Big Finish's productions have recently become
increasingly daring, yet it is doubtful anything has pushed the boat out quite
like this musical extravaganza, titled "Doctor Who and the Pirates or the Lass
That Lost a Sailor" to give it its full name.
Who and the Pirates
executive producer Jaqueline Rayner it stars Colin Baker, as the Sixth
and Maggie Stables, as Evelyn
Smythe and is directed by Barnaby Edwards. Also
this is the first time for a Big Finish Productions Doctor Who Audio to have a
Musical Director - Timothy Sutton which is understandable when you realise that
Sir Arthur Sullivan is responsible for most of the music. It was recorded over
three days from 22nd to 24th January 2003.
how the musical element of "Doctor Who and the Pirates" fitted into
the story remained under wraps until its
release. It was though hinted as being probably
not what you think and while this aspect
is ultimately only part of the story, it
adds to the richness of the production helps
to make this one of Big Finish's most remarkable
productions to date. However despite being
the first musical Big Finish Doctor Who
audio adventure this is not a completely
unique approach as a musical Doctor Who
has already been tried in the First
Doctor's 1968 historical romp "The
Joining Colin Baker and Maggie Stables on this
operatic odyssey is an impressive array of acting and musical talent. Owing to
the nature of the script, director Barnaby Edwards has assembled a cast
composed entirely of actors who are also trained singers: some will be new to
Big Finish listeners, while others are familiar names who are seizing the
chance to display their musical talents in Doctor Who!
The villainous pirate king Red Jasper is played by
none other than Bill Oddie, known and loved by millions as a member of the
classic comedy trio The Goodies. Boasting an impressive string of
musical credits (he wrote and produced The Goodies' numerous songs,
including their famous theme tune and the chartbusting hit "The Funky Gibbon"),
Bill has also appeared in shows as diverse as The Detectives and
Titmuss Regained, has written numerous comedy scripts for television and
radio, and continues to delight nature lovers with his regular programmes on
Taking the pivotal role of Evelyn's student Sally
is Big Finish regular Helen Goldwyn, who finally gets to flex her formidable
singing muscles. Helen's many musical credits include Orpheus in the
Underworld for the English National Opera and the lead role of Eliza
Dolittle in Simon Callow's production of My Fair Lady.
|Bill Oddie with Colin Baker and Maggie
familiar voice is Nicholas Pegg who plays the foppish Captain Emmanuel Swan.
Nick's previous musical credits include Ariadne auf Naxos for Scottish
Opera, the London production of The Fantasticks, and Alan Bennett's
The Wind in the Willows at Birmingham Rep.
role of Mr Merryweather, Mark Siney is no stranger to the world of Gilbert and
Sullivan, having toured in The Gondoliers and The Mikado. He has
also wowed West End audiences in The Phantom of the Opera and
Sondheim Tonight, and he recently toured with Russ Abbot in
Young cabin boy Jem is portrayed by Dan Barratt, whose
musical theatre roles include Lancelot in Camelot, Curly in
Oklahoma! and Noel Coward in Red, Hot and Cole.
the production benefits from the expertise of top musical director Timothy
Sutton, a composer in his own right who is rapidly becoming one of the most
sought-after musical directors in the business. His credits include the
national tour of HMS Pinafore, the New Vic's production of The
Mikado, and the critically-acclaimed revival of Marat/Sade for the
National Theatre. Timothy Sutton also plays the various roles of a Mate,
sailors and pirates.
The story starts
with Evelyn calling on one of her students, Sally, at
her accommodation. Evelyn, bursting with joviality, tells
Sally, who clearly doesn't want Evelyn to be there, that
she has been travelling in a time machine and has a tale
about pirates to tell her. Who could resist The Doctor
and Evelyn's adventures in a wild, remote part of the
eighteenth-century Caribbean? An entertaining enough story
for anyone, surely? In the 'Golden Age of Piracy', there
is bound to be adventure on the high seas; a plucky cabin
boy; a wicked pirate captain and of course the search
for buried treasure.
Despite the awkwardness
between them Evelyn is extremely determined to tell Sally
her pirate story, but the question is why? And why is
Sally so hesitant about Evelyn being there?
story starts with The Doctor and herself arriving in the
cargo hold of a ship, which has just been attacked by
the villainous Red Jasper and his band of cut-throat bandits,
who it transpires are seeking someone who knows the whereabouts
of hidden treasure on the mysterious Ruby Islands.
there lives are in danger they try to get back to the
but find their escape route hindered by the pirates who
are plundering the cargo ship "The Sea Eagle". After watching
the TARDIS being transferred to the pirates ship "The
Adventuress Fancy" The Doctor comes up with a desperate
plan to allow them be reacquainted with their time machine
- to hide themselves within barrels that will undoubtedly
be mistaken for containing rum and so also plundered.
However, The Doctors plan does not quite go to plan and
Evelyn finds herself trapped and left aboard "The Sea
Eagle", along with its captain, as it is set alight by
Has her tale unfolds it
becomes clear that there are inconsistencies in Evelyn's
recount of events and so you start to consider the reliability
of her ability as a narrator. It becomes evident that
she is omitting something she doesn't really want to go
into. Could the fact that she is so effected emotionally
by the impact of a particular incident that this may have
led her to unconsciously distorting what actually happened?
