One of the classics of the AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho audios, Creator/StevenMoffat's favourite Eighth Doctor episode, and a strong contender for one of the best ''Series/DoctorWho'' stories in ''any'' medium.

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It's an [[TheEdwardianEra Edwardian]] Christmas Eve in 1906, and the servants at an English manor prepare for the holiday. Amid all the cooking and cleaning and preparing, scullery maid Edith is getting picked on by the other servants: cook Mrs. Baddeley, lady's maid Mary, and chauffeur Frederick. Even the butler, Mr. Shaughnessy, is getting his licks in. Edith is dumb, uneducated, unpopular, "a nothing, a nobody". While she cleans the pots and pans, everyone else in the house is looking forward to Mrs. Baddely's delicious plum pudding. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without one of her plum puddings.

The TARDIS parks herself in complete darkness. Charley and the Eighth Doctor head out to investigate, and after some initial scares, they realise they're in the scullery of a dark and deserted English manor house on Christmas Eve. The washing-up water is still hot, the plum pudding's still in the oven, and the table's all laid out -- but there's no one around. Oh, and time appears to be frozen. But Charley can hear Edith singing, and she can hear a scream...

Time unfreezes enough to let Charley and the Doctor enter the same continuity the servants inhabit. In this world, they're the Doctor of Scotland Yard and his plucky young niece. Edith is murdered and found standing upright with her head in the sink. Although the servants insists it must be suicide, the Doctor notes that it's really extraordinary difficult (to the point of impossble) to drown oneself while standing up. Edith's colleagues insists that she must have simply been too dumb to know it was impossible. Mary (who's sleeping with Frederick) is demoted to scullery maid to fill in for Christmas. Frederick can't love her now, of course. Who could ever love a scullery maid? She's nothing, a nobody. Mrs. Baddely, meanwhile, feeds Charley her plum pudding. Her favourite plum pudding. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without one of those plum puddings. And Mrs. Baddely's plum puddings were always Charley's favourite, ever since she was a little girl.

Twenty minutes after ten, when the clock chimes eleven, Mrs. Baddely is also murdered -- stuffed full of plum pudding. And no one remembers Edith anymore. But Charley can hear Edith's voice reverberating, begging Charley to remember her. Edward Grove is alive. There will be a third murder at midnight.

The victims won't stay dead... and, come to think of it, have oddly flexible ideas about what roles they (and the Doctor and Charley) have to play in the murder mystery. Edith is murdered again, this time suffocated with a plunger. Frederick is the next victim, run over by his own car. When the Doctor tries to leave the house or go upstairs (to where His Lordship and Her Ladyship supposedly live), the servants immediately try to kill him. They happily back down again when he stops trying to leave, and go back to their roles in the story. Charley, herself a native of upper-class Edwardian England, is particularly suited to the designs of whatever entity is running this dumbshow. It ''wants'' something from her... but what?

As time warps, twists and reverts itself around the Doctor, he quickly realises that the LotusEaterMachine is toying with him. He's not allowed to leave the WorldLimitedToThePlot. But he does, because he's absolutely terrified, and heads off into the TARDIS, where there's another scullery waiting for him. And inside the scullery, another TARDIS. Edward Grove is alive. [[WhamLine Edward Grove is the house]].

The Doctor coaxes the house into coming out and talking to him through Mr. Shaughnessy. But Charley is trapped on the other end of the time barrier, together with Edith (now twice dead), who's still begging Charley to remember her. And then, it finally turns out that Edith was the cook in Charley's house when she grew up. Having served at Edward Grove in 1906 as a scullery maid, she was always picked on, always ignored, a nothing, a nobody. But when she was eventually hired as a cook by Charley's father and moved into their home, there was always one person who remembered her name, someone who cared: little Charlotte Pollard. Charley always loved Edith's plum pudding. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without one of Edith's plum puddings. And [[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho016StormWarning when Charley died in the R101 crash]], Edith had nothing left to live for, and she slit her own wrists with a kitchen knife.

But Charley surviving the R101 crash upset the time stream so heavily that Edith's death (now rendered meaningless) gave birth to a sentient, malevolent time stream energy that feeds on constant death. It took residence in (or rather, as) Edward Grove: the house where young Edith envied the lady's maids, got abandoned by the chauffeur, aspired to be a cook, was bullied by the butlers.

