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The Sontarans are a fictional extraterrestrial race of humanoids from the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, and also seen in spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures. They were created by writer Robert Holmes.



The Sontarans are a race of humanoids with a stocky build, greenish brown skin, and a distinctive dome-shaped head. Ross Jenkins in The Sontaran Stratagem describes a Sontaran as resembling "a talking baked potato" but The Doctor sticks up for the Sontarans by saying that, to them he looks like a pink weasel. Sontarans come from a large, dense planet named Sontar in the "southern spiral arm of the galaxy" which has a very strong gravitational field, which explains their compact stocky form.[1] They also are far stronger than humans, although smaller.

Although physically formidable, the Sontarans' weak spot is the "probic vent" at the back of their neck, through which they draw nutrition. It is also part of their cloning process. It provides incentive to continue moving forward in battle since retreat would expose this area to their enemies. They have been killed by targeting that location with a knife (The Invasion of Time), a screwdriver ("Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans"), and an arrow (The Time Warrior). Even something as simple as a squash ball aimed at that point or contact by the heel of a shoe is capable of incapacitating them temporarily (The Sontaran Stratagem). They are also vulnerable to "coronic acid" (The Two Doctors).

In the episode The Poison Sky, it is revealed that the Sontaran Empire have been at war with the Rutan Host for more than 50,000 years,[2] and which, at a time around 2008, they are losing. However, the war is still raging at least 20,000 years later, in the serial The Sontaran Experiment.

The Sontarans have an extremely militaristic culture; every aspect of their society is geared toward warfare, and every experience is viewed in terms of its martial relevance. In The Sontaran Experiment, the Fourth Doctor comments that "Sontarans never do anything without a military reason." Aside from a ritualistic chant in "The Sontaran Strategem"/"The Poison Sky", they are never seen to engage in any activity that would be considered recreation, though a few offhand comments by Commander Skorr in "The Poison Sky" suggest they do consider hunting a sport (according to their creator Robert Holmes, Sontarans do have a highly developed artistic culture, but have put it on hold for the duration of the war, while the opening chapter of the novelisation of The Time Warrior, based on Holmes' incomplete draft, refers to Linx listening to the Sontaran anthem while his spaceship is in flight). The Sontarans depicted in the series have detached, smug personalities, and a highly developed sense of honour; on multiple occasions, the Doctor has used his knowledge of their pride in their species to manipulate them. However, in "The Sontaran Stratagem", the Doctor nevertheless referred to them as "the finest soldiers in the galaxy".[3][4]

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