‘Tomb Ship’ (Audio)

tomb ship


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Doctor and Nyssa are…the Raiders of the Lost Tomb Ship

‘Tomb Ship’ is the second story of this 2014 trilogy with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa!

After enjoying ‘Moonflesh’, I was looking forward to the next story of the trilogy. ‘Tomb Ship’ is a gripping, atmospheric and claustrophobic tale set inside a tomb ship in space, with lots of Egyptology influences, puzzles and traps. It’s a pretty tense story with lots of drama and character relationships.

I’ve enjoyed this story with Peter Davison as the Doctor and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa leading the cast. I’ve had all the CD covers of the three stories of the 2014 Fifth Doctor trilogy (including ‘Tomb Ship’) signed by the lovely Sarah Sutton at the ‘Time Warp’ convention in Weston-super-Mare, July 2014.

The TARDIS arrives on a pyramid-like tomb ship in space that is the resting-place for the Arrit God-King. Realising where they are, the Doctor is determined to get away. But he and Nyssa soon meet Virna and her sons. Virna viciously forces the Doctor to work for them and get through the puzzles.

Virna and her sons. From left to right: Ben Porter, Phil Mulryne; Eve Karpf; James Hayward and Jonathan Forbes.

Whilst the Doctor goes with Virna and her sons, Nyssa is held hostage by one of Virna’s sons aboard the tomb ship. But there is far more to this tomb ship in connection to Virna’s history? Will the Doctor and Nyssa survive; avoid the insect-like Arrit-Ko and also discover the truth of Virna’s history?

‘Tomb Ship’ is a four-part story by Emma Beeby and Gordon Rennie, who also wrote ‘1001 Nights’ with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. They write well for the Doctor and Nyssa, doing them justice and having fun with them interacting with the other characters. They’re also into their Egyptology in this.

Peter Davison is great as the Doctor in this. I liked how he immediately knows what’s going on when he and Nyssa arrive on the tomb ship. He also knows about the Arrit God-King and the tomb ship’s history far better than Virna does, as he reveals that it’s a massive floating bomb travelling in space.

The Doctor is afraid for everyone’s safety and doesn’t like it when he’s being pushed around by Virna and her sons. He gets separated from Nyssa and is quick off the mark when it comes to solving puzzles and riddles. He’s horrified when Virna is willing to sacrifice her sons and get what she wants.

sarah sutton, peter davison and francesca hunt

Sarah Sutton, Peter Davison and Francesca Hunt in ‘Tomb Ship’.

Sarah Sutton gives a terrific and lovely performance as Nyssa. I liked how Nyssa and the Doctor work out the riddles from the Hologram-Fresco voices. Some say Nyssa is rather side-lined as she gets held hostage which is true. But I really enjoyed her scenes as she gets to have her own adventure in this.

I like the scenes Nyssa shares with Hisko, especially when she first tries to run away from him before trusting him. I like it when she works out that Jhanni is Virna’s daughter and gets to persuade Jhanni not to be like her mother. I was afraid for Nyssa when she was being stuck to the spot in ‘Part One’.

I’m sure Eve Karpf is a really nice person, because her character Virna is nasty and horrible. Virna is the mother of many sons, who she takes with her to this tomb ship to break into it. She doesn’t care much for their sons and she’s willing to sacrifice them without a second thought to get the treasure.

Virna is essentially ‘the mother from hell’. She does come across as being a two-dimensional and rather annoying when she won’t listen to the Doctor and Nyssa. But Virna has this history and a burning desire which was so fascinating to listen to, as layers of it gradually get revealed in the story.

Amy Ewbank guest stars as Jhanni, who is a mystery character on this tomb ship. She’s a young, bitter person who taunts Virna on her communicator and her quest to get the treasure. It’s unclear who Jhanni is at the beginning. But it transpires Jhanni is the daughter of Virna who was left behind.

