Mar. 15th, 2018

purplecat: The Fourth Doctor (Who:Four)
The Sontaran Experiment is an odd story in a lot of ways. It consists of only two episodes (a rarity in Doctor Who) and, perhaps as a result, feels oddly inconsequential.

It is part of Baker's first season. People rarely discuss this in terms of arc-plotting but it has clear threads joining each story to the next (except, perhaps, the first) even if there isn't an over-arching story, and it definitely has a kind of coherence that was unusual for Doctor Who at the time. Wikipedia tells me that The Ark in Space and The Sontaran Experiment were originally conceived as a six-parter that was then split into a 4-episode and a 2-episode tale. This was a construction that Hinchcliffe definitely favoured though he often left the two parts of six-parters joined together. This makes sense of the close linkage between the stories even though there is no shared cast nor setting - so you can see why the production team may have chosen to treat them as two stories.

I don't know. I find it hard to get particularly excited by this one. Dartmoor looks very pretty, and there are some nice moments for the Doctor, Sarah and Harry but the incidental characters feel fairly cookie-cutter even by Doctor Who standards (possibly because of the short story length). Tom Baker broke his collarbone during filming which may account for the somewhat muted feel of a lot of it, but it's one of the few stories in his run which fails to really come to life even though there's nothing particularly wrong with it.

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