1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This story is a fairly early release in Big Finish’s range, and was released in 2002. The story is a Christmas-themed one, and I felt there were hints of Christmas stories of Dickens and his peers, with the big Victorian-type house, the servants ‘downstairs’ and the gentry ‘upstairs’. And in the middle, the Doctor and Charley, who have landed in the Tardis in a place they can’t quite work out. From landing in the larder, and finding themselves in the kitchen of the old house, the Doctor and Charley find that reality and time seem to not quite be keeping pace here. How can the water in the sink be warm, yet there’s nobody there? How can the broken jar suddenly be back on the shelf in the larder again? When the servants appear, and seem to accept that the Doctor and Charley have a place in the house from ‘upstairs’, both the time travellers feel distinctly uneasy. Where are they? And why are people being murdered?
This is a really good story, written by Robert Shearman. There is a real atmosphere in this story; the old house, with the fire crackling, the creaking doors, the servants who seem so accepting of their places. But the listener knows fairly soon that something is just not right; and can the Doctor find out how to get out before it’s too late? I thought the Eighth Doctor, as played by Paul McGann, and Charley Pollard, played by India Fisher were just great in this story. They have a real rapport and have been very well written here.
The supporting cast were fantastic; with Louise Rolfe as Edith, Lennox Greaves as Shaugnessy, Sue Wallace as Mrs Baddeley, Robert Curbishley as Frederick and Juliet Warner as Mary. A small cast, but every one of them is vital to the successful telling of the story, as the nuances of their characters are very much shown to us in their performances. There are subtleties in the story which really send a chill down your spine. I felt there was only a slight falling off in the final resolution of the story, where the protagonist’s abilities were never really explained in a fully satisfactory way for me. But it’s a story that you could quite happily listen to again, and enjoy anew each time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2014
11/24 of Tim Bradley's Amazon Advent Calendar 2014
I love `The Chimes of Midnight'!
This is a proper Christmassy feel of an adventure with the Eighth Doctor and Charley (played by Paul McGann and India Fisher). The second story of season 2 with the Doctor and Charley from Big Finish, this story became an award-winning success and is well-loved by the fans.
I've met Paul McGann at conventions and asked him to sign the CD cover of `The Chimes of Midnight' for me at a convention in Cardiff this year in March 2014. Knowing this was one of his and India's favourite Big Finish audio adventures in `Doctor Who', I wanted to have it signed by him. He was delighted when I asked him to sign it declaring "Chimes of Midnight!" and saying "Love it!" in his Liverpudlian accent. I'm glad I've had my CD cover of `The Chimes of Midnight' signed by Paul as it truly is a cracking good adventure.
`The Chimes of Midnight' is a four-part adventure on a 2-disc CD set written by Robert Shearman, who would go on to write 'Dalek' in the new series of `Doctor Who'. It was great listening to one of Rob's earliest and most successful works in Big Finish for `Doctor Who' before working on the TV series when it returned in 2005.
I've had the pleasure of meeting Rob Shearman at a convention in Swansea back in 2011. It was great meeting him and I enjoyed sharing with him the `Doctor Who' stories he did as well as the series in general. I was surprised to learn during a Big Finish panel that he felt he'd done a bad job on writing `The Chimes of Midnight' and thought it would never work as an audio story for `Doctor Who'. I purchased the CD after that convention and listened to it myself over Christmas that year. I don't know what Rob was complaining about, as I enjoyed listening to the story when I heard it and it's turned out to be a cracking good adventure. And it became the success it deserves to be.
The story has the TARDIS arriving in a dark, mysterious Edwardian house. The Doctor and Charley step out and find themselves caught in a mystery where time doesn't seem to flow smoothly as the grandfather clock chimes and someone gets murdered at the stroke of twelve. The Doctor and Charley become investigator in this murder mystery of the person who gets killed and ask questions to staff of the house who each give varying answers. But something more sinister lurks in the house the Doctor and Charley as they soon discover they can't escape and it connects to Charley in a personal way.
I like the Christmassy feel of this story by Rob Shearman. It feels eerie and atmospheric when the clocks start chiming and someone screams bringing an almost a mock-gothic sense about it. It also has the feel of an Agatha Christie whodunit type of murder mystery especially as the Doctor and Charley are investigating. Some of the character are pretty weird and are sometimes served to provide the comic relief of the story as well as the darkness, and it blends the comedy and horror aspects of the story pretty well. The twist of the story on who the enemy is took me by surprise and one which I did not expect, especially as the cliff-hanger for `Part Three' is scary and gripping to listen to.
