Doctor Who: Season 12, Episode 9

The Sontaran Experiment: Part One (22 Feb. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Horror
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 207 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 3 critic

The Doctor, Sarah and Harry teleports to Earth to ensure the planet is safe for the survivors on-board Nerva Beacon to return to Earth and re-inhabit their world. Only to find a Sontaran ... See full summary »


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Title: The Sontaran Experiment: Part One (22 Feb 1975)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Ian Marter ...
Donald Douglas ...
Glyn Jones ...
Peter Walshe ...
Kevin Lindsay ...
Peter Rutherford ...
Terry Walsh ...


The Doctor, Sarah and Harry teleports to Earth to ensure the planet is safe for the survivors on-board Nerva Beacon to return to Earth and re-inhabit their world. Only to find a Sontaran named Styre has captured a group of humans and conducting experiments on them to discover the human body's weaknesses, as part of the Sontaran's goal for domination of the galaxy. Written by Daniel Williamson

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Release Date:

22 February 1975 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Many of Styre's torture devices were originally medieval in nature. See more »


The Sontaran's hands show a glove with 5 fingers - Sontarans only have three fingers. See more »

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User Reviews

Experiment in more ways than one with very good results.
18 November 2014 | by (South Wales, UK) – See all my reviews

Review of both episodes:

It was an experiment to have the first two-part story for many years and to film the entire story on location in an outdoor setting (Dartmoor National Park). These experiments work well as the location work is very good and the two part story is very neat with no waste or time for boredom. On the other hand this never quite manages to go beyond an excellent bit of entertainment to reach 10/10 classic status.

The story follows on from The Ark in Space. The Doctor, Sarah and Harry travel via Transmat to Earth from space station Nerva 10,000 years in the future. There they find a tiny group of humans some of whom have been captured and tortured by a mysterious alien that turns out to be a Sontaran. The experiments are being done on the humans to find their weaknesses in preparation for a Sontaran attack on humanity.

Some criticisms I have read are not deserved in my view as for instance I have seen it said that it does not make sense the Sontarans are wasting time testing humans when there are very few surviving on Earth but it is clearly suggested in The Ark in Space that the humans on Nerva are the chosen people to take humanity forward but not the only humans left. It is clearly said in that previous story and in this one that there are other human colonies and it is also suggested that the Sontarans plan to wage war on the humans elsewhere not just those living on Earth. So this all makes more sense than some critics claim. It does seem a slightly inefficient and unnecessary strategy but it is credible enough.

This is an entertaining story with a welcome return for Sontarans and good performances. It is gritty and yet fun. It is not a 10/10 classic but is very good and neatly presented as a tight two parter.

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