Sontarans vs Rutans

Sontarans vs Rutans celebratory audio dramas announced (updated)

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It’s the potato-headed Sontaran clone army vs the shape-changing jellyfish Rutan Host as Doctor Who celebrates fifty years of conflict. 

Updated 19/03/25: The trailer is out for ‘In Name Only’

Ahead of its April release, Big Finish have dropped the trailer for the final part of Sontarans vs Rutans.

From writer John Dorney, ‘In Name Only’ takes us back to the Time War, where our favourite Time Lord an entirely different man – not a Doctor but a Warrior…

While we don’t know the precise release date, it may well come early in the month as there’s another monthly Doctor Who series launching. Dark Gallifrey follows the story of renegade Time Lords, with the first trilogy focussing on the fallen former President Morbius.

You can find the CultBox review of Sontarans vs Rutans here.

Updated 01/03/24: Big Finish reveal the cover and story details for the saga’s final instalment.

With ‘Born to Die’ due imminently, Doctor Who audio producers Big Finish have revealed the details of Sontarans vs Rutans: ‘In Name Only’.

The fourth and final part of the mini-series comes from writer John Dorney and features the young version of the War Doctor.

Doctor Who - Sontarans vs Rutans 4 - In Name Only cover art

Here are the details of ‘In Name Only’:

In the depths of the Time War, a Rutan attack on a Time Lord facility leads to Gallifrey declaring a vicious reprisal. But not all Time Lords support the action. One thinks there’s more to the situation than meets the eye. And this Time Lord… was once called the Doctor.

The story features Jonathon Carley as the War Doctor. He’s joined by John Banks, Christopher Ryan and Dan Starkey who all voice Sontarans. Also in the cast is Debbie Korley who appears as Blaxill, a Time Lord in command of the Gallifreyan War Council.

Producer David Richardson said:

“We’re into the Time War and there’s not a Dalek in sight as the Sontarans and Rutans are the focus of hostilities – and the Time Lords are about to make a move they will regret. Hold on tight, we’re into the endgame…”

Writer John Dorney added:

“This is effectively the story that ties everything in the mini-series together, but at the same time it will work as a standalone adventure if it’s the first one you’ve listened to.

“It’s a hard one to describe because it follows on from the previous three other stories and the precise angle it takes is interesting – it’s so hard to talk about without giving anything away! It starts with the Rutans attacking the Time Lords and the consequences of that. The Doctor is concerned with this due to connections with the past, and it all begins to blend together with what’s come before.”

You can pre-order Doctor Who – Sontarans vs Rutans: In Name Only from Big Finish now. Or pick up the entire Sontarans vs Rutans saga in a money-saving bundle.

Updated 12/02/24: Big Finish release the trailer for ‘Born to Die’

Ahead of its March release, the trailer has landed for Sontarans vs Rutans: Born to Die.

Written by Tiegan Byrne, the story features Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor travelling with Charley Pollard (India Fisher).

Released cast details reveal three familiar names, two of whom frequently voice the Sontarans: Dan Starkey and Christopher Ryan (The Young Ones). The third is the multi-talented and prolific Jon Culshaw, who’s playing one of the clone warriors to according to Big Finish’s social media. Culshaw previously narrated the audiobook version of ‘The Sontaran Experiment’ for BBC Books.

You can pre-order Doctor Who – Sontarans vs Rutans: Born To Die from Big Finish now.

Updated 31/01/24: Cover and story details for Part 3: ‘Born to Die’

With the release of ‘The Children of the Future’ imminent, Big Finish has dropped the cover art for March’s Sontarans vs Rutans story.

‘Born To Die’ features the blue-coated Sixth Doctor (always a treat to see), travelling with Charley Pollard. As some may recall, there was a period where Charley became separated from ‘her’ Doctor, but was rescued by an earlier incarnation – from whom she had to keep the truth to preserve the timelines.

Given the themes of identity in this mini-series, it’s an interesting place to set a story…

Here’s the synopsis for ‘Born to Die’

When a trip to the planet Taxodon to see its native species, the Knox, goes wrong the Doctor finds himself with mere hours to prove himself innocent of murdering a Sontaran. With more Sontarans dying, the Doctor and Charley need to work but what is killing them and why the Sontarans are even on Taxodon in the first place… if they have time…

Doctor Who - Sontarans vs Rutans 3 - Born To Die cover art

The story marks writer Tiegan Byrne’s Big Finish debut, although she’s acted in both the Rani Takes On The World and The War Doctor Begins ranges.

Tiegan Byrne says:

“John (Dorney) simply said to me, ‘The story needs to be the Doctor, his companion, a Sontaran and a Rutan on a planet…. Whatever happens is up to you.’ And that was it. It was completely open for me to play with and explore.

“It was definitely a challenge. There were a lot of Doctor Who ‘laws’ and previous storylines which I honestly had little idea about. And I really knew nothing about the Rutans! However, it was the perfect excuse to rewatch lots of classic episodes and listen to Big Finish box sets!

“I loved the freedom and creativity involved writing Born To Die and even more so, finding ways for the story to work alongside the other episodes in the series. John and the other writers were so supportive and helpful, it was an absolute joy.”

You can pre-order Doctor Who – Sontarans vs Rutans: In Name Only from Big Finish now. Or pick up the entire Sontarans vs Rutans saga in a money-saving bundle.

Updated 18/01/24: Trailer for ‘The Children of the Future’ drops.

Ahead of it’s February release, Big Finish have dropped a trailer for the second part of Sontarans vs Rutans.

Writer Tim Foley makes direct links to 1974’s Sontaran debut tale ‘The Time Warrior’ – so it’s a good a time as any to dust off your DVD or find the story on BBC iPlayer (or your streamer of choice).

