Doctor Who - The Sontaran Stratagem (c) BBC
Doctor Who – The Sontaran Stratagem (c) BBC

The Sontaran Stratagem

First Broadcast April 26th, 2008 @ 6.20pm (7.06m viewers)

The Sontarans form part of a quadruple of alien creatures, with the Daleks, Cybermen, and Ice Warriors, to have made more than three appearances in the original run of Doctor Who from 1963-1989. It was therefore only a matter of time before the clone warriors from Sontar would feature in the Russell T Davies helmed rebirth of the show, some 23 years after their last appearance in ‘The Two Doctors’.

Doctor Who - The Sontaran Stratagem (c) BBC
Doctor Who – The Sontaran Stratagem (c) BBC

For their reintroduction to the audience, a consistent look was achieved with a deviation from the original black suit to a moulded purple armour with an accompanying blue collar and helmet. Their limited stature was also properly defined, stemming from their home planet’s high gravity, as was the number of fingers they have.

This episode also sees the formal reintroduction of UNIT, originally created by producer Derrick Sherwin during the Patrick Troughton era, a military task force who filled a significant role in the Third Doctor’s era. They have developed into an impressive military operation, with more resources such as their mobile headquarters. This strategy is important because it elevates the strength of the Sontaran forces which oppose them, although their methods are now equally brutal in their militarism.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

Clone - Doctor Who - The Sontaran Stratagem (c) BBC
Clone – Doctor Who – The Sontaran Stratagem (c) BBC

One of the more interesting areas of the script is the development of the clone replication used by the Sontarans, never before explored on screen.

The ‘jump out of your skin’ moment of the embryonic clone emerging from its sustaining fluid is certainly memorable, as is the creature itself which verges on the macabre but also the intriguing as it would later take the form of Martha Jones and accelerate the plot further.

Unfortunately, the Sontarans have since been sidelined due to the popularity of comedic character Strax brought to life by the wonderful Dan Starkey. As a result, we have yet to have another Sontaran story where they are such a strong force but hopefully, we won’t have to wait a further 23 years to see them at their rampaging best.


The Doctor-  David Tennant
Donna Noble – Catherine Tate
Martha Jones – Freema Agyeman
Wilfred Mott – Bernard Cribbins
Sylvia Noble – Jacqueline King
Luke Rattigan – Ryan Sampson
Colonel Mace – Rupert Evans
General Staal – Christopher Ryan
Commander Skorr – Dan Starkey
Ross Jenkins – Christian Cooke


Writer – Helen Raynor
Director – Douglas Mackinnon
Producer – Susie Liggat

Also first aired On This Day…

  • The War Games : Episode Two
  • Revenge of the Cybermen : Part Two
  • Doctor Who Confidential : Send in the Clones


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