The Doctor, meanwhile, has realised most of this. And in desperation, he resorts to what his Seventh incarnation was most notorious for: TalkingTheMonsterToDeath. He tries to convince Edward Grove to commit suicide, so that his victims will be set free. When Edward refuses, the Doctor, absolutely scared out of his mind, devises an even more extreme last-ditch attempt to contact Charley beyond the veil of the time barrier: he commands Mr. Shaughnessy to grab his throat and strangle him.

And it works -- now dying, the Doctor is able to cross the time barrier and talk to Charley. But Charley has never met the Doctor. She died in the R101, so Edith's suicide could have meaning. She remembers the crash, the flames, the bodies around her. With great effort, the Doctor eventually gets through to Charley, and Charley chooses life, finally vanquishing the house's consciousness.

Before they leave, the Doctor and Charley drop by in 1906 proper, where young scullery maid Edith is scrubbing the pots. They tell her she's not nothing, not a nobody, and that she's actually quite wonderful. With that, they leave -- the Doctor still very scared, and Charley now having to live with the DoubleConsciousness of fully remembering both her rescue and her death. [[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho033Neverland This will come back to bite them.]]
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!!Tropes
* ABloodyMess: [[SpaceBalls JAM]].
* {{Absurdism}}
* AchievementsInIgnorance: Discussed. When it's pointed out that it would be physically impossible for Edith to have committed suicide by drowning herself in the sink/suffocating herself with a plunger, the other servants suggest that she managed to do it anyway because she was too stupid to know it was impossible.
* AnachronicOrder: Bits and pieces of the temporal loop [[spoiler: are pulled from different parts of Edith's life]]. See also the trope below.
* AnachronismStew: An in-universe example appears when Frederick references Creator/AgathaChristie and says he drives a Chrysler. However, as the Doctor points out, it's 1906; Agatha Christie's first novel won't be published until 1920, and Chrysler cars won't exist until 1924. The servants promptly change their story, which leads to fantastic BlackComedy once Frederick is murdered and Mary starts to cry about him and his "Chrysler, or possibly Bentley".
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: The ExtraStrengthMasquerade that Edward Grove enforces on the servants causes them to overfocus on details.
-->'''Doctor''' (about the unseen heads of the house): If you've ''seen'' them, you know what they look like! If they're ''human'', describe your masters! Old, young, short, tall, with glasses, without, bearded, clean shaven? Or else you're servants with no one to serve!\\
'''Mary''': I'm pretty sure Her Ladyship doesn't have a beard...
* AuthorAppeal: The episode has similar themes to Shearman's earlier episode [[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho014TheHolyTerror "The Holy Terror"]], and his much later story [[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho052Scherzo "Scherzo"]].
* AVeryBritishChristmas: Plum pudding!
* BackFromTheDead: Some turns of the GroundhogDayLoop resurrects some people whilst leaving others dead.
* BecauseYouWereNiceToMe: Edith [[spoiler: ''is Charley's former scullery maid''. From the future from the perspective of when this story is put.]]
* BlackComedy: Just ''try'' not to giggle while you're being terrified.
* ABloodyMess: A rare audio-only example: The Doctor and Charley mistake spilled raspberry jam for blood.
* ButtMonkey: Edith is this to the other servants.
* CatchPhrase: Several; the servants repeat a number of their lines as a side effect of the time loop. But especially "Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Mrs. Baddeley's plum pudding!", "You're nothing, you're nobody." and "X is the murderer - s/he's got shifty eyes."
* ChristmasCarol: Hark now hear the angels sing. [[spoiler: [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming Hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm!]]]]
* ChristmasEpisode
* [[spoiler: CompositeCharacter]]: Several InUniverse.
* ContrivedCoincidence: People getting murdered every hour.
* CosmicHorrorStory
* DeadpanSnarker: Played for both dark humour and drama. As the Doctor begins to realise that the house isn't quite ''normal'', he treats any occurrence with a sort of dark acceptance.
-->'''Doctor''': Yes, of course, Mrs. Baddeley. [[SarcasmMode Its quite clear]] that Frederick brought the car into the house, ran himself over with it, and put it back outside before he finally expired.
* DidWeJustHaveTeaWithCthulhu: Edward Grove deliberately tries to invoke this trope. The Doctor throws the teacup to the floor in defiance.
