Doctor Who Audio Review: The Sisters Of Doom

Doctor Who: Wicked Sisters

Wicked Sisters is a Doctor Who audio boxset with three stories written by Simon Guerrier for Big Finish Productions. Lisa Bowerman serves as director with Peter Davison starring as the Fifth Doctor. He is joined by Louise Jameson as Leela. Ciara Jansen and Laura Doddington play the Graceless sisters known as Abby and Zara. The guest cast is comprised of Tom Mahy, Pandora Clifford, Dan Starkey, Anjli Mohindra, Nicky Goldie, Paul Courtney Hyu, and the director herself playing the Smoke Creatures.

Leela has recruited the Doctor to find a pair of sisters with whom he had met during previous audio series which had him reassemble the Key to Time once again. Anny and Zara were initially created to track down the six segments to the Key to Time. They were at odds at one time but now work together to use their vast god-like powers to help others. Their efforts have lead to actually threaten all of space and time because it would not be a proper Doctor Who story otherwise. Leela wants the Doctor to help convince the sisters to end their own lives, but the Time Lord is not so sure something so drastic is needed. Anyway, there are three interconnected tales to see how this quest progresses.

The Garden of Storms brings the Doctor and Leela to a planet that looks like a paradise. They find a society that sacrifices those who have reached forty years of age. They find Abby and Zara quickly enough, but they also find a mysterious people made of smoke. This first story is rather interesting and sets up the saga well. The Smoke Creatures make for an interesting villain. I also like that the sisters are dangerous not necessarily evil. It’s one of these shades of gray situations. Jansen and Doddington do have an engaging chemistry, which is important considering the whole thing centers on them. Davison and Jameson have done a previous story together, which is interesting since Louise Jameson is more associated with Tom Baker’s Doctor. It was also pretty cool to see Leela reacting to a different version of the Doctor. They also seemed to work well together. So far, the set has a solid start with this first installation.

The Moonrakers pits the Doctor, Leela, and the sisters against the Sontarans. Dan Starkey returns to the role and continues to provide a compelling performance as the militaristic clones. Although the Sontarans in this story are not quite as hungry for war as usual. It’s not a bad story but not one I would consider a favorite. What was kind of cool is that the four main cast got separated with the Doctor and Zara trapped together while Abby and Leela have to find them. I should mention that Leela’s time on Gallifrey has afforded the opportunity to learn to pilot the TARDIS. I am not sure this particular development is something I find to be a good idea considering, but I guess it serves its purpose. Anyway, it’s good to have Dan Starkey back, and I rather like the Sontarans, but I would not call this particular story anything special.

The whole thing comes to an explosive confrontation with the Smoke Creatures in The People Made of Smoke, appropriately enough. The Doctor may have to sacrifice himself to save the universe and the two powerful sisters. This actually had a rather strong and somewhat moving conclusion, although since there are many Doctors to come after this version, we can still be assured that the Fifth survives his travails.

The whole series was actually quite good though. Some different dynamics were tried and succeeded mostly in being entertaining and compelling. The cast was well selected, which is expected of Big Finish. Abby and Zara have their own spin-off series with Big Finish called Graceless. This little adventure returns them to the company of the Time Lord. I have yet to experience the Graceless series, but that did not really dampen my enjoyment overall of this set. I also prefer that this is a trilogy all written by one guy. Guerrier is a prolific contributor to Doctor Who and Big Finish, and he may not have hit a home run here, but he got a solid hit out of this one.

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