The seventh season of Fourth Doctor Adventures kicks off a new “Four stories in one boxset twice yearly” format for the series, and does so with a story that’s… alright. Hmmm… kind of the overall feel of most of the range at this point, Sons of Kaldor is good, but unremarkable, going to show that a change of release format (and the return of the Voc Robots) hasn’t ironed out the kinks the series has. Still, let’s take a look!
Finding themselves in a seemingly deserted spaceship on an alien world, the Doctor and Leela stumble into some familiar foes – the Voc robots from the planet Kaldor – and… something else. Something outside. Trying to get in.
Reviving the robot’s Kaldoran commander from hibernation, the travellers discover that they’ve found themselves in the middle of a civil war. The ship was hunting the Sons of Kaldor, an armed resistance group working with alien mercenaries to initiate regime change on their homeworld.
But now the Sons of Kaldor may have found them. The Doctor and Leela will have to pick a side. Or die.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
The Doctor (Tom Baker) – The Doctor is looking for spare parts to repair K9, and wouldn’t you know it, he finds the right place, and the right place is full of potentially killer robots. Classic.
Leela (Louise Jameson) – Leela has come a long way in her education away from savagery, but she can still be simple-minded and easily distracted at times, especially when confronted with a familiar foe…
Commander Lind (Martha Cope) – The commander on board a Kaldorian spacecraft that ended up gravely injured in a battle between rival Kaldorian factions. Her Voc Robots healed her, but kept her sleeping…
Rebben Tace (Oliver Dimsdale) – Rebben believes that the only way forward for Kaldor is backwards, the return of the great families and the riddance of the Voc Robots. Rebben won his war, but a new battle might be on the horizon…
Voc Robots (Toby Hadoke and John Dorney) – Robotic servants of the Kaldorian people, they lack the ability to gain true sentience… unless damaged or altered, of course…
A striking cover, although something about the almost painted look to Tom Baker makes it look… slight odd… can’t put my finger on it… Anyway, good cover!
What I really liked here was a bit of fleshing out of Kaldor’s history. The fact they used to rely on slave labour before creating the robots (and only then giving the race they enslaved freedom) and how eventually they fell into civil war over the old ways vs. the new. Like a lot of sequels you can rightfully claim that this “didn’t need to exist”, but if it does (which it does!) I’m happy to hear of a bit more lore to the race.
The two regulars are fine, and Commander Lind and Rebben Tace (great name, by the way!) are fine as two opposing sides in the civil war, with Tace being a good racist (in a way… robotist?) arsehole.
The rest of the story is your basic “robots gain sentience and therefore aren’t they life the same as humans are?” story. Nothing wrong with it, and it’s told well, but nothing original (especially as I’m currently re-watching and reviewing the rebooted Battlestar Galactica at the same time as this…)
Nothing bad, per say, but at no point in the story was I excited or listening intently because I was so gripped or entertained. It was a fun thing to listen to for an hour, but completely unmemorable probably even a month after you listen to it.
Kaldor and the Voc Robots were all started with the Fourth Doctor and Leela TV story “Robots of Death”, and once again featured in the Seventh Doctor audio story “Robophobia”, both of which are actually great, with Robots of Death being an outright classic.
K9 is broken at the start of this story, presumably carrying on from the last Fourth Doctor / Leela story “The Fate of Krelos / Return to Telos”, where it was heavily damaged.
The Sons of Kaldor is a predictably above average story to kick off the seventh series of a range that the majority of its stories can fall into that category. It’s a fun listen for an hour, but you’ll soon forget about it. That’s not a slight on the actors or even the story really, it’s just… not remarkable overall.