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166 'The Chimes of Midnight'

CD audio adventure released February 2002, 4 episodes

Writer: Robert Shearman
Director: Barnaby Edwards

Roots: Sapphire and Steel (especially adventure 5), and Upstairs Downstairs (Angela Baddeley played Mrs Bridges, the cook, Alfred Shaughnessy was the script editor) Agatha Christie mysteries (her books are mentioned). The Stone Tape (buildings 'recording' events as they occur). Black Adder II, Groundhog Day, the House movie series. Cluedo. Edith sings Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Alice in Wonderland ('Curiouser and curiouser.')

Goofs: The scream is a young woman's scream, yet it supposed to be Edith's when she killed herself when she was older.

The sounds of the sink plunger being removed sounds more like a big kiss!

Fluffs: Edward screams that it's 'her life or bine!'

Double Entendres: 'You have designs on my plum pudding.'

'Even the best amateur detectives in London require some privacy to do their sleuthing in.'

'He was most particular about what I could do to you with my knitting needles.'

'How does the TARDIS expect us to enjoy a good mystery when we can't see anything?

Dialogue Disasters: Charley, alone in a room - 'The words are being scratched directly into the wood!' [who are you talking to?]

Dialogue Triumphs: 'Edith was a very stupid girl - she may not have known it was impossible when she did it.'

'Do you know, I'm going to stick my neck out and say it's another murder' and the Doctor's other sarcastic comebacks to suggestions the murdered people committed suicide. '-who ever heard of the butler doing it?'

'Oh Freddie, to be killed by your own Chrysler. Or Bentley, whatever it was.'

Continuity: The TARDIS seems to be "avoiding" Singapore. The Doctor says he's been too methodical of late and let the TARDIS take them where it wants to. He talks about the TARDIS as though it's a sentient organism.

Charley was born in 1912 (she was nineteen when she boarded the R-101); her father had a family house in Hampshire, at which Edith Thompson worked up to 1930 as a cook (Edith was evidently a fast learner - she was a scullery maid in 1906, had a romance with a chauffeur in 1926, presumably still as a scullery maid, and committed suicide four years later as cook). Charley was the only one who showed Edith any kindness, something Charley is a little awkward about, suggesting that even this may have been an exaggeration on Edith's part. Edith and Charley meet each other in 1906 at shortly before 10 o'clock, Edith killed herself at midnight in 1930, and as it's those two events that are in conflict it's the time interval between them during a single night that defines the loop length.

Charley's diary was found in the wreckage of the R101, leading the household to believe she was killed in the crash. She remembers her death aboard the R101 despite the Doctor having rescued her. Charley was never fond of plum pudding as a child, as she was always worried she would break a tooth on a thrupenny bit. She wears a dress in this story. She loves condensed milk.

The Doctor saving Charley definitely changed history. The Doctor loves the dark; it 'enhances the mystery'. The Doctor loves a bit of plum pudding. He loves Christmas, but always finds anticipation better than the actual thing.

Given enough traumatic events in the same house, Edward Grove could become alive from the psychic residue. ...And from the fact it's feeding off it for all eternity. In an infinite loop, it's actually evolved into something which is sentient. Together, the psychic residue, and the fact it's exposed to it *forever*, is what gives it some form of life.

The Doctor resolves a time loop in part caused by a paradox by introducing a new paradox (how can Edith choose to 'live' if she's already dead? If she does live, then 'Chimes' can't take place for her to do so!). That can't be good'

Untelevised Adventures: Charley helped the Doctor get a first edition of Oliver Twist from Charing Cross. Interestingly, the Doctor audibly imagines climbing the stairs to the upper floors only to find a void beyond the doorway 'I've seen it all before' [although 'we' haven't]. The Doctor and Charley recall standing on 'alien shores'.

Location: Edward Grove, Christmas Eve, 1906

The Bottom Line: 'Edward Grove is alive...'

Wonderful stuff, a great build of adventure with the first episode reminiscent of episode one of 'The Space Museum', and a dead-on depiction of the Doctor and Charley from Shearman. The soundtrack is a character in itself. On occasions the need to explain things in proper Doctor Who fashion undercuts the pace of episode four, but the story divorces itself from any similarities with 'The Holy Terror' through its optimistic, uplifting ending.. This is the second eighth Doctor story that has him screaming 'No!' at the stroke of midnight.

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