The Fourth Doctor and Leela continue their travels through time and space in series seven. We’re looking today at the return of the Voc Robots in the first adventure of this series, The Sons of Kaldor.
We caught up with writer of this tale, Andrew Smith, about bringing back a Doctor Who Monster fan favourite:- “Not only is The Robots of Death one of my all-time favourite stories from classic Doctor Who, but Robophobia (an earlier audio sequel to that story) is one of my all-time favourite Big Finish stories. So it was doubly exciting, and daunting, to be asked to write a story featuring those Kaldoran Robots.
“David (Richardson, producer) was keen that I shouldn’t use too many elements of the TV story – so, no Sandminer, no mentions of Taren Capel and his Robot revolution. Instead, we’d have a base under siege, a base crewed by Robots, with someone or something knocking and trying to get in. The title, The Sons of Kaldor, was also a suggestion from David, and I started by having a think about exactly who or what that could be. At the end of the story, the meaning is more ambiguous than it might at first appear...
“Writing for Vocs (and a Supervoc), and for Tom and Louise, was such a pleasure. Then there was the added delight of finding that two Big Finish stalwarts, and personal friends, Toby Hadoke and John Dorney, would be playing the Robots. To sit in the studio listening to them intone V26 and SV9, among others, really did take me back to Saturday teatime in the late 1970s.”
The story has been a hit with the critics, including The Digital Fix, “It is a well executed story and Tom Baker and Louise Jameson are on fine form throughout, living and breathing these old characters in way that takes you right back to that Hinchliffe era of Doctor Who. Martha Cope delivers a strong resolute performance as Commander Lind, the last survivor of the surveillance ship and Oliver Dimsdale is bold and threatening as Rebben Tace, a member of the Sons of Kaldor, who plays a menacing villain without ever becoming too hammy.
“But it is Toby Hadoke's V26 and John Dorney's SV9 that are the life and soul of this story, perfectly capturing the robotic performances from The Robots of Death while still acting in a manner that makes you feel for their plight.”
Blogtor Who gave this first adventure for series seven 10/10 “Andrew Smith delivers a brilliant hour of Who with one of the most complex sets of robots ever to grace the series. The Voc Robots have always had the capacity, with a skilled writer, to be interesting, sympathetic and emotional. Smith uses them to their fullest advantage, seemingly taking inspiration from the excellent Robophobia by Nick Briggs. Voice regulars Toby Hadoke and John Dorney recreate their voices superbly while the rest of the cast, especially Tom Baker and Louise Jameson as Leela, excelling in their own ways. Martha Cope and Oliver Dimsdale round off the supporting cast with excellent performances."
And Planet Mondas gave it a glowing review: “Who wants a sort of semi sequel to The Robots of Death? Anyone? I can imagine a sea of hands raised in anticipation and I am happy to say Andrew Smith delivers. What we get is a tense political thriller with stakes raised higher and higher that is real seat edge stuff.”
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