In Review: Big Finish: Doctor Who: The Cloisters of Terror

“This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a wimple.”

Synopsis: St Matilda’s College, Oxford is haunted. The building was formerly a convent and, so the story goes, three ghostly nuns wander its passages during the hours of darkness. The story goes on to say that anyone who sees the ‘three sisters’ will not be long for this world.

When one of the students mysteriously disappears, the Dean of the College, Dame Emily Shaw, has no option but to call in the police. Her call appears to be answered when a Police Box arrives in her study; the Doctor and Leela have come to investigate and uncover the dark secret that has lain buried beneath the college for almost a thousand years…

Review: “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a wimple.” With his inimitable paraphrasing, the Doctor summed up this well-crafted adventure. Writer Jonathan Morris understood his audience. He knew going in that Doctor Who fans would assume that the ghostly nuns were aliens, so he layered the narrative surprises within the specific nature of the aliens. He also bolstered the plotting with unapologetic gothic atmosphere, references to UNIT, and a stint by Liz Shaw’s mother as the Doctor’s guest companion. That said, I would’ve preferred a bit more show rather than tell with the backstory — some use of time travel — so listeners had a better sense of scope. All in all, though, the story played like a an extremely good collaboration between Hinchcliffe and Letts.

You can purchase “The Cloisters of Terror” here:

Written By: Jonathan Morris

Directed By: Nicholas Briggs


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Rowena Cooper (Emily Shaw), Richenda Carey (Sister Frances Beckett), Claudia Grant (Megan Matthews), Allison McKenzie (Lynn Pickering), Jane Slavin (Ancient Nun/Brenda)

Producer David Richardson

Script Editor John Dorney

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Big Finish: Doctor Who: The Cloisters of Terror
  • Script, Performances, Atmosphere
  • Needed more showing rather than telling
  • Story
  • Performances
  • Audio Production

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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