The sons of Virna are Hisko, Heff; Murs and Rek. James Hayward as Hisko is the son who does everything his mother says, as he’s scared of her. He sounds pretty feeble and child-like compared to his brothers. But he’s the son with a good heart and easy to reason with. I like his scenes with Nyssa.

Jonathan Forbes as Heff is the son who talks back to his mother. He questions Virna on every decision she makes and manages to save Nyssa from being stuck to the spot in ‘Part One’. He’s pretty tough and compassionate, although he sadly gets killed in ‘Part Three’ and it’s all Virna’s fault.

Ben Porter as Murs is a tougher brother compared to Hisko and Heff and shows no nonsense. Murs is fiercely loyal to his mother and thinks that his mother loves him back. He’s willing to do anything in her quest for the treasure. But as the story progresses, he discovers his mother isn’t what she is.

Phil Mulryne as Rek doesn’t last long as he gets killed at the beginning of ‘Part One’. Phil does get to do the Hologram-Fresco voices. These are voices that speak riddles and tell the story of what happened to the Arrit God-King. I found some of the riddles hard to understand when I heard them.

The monsters are the insect-like Arrit-Ko. Virna describes them as being like the Wirrn, who are another insect-like species from ‘The Ark in Space’. This was a nice connection and a reference to that story, although the Arrit-Ko didn’t stand up for me as monsters and were easy to miss I’m afraid.

There was an unexpected surprise! Francesca Hunt appears as Hannah Bartholemew. Hannah previously appeared in ‘Moonflesh’. I didn’t expect her to appear in this story. She appears unexpectedly when she rescues Heff. The Doctor and Nyssa were surprised to see Hannah as I was.

At the end, it seems like Hannah is going to continue travelling with the Doctor and Nyssa in the TARDIS. Hannah becomes a new companion apparently. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out, but I was very keen to find out in the next story. Where will Hannah’s story go next, I wonder?

‘Tomb Ship’ is a really good story with the Doctor and Nyssa. It’s a gripping tale full of tension and character drama throughout. I’ve enjoyed this adventure and especially want to know what’s going to happen next with the Doctor and Nyssa, now they have Hannah joining them in their adventures.

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there are some behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Sarah Sutton, Eve Karpf, Jonathan Forbes, James Hayward, Ben Porter, Phil Mulryne, director Ken Bentley, etc. There’s also a trailer for the next story with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Hannah called ‘Masquerade’.

In the behind-the-scenes interviews, there’s also a lovely dedication and tribute to Sarah Sutton as Nyssa which was a delight, a joy and a lovely surprise to listen to. It features contributions from Peter Davison and people at Big Finish like director Ken Bentley and producer David Richardson who’ve also worked with her on these audios.

I like to make my dedication to Sarah in this review. Sarah is a really lovely person and I’m very lucky to have met and known her at conventions. Sarah is very kind, honest, nice, sweet, caring and friendly. I’ve enjoyed chatting and sharing how much I like her as Nyssa and she’s pleased I like her.

I share jokes and friendly banter with Sarah at conventions. Sarah even bought me an ice lolly once in Weston-super-Mare which was very kind of her. Sarah puts so much into the character of Nyssa, and I like Nyssa’s gentleness and compassionate and caring nature in many stories, both in TV and audio.

Merry Christmas from Sarah Sutton and Peter Davison.

In Christmas 2013, I saw a lovely photo of Sarah Sutton and Peter Davison celebrating Christmas with party crackers on the Big Finish Facebook page. I discovered ‘Tomb Ship’ was recorded around the time in December 2013. I’ve now had the Christmas photo signed by Sarah and Peter at conventions (check my personal photo gallery above to see).

If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Tomb Ship’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Tomb Ship’.

‘Tomb Ship’ rating – 9/10

The previous story

For the Fifth Doctor was

For Nyssa was

The next story

For the Fifth Doctor is

For Nyssa is

Return to The Fifth Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Nyssa’s Timeline
Return to The Doctors’ Timelines Index
Return to The Companions’ Timelines Index
Return to Doctor Who Timelines
Return to The Nyssa Challenge
Return to Doctor Who
Return to Sci-Fi

7 thoughts on “‘Tomb Ship’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    Sarah would no doubt love to read your stories as you have written her character so well in your stories.

