‘Project: Nirvana’ (Audio)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

Forge File – Two Companions

This is a unique ‘Companion Chronicle’!

‘Project: Nirvana’ is a Seventh Doctor adventure featuring two companions. It’s not Ace and Hex. It’s Captain Lysandra Aristedes and Private Sally Morgan. Maggie O’Neill and Amy Pemberton reprise their roles for this exclusive Big Finish audio story from the ‘Companion Chronicles’ of ‘Doctor Who’.

I was surprised and delighted to find this ‘Companion Chronicle’ featuring these two women characters in ‘Doctor Who’ that were created by Big Finish. This was an exclusive audio adventure made for the Seventh Doctor ‘White/Black TARDIS trilogy’ in 2012. I was pretty intrigued by this tale.

This is a two-part adventure by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright. This story takes place in between ‘House of Blue Fire’ and ‘Protect and Survive’. I enjoyed listening to this audio adventure as well as hearing Lysandra and Sally together. I was so keen to find out more in these Seventh Doctor audios.

Both Lysandra and Sally have appeared in ‘Doctor Who’ before. They met the Seventh Doctor in specific adventures for this story arc involving the Forge and the White/Black TARDISes. Lysandra made her first appearance in ‘Project: Destiny’ whilst Sally had first appeared in ‘House of Blue Fire’.

Here in this story, Lysandra and Sally are already travelling with the Doctor by this point. There’s no explanation or introduction given as to how these two women met and how they ended up travelling with the Doctor. I believe that all would be explained in the audio drama ‘Black and White’.

The Doctor, Lysandra and Sally arrive in Romania 2015 in the Black TARDIS above the Carpathian Mountains. The Doctor has a mission for the two women, as they’re to hijack a train racing through the snow. There is an acquisition of the Forge on board and there’s a connection to Lysandra’s past.

This story is in many ways a sequel to three stories featuring the Forge – ‘Project: Twilight’; ‘Project: Lazarus’ and ‘Project: Destiny’. I’ve enjoyed listening to those stories with the Forge and Nimrod and I was amazed to find that more was to be told with this really dodgy organisation dealing with aliens.

Both Maggie O’Neill and Amy Pemberton provide superb narration as their characters in this story. I found how sharp and focused Maggie’s voice was as Lysandra whilst Amy’s voice as Sally was soothing and easy-to-listen to as she expressed the warmth and compassion compared to Lysandra.

Maggie O’Neill provides more depth as Lysandra as she describes events from her perspective in this adventure. It’s clear Lysandra hasn’t had the easiest of lives working for the Forge. Despite being a companion to the Doctor, she’s still very uneasy about him when becoming a part of his masterplan.

Amy Pemberton is lovely as Sally. Sally is an eager and curious soul and she lets her compassion get the better of her which annoys Lysandra at times. Sally gets captured and interrogated by a younger Lysandra with the Truth Sayer and she struggles to reveal the truth with her identity and the future.

Yes! There are two Lysandras that appear in this story, which is confusing. There’s the younger Lysandra working for the Forge at this time in 2015 and the current Lysandra travelling with the Doctor. The younger Lysandra is bitter and hates the Doctor for what happened in ‘Project: Lazarus’.

Sylvester McCoy makes a guest appearance as the Doctor during this adventure. It was nice to hear Sylvester in this audio story. Sylvester’s Doctor takes a back seat as he sends Lysandra and Sally in on their mission. He knows what is going on and makes his return in ‘Part Two’, defeating the monster.

The Doctor is currently travelling in the Black TARDIS which started when he was travelling alone from ‘Robophobia’ to ‘House of Blue Fire’. I was wondering why the Doctor was travelling in the Black TARDIS and where the White TARDIS was. To find out more on this mystery, keep on listening!

The enemy is Derleth, one of the Elder Gods. He controls people’s emotions such as Sally’s when she laughs uncontrollably, which was disturbing. Derleth controls the younger Lysandra, giving Maggie O’Neill to perform with a deep scary voice. Sally strangely worships Derleth as she’s in his influence.

There are references to the Forge and Nimrod in relation to the activities of this story and Project: Nirvana. It turns out that the Forge were attempting to duplicate Derleth as a clone when capturing him. This sounds familiar when Captain Millington wanted Fenric’s power from ‘The Curse of Fenric’. And also when the Forge managed to create a clone version of the Sixth Doctor in ‘Project: Lazarus’.

The core of this story is Lysandra discovering her past. It turns out Lysandra doesn’t remember the events of being possessed by Derleth when she was young. It was something she did in order to defeat Derleth and the Doctor knew that since her memories were supressed from this experience.

I enjoyed listening to this ‘Companion Chronicle’ with Lysandra and Sally. It’s an unusual Forge story without Nimrod, but it adds more to the mystery of the Doctor travelling with these two women. To find out more about this ‘war’ the Doctor’s recruited Sally and Lysandra for, listen to the next story.

The CD extras are as follows. At the end of the disc, there is a trailer for ‘The Last Post’ with Caroline John as Liz Shaw. There is also a suite of incidental music to enjoy. I am rather sad and disappointed that there aren’t any interviews with Maggie O’Neill and Amy Pemberton on this disc for the story.

‘Project: Nirvana’ rating – 8/10

The previous story

For the Seventh Doctor was

For Lysandra was

For Sally was

The next story

For the Seventh Doctor is

For Lysandra is

For Sally is

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Return to Lysandra’s Timeline
Return to Sally’s Timeline
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2 thoughts on “‘Project: Nirvana’ (Audio)

  1. Amy Pemberton….(dreams)…erm anyway brilliant review of this Companion Chronicle Tim, is it me or does Doctor Who seem to be more tense & atmospheric when he’s on a snowy type planet?

    There just seems this isolation feeling within the story’s & this is a cracking audio drama paced well & the small cast sink there teeth into some amazingly written drama.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed my review on ‘Project: Nirvana’. Thanks for your kind comments.

    Yes I think ‘Doctor Who’ does get more tense and atmospheric, especially in a snowy-like atmosphere. I felt tense when listening to the Doctor and Nyssa in snowy Alaska during ‘The Land of the Dead’.

    I especially enjoyed the character journeys of Sally and Lysandra in this audio adventure, especially with Amy Pemberton and Maggie O’Neill performing their characters in the story.

    Thanks again Simon.

    Tim. 🙂


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