Doctor Who: Season 4, Episode 4

The Sontaran Stratagem (16 May 2008)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Family
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,036 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 6 critic

UNIT's newest recruit Martha Jones enlists The Doctor's help to investigate kid genius Luke Rattigan and his ATMOS system that is used in every car on Earth.



, (character: "The Sontarans")
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Title: The Sontaran Stratagem (16 May 2008)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Rupert Holliday-Evans ...
Colonel Mace (as Rupert Holliday Evans)
Christopher Ryan ...
Wesley Theobald ...
Worker (as Rad Kaim)
Atmos Voice (voice) (as Elizabeth Ryder)


The Doctor gets a call from onetime traveling companion Martha Jones with a request that he return to Earth immediately. She and the military have taken over the ATMOS plant and she needs his help after 52 people around the world all died simultaneously. All had the ATMOS anti-pollution device fitted on their cars so the military has raided the factory believing it to be controlled by aliens. The Doctor learns that the Sontarans are planning to take over the Earth. They take Martha prisoner and she is cloned. Donna meanwhile misses her family and decides to pay them a visit. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

earth | car | sontaran | factory | alien | See All (23) »

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Release Date:

16 May 2008 (USA)  »

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| (50 episodes)
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Did You Know?


Phil Collinson did not produce this episode. While he took time off, Susie Liggat filled in for him. See more »


Guns are prevented from firing by a field that expands the bullets' copper jackets. This would not stop the firing pin from detonating the gunpowder. Yet several people pull the trigger on their weapons with no explosion. See more »


The Doctor: [guiding Donna as she tries to fly the TARDIS] Careful... Left hand down, left hand down! Getting a bit too close to the 1980s there.
Donna Noble: What am I going to do? Put a dent in 'em?
The Doctor: Well, someone did.
See more »


Features Doctor Who: The Fires of Pompeii (2008) See more »


Doctor Who Closing Credits
Written by Ron Grainer
Performed by BBC National Orchestra of Wales
See more »

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User Reviews

Surprisingly good opening part to the Sontarans' return
26 April 2008 | by ( – See all my reviews

I was among those not impressed with Helen Raynor's Dalek two-parter from Series 3, but "The Sontraran Stratagem", the opening part to her two-part story which sees the return of classic Doctor Who villains the Sontarans, is surprisingly effective and exciting.

The episode has a nice humorous tinge to its opening scenes and it is absolutely brilliant to see the Doctor's interaction with UNIT once again. The Sontarans themselves also look quite good and their storyline is handled reasonably well.

The trailer for next week's episode left me cold and a tad bit concerned rather than excited, with another really outlandish Earth invasion sort of thing apparently slated to happen. During Pertwee's era of Earth-bound stories at least everything happened under wraps. However, considering how surprised I was with this episode, next week's could be impressive as well.

I very much enjoyed Bernard Cribbins' character again. I think I like Donna's family more than Rose's or Martha's family, although I honestly could do without Sylvia Noble (Donna's mother's) cartoonish 'comic relief', which contrasted badly with the well-delivered and occasionally clever one-liners Raynor came up with.

I doubt this story will end up not being my least favorite Sontaran story, but it's already looking like it'll finish a not so distant loser, and considering the competition from classics like "The Time Warrior" and "The Sontaran Experiment", it's not really much of an insult.

7/10 for this first part, and what a cliffhanger (I sure do miss those).

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