The TARDIS lands in the well-stocked larder of what appears to be an Edwardian-era house. As Charley and the Doctor explore the house, they find numerous recent signs of life, but little or no evidence of the occupants. Gradually, Charley hears the voices of the people living in the house – and, for a moment, sees and speaks to one of them. Nothing the time travelers do or move stays permanent. When they’re suddenly able to communicate with the house’s occupants, the clock strikes and one of those occupants turns up horribly murdered. Far from being considered suspects, the Doctor and Charley are instantly “recognized” as London’s greatest amateur sleuths by the servants and staff. Another murder happens when the clock strikes eleven – and the victim of the previous slaying seems to have been erased from the memories of everyone except the Doctor and Charley. And so continues a horrifying, never ending cycle of life and death, a paradoxical cycle which can only end with the death of one of the house’s visitors.
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley), Louise Rolfe (Edith), Lennox Greaves (Mr. Shaughnessy), Sue Wallace (Mrs. Baddeley), Robert Curbishley (Frederick), Juliet Warner (Mary)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: If there’s more than just a slight echo of The Holy Terror in The Chimes Of Midnight – i.e. an endless replay of horrible deaths in which the Doctor and his companion are the only relatively constant, continuous elements – it’s no accident: both were written by Robert Shearman, and both of them are just sublimely creepy.
The first episode of Chimes is one of the best pieces of audio Doctor Who yet, with some incredibly creepy time tricks and excellent aural portrayals thereof. The story gets no less creepy from there, but there’s something about that first episode that just sticks in my head. The guest cast goes through their paces well, even though they’re often repeating dialogue in huge chunks as time seems to lap itself. It’s hard enough to depict time rolling back on itself convincingly on film or video, but even more difficult in audio when you can’t just roll the tape backward.
Overall, I’m enjoying the 2002 Eighth Doctor stories much more on average than I did those released in 2001. By George, I think they’re getting it.