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Doctor Who and the Pirates, or The Lass that Lost a Sailor, was the forty-third story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Jacqueline Rayner and featured Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe.

It was also Big Finish Productions' first musical audio story. It has a score inspired by Gilbert and Sullivan songs.

Publisher's summary[]

All aboard, me hearties, for a rip-roaring tale of adventure on the high seas!

There'll be 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...


Evelyn comes by to see one of her students, Sally, and begins telling her a story, despite the objections of the distressed Sally, who is not in the mood to see anyone. With some inaccuracies and exaggerations, Evelyn retells an adventure she has just experienced with the Doctor, in which they found themselves in the hold of a ship being boarded by the pirates in the Caribbean Sea in the 18th century. The Doctor himself soon comes over and joins Evelyn in her storytelling. Together, they talk - and sing - about how they accompanied the crew and the pirates to the Ruby Islands, named so after the treasure buried there. With little help from the incompetent captain Swan, the Doctor was able to reunite him with his crew and send them on their way in the usurped pirate ship, while leaving the pirates stranded on the Islands with the treasure and a fake treasure map.

During this adventure, the cruel pirate captain Red Jasper beat a cabin boy to death, which deeply affected Evelyn, who blamed herself for not being able to stop Jasper. When she and the Doctor eventually returned to the TARDIS, she asked to be taken home. She wanted to take a break from travelling in the TARDIS and seeing all the horrors that come with it - only to discover another one waiting at home: a suicide letter from Sally. Sally had lost someone close to her in a car accident, and since she was the one driving, she blamed herself - just like Evelyn with the cabin boy. However, while Evelyn had the Doctor to talk to about it, Sally had nobody. Thus Evelyn asked the Doctor to travel back in time to the day the letter was sent, so that they could spend time with Sally and talk her out of killing herself. After spending the entire night with her, they succeed: greeting the next day with a smile, Sally now understands that life is worth living, because there are still people who care about her.







Preview illustration by Martin Geraghty featured in DWM 329


  • The subtitle "The Lass that Lost a Sailor" suggests the subtitle of Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore, "The Lass Who Loved a Sailor".
  • In addition to a number of Gilbert and Sullivan inspired songs, Part 4 ends with a version of the theme arranged to imitate the style incidental music used in the drama.
  • Most of the story — including the musical numbers — is told in flashback, as a story the Doctor and Evelyn tell a young woman, allowing musical numbers to erupt in the otherwise non-musical Doctor Who universe.
  • This audio drama was recorded on 22, 23 and 24 January 2003 at The Moat Studios.
  • This story is set between The Trial of a Time Lord and Time and the Rani.
  • The Doctor mentions that he and Evelyn have arrived during the reign of Queen Anne, who came to the throne of England in 1702. Red Jasper mentions that nine years earlier William III and Mary II ruled England; Mary II died in 1694. This means that this story is set in 1703 at the latest.
  • This story was originally release on CD and cassette. It is now available as a download only. It is also available to stream on Spotify.

The songs[]

1. I Am the Very Model of a Gallifreyan Buccaneer

  • "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" from The Pirates of Penzance
  • Lead Vocals: Colin Baker
  • Backing Vocals: Dan Barratt, Helen Goldwyn, Nicholas Pegg

2. An Assassin's Lot

  • "When a Felon's Not Engaged in his Employment (A Policeman's Lot)" from The Pirates of Penzance
  • Lead Vocal: Mark Siney
  • Backing Vocals: Dan Barrat, Nicholas Pegg, Mark Siney

3. Jasper's Man/Blood on My Hands/The Price We Pay

  • "I Am So Proud" from The Mikado
  • Lead Vocals: Colin Baker, Helen Goldwyn, Mark Siney

4. I Am Alone

  • "The Sun Whose Rays" from The Mikado
  • Lead Vocal: Helen Goldwyn

5. I'm a Better Sailor Far Than You

  • "We Sail the Ocean Blue/I Am the Captain of the Pinafore" from HMS Pinafore
  • Lead Vocals: Colin Baker, Mark Siney
  • Backing Vocals: Dan Barratt, Helen Goldwyn, Nicholas Pegg, Mark Siney, Timothy Sutton

6. Enter Evelyn

  • "I Claim My Perjured Lover, Nanki-Poo" from The Mikado
  • Lead Vocal: Colin Baker

7. Evil Evelyn

  • "Oh Better Far to Live and Die" from The Pirates of Penzance
  • Lead Vocals: Colin Baker, Bill Oddie, Maggie Stables
  • Backing Vocals: Dan Barratt, Helen Goldwyn, Nicholas Pegg, Mark Siney, Timothy Sutton

8. For I Am a Pirate King

  • Reprise of "Oh Better Far to Live and Die" from The Pirates of Penzance
  • Lead Vocal: Bill Oddie
  • Backing Vocals: Dan Barratt, Helen Goldwyn, Nicholas Pegg, Mark Siney, Timothy Sutton

9. The Dawning Day

  • "The Threatened Cloud has Passed Away" from The Mikado
  • Lead Vocal: Helen Goldwyn


Illustration by Roger Langridge featured in DWM 332.

External links[]