Roots: Mike (unflatteringly) compares a tumbling Mrs Wibbsey to "a sort of frumpish Alice in Wonderland". When Worlds Collide. The Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey sing Away in a Manger, while the Doctor mentions he and Mike earning their "figgy pudding" (We Wish You a Merry Christmas.) After The Wishing Beast this is the second Paul Magrs audio to feature a big old spooky house built on an asteroid.
Dialogue Triumphs: "It's never a good sign when people start bandying words around like 'apotheoses."
"What do you have planned — apart from flambé Time Lord?"
Double Entendres: "I knew that if I wanted you in Sepulchre I would have to play The Long Game"
Continuity: Sepulchre is a house built on an asteroid at the edge of the known universe with a negative field surrounding it, giving the impression of total nothingness outside its walls. Within, its creator the Demon resides in his true form as described in A Shard of Ice; he reveals his actual home is "a tiny backwater in a shadow dimension". Mrs Wibbsey has been imprisoned in the house for three weeks.
The Demon has access to the advanced technology of his people, plus what appear to be some supernatural powers — hypnotic influence and coercion of others, plus the ability to create cool green fire from his very hands. His temporal technology however is primitive, necessitating his sabotage of the Doctor's TARDIS to create his Dematerialisation Chamber. With the Demon's technological expertise the Hornets intend to transform the Doctor's living mind into a four-dimensional Atlas of All Time and Space, a dynamic representation of all of the Doctor's temporal and geological knowledge of the Universe and beyond. After tracking down their Queen (it would appear they have not selected a replacement in her absence), they intend to control the universe, allegedly offering the Demon a small part of it for his services.
The Cromer Palace of Curios burned down on the night of April 14th, 1940 in a spectacle of green flame. Ernestina Stott is still alive (see: Links), having conducted some local research on Cromer on the Doctor's behalf.
Mrs Wibbsey's room in Nest Cottage sounds to be on the upper storey. She purloined one of the trinkets offered to her by the Demon at the bring and buy sale — a gold pendant in the form of a half-heart with the inscription "CHRE" (clearly matching that found in the previous story — see: Links). She stowed it in her "drawers drawer" for safe keeping. Her hair is described as grey — it apparently "gets everywhere", according to the Doctor. The previous Christmas, not long after the Doctor and Mike had left Nest Cottage, Mrs Wibbsey was cleaning its drawing room when she was stung by a large, lazy Hornet — the last survivor of the Doctor's battle with the Hive. As a result she has been possessed by the swarm and has been surreptitiously working to their will, independent of the Demon's efforts for the Hornets also.
Mike displays some cooking skill, attempting to rustle up something he used to prepare in 'the mess' ("well it is a mess", offers the Doctor).
The Doctor had an Academy teacher who told him "ignore history at your peril" (sounds more like Azmael than Borusa?). Once again the answer phone gadget he made for Nest Cottage comes in handy.
Links: This story's conclusion joins its larger background to that of the Hornet's Nest series. Starfall, The Dead Shoes (Ernestina and the fate of the Cromer palace of Curios). Pyramids of Mars ("walking in eternity") The Twin Dilemma (the Doctor suggests Titan 3 as a possible piece of the universe the Hornets may give the Demon)
The Bottom Line: "I've had better Christmases..."
Back to reality, so to speak, with the reliable Mike Yates narrating. After a slow and repetitious build-up Sepulchre at least starts with some mystery and menace, with its weird old house and possessed housekeeper. The Demon's welcome back, too — it's only when the master plan is unveiled and the true villains show their hand that this story disappoints. If some of the preceding stories sounded written whilst moving then Sepulchre almost sounds like a hasty rewrite to tie it into the continuity of the previous Hornet series. No doubt the probably cliff-hanger ending will disappoint some listeners, too. A mixed opportunity, if you will.
Beyond the not-insignificant ability to travel inter-dimensionally and almost anywhere in time, it would appear that a major advantage Gallifrey possesses over its fellow temporal races is the Time Lords' enormous ability to 'see' all of time and space simultaneously. This ability, described in Demon Quest: Sepulchre as somehow integral to a Time Lord mind and in Dark Eyes: X and the Daleks as the work of a 'relativity map' generated by a Temporal Chamber, is seemingly unique to the Time Lords. Perhaps in a similar way to the connection between a TARDIS and the Eye of Harmony, this Time Lord mental ability (sought by way of extraction by the Hornets in Sepulchre) owes its existence to a connection to a master 'map' on Gallifrey, and therefore the much-mooted but rarely-explained Gallifreyan 'gift' of time travel includes this unique connection, essentially a navigational instinct fed by greater technology.