With the pictures of the new Sontarans now officially released, SFX quickly got in touch with Doctor Who’s premier monster maker, Neill Gorton at Millennium FX, to see what he could tell us about them.
Despite our slightly embarrassing fanboy hectoring about the shape of the helmets, probic vents and what all those gadgets are that we can see in the picture, he remained loyally and creditably tight-lipped about anything that could be remotely spoilerish. However, we massively appreciate the answers he did have the time to give us:
What was the inspiration for the armour?
"Inspiration was simply to update the look in general. They're supposed to be soldiers so it's only sensible to put them in some sort of armour as opposed to the silver quilted outfits of old."
How long does it take for an actor such as Chris Ryan to get into the costume?
"A couple of hours for prosthetics and then about 15 minutes for the costume."
Personally, where did the Sontarans rank in your favourites of classics Doctor Who monsters?
"I was always fairly fond of them. I remember them giving me the creeps when I was very young. I've also always thought the faces would be great to do with modern prosthetics rather than the old stiff latex masks, so it was great to have the opportunity."
What does the M on the neckpiece mean?
"Monstermunch… only joking - it's not an “M” – it denotes military rank."
Is the costume blue (instead of the traditional Sontaran black) to differentiate them from the Judoon?
"Okay, now don't you start... I thought you guys were serious journalists!"
"Firstly the old Sontaran costumes were SILVER and black. Quite a lot of silver, too.
"Secondly the Judoon looked nothing like a Sontaran… Put a picture of a classic Sontaran alongside a Judoon and tell me why they are supposed to be so alike? They have a helmet that looks domed from one angle is about it. In that case you may as well say it looks like a Dalek too! It's hysterical that this Judoon/Sontaran similarity keeps raising its head.
"When we designed the Judoon at no time did anyone talk about, or suggest a similarity with, the Sontarans - or for that matter deliberately wind up the fans by making them similar in any way as some have suggested – that’s ridiculous and we have better things to do. Similarly when we designed the new Sontarans we didn’t make any reference to designing them in a way to be different from the Judoon, because they were nothing like them in the first place. I was more concerned about it looking like Batman than I was about it looking like a Judoon."