No Such Thing As Too Much Tom Baker

“The Fourth Doctor Adventures Series 7 :Volume 1” is a Doctor Who audio boxset from Big Finish Productions reuniting Tom Baker and Louise Jameson. It was decided to release Fourth Doctor stories in boxsets, which is a little tough on the wallet but worth the price of admission.  There are four episodes to comment on, so I will get this party started.

“The Sons of Kaldor” by Andrew Smith has the Doctor and Leela encounter the Robots first seen in the television serial entitled “The Robots of Death”. Martha Cope, Oliver Dimsdale, and Toby Hadoke are the guest actors in this one with John Dorney giving voice to the Robots.  In my view, this is the strongest of the stories in this collection. Very few elements from “The Robots of Death” was touched on which I thought worked quite well.  I tend to be a little leery of too much revisiting of certain television stories, but this one worked quite well or me.

“The Crowmarsh Experiment” by David Llewellyn has the Doctor and Leela attacked by other robots on an alien world, however Leela regains consciousness to find that appears to be some scientist in 1978 London at the Crowmarsh Institute where she finds herself uncertain as to which life is reality.  This conundrum has been explored in the revived television series in recent years.  The talents of Dan Starkey, Cathy Tyson, and Julian Wadham are cast to add to the confusion.  The performances were fine, but I was not sure how this particular scenario and setting were chosen when the episode started off on another world.  I think it would have been stronger with a little better background explanation.  I may just have to pay closer attention to it when I listen to it again.

“The Mind Runners” by John Dorney is the beginning of a two-parter in which John Leeson joins the fun as K9.  Mind Running is the practice of entering the minds of strangers to experience their thoughts and actions, but there is a killer in the mix now. A legendary demon is about to emerge.  Robert Duncan and Josette Simon join the guest cast. There is a rather engaging new villain known as Mr. Shift played by Andy Secombe, who is a perfect foil or the often flippant Fourth Doctor.

Dorney concludes the story with “The Demon Rises”, which probably isn’t the most creative of titles.  There is a great contest of flippant threats between the Doctor and Mr. Shift which really was well performed by Tom Baker and Andy Secombe.  I am not sure how long it took them to record it since I can imagine the two actors cracking each other up.

Some moments are going to require closer attention when I listen to this particular collection again, but anyone who particularly enjoys the Tom Baker era should not be too put out with this release. I will be getting the second half of the seventh series of Fourth Doctor audio plays very soon.

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