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The Silent Scream was the third story in the sixth series of The Fourth Doctor Adventures, produced by Big Finish Productions. It was written by James Goss and featured Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, Lalla Ward as Romana II and John Leeson as K9 Mark II.

Publisher's summary[]

On the set of a busy Hollywood movie in the late 1920s, a damsel is in distress! As cameras roll, she opens her mouth to scream and... nothing comes out. Nothing at all. It's happened again.

The Doctor, Romana and K9 have arrived in a terrified Tinseltown. A new film is being made and several stars of the silent screen are viewing it as a potential comeback... but it may prove a poisoned chalice. Actors are vanishing and strange creatures stalk the streets.

Something evil is lurking behind the scenery. Can the Doctor stop it when he doesn't have a voice?

It's time for his close-up.


Part one[]

1930 - Los Angeles. On the trail of anachronistic energy emissions, the Doctor, Romana and K9 pay a visit to the home of washed-up silent movie actress Loretta Waldorf.

A terrified Loretta believes she is due to fall victim to a Hollywood curse after earlier auditioning for new Hammerstein Studios production, Fires of Fate, which has left all other actresses who screen-tested without a voice.

On cue, K9 detects anachronistic energy signals approaching the house. Strange, silhouetted lifeforms enter the room, shadow beings surrounded by a protective energy field. K9 fires upon them and they burst into flame - but not before they succeed in taking away Loretta's voice.

The Doctor investigates the studio, begrudgingly aided by its proprietor, Lulu Hammerstein, who is none-the-less taken by the Doctor's charismatic manner.

The Doctor discovers studio camera technology hundreds of years in advance of the era. He partakes in a mock screen-test with Lulu behind the lens, which heralds the arrival of the shadow creatures - "trans-organic celluforms," according to the Doctor, with intent to kill.

The Doctor and Lulu manage to escape into the depths of the studio - only the Doctor's voice now appears to have been taken!

Romana and K9 remain at Loretta's home to look after her. They are surprised by the sudden arrival of a Dr. Julius, who insists on taking Loretta to his clinic where he claims Loretta will get the care she needs. Romana insists on accompanying them both, leaving K9 behind.

At Julius' clinic, Romana is distracted by distant voices crying for help. Following the voices she finds herself trapped in a room with a running film projector and an array of anachronistic recording and data storage devices, including a "gigacloud media server."

The projector is playing the screen-tests from Fires of Fate - images of dozens of actresses crying out for help. Romana is initially irritated by the recordings but starts to panic when she can't turn them off. As the voices get louder and their cries more desperate, Romana begins to mentally succumb to the psychic maelstrom.

Part two[]

K9 rescues Romana from the psychic onslaught and together they escape the clinic, heading towards Hammerstein Studios.

The Doctor, still voiceless, and Lulu manage to hold the Celluforms back by pointing a film camera at them. They're on the verge of communicating when Romana and K9 arrive and K9 destroys the Celluforms.

Back at the clinic, as Julius prepares to operate on Loretta, the Doctor's disembodied voice communicates with Julius through the radio. The Doctor's voice has retained a greater degree of sentience than the human voice prints.

Julius is a highly amoral silent film collector from the future. Using time corridor technology he has returned to 1930s Hollywood to surgically acquire macabre memorabilia from movie stars whose time has past.

Julius is funding Fires of Fate to lure actresses for his collection. Part of his operation is to take voice grafts from his subjects, transferring what remains of their consciousness into the Celluform creatures, which he can control.

Romana, K9, Lulu and the voiceless Doctor burst into to the operating theatre. Julius sets the Celluforms on them, but K9 ignites the Celluforms with his blaster. Romana, K9 and Lulu escape with the comatose Loretta, but inadvertently leave the Doctor behind.

Romana, K9 and Lulu come to a ward full of voiceless, former movie stars who have been subjected to Julius' treatment and, in their lobotomized state are waiting to be converted into Celluforms.

In the surgery, Julius puts out blaze and secures the Doctor, intending to examine and remove the Doctor's brain.

The Doctor's disembodied voice communicates with Loretta's disembodied voice in the gigacloud. He shows Loretta how to gain control of her body again. Loretta, along with Romana and K9, revive the other patients enough for them to form a mob that descends on Julius' surgery.

This plan was a diversion of the Doctor's, who all the while is scanning Julius' own voice print with his sonic screwdriver and downloading it to the gigacloud. At the same time, the Doctor is able to download his own voice back into to his body, enabling him to escape the operating table.

The Celluforms turn on Julius. The Doctor, Romana, K9, Loretta and Lulu escape before Julius' clinic explodes, taking Julius and his equipment with it.

Loretta allows the surviving Celluloids residence at her home. Lulu intends to finish Fires of Fate, with Loretta in the lead role.



  • The Celluloids are trans-organic cellulose avatars, developed by 2130. Although they appear two dimensional, they are 0.03 millimetres thick, which the Doctor says is a "micron."
  • Cellulose is a cotton derivative, and is highly flammable.
  • By 2130, humanity is "tinkering" with time corridors.
  • The cab driver claims his sister owns a robot dog in Boston.


Textless cover.

  • Lorretta refers to the famous "HOLLYWOOD LAND" sign. The "LAND" was removed in 1949.


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