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.
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 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.
on 14 August 2006
"'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring...
"But something must be stirring. Something hidden in the shadows. Something which kills the servants of an old Edwardian mansion in the most brutal and macabre manner possible. Exactly on the chiming of the hour, every hour, as the grandfather clock ticks on towards midnight.
"Trapped and afraid, the Doctor and Charley are forced to play detective to murders with no motive, where even the victims don't stay dead. Time is running out.
"And Time itself might well be the killer..."
"The Chimes of Midnight" is "The Holy Terror" author Robert Shearman's second entry into the Big Finish canon - as such one might expect greatness. It is also a very highly regarded production with a reputation standing head and shoulders above the rest. And the amazing thing? Even with all this hyperbole surrounding it, "The Chimes of Midnight" actually doesn't disappoint.
"Chimes" starts out as a fairly unassuming tale, taking the classic time loop cliché and fusing it adeptly with the haunted house concept, conjuring an engrossing whole with flashes of black comedy. However, it soon becomes apparent that there is more to the scenario that the Doctor and Charley find themselves in that meets the eye, and the story eventually pays off in a massive way a story arc that was started right back in "Storm Warning" (Big Finish Productions' first Eighth Doctor Audio, and a story that I would strongly recommend listening to first for continuity reasons). As in the case of "The Holy Terror", Robert Shearman is the master of the twist.
Paul McGann and companion India Fisher are on top form here and are backed up by a strong supporting cast. None are big names, but all play their parts flawlessly as pawns in the game of the mysterious Edward Grove, and there isn't a weak link among them. The sound design, meanwhile, is up to Big Finish's usual high standards, with the omnipresent ticking of the grandfather clock adding greatly to the atmosphere of the Edwardian mansion in which the story takes place. An effective score by Russell Stone, meanwhile, keys into the pivotal moments of dialogue beautifully.
Whilst in some ways I feel I may be subscribing to the hype by giving "The Chimes of Midnight" the full five stars (I am normally tougher on my Big Finish audios, even "The Holy Terror"), I believe "Chimes" to be an excellent production that is well worth the praise. I am even prepared to overlook the occasional moment of obviously descriptive dialogue, when they are set against such a high overall standard of writing and production.
on 27 May 2007
right, so my fav big finish audios overall....um...
the holy terror
the chimes of midnight
common link? all written by Rob Shearman, definitely the best of the big finish writers. hes only closely followed by joe lidster and steve lyons. But to get back to chimes...
one of the creepiest and most mind bending of all the audios, one you have to concerntrate on to really get the jist of the plot. But if you can do this with ease, then this is a brilliant piece of writing. No, its as yet an unbeaten dr who story for me. totally wicked.
great acting. great twists, great monster in the shape of a house! great stuff!
on 5 August 2008
Thoroughly enjoyable, this is what audio drama should be like, very few characters and one setting, and a cracking story that runs at just the right pace.
I can't write too much about the story without giving something away, simply put this is well worth a listen. Enjoy
on 15 February 2007
This play has excellent dramatic presentation, I especially loved the ending of Part 2, where the music ends it brilliantly.
I am 7 years old and to begin with this story scared the pants off me. My pants are still off me now actually, but that's because I'm a bit crazy.
Lucky it is an audio book rather than a DVD otherwise some of it would probably be too scary for me to watch.
The story is clever, scary and very funny in parts - especially all the different ways that people try to "commit suicide". Like one lady drowned herself in a basin while stnading up.
There are some good morals which is good for a story. One is that believing in yourself is important, that other people may try to change truth for you but that you don't have to believe what they say - truth is what it is, not what people try to pretend it is.
If you haven't already heard this story, you are missing out on a good one. Get it now!
An isolated location. Strange characters. Strange things happening to them. Time is going wrong.
Can the doctor put it right?
Oh, it doesn't get much better than this. The doctor and charley in a story that could have been a sapphire and steel adventure and is just as gripping and scary as their best efforts.
The resolution to things in part four gives us some brilliant acting from paul mcgann which shows just how good he can be in the role, and what might have been on television. And the final scene is incredibly touching.
Several years old, this one, but still one of the best in the big finish range