ATMOS. They were defeated when Rattigan blew up their fleet after the Sontarans betrayed him. During this encounter it was revealed that the Sontarans were not granted the honour of fighting in the Time War, deemed by General Staal to be the greatest war of all time. In January 2010, at the end of The End of Time (part 2) (Tenth Doctor Specials), a Sontaran named Jask was being chased by Martha Jones and Mickey Smith, but escaped them and prepared to sniper them before being knocked out by the Doctor. The Sontarans were also present in 102 A.D at the end of Series 5 as part of the alliance against the Eleventh Doctor to imprison him inside the Pandorica.

Commander Starx and Rory prepare to fight the headless monks in A Good Man goes to War (Series 6 : Episode 7)

In the 2011 Series 6 mid-season finale, A Good Man goes to War (Series 6 : Episode 7), Commander Starx, served as a nurse during battle in 4037. Starx noted that serving as a nurse is a great punishment for a Sontaran, to help the sick and weak. Starx was called upon by the Doctor to help fight with him at the Battle of Demon’s Run when the Doctor was going after saving his companion, Amy Pond. Starx, along with some other Sontarans assisted the Doctor in taking command of Demon’s Run and fought to protect Amy and Rory’s daughter, Melody, when the headless monks returned to attack again. Starx died in battle and noted that he wasn’t enjoying it as much as he’d dreamed he would. Starx’s actions in assisting the Doctor shows that some Sontarans can and will assist the Doctor if they owe him a debt.