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.
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 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.
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|