For more details on ‘The Children of the Future’, look below. You can catch up with our review of the first installment of Sontarans vs Rutans here.

You can pre-order Doctor Who – Sontarans vs Rutans: The Children of the Future from Big Finish now. Or pick up the entire Sontarans vs Rutans saga in a money-saving bundle.

Updated 08/01/24: Cover reveal for ‘The Children of the Future’

With the first Sontarans vs Rutans story due for release this week, Big Finish have revealed the cover artwork for February’s instalment. Featuring the Third Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith and the Brigadier, it’s a Season 11 tale.

Doctor Who - Sontarans vs Rutans 2 - The Children of the Future cover art

Here’s the premise for ‘The Children of the Future’

The Brigadier is used to the Doctor acting strangely, but this time there’s something decidedly different about the whole affair. As he looks into the Time Lord’s odd activities outside of UNIT, there’s a mystery that’ll take Lethbridge-Stewart to a site very familiar to Sarah Jane Smith.

Can the Brigadier trust his old friend? Who are his mysterious new allies? And is the future of humanity really at stake? A Sontaran threat could spell the end of their long-standing friendship… and the entire planet!

Tim Treloar stars as the Third Doctor, with Sadie Miller as Sarah Jane Smith and Jon Culshaw playing the Brigadier. They’re joined by Jeremy Ang Jones (Stanley), Nicholas Boulton (Captain Saint) and Lucy Goldie (Sergeant Moss).

Writer Tim Foley said:

“I really enjoy the Sontarans. I think one of the chief reasons they were such a success is because Robert Holmes did such an amazing job not only coming up with their race and their world, but distilling it all into the one individual, Linx. This story definitely features more than a few nods to The Time Warrior, and I hope there are many more Sontaran adventures to come!”

Producer David Richardson added:

“We’re celebrating 50 years of the Sontarans, so it’s only natural that we should return to the setting of their first story, The Time Warrior. But don’t expect to find Commander Linx unearthed from the rubble of Irongron’s castle… this is from the mind of Tim Foley, so The Children of the Future goes in several fascinating new directions.”

You can pre-order Doctor Who – Sontarans vs Rutans: The Children of the Future from Big Finish now. Or pick up the entire Sontarans vs Rutans saga in a money-saving bundle.

‘The Battle of Giant’s Causeway’

Doctor Who - Sontarans vs Rutans 2 - The Battle of Giant's Causeway cover art

The first story in the saga is called ‘The Battle of Giant’s Causeway’ and promises a return for the Eighth Doctor companion C’rizz (Conrad Westmaas) who was last head in 2007.

A temporal tidal wave leads the Doctor, Charley and C’rizz to the Giant’s Causeway, Ireland 55BC, where the TARDIS drains of power and they encounter Sontarans who believe they’re Roman Legionnaires. What has caused this and what is the strange secret in the rocks?

According to the latest Big Finish podcast, the first installment of the saga Doctor Who: Sontarans vs Rutans: The Battle of Giant’s Causeway is released on Wednesday, 10th January 2024.

Original article (of 27/11/23) follows…

Sontarans vs Rutans celebratory audio dramas announced

It’s the potato-headed Sontaran clone army vs the shape-changing jellyfish Rutan Host as Doctor Who celebrates fifty years of conflict. 

Audio producers Big Finish do love an anniversary. In the past few years we’ve enjoyed the Master’s 50th with Masterful and celebrated the planet of Peladon. Plus, of course, Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary with this year’s Once and Future mini-series.

For 2024, it’s the turn of the perpetual war between the Sontaran Empire and their mortal foes the Rutan Host.

Sontarans vs Rutans

While a Rutan didn’t technically appear until 1977’s ‘The Horror of Fang Rock’, the shapeshifting creatures first got a mention in the Sontaran debut in 1974’s ‘The Time Warrior’ – so it’s that 50th anniversary we’re celebrating. It sounds like a solid idea for a box set, exploring a conflict often heard about but fully explored on screen.

Here’s the synopsis for Sontarans vs Rutans:

The war between the Sontarans and the Rutans has been going on for millennia. And is likely to continue for millennia more.

A terrible conflict with no care for consequences or collateral damage. Billions have died with no end in sight. Its reach can encompass ancient Ireland and a forest world in the far future.

Encounters with UNIT and a Doctor no more. From the outside these battles may seem disconnected. But sometimes there is a common thread. And unpicking that could destroy everything.

The Fourth Doctor and a Rutan
The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and a Rutan in ‘The Horror of Fang Rock’ (c) BBC

Like Once and Future, Sontarans vs Rutans has a monthly release pattern. Each tale will feature a different Doctor, with the storyline weaving through the lives of the Third, Sixth, Eighth and War Doctors.

So far, the announced cast includes those four Doctors – Tim Treloar (BF’s Third Doctor), Colin Baker, Paul McGann and Jonathon Carley (the young War Doctor.) Plus, the veteran Sontaran actor Dan Starkey as a variety of different clones.

The four stories in Sontarans vs Rutans are:

January 2024: ‘The Battle for Giant’s Causeway’ by Lizzie Hopley

February 2024: ‘The Children of the Future’ by Tim Foley

March 2024: ‘Born To Die’ by Tiegan Byrne

April 2024: ‘In Name Only’ by John Dorney.

Linx (Kevin Lindsay) in ‘The Time Warrior’ (c) BBC

Producer David Richardson said:

“I realised the 50th anniversary of The Time Warrior was approaching, and that we were long overdue a big, epic foray into the Sontaran/Rutan war. I pitched the concept to executive producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs and got a pretty instant green light to get underway with development.”

Further cast and story details for the series are promised in due course.

You can pre-order the four parts of Sontarans vs Rutans from Big Finish, either separately or in a money-saving bundle.