‘The Flying Dutchman’ (Audio)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The ‘Flying Dutchman’ with the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex

It’s nice to hear the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex again! 😀

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic happening in 2020, ‘The Flying Dutchman’/‘Displaced’ release by Big Finish was moved forward from its original November release to a September release. The Fifth Doctor stories ‘The Lost Resort’, ‘The Perils of Nellie Bly’ and Nightmare of the Daleks’ were rescheduled due to the pandemic. 😦

Like ‘Thin Time’/‘Madquake’ being the only Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc audio release in 2020, ‘The Flying Dutchman’/‘Displaced’ was the only Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex audio release made that year. I surmise two more Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex releases were intended for 2020. 😦

It’s sad Big Finish’s release schedule for the monthly range of ‘Doctor Who’ stories got messed up in 2020 due to the pandemic, but I imagine a lot of Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex fans are thankful to have ‘The Flying Dutchman’/‘Displaced’ in their collection. I’m happy to have heard these two stories.

I like the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex as a team-up. There’s a warm camaraderie between Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier when they make these audios as a trio. I can’t claim to have heard every Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex audio by this point, but I do greatly enjoy hearing them. 🙂

The two stories featured in the 2020 Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex release presumably take place between ‘Forty-Five’ and ‘The Magic Mousetrap’. There has been a double bill audio release with the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex before this, which happens to be ‘Shadow Planet’ and ‘World Apart’. 😐

There was also ‘Muse of Fire’ featuring the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex meeting Iris Wildthyme before ‘The Flying Dutchman’ and ‘Displaced’. I’m quite used to the two 2-part story collections of ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish as I’ve enjoyed ‘Alien Heart’/‘Dalek Soul’, ‘Interstitial’/‘Feast of Fear’, etc.

I was intrigued what these two audio adventures would be like and whether I would find them satisfying experiences. Let me share with you what I think of ‘The Flying Dutchman’ and ‘Displaced’ each in turn as stories and how they contribute to the continuing Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex saga.

The cast and crew of ‘The Flying Dutchman’. From left to right: Stephen Wight, Carly Day, Nigel Fairs, Sophie Aldred, Nicholas Khan, Sylvester McCoy, Philip Olivier and director Samuel Clemens.

The first story called ‘The Flying Dutchman’ is a two-part adventure by Gemma Arrowsmith. This is the first time I’ve come across Gemma Arrowsmith as a ‘Doctor Who’ writer in Big Finish audio here.

She has contributed a story for ‘The Paternoster Gang’ series called ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’ in ‘Heritage 2’ and an episode for Series 2 of ‘Missy’ called ‘Treason and Plot’. I enjoyed Gemma’s writing here. 🙂

I like how she manages to capture the essences of the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex as characters in her ‘Flying Dutchman’ story. Sylvester, Sophie and Philip play to the strengths of the tale’s script too.

In the story, the Doctor, Ace and Hex visit a seemingly deserted sailing ship called the Isabella in the middle of the ocean in 1742. The TARDIS trio explore the ship in order to locate the ‘missing’ crew. 😐

They eventually find the crew who have been hiding to avoid the attack of the legendary ghost ship called the Flying Dutchman. Thankfully, no Mysterio from 1960s ‘Spider-Man’ was involved in this. 🙂

The crew believe there are ghosts aboard that ship, but ghosts aren’t real, are they? The Doctor, Ace and Hex uncover the mystery as there’s soon a mutiny and more complex revelations behind all this.

Sylvester McCoy is excellent as the Seventh Doctor in this audio adventure. I like how Sylvester balances the comedic aspects of his Doctor, especially when captured, as well as that serious side. 🙂

It’s never clear whether Sylvester’s Doctor is in the know as to what’s going on in this adventure and he seems to quietly work things out. He gets on well with his companions Ace and Hex in the story. 🙂

I liked it when the Doctor quoted from one of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poems called ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. I’m not familiar with the poem, but I do appreciate the Doctor quoting from it.

Sophie Aldred is equally excellent as Ace in this audio adventure. Ace gets a chance to do what Amy did in ‘The Curse of the Black Spot’ since she fights with swords against the crew of the Isabella ship.

I like the bond she forms with the little boy Archie who’s revealed to be a young girl called Anna. Ace sometimes teases Hex when they have adventures, but she’s clearly fond of him during their travels.

Philip Olivier is also equally excellent as Hex in this audio adventure. I would like to meet Philip Olivier again at a convention, having met him at ‘Dimensions 2013’ in Newcastle in October 2013. 😀

I’ve also heard him as Paul Bailey in ‘Star Cops’ recently. It was fun to hear Hex’s reactions to being on a sailing ship where he was sea-sick. Hex shares scenes with the Doctor when working things out.

There is an element of ‘Empress of Mars’ in this audio adventure, especially when the first mate Unsworth seeks to take command of the Isabella from Marfleet since he thinks he’s a ‘weak leader’.

Nicholas Khan guest stars as Alexander Marfleet, the captain of the Isabella in this adventure. I like how he gradually develops as a character from lacking confidence to developing his leadership skills.

Stephen Wight guest stars as Unsworth, the Isabella’s first mate. It’s intriguing how Unsworth is unravelled to be the villain of this audio story. I initially thought he was one of the good guys in this.

It’s interesting how it gets unveiled that the Flying Dutchman was really a ship called the Henrietta and Unsworth was using it to frighten Marfleet with his superstitions. Thankfully, Unsworth failed. 🙂

Nigel Fairs guest stars as Curtis, one of the crewmen who sadly gets killed off in the adventure. Over the years, Nigel Fairs has contributed quite a number of ‘Doctor Who’ tales, both as actor and writer.

Carly Day guest stars as Archie/Anna in the adventure. Anna’s story being a young girl disguised as a boy put me in mind of ‘The Girl Who Never Was’ as Amanda Root’s character was disguised as a boy.

I like how the story ended with Archie revealing herself as Anna before Captain Marfleet and asking him to let her remain as a part of his sailing crew. By the end, Marfleet promotes Anna as first mate.

The cast of ‘The Flying Dutchman’. From left to right: Stephen Wight, director Samuel Clemens, Carly Day, Nigel Fairs, Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Philip Olivier and Nicholas Khan.

‘The Flying Dutchman’ has been an enjoyable swashbuckling adventure with the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex. I like how things turned out in the end and it was fun to hear this TARDIS trio out at sea. 😀

‘The Flying Dutchman’ rating – 8/10

The previous story

For the Seventh Doctor was

  • ‘Muse of Fire’ (Audio)

For Ace was

  • ‘Muse of Fire’ (Audio)

For Hex was

  • ‘Muse of Fire’ (Audio)

The next story

For the Seventh Doctor is

For Ace is

For Hex is

Return to The Seventh Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Ace’s Timeline
Return to Hex’s Timeline
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2 thoughts on “‘The Flying Dutchman’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    I needed a second listen to appreciate this audio drama as upon first listen it didn’t hold my interest however after my second listen this is rather good, i like the uncertainty of the Seventh Doctor stories is he aware of event’s or just arrived by sheer randomness?

    A excellent detailed review Tim brilliantly summed up my friend, these BF Doctor Who audio dramas helping me through my grief providing a pleasant distraction for a couple hours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this story more on a second listen compared to the first. It’s interesting how there’s uncertainty with the Seventh Doctor as you’re never sure whether he’s in the know or not about certain events happening in his adventures.

      Many thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed my review and glad the Big Finish ‘Doctor Who’ audios are helping you get through tough times as I’m sure they’re doing for many people.

      Tim. 🙂



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