The Fourth Doctor Adventures has a new packaging: four stories released as one set, rather than a monthly range. Whatever the commercial reasons, the quality of stories is undiminished and it means a huge treat for Tom Baker fans, followed by a desperate wait for the next set. This series gives us the return of Louise Jameson as Leela, along with John Leeson as K9. Let’s talk about Volume 1…
Fourth Doctor Adventure Series 7 Volume 1
The opening story is Andrew Smith’s The Sons of Kaldor, and as might be expected it’s a return to the territory of Robots of Death, though being Andrew this story explores that world just a little bit more as the Doctor and Leela find themselves in the middle of a civil war and a well thought through exploration of the ethics of androids and their treatment.
David Llewellyn brings the TARDIS team to a more intimate setting in The Crowmarsh Experiment. It’s a chance to Louise to show her emotional range as she finds herself living another life in 1978 England. It’s a question of trust and belief, written and performed excellently. The character of Leela lends itself well to this kind of tale, where there’s a real struggle between instinct, belief and memory.
John Dorney wrote the final two stories, The Mind Runners and The Demon Rises, and it’s no large spoiler to say they form a matched pair though with some abrupt changes of personnel and threat in the middle. The stories are set on the planet Chaldera, where the young waste time hoping around people’s minds for fun, and the population at large is more focussed on the minor matter of survival. The two stories have elements of both Philip K Dick and HP Lovecraft, with plenty of room for John Dorney’s humour, and a great performance by Josette Simon.
It’s a strong set of stories, Tom is on top of his game, and Nick Brigg’s comfortable direction adds to the overall quality.