Doctor Who: Paradise Towers (Story #148)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Goofy but fun

Over acted, underdeveloped story


Welcome to Paradise Towers…time to die!

Paradise Towers was top-of-the-line apartment living quarters when it was originally built, but now the massive high rise complex is beginning to fall apart.  When the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Mel (Bonnie Langford) arrive to find a swimming pool, they find themselves trapped in a world ruled by gangs, witch-like tenants, and terrorized by cleaners running at the hands of the Chief Caretaker (Richard Briers).  The Doctor is mistaken for the Chief Architect of Paradise Towers putting him at odds with the Chief Caretaker…while Mel finds herself teamed with a young man named Pex (Howard Cooke) trying to reach the top of Paradise Towers where the swimming pool is housed.

Doctor Who:  Paradise Towers aired in the twenty-fourth season of the long running BBC series.  The serial aired in four parts from October 5, 1987 to October 26, 1987.  Following Doctor Who:  Time and the Rani, Doctor Who:  Paradise Towers was collected as part of The Sylvester McCoy Years as Story #149 (or Story #148 depending on how you count the unaired Tom Baker story Doctor Who:  Shada).


Mel…you’re an idiot

Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford were just finding their feet as the Doctor and Mel and one could argue that they never really did (especially the short lived Mel).  Doctor Who:  Paradise Towers feels a bit more socially thinking sci-fi than some of the other episodes around it, but it also seems more comedic.

I liked the devolved social structure of the high rise apartment.  The story was based on concepts in the J.G. Ballard novel High Rise, but I also see Cronenberg’s Shivers, The Warriors, and Mad Max mixed in with it.  Modern stories like Dredd and The Raid also feel in line with this story and give the tale a different and more relevant spin.

I like the made up language of the Kangs (and that they have names like Fire Escape and Bin Liner).  The writers really didn’t know what to do with the basic concept, but it is fun to see the interactions between the characters.  I also have to love the bizarre scene between Mel and the witch-like women that shows how stupid Mel is (add to that all she goes through and still wants to swim in the pool…which is filled with giant obvious robots).


Yep, no way you’d see the giant yellow robot in the crystal clear pool…

The divisive role in the serial falls on Richard Briers who almost has a duel role as the Chief Caretaker then the “robot” Chief Caretaker who embodies the Great Architect.  Many felt his role was too comedic (it was), but I do think that the campiness of how he played the role (kind of like a Frankenstein Monster) adds to the general light feeling of the story.

I have to say that despite this being a rather goofy and not very threatening episode of Doctor Who, I rather enjoyed it.  I don’t generally expect much from the “tail end” of the original run of the Doctor Who series since much of the writing and cast surrounding it was pretty weak.  Doctor Who:  Paradise Towers at least provided a light and fun little story that wasn’t too serious.  Doctor Who:  Paradise Towers was followed by Doctor Who:  Delta and the Bannermen.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  Time and the Rani (Story #147)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Delta and the Bannermen (Story #149)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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