The Doctor on the other hand, when he arrives a
bit later in Sally's flat, is much more clear cut in describing what occurred.
Although it becomes apparent he can't help but allow his own characteristics
effect the narrative, such as by having the pirate king Red Jasper
complimenting him as 'stylishly dressed' and to tailor the dialogue to show
that Jasper has no idea that he's endangering Evelyn with his desire to burn
down "The Sea Eagle".
But what really happens when wicked Red Jasper's
crew confront the loyal sailors of "The Sea Eagle"? While The Doctor and his
academic companion see this historical incident from varying perspectives, why
would they seek to connect it with Sally, one of Dr Smythe's favourite
students, and from where does Evil Evelyn suddenly spring?
becomes upset by the storytelling we learn that it is the similarities of the
demise of Jem, the likeable cabin boy, and a tragic event in Sally's life that
is effecting her and Evelyn in more ways than one. Then there is having to deal
with the foppish Captain Swan, who is reluctant to do anything that puts
himself out; the dislikeable and ruthless first mate Mr Merryweather; the
fearsome and brutal Red Jasper, pirate scourge of the seven seas and possessor
of at least one wooden leg who has an obsession with getting the treasure at
the expense of others lives; and the mysterious Pirate Queen, Evil Evelyn.
Moreover, amid the twists and turns and incidents piratical,
what will happen when the sea shanties begin? If you think you know, beware!
All assumptions are dangerous on this switchback ride to the heart of
storytelling, where not all adventures can have happy endings and it is finally
revealed what happened and why The Doctor and Evelyn are there for Sally.
- Featuring the Sixth
Doctor and Evelyn
- Serial Number: 7CH
- Number of Episodes: 4
- Cover Length: 100 minutes
- Episode Lengths: 1 = 31'52", 2 = 30'41", 3 =
28'07", 4 = 35'24"
- Total Story Length: 126'04"
- This story takes place between "The
Trial of a Time Lord" and "Time
and the Rani".
- Early Titles: "The Pirates" and
"Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the
- Cover Illustration: Lee Binding
- Recorded: 22nd to 24th January 2003
- Recording Location: The Moat Studios
- Released: April 2003
- ISBN: 1-84435-024-X
|On the Back Cover:
me hearties, for a rip-roaring tale of adventure on the
rum for all and sea shanties galore as we travel back
in time to join the valiant crew of the good ship Sea
Eagle, braving perils, pirates and a peripatetic old sea-dog
known only as The Doctor!
Gasp as our Gallifreyan
buccaneer crosses swords with the fearsome Red Jasper,
scourge of the seven seas and possessor of at least one
wooden leg! Thrill as Evil Evelyn the Pirate Queen sets
sail in search of buried treasure, with only a foppish
ship's captain and an innocent young cabin boy by her
side! Marvel at the melodious mayhem which ensues as we
sail the ocean blue!
And wonder why Evelyn still
hasn't realised that very few stories have happy endings...
|On the Inside Cover:
I FIRST SUGGESTED
A PIRATE story to producer Gary Russell back when Big
Finish's Bernice Summerfield audio range began, but on
being asked for details could only mutter 'yo ho ho',
and Gary wisely ignored me. Many years passed, and Gary
decided he wanted a pirate story for Doctor Who,
so I jumped up and down a lot until he let me write it.
At the beginning, it was a fairly straightforward yarn
of the high seas. Now - well perhaps not quite so straightforward.
But I hope your timbers are still duly shivered. Although
I'm afraid you'll have to bring your own rum.
part of this play, I've hijacked the work of others infinitely
more talented than myself. I hope no Gilbert and Sullivan
devotees are disturbed by this appropriation: I'd like
to assure them that it comes from a great affection and
high regard and no disrespect is intended.
Rayner overseas much of the current Doctor Who
output, via the books, novellas, short stories and audios,
on behalf of BBC Worldwide. In what passes for her spare
time she has written an number of novels - including Earthworld
and Wolfsbane for the BBC’s Doctor
Who range, The Squire’s Crystal and
The Glass Prison for Big Finish’s Bernice
Summerfield range - and the audio adventure The
Marian Conspiracy. She’d prefer to spend time
her cats, but there’s always more work to be done…
number of writers had asked to do a story set on the high
seas of the early 18th century; but Jac Rayner came up
with the most unique approach. Although Doctor Who
and music were hardly strangers (that other great historical
Gunfighters back in 1968 also paired the genres),
Big Finish were trepedatious. Knowing that Jac wouldn't
take the idea over that metaphorical line into self-parody;
we also recognised that the story needed to be handled
by someone with a flair for musical theatre - hence director
Barnaby Edwards and musical director Timothy Sutton were
bought onboard (geddit?). And we checked that Colin Baker
could sing - indeed, the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan
were hardly uncharted territory (geddit?) for him, which
was rather useful. Barnaby was very keen to cast actors
who were also accomplished singers - the musical portions
of the story would fall very flat if the voices were too.
Thus for the role of Red Jasper, the ultimate baddie,
we secured the established singing and acting voice of
the ultimate Goodie...
| Full Cast List:
The Production Team:
(with acknowledgements to Sir Arthur Sullivan)
||Gary Russell and
|Executive Producer for the BBC