    This is a great audio drama, the character of Virna is worse than any dalek or cyberman as she’s willing to sacrifice her own sons for her ill gotten gains.

    I like the puzzle aspect of this story & find it a very enjoyable listen, great photos Tim & a brilliantly written review that gives a great description of what the stories about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Thanks Simon!

    I’ll have to see if I can get my covers of ‘The Space Hotel’, ‘Doom of the Daleks’ and ‘The Tree of Riverloth’ signed by Sarah next time I see her. She seems interested in my ‘Doctor Who’ stories when I told her about them and she signed the cover of ‘The Railway of Time’ for me on my birthday this year! 😀

    Yes Virna sounds pretty horrible to listen to on audio. I’m sure the actress who plays her is a nice person really. It was interesting how Virna’s character developed and the truth revealed about what her history with her family was all about. It was both disturbing and interesting to listen to.

    Sometimes I could get a sense of some of the video games I’ve played with my best mate including ‘Crash Bandicoot’ when listening to the audio when the characters were puzzle-solving.

    I’m very pleased you like the photos in my review Simon and that you like how I’ve described the story.

    Many thanks, SImon.

    Tim. 🙂


  3. IWishIHadATardis

    Hi Tim

    I enjoyed your review of Tomb Ship. I thought this was a great story, and I particularly enjoyed the aspects which seemed to show such an ancient culture, and the way in which they lived (and died). That, I thought was very well done.

    The characters were well written, and the story raced along at a great pace, I thought. The twists and turns in it were very well played out.

    Great review, Tim, very enjoyable – thanks!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Leigh.

    Thanks for your comments on my ‘Tomb Ship’ review. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. I’ve just re-listened to this story for this week.

    Yes it is a great story and it was very interesting about this alien Tomb Ship with puzzles to solve. I realised how much was unraveled during the story about the Tomb Ship’s history and how it led to being a big floating bomb during the story. It did have a nice blend of alien and almost-Egyptian aspects in the story.

    I especially enjoyed the guest characters in this story and how they all differed in terms of family from Virna to her children. Virna was a nasty-piece of work wasn’t she and got her just deserts. I was impressed with how things got unravaled about the characters too.

    Thanks Leigh. Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘Tomb Ship’. Hope you enjoy my review on ‘Masquerade’ next week!

    Tim. 🙂


  5. IWishIHadATardis

    Hi Tim

    Yes, I think this story really works, with the blend of alien and the Egyptian-style themes in it.

    The other characters in the story were all very well rounded, and three-dimensional, weren’t they. I think they worked very well in the type of story, where nothing was ever quite as it first seemed.

    I will look forward to your review of Masquerade.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Leigh.

    Well, at first it seemed that Virna was rather two-dimensional as a villain. But later on as the story progressed, it was interesting to find that she and the Tomb Ship have a history each other.

    Also it was interesting to see the varying personalities of Virna’s children and how the brothers differed with Hisko being the nervous son, Heff and Murs being the tougher sons. It was also interesting and disturbing that Jhani was left behind on the Tomb Ship by her mother and she became bitter over the years.

    Did you like my photos and my dedication to Sarah Sutton in this review?

    Thanks Leigh.

    Tim. 🙂


  7. IWishIHadATardis

    Hi Tim

    Yes, I think that’s one of the strengths of the story, the way that it seems to start out as one thing, and slowly you get to know the characters as the story progresses, and you can see more of what has gone on before.

    I think Virna’s actions really were indefensible throughout, weren’t they, in what she did, and what she did to her children.

    I did like your photos, very much, Tim, and the dedication to Sarah Sutton. It’s nice to see all the photos that you have collected over the years, when you add them to your reviews.


    Liked by 1 person


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.