Saturday, 20 June 2015


The Doctor and Leela face off with space ghosts at an all-girl college!

After the dreadful Suburban Hell last month, I am delighted to report that Cloisters of Terror is one of the best Fourth Doctor Adventure titles we’ve had yet. The perfect blend of supernatural phantasmagoria and hard science fiction.

Let’s start with the most dramatic change since last month: The characters! Last month we had an assortment of unlikable characters grating our nerves in the suburbs. This month we have Scottish girls and nun educators with a little UNIT thrown in. Don’t get too excited, it’s one of those Remember The New Guy hand waves, but who cares? Emily Shaw is such a wonderful character who is quite unusually very Agent Scully towards our Tom Baker Doctor. That’s not all. Claudia Grant and Jane Slavin play two students who are somehow at the heart of this ghostly mystery and despite it feeling like their accent slipping on certain lines, they did the roles justice. Though they were really only there for the plot. Very stationary characters.

Leela is one of my favorite companions. The partnership between her and the Doctor is one of absolute symbiosis. He’s the brain, she’s the brawn. She’s useful. She has skills that are needed in every story. They may always be the same skills, but they serve the plot and it makes her valuable. Like Jamie before her and Ace after her, companions who act as the Doctor’s bodyguard are fantastic to watch/listen. Louise Jameson is as always on top form and just delightful as the noble savage.

Last month had a great concept, but poor villains. This month has a great concept and interesting villains. The titular Sisters are unusual in that there is more to them than meets the eye. It’s always nice when villains are portrayed as more than just bitchy or grumpy man children who want to destroy everything. Even the simplest effort to show them as sympathetic or tragic can go a long way to making them fiercely exciting to listen to. This is what happens here and it is expertly done.

The story itself, as a whole, is pretty standard. It’s not overly complicated or anything. It’s one of those titles where your first impression isn’t likely to be dampened with a second or third or even a tenth listen. It’s consistent storytelling.

Rating this story: 7.5/10. No sexy nun lap dances I’m afraid.

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