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5.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor and Nyssa are...the Raiders of the Lost Tomb Ship!, 14 July 2014
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This review is from: Tomb Ship (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
`Tomb Ship' is the second story of this 2014 trilogy with the Doctor and Nyssa, played by Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton. After enjoying the previous story 'Moonflesh' in the trilogy, I couldn't wait and was looking forward to the next story.

This is a gripping audio adventure and I've thoroughly enjoyed it! It's an atmospheric and claustrophobic tale set inside this tomb ship in space. A bit like Ancient Egypt with the Great Pyramids. There's a lot of Egyptology influences running through this story and there are lots of puzzles and traps for the Doctor and Nyssa to go through. It's also a pretty tense audio story with lots of drama and character relationships running through it, as a matriarchal mother leading her family of sons try to get a hold of the treasure and there's bitterness and resentment between them. I found this story very enjoyable, especially with Peter and Sarah leading the cast.

This story is about the Doctor and Nyssa arriving in the TARDIS on this pyramid-like tomb ship in space that is the resting-place for the Arrit God-King. Realising where they are, the Doctor's determined to get away. But the Doctor and Nyssa soon meet Virna and her family of boys who have come to this tomb ship seeking treasure. Virna viciously forces the Doctor to work for them to get through the puzzles whilst Nyssa is held hostage. But there's far more to this tomb ship that it seems and the Doctor discovers that Virna has a history to coming to this ship before. Will the Doctor and Nyssa survive this and avoiding the insect-like Arrit-Ko coming at them?

The story `Tomb Ship' is written by Emma Beeby and Gordon Rennie. They've written for the Doctor and Nyssa before in the story '1001 Nights'. Here they write for the Doctor and Nyssa again on this tomb ship that's on its way to explode as it's a `big floating bomb' according to the Doctor. They write for the Doctor and Nyssa fairly well in this story, and certainly do them justice in interacting with the other characters in this story. They're also very well into their Egyptology and have fun with the getting the characters to go through tests and solving riddles that is key to the story. This story has an air of `Indiana Jones'; `Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' and all the big action adventure movies set in tombs or underground.

Peter Davison as the Doctor is great in this story. I like how in this story he immediately knows what's going on when he and Nyssa arrive on the tomb ship and discovers where they are. He knows about the Arrit God-King and the tomb ship far better than Virna does. He's afraid for everyone's safety and doesn't like it when he's pushed around by Virna and her sons and is forced to get them through the puzzles. He's separated from Nyssa for most of the story. He's quick on the mark though when it comes to solving the puzzles and riddles; and is horrified when he realises Virna would sacrifice her sons in order to survive in `Part Three'. The Doctor learns more about Virna's history with the tomb ship and I like it how he and Nyssa uncover layers throughout this story.

I really enjoyed Nyssa in this story. Sarah Sutton gives a terrific and lovely performance. She gets to have an adventure in an Egyptian-like tomb ship with the Doctor. I myself am currently writing a story with Nyssa where she has an adventure in Ancient Egypt. I like how Nyssa and the Doctor work out what the riddles of the Hologram-Fresco voices mean and learning more about this tomb ship. Nyssa is separated from the Doctor when she's held captive by Hisko, one of Virna's sons. I like it when she tries to run away and Hisko throws his gun away in order for her to trust him and she gradually comes round and stops running from him. Some say Nyssa is rather side-lined in this story, but I really enjoyed Nyssa's scenes throughout this story and she certainly gets to have an adventure on her own with Hisko and Jhanni. I was afraid for Nyssa when she was stuck to the spot in `Part One' and the Doctor was trying to get her free with Vrina stopping him. I liked it when Nyssa tries to persuade Jhanni to save her brother and not be like her mother in 'Part Three'; and also when she rescues the Doctor from mind-linking with the tomb ship in 'Part Four'.

