Jonathan Morris’ script for The Cloisters of Terror is a breath of fresh air among some of the darker themes that have been explored during this season of Fourth Doctor tales, and reminds me in many ways of the terrific The Auntie Matter which launched Mary Tamm’s sole season as Romana. There’s a deftness of dialogue, a clarity of plotting and plenty of tension as the Doctor and Leela team up with Dame Emily Shaw (mother of Liz), with Rowena Cooper making a welcome return to the Big Finish roster to help delve into the mystery of the ghostly sisters.
It’s the sort of story that would have fitted perfectly alongside Image of the Fendahl or Horror of Fang Rock – unexplained goings-on have a rational explanation, albeit one that Earthbound minds might not necessarily have the knowledge to reach without some assistance from the Time Lord. Director Nick Briggs helps the cast achieve exactly the right atmosphere for the changes in tempo that the script contains, with some turning on the proverbial sixpence from Baker-led comedy (and I wonder who’s taking responsibility for the last, terrible, pun) to terror, aided by some well-wrought soundscaping by Jamie Robertson.
Verdict: A well-directed and produced gem of a tale with a strong cast and script. 10/10