Paul McGann is brilliant as the Doctor in this audio adventure. It's so surprising as I'm sure I've said this before that he never did any more stories for telly since his first appearance in the 'TV Movie'. Here Paul is able to show his worth and enthusiasm as the Doctor and Rob Shearman writes for him very well. I like how Paul's Doctor interacts with Charley from the start of the story and when they're investigating the murders. I also like the Doctor's rising panic and sense of knowing something's wrong with time and is shocked when the TARDIS takes the house with it. I like it when the Doctor confronts the real enemy in the last episode of the story.
India Fisher is equally brilliant as Charley Pollard, the Doctor's companion. India works well with Paul McGann and I love how the two bounce off each other in their character relationships as the Doctor and Charley. I love how it's just the two of them working out what's going on in the first episode of the story before meeting the other characters. I could feel the energy of these two actors playing the character, and Charley is a perfect companion for the Eighth Doctor full of adventure and enthusiasm. I like how Charley gets to do a little investigating of her own whilst the Doctor investigates elsewhere, whether it's interviewing Mrs Baddeley or knowing more about Edith the scullery maid.
The supporting guest cast is equally good in `The Chimes of Midnight'. There's Louise Rolfe playing Edith, the scullery maid who's the first one to get killed in the story and is often neglected disgracefully by the rest of the staff. There's Lennox Greaves playing Shaughnessy, the butler/valet of the house who picks on Edith when she's not doing her job properly. There's Sue Wallace playing Mrs Baddeley, the cook who loves making plum pudding and 'Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Mrs Baddeley's plum pudding'. There's Robert Curbishley playing Frederick, the chauffeur who works at the house and might be having an affair with Mary. And there's Juliet Warner playing Mary the maidservant (or scullery maid after Edith's been killed) who seems to be in love with Frederick and having an affair with him.
The characters in `The Chimes of Midnight' does have a sense of `Upstairs, Downstairs' about it especially as we're in the kitchens and lower levels a lot and the Doctor and Charley aren't allowed to go up the stairs to see the master of the house. Also the way the staff mistreat Edith and say that she's `nobody' and that they are `nothing' brings a sense of weirdness to the characters and you're not quite sure what's going on and what it's all about in terms of the story.
This story especially concerns Charley and where she's at in her journey with the Doctor. I like the references made back to Charley's previous stories and significantly her first one when she meets the Doctor in 'Storm Warning'. The web of time is mentioned again as Charley was supposed to die in the crash of the R101 airship from that adventure. Charley has a connection to Edith the scullery maid which gets unravelled as the story goes on and took me by surprise as it went on.
I like the music in this adventure composed by Russell Stone who composes an atmospheric Christmassy style to this adventure. It gets more Christmassy when Edith sings `Hark the Herald Angels Sing' which I liked when I listened to her singing in `Part One' and when she hums it at the end of `Part Four'.
At the end of Disc 2 of the story, there is a `coming soon' for the second Excelis story in the trilogy from `Doctor Who' called `Excelis Rising' with Colin Baker's Doctor.
`The Chimes of Midnight' is a great audio story with the Doctor and Charley and deserves the praise from fans as it's a spooky, atmospheric Christmassy adventure with unique quality. This story won an award in Doctor Who Magazine as it was voted by fans as the `Best Audio of 2002'. I'm sure Rob Shearman's chuffed to having won that award despite his initial doubts from the start. It's a favourite of Paul and India's and is a favourite of mine. I'm glad to have had the CD cover signed by Paul when I met him in Cardiff this year. Highly recommended! You wouldn't want to miss this in your Christmas shopping. Just remember not to eat too much plum pudding when you hear it.
The next story for the Doctor and Charley is 'Seasons of Fear'.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is the twenty ninth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Paul McGann as Eight and India Fisher as Charlotte Pollard. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.
This release is the second in the second miniseries of Eighth Doc stories, through which there is a loose story arc revolving around Charlotte Pollard's rescue from the R101 by the Doc back in their first adventure. The arc has a greater presence on some stories than others, and here it is quite important.
The Doctor and Charlie arrive in a late Edwardian town house pantry. Things are not as they should be and for some reason they are outside of normal time, and unable to interact with the house or its inhabitants. As the clock chimes they find the barriers weakened, and soon they are plunged into a deep and dark mystery below stairs, where the servants keep getting themselves improbably murdered.