I'm sure Eve Karpf is a really nice person. Because the character she plays in this story is a really horrible character. Virna is the mother of many sons. She's taken her sons with her on this tomb ship to break into the tomb and recover the treasure of the Arrit God-King. She's a really nasty person and doesn't care much for their sons in terms of their well-being. She's determined to get the treasure for herself and is willing to sacrifice her sons for it without a second thought. She's essentially `the mother from hell' really. Sometimes she does come across as being a two-dimensional character in terms of being really nasty all the way through. But there's more to it than that, as Virna has this history and burning desire to claim she's doing this for her family. Virna is a woman you really want to loathe and Eve plays her so well.

On the tomb ship, there's a female character called Jhanni, played by Amy Ewbank. She's this mystery character who seems to have been on this tomb ship for a very long time. She's a rather young, bitter person who's taunting Virna on her communicator about her quest to get the treasure. It's unclear as to who Jhanni really is at the beginning. It then transpires that she's the daughter of Virna who was left behind all those years ago on a previous exhibition to this tomb ship and has managed to survive all this time. Jhanni does come across as angry and doesn't seem to care. But it turns out she lets Hisko, one of Virna's sons, live and survive and it's up to the Doctor to convince Jhanni not to be like her mother and kill everyone aboard this tomb ship when it explodes.

The sons of Virna are as follows. As I mentioned before, there's Hisko but also Heff; Murs and Rek.

Hisko is played by James Hayward, and seems to be one who does everything his mother says since he's scared of her. He sounds pretty feeble and child-like compared to his brothers. But he's the son who's got a good heart and easy to reason with. He holds Nyssa as his hostage, which he's not very good at. I like it when Hisko's chasing her after she escapes and he tries to gain Nyssa's trust when he throws his gun away. He's afraid of this Jhanni person who threatens him on choosing how he wants to die. He manages to pass a sacrificial test set by Jhanni in `Part Two' much to his surprise as well as Nyssa's.

Heff is played by Jonathan Forbes, who in the story is the son that talks back to his mother. Heff questions Virna on her decisions of leadership and getting through the tomb. Heff is the one who manages to save Nyssa by freeing her from being `stuck on the spot' in `Part One', much to her mother's annoyance and anger. Heff is pretty tough but does have this side of compassion somehow. He knows his mother's cruel and merciless and questions her on every choice she makes when they with the Doctor go through solving the puzzles. Heff does get killed sadly in `Part Three', which is all the fault of his mother Virna.

Murs is played by Ben Porter. Murs is a tougher brother compared to Hisko and Heff and shows no nonsense. He's fiercely loyal to his mother and thinks that his mother loves him back. He's willing to do anything for his mother in this quest for the treasure. But as the story progresses, he soon discovers his mother's not what he's believed to be. He's shocked when Virna willingly and deliberately sacrifices Heff to the insect-like Arrit-Ko. He becomes angry and encourages Jhanni to fight and finish Virna off in `Part Four'. Murs has a bitter side to him as there's friction between him and his brothers and he doesn't take too kindly to the Doctor and Nyssa.

Rek is played by Phil Mulryne, although he doesn't last long since he gets killed immediately at the beginning of `Part One'. Phil however does get to do the Hologram-Fresco voices throughout the story. These are voices that speak riddles and tell the story of what happened to the Arrit God-King when the Doctor and Nyssa arrive and access the control panels to activate the hologram. They speak the riddles through the puzzles and talk about how the `Arrit God-King died over and over again'. I found some of these riddles hard to understand at first, but at least the Doctor, Nyssa and some of the other characters are there to interpret them.

The monsters in this story are the insect-like Arrit-Ko. These were monsters I found I kept missing throughout the story, as it was hard to tell when they appeared throughout the story. At least I heard them when Heff gets killed in `Part Three' and certain scenes in the climax of `Part Four'. Virna describes them as being something like the Wirrn, who are another insect-like species from `The Ark In Space'. This was a nice connection that I liked when referencing that story. But as monsters, they didn't stand up for me and as so much was going on in this story I'm afraid for me the Arrit-Ko were easy to miss.

