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

Sontarans vs Rutans: In Name Only – Doctor Who audio review

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The four-part mini-series ends with a tale set inside the Time War. 

All roads lead to the temporal conflict between the Doctor’s people and the Daleks, as this final tale ties up the threads of Sontarans vs Rutans.

In Name Only

The action begins with a TARDIS arriving on a Gallifreyan outpost and a deadly Rutan attack on those stationed there.

In response, the Time Lords propose a swift and brutal response, although the War Doctor urges caution. He’s been having apocalyptic dreams and decides to investigate, hoping to avert a temporal catastrophe.

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

Taking the offending TARDIS back to the start of its journey, the Doctor finds himself visiting the Sontaran homeworld. The Time Lords have begun to build an alliance with the clone race, as part of their defensive plans, and he’s able to play on that to pursue his investigations.

As they progress, we reconnect with an old ally – Dan Starkey’s Skole – and the Doctor begins to fathom how his previous brushes with the conflict all relate.

In Summary

As a mini-series finale, originally the final episode of a box set, ‘In Name Only’ does what it needs to do, throwing heavy links to ‘Born To Die’ and making wider connections to encompass the first two tales. Writer John Dorney provides twists and turns, and a satisfyingly temporal conclusion – appropriately so, given where the story takes place in the Doctor’s timeline.

As ever, Jonathon Carely impresses as the War Doctor and it’s great to see him out of his own range. Debbie Korley entertains as Blaxill, the latest pompous face of the Time Lord hierarchy, while a trio ably provides various Sontarans – the aforementioned Dan Starkey, John Banks and Christopher Ryan.

It’s been fun visiting the Sontaran/Rutan war, but it also feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface. For starters, within the aeons old galaxy-wide conflict, this mini-series spent half its time on planet Earth.

Also, though possibly inevitable thanks to the shape-changing nature and lack of individuality of the Rutans, the whole affair seemed tipped in favour of the Sontarans. In fact, only ‘The Children of the Future’ really focussed on the Rutan threat. However, rather than a complaint, we’d like to suggest the balance be redressed promptly in a second set of stories!

Might there have been even more impact if this series had remained as a box set rather than monthly episodes? Perhaps – we’d have certainly felt more invested in the ongoing storyline if listening to the instalments closer together. Then again, this monthly release pattern prompts re-listening and that’s never a bad thing.

Four Stars

Doctor Who: Sontarans vs Rutans: In Name Only is available now, on CD and download, from Big Finish.

Check out our reviews of the Sontarans vs Rutans series here.