Monday, August 30, 2010

The Aussie Sontaran

I like the new, slicker Doctor Who, but I do prefer the older, cheaper series. One factor swaying my preference is my affection for facial deformity. Burns, scars, deep fissures resulting from violent blows, birth defects, cranial aberrations, and general alien hideousness; these are a few of my favorite things. In grade school, I was very fond of a little girl who sported a terrific facial scar. Her left eye, too, was a whisper lower than her right eye. What a beauty she was!

My favorite Doctor Who villains are The Sontarans because, well, they're the ugliest. I don't like using the word ugly because it sounds terribly judgmental. But I need to use it because it conveys something most people understand. If I say that a scarred person is beautiful, I may confuse the reader. Most scarred people are beautiful, of course, and I have known a few and been turned on by many.

The cheaper Doctor Who embraced deformity and what some humans call ugliness. The Sontarans are a favorite because they're still partially humanoid. Other faves like the Zygons are gloriously "ugly", too, but because they're kind of reptilian (as are the Silurians and Sea Devils) they don't rate as highly on my ugly scale as the Sontarans do.

The first Sontaran to visit Earth (in The Time Warrior) was Linx (pictured directly below). He arrived on John Pertwee's watch.

As you can see, he's a striking fellow, a real piece of work. I've always considered him to be a slightly wrong Humpty Dumpty. When I used to recite that famous nursery rhyme, a tale of a fallen egg man, I'd picture him looking very much like our handsome hero above.

I urge you to closely examine this photo and appreciate the deep facial fissures and oddball skull. Such a face has the power to take one's breath away.

The Sontarans returned a couple of year's later in the form of Field Major Steyr. This militant Humpty tangled with Tom Baker, the fourth doctor, and his pretty assistant Elizabeth Sladen. Again, the make-up geniuses behind Doctor Who's finest monsters had a field day with the field major and made ugliness respectable, as it should be.

I feel compelled to relate an event involving Linx and an old schoolteacher. When I was attending a dysfunctional private school for boys, a teacher who bore some resemblance to Linx took our class for a week of special mathematics (algebra). Whenever he'd turn and face the class, I'd notice his strange and uncanny Sontaran features. In retrospect, I'm not sure whether it was his face shape, eyes, or general monster demeanor, but he definitely gave old Linx a run for his money in the Sontaran lookalike sweepstakes.

The black and white shot above is scanned from my beloved Dr. Who Monster Book, a publication put out by Target Books that collected the Doctor's enemies into one manageable literary menagerie.

I was well known for carrying this book with me at all times. You never knew when you'd need to consult it.

During one of our endless mathematics classes, I began to circulate copies of Linx's pic...

The actual pic

Unfortunately, the pic found its way to the desk of our teacher, the Linx lookalike. He snapped up the photo and seemed genuinely affronted by it. He stared at it angrily -- wincing, I imagine, at its uncanny proximity to his own unfortunate features. When he was done staring, he looked up and said: "Whose is this?"

I stuck my hand up. "It's mine, sir."

"I should have known it was yours, Mr. Savage. You seem a great deal more interested in monsters than mathematics."

I grinned. I couldn't argue with him.

"And who is this fellow?"

"Linx, sir," I said.

"Excuse me?"

"It's Linx, sir. From Doctor Who."

My teacher didn't seem satisfied with my answer. I couldn't understand why. I'd identified my Sontaran hero. Why did teacher's dirty look linger?

"His name's Linx, is it?"

I nodded.

"Really? Why don't you show me where it says his name is Linx."

My teacher flipped the photocopy over and gestured at me to stand.

All eyes were raised as I approached the desk.

He handed me the page and pointed. "Does that say Linx?"

I looked down. Then I felt the back of my neck get real hot.

I hesitated.


"No, sir."

"Then what does it say?"

I read what I'd written -- what I'd forgotten I'd written.


"You can read, can't you?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then go ahead and read exactly what it says."

I took a deep breath and rubbed my sizzling hot neck. The heat was quickly spreading to the rest of my body, too.

"It says 'Mr. Arnold is the Australian Linx', sir."

The class erupted into laughter for about one second. Mr. Arnold's cold, injured glare cut the festivities short.

Mr Arnold turned the page over and stared Linx in the face.

Linx stared straight back.

Then Linx was crushed and balled up in Mr. Arnold's hand.

The crushed Linx picture was then placed in my hand. "Take this rubbish to Father Cooper (the school principal) and ask him for appropriate detention. Can you do that, Mr. Savage?"

"Yes, sir."

I returned, without Linx, fifteen minutes later with a detention schedule.

Mr. Arnold, the Linx lookalike, never mentioned the incident again, but he did tell me a year later that he watched Doctor Who "occasionally"... and found it "amusing".

Good bless that ugly Sontaran educator!

Where is he now?

Probably back on his home planet. Retired on an Earthman's pension.


  1. LOL. That's awesome.
    Sontarans are badass. I remember seing a Baker episode when I was a kid, where a Sontaran's head deflated and it really freaked me out for years. Could have been a Pertwee ep, but it was harrowing anyway.

    And why are scars "mesmerizing"? I used to work with a woman who had the hottest Tracheotomy scar ever, that I couldn't stop staring at either. Fascinating.

  2. Cinezilla, the episode in which the Sontaran's head deflates in THE SONTARAN EXPERIMENT. It is available on DVD if you care to relive your childhood trauma.

    Not sure why some of us love scars, but the concept of "flawed beauty" has always been appealing to me.

    It's a powerful contrast.

  3. What an outstanding anecdote! It was especially nice to read it on a blog, as opposed to some forum, where I'd be far less likely to pay attention to it (and no doubt, far less work would have been put into recalling it in such detail). This was a sweet little light in my otherwise shitty evening.

  4. I enjoy this post, and this blog even, for many reasons. Maybe the stunning idealization that we have a few things in common might be it? Or maybe it's the humorous approach to things that would otherwise spoil erections? I completely agree with the beauty behind scars and disfigurations from the norm. I am engaged to a beautiful girl with scars and I insistently reassure her that it only enhances my affection and adoration for her. She probably thinks I'm flattering her but the truth is farther from. I've never seen neither old Doctor Who or the more recent but given my age I don't know if this is something I could hope in and enjoy.


  5. jervaise brooke hamsterSeptember 1, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    Hey Phantom, you know that site called "The Cheap Bin" run by that geezer "J. Astro" well you should read what hes written about me over there its incredibly hilarious, just go to the first page and schroll down to the image of the smiling geezer giving the finger and its the article that accompanys that picture, like i said its an absolute scream.

  6. Ross -- thank you for your sincere words. Sorry to hear that you had a shitty night. Our love of things strange and wonderful does help us push the mountain of accumulating shit back. Without imagination, "life" can default to mundane.


    Soiled Simnema -- several common interests, that's for sure. How interesting that you are courting a lady with scars. You have clearly chosen well. I think Dr. Who has great appeal to a person of any age. My affection is long, but it is also quite specific. It simply speaks to me. Just as a film I watched this morning -- ORGIES OF EDO -- spoke volumes to me. I'll review in soon.

  7. Have you seen a film called Dead Calm? If so, what are your thoughts?