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Sontarans vs Rutans: The Children of the Future – Doctor Who audio review

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The Third Doctor is acting suspiciously, but the Brigadier and Sarah Jane Smith are on his trail. Can he be trusted? 

The first skirmish of the Sontarans vs Rutans mini-series took us to Ancient Ireland with the Eighth Doctor.

In the second, the action shifts to Doctor Who’s much-loved UNIT era in the 70s (or is it the 80s?), with the Third Doctor, Sarah Jane and the Brigadier.

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

The Children of the Future

The story begins with the Brigadier snooping around among the Doctor’s possessions when he’s rumbled by Sarah. Both admit that the Time Lord has been acting strangely, ordering technical supplies and taking them off site. Before he knows it, the Brigadier finds Sarah embroiled in his plan which involves donning civvies and trailing the Doctor.

What follows is a road trip into the wilds of Hampshire which ends up at the castle where the Doctor and Sarah first encountered Linx the Sontaran (in ‘The Time Warrior’). There, they find the Doctor aiding a bunch of mysterious soldiers who are lost in time…

Lindsay Castle

Given the mini-series’ title, it’s pretty obvious who these lost soldiers are, but the fun is in how the tale plays out and the dynamics between the three leads. Tim Treloar, Sadie Miller and particularly Jon Culshaw are all on ripping form and the story is a great showcase for their work in The Third Doctor Adventures range.

In the guest cast, Nicholas Boulton entertains as Captain Saint, while Lucy Goldie plays a quite different role from usual, with an impressive degree of venom.

As well as a plot point, the clever introduction of a dictaphone allows the Brigadier to narrate some scenes for us. We also loved the nod to the original Sontaran actor Kevin Lindsay in the castle’s name, as well as the Galactic Heritage reference.

In conclusion

In a series which considers Sontarans vs Rutans, its fitting to have a story which throws a link to the first we heard of the conflict. As well as an entertaining tale in its own right, ‘The Children of the Future’ also gives more of the wider storyline, with the Rutans making incursions on Earth across the millennia.

Tim Foley’s story gives us much more than that though, as it takes the time to acknowledge the Doctor’s enduring friendship with the Brigadier. However strong their relationship was on screen, and looked back warmly with later appearances in the show, it’s lovely to have it explicitly stated: not just work colleagues, but proper friends.

Four Stars

Doctor Who: Sontarans vs Rutans: The Children of Future is available now, on CD and download, from Big Finish.

Next Month: ‘Born to Die’

March’s instalment of Sontarans vs Rutans is ‘Born to Die’ by Tiegan Byrne. It’s a tale for the Sixth Doctor and Charley Pollard.

When a trip to the planet Taxodon goes wrong the Doctor finds himself with mere hours to prove himself innocent of murdering a Sontaran. As more die, the Doctor and Charley need to uncover the cause and why the Sontarans are even on this planet… if they have time.

Colin Baker is the Doctor, with India Fisher as Charley Pollard and Dan Starkey, Christopher Ryan and Jon Culshaw appearing as various Sontarans.

Doctor Who: Sontarans vs Rutans: Born to Die is available to pre order now.