At it's core is a really decent little idea, and it is superbly realised by the cast. India Fisher in particular gets lots to do, and she does it well. Charlie is now starting to lose some of her naivety and grow up a little, and Fisher portrays her journey very nicely. McGann plays Eight as a bundle of energy, having fun but with a deep compassion. And a slight inability to answer some difficult questions...
It's at first a very spooky story, which slowly morphs into something intelligent, moving and thought provoking. 5 stars.
on 23 January 2014
My first Doctor was Christopher Eccelston and I have followed every Nu-Who story since. Last year for the 50th I've watched the "Greatest Hits" from the classic series, at least 4 stories from each Doctor (accept Colin Baker). So it is with some weight behind my words when I say 'The Chimes of Midnight' is one of the best and certainly the scariest Doctor Who stories I have ever experienced. It is dark, mature, emotional and thematically very rich. It's also the best narrative for a companion I have come across. Despite only listening to three Charlie stories prior to this one she has shot up in my appreciation, the writing and performance are so strong here. McGann is great as always, having invaded my top 3 Doctors list (Tennant, Troughton, McGann) and the supporting cast are suitably creepy too. I recommend you purchase this and watch it in a dark room, allowing yourself to legitimately experience one of the only Doctor Who stories scary enough for adults.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2011
My favourite Big Finish so far, this is a truly creepy+funny+weird story. McGann is excellent and the whole "noone goes upstairs when they are not called is kind of scary...
on 4 February 2009
"Chimes of Midnight" is one of the best Big Finish audiostorys. The start of a wonderfully written story arch that ultimatley focusing around Charley and the effect her rescue from the R-101 on the web of time - but that really comes on later - as for CHIMES (without spoilers), the doctor and charley find themselves in the middle of a murder mystery that seems to have a temporal event at its heart.
Of all the monthly big finish storys I've heard this 2nd series of 8th doctor storys are the best.
on 5 October 2011
A full cast audio adventure of the 8th Doctor.
One of those stories that superlatives are not enough for. The Doctor and his companion Charly arrive at an early 20th century house in time for Christmas. And then like an Agatha Christie someone dies. and then..
To give more away would ruin the plot, but all the other reviews of this must give some idea of how strong this is as a production. Would stand well with the rest of the Doctor Who universe and beyond.
on 13 February 2015
Excellent audio adventure
of all the big finish audios I have listened to and I've listened to quite a few this is by far the best one the atmosphere is excellent the acting is superb and it was genuinely quite creepy this is one of paul mcgann and india fishers best performancees
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2007
The title of this Big Finish audio adventure is a pun on the title of Welles' 1965 masterpiece based on a larger-than-life character from Shakespeare's Henry IV. This is highly fitting as it is a larger-than-life adventure and one of the best Doctor Who original audio dramas made by Big Finish so far.
The (Eighth) Doctor and his companion Charley Pollard arrive in a mysterious house where the scullery maid promptly appears to drown herself. What begins as a seemingly straightforward 'whodunnit' becomes a creepy and claustrophobic foray into the recesses of Charley's mind and both of the travellers' sanity.
Moody, spine-tingling and well-acted, this is a real tour-de-force and one of the best Big Finish audio dramas to date.
6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2004
Now i made a pact to myself that i would not rate an audio drama 5 stars in the possibility that there will be one better and i'd be incapable of rating it higher. This one, The Chimes of Midnight by Robert Shearman (who is writing for the 2005 series, yahoo!), pushed me. At least the first three parts did. Part one is brilliant, really pushing your nerves to the limit and throwing an infinite number of questions at you like any self-respecting Who story should, and part two...well, it really is up there with the best of cliffhangers ever. I can't spoil any of the plot, because its so twisted and mind-warping that when it finally unravels you'll be blown away. Paul McGann is excellent, Charley is good and the supporting cast, especially Lennox Graves as Shaughnessy, all shine.
Ah, you're saying, all this about 5 stars and yet hes given it four. The reason for this is the tying of the plot into the ongoing story of Charley. If you haven't heard Storm Warning then you will not understand some of this, and this is a shame because it takes away from the overall originality of the whole endeavour, and therefore doesn't stand as brilliant on its own: it needs at least Storm Warning to back it up. So only four stars.
However, if you have heard Storm Warning and know the sub story regarding Charley's existence, then this is classic. Utterly brilliant.