Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Why the Sontaran Stratagem counts as one of your Five-a-Day...

A CASUAL glance at my contract reminds me that, as part of my role as Evening Post Scientific Adviser/ Mysterious Projection From The Future With Special Responsibility For Alerting Mankind to Impending Doom (hey, it pays the rent), I’m meant to give you a heads-up about the Sontarans, who begin their two-part invasion of the airwaves on Saturday, weather permitting.

Allow me to apologise, then, because they’re already here, built for war and deeply embedded in the listings magazines and telly previews. You can hardly have missed their piggy little eyes staring out at the newsstand, and the fact that Sontarans are nasty, brutish and short… and look very like baked potatoes.

Look, I’m only saying it before some other scoundrel does - don’t imagine the chip-loving Doctor will let the resemblance lie. In fact, the Sontarans pretty much define ‘chippy’. Locked in an aeons-long war with the Rutans (who for their part look like manky cabbages; think of the money you’re gonna save on action figures, Whokids), all they’re interested in is a) battle and b) victory, and not necessarily in that order, either. A bunch of slightly-Cockney Sontarans (imagine the Mitchell bruvvers in dwarf star-alloy survival suits) even had the neck - well, not neck… even had the cheek to invade Gallifrey back in 1978, with a view to conquering all of space and time, forever, in one go.

Basically, if they’re on the way, it’s trouble, so here’s your essential print-out-and-keep guide to Sontar’s main baddies:*

1) High gravity on their homeworld means they appear super-strong on Earth – but their muscle-form means they’re actually hopeless at leverage, the chumps; ace at war, rubbish at arm-wrestling, we’re saying (somebody put that on a T-shirt);
2) They might have accidentally introduced – yes – potatoes to the West centuries early when a stricken Sontaran scout crashlanded in 12th-century Wessex (see Time Warrior part two, Who-pals);
3) They’re clones, but did once have a primary and secondary reproductive systems. Too much info?
4) Even these relentless warriors need to ‘recharge their life source’ now and again when operating outside their regular environment. Aw, diddums, etc, etc; try telling your own boss that, next time you throw a sickie!
5) They don’t handle coronic acid very well;
6) The probic vent is their real weak point – it’s a hole at the back of where their neck should be;
7) In the Sontaran Experiment (1975) they assessed a post-apocalypse Earth’s suitability for invasion by carrying out cruel tests on surviving humans; one poor sap had to eat 50 eggs in an hour. Sick.
8) They’ve got little jazz beards;
9) Sometimes their heads deflate when defeated;
10) Beans and cheese £1.50, tuna/mayo and coleslaw 10p extra.

*Advice not legally binding in event of actual Sontaran invasion.