There was an unexpected surprise! Hannah Bartholemew appears in the story, played by Francesca Hunt. Hannah is a character who previously appeared in `Moonflesh', the story before this. I didn't expect her to be in this story, and Big Finish kept that well-hidden. She appears unexpectedly when rescuing Heff from some attacking Arrit-Ko in `Part Three'. The Doctor and Nyssa are just as surprised to see Hannah as I was. At the end of the story, Hannah's in the TARDIS and it seems like she's going to carry on travelling with the Doctor and Nyssa and has become a new companion. One wonders where Hannah's story goes next!

The CD extras for `Tomb Ship' are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there's a suite of incidental music from the story. There's also some behind-the-scenes interviews on the making of `Tomb Ship' at the end of Disc 2 with director Ken Bentley; Sarah Sutton; Eve Karpf; Jonathan Forbes; etc.

At the end of Disc 2, there's also a lovely dedication and tribute to Sarah Sutton as Nyssa which was a delight and a joy to listen to and a lovely surprise. The dedication is made by the people at Big Finish and Peter Davison who've worked with her. I've recently had the CD cover for `Tomb Ship' signed by lovely Sarah in Weston-super-Mare as well the other stories in the trilogy.. I've told Sarah about this dedication to her at the end of Disc 2, and she was genuinely surprised and delighted. Sarah truly deserves that dedication.

I like to make my own dedication to Sarah in this review. Sarah is a really lovely person and I'm really lucky to have met and known Sarah at conventions. Sarah is exactly how I expected her to be. She's kind; honest; nice; sweet; caring and very friendly. I enjoy chatting to her and sharing how much I like her as an actress and for being Nyssa of Traken. Sarah is equally pleased I like her as Nyssa and appreciates my support over the years. I share jokes and friendly banter with her, and Sarah even bought me an ice lolly recently in Weston-super-Mare which was very nice and thoughtful of her. Sarah puts so much into the character of Nyssa, and I really like her gentleness and her compassionate and caring nature in many of the stories, both in TV and audio. Nyssa is my favourite `Doctor Who' companion and it's amazing that I'm still into the character today. Sarah really enjoys doing the Big Finish audio plays and I'm really happy she continues doing them and making Nyssa a lovely and wonderful character.

So `Tomb Ship' is a really good story in this trilogy with the Doctor and Nyssa. It's a gripping tale and 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 with them joining in their travels. I especially enjoyed the CD extras dedication given to Sarah Sutton as Nyssa in `Doctor Who' as it was a real treat and surprise.

There's a trailer for the next story with the Doctor, Nyssa and Hannah called 'Masquerade'.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Jul 2014 00:32:16 BDT
Timelord-007 says:
Or Doctor Who Does Deadly Crystal Maze lol.

I enjoyed this story I thought it was a throughly entertaining adventure, I'd say Virna the monster in this story unhinged or what.

This is a excellent detailed balanced review of a great story thats become a favourite of mine, You captured the story superbly in this review & given a detailed account of the characters without any spoiler.

Well Dine time Nyssa would be proud.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jul 2014 07:12:24 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Jul 2014 08:10:25 BDT
Tim Bradley says:
Glad you like my title for this review, lol. And thank you for your nice comments.

Glad you enjoyed this story. It is a very gripping adventure to enjoy.

I suspect Virna's pretty unstable. I wouldn't mind meeting Eve Karpf, but I don't think I'd like to meet someone like Virna.

Glad you enjoyed my review and that this is one of your favourite stories. I enjoy writing and outlining the story and the characters in my reviews.

I really enjoyed Nyssa's tribute in the CD extras and enjoying writing my tribute to Sarah in this review. Tim.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jul 2014 11:14:51 BDT
Timelord-007 says:
And there ain't many Who fan's who can say Nyssa brought them a Ice Lolly either.

That Bradley charm works it's magic.
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