* DramaticShattering: The Doctor throws a teacup on the floor in anger.
* DrivenToSuicide: Charley is nearly convinced to kill herself by [[spoiler:Edith.]] [[spoiler:Edith herself was driven to suicide by the news of Charley's death.]] And [[spoiler: the Doctor begs Edward Grove to kill itself.]]
* EasyAmnesia
* TheEdwardianEra
* ExtraStrengthMasquerade
* FateWorseThanDeath
* ForceFeeding: [[spoiler: Baddely]] dies this way.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The TARDIS just doesn't want to go to Singapore in 1930...
** And of course the references to [[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho032TheTimeOfTheDaleks Shakespeare]]...
* [[spoiler: GeniusLoci: ''"Edward Grove '''IS ALIVE'''"'']].
* AGlitchInTheMatrix: Several. The servants only intermittently remember that Edith was the scullery maid instead of Mary; they start out saying that the Doctor and Charley are the chief inspector from Scotland Yard and his niece, then switch to calling them {{Amateur Sleuth}}s; Frederick lets loose an AnachronismStew when the Doctor interviews him; and so on. This is one of the first signs that something's very seriously amiss.
* GroundhogDayLoop: Or something similar.
* [[spoiler: HappyEnding]]
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:The Doctor telling Shaughnessy to kill him so he can meet Charley and tell her not to kill herself.]]
* IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight
* [[spoiler: {{Infinite}}]]
* InsaneTrollLogic: Mr. Shaugnessy thinks that when [[spoiler: poor Edith]] dies, she must've thought it was impossible to drown herself in a sink, so she did. He then proceeds to do this with ''[[SuicideNotMurder all of them]]''.
* InternalHomage: The story is a wonderful and elaborate love letter to [[Recap/DoctorWhoS26E2GhostLight "Ghost Light"]].
* IronicNurseryTune: "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
* JustOneSecondOutOfSync: Something similar. The Doctor can't see the people frozen in time.
* KillEmAll: Again, and again, and again...
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: [[spoiler: The Servants forgetting Edith]]
* LesYay: Edith seems to have a great interest in Charley [[spoiler: She even killed herself when Charley died on the R101.]]
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: ''[[HenryIVPart2 II Henry IV]]'', III.ii
* LockedRoomMystery: A bit more literally so than the Doctor suspects at first. When he tries to leave the house or go upstairs (to where His Lordship and Her Ladyship supposedly live), the servants immediately try to kill him. They happily back down again when he stops trying to leave, and go back to their roles in the story.
* LotusEaterMachine
* LoveTriangle: Mary, Freddy, Edith.
* MadnessMantra: "Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without one of her plum puddings."
* MeatPuppet: Mr. Shaughnessy [[spoiler: by the house]].
* MerlinSickness: Charley suffers from this for a bit, until she shakes it off, noticing it's effects.
* MoodWhiplash: A good chunk of this audio manages to be utterly hilarious while ''simultaneously'' scaring the crap out of you.
* NoodleIncident: The Doctor and Charley finding a first edition of Literature/OliverTwist in Charing Cross road.
* NeverOneMurder
* NoExceptYes: Edith says she couldn't write her name in the dust. She gets scolded for disagreeing, until she points out she can't write, but if she ''could'' she could write her name in the dust.
* OminousMusicBoxTune: The adventure starts off with one.
* OurGhostsAreDifferent: [[spoiler: Edith is between existing and not, because she killed herself when Charley died on the R101. When the Doctor [[TemporalParadox rescued her from that..]]]]
* PetTheDog: Mr. Shaughnessy relents a bit when Edith says she can't write, and shows her how her name is written.
* PoeticSerialKiller: The victims are killed in a way that reflects their job. [[spoiler: Edith is first drowned in the sink, then suffocated with a plunger and finally beaten to death with a broom, Mrs. Baddeley is suffocated by having her mouth stuffed with her own plum pudding, and Frederick is run over. None of the murders make any sense, either, except for maybe the one with the plunger: there's more water in Edith's lungs than could have even been in the sink in the first place, it would have taken far too long to get that much pudding inside Mrs. Baddeley, and Frederick is run over ''indoors'']].
* RetGone: Edith is forgotten every time there's a second death. Then GroundhogDayLoop kicks back in.
* RetroactivePrecognition: The GroundhogDayLoop gives people some knowledge of their deaths.
* TheReveal: [[spoiler: Edward Grove]]
* TheScream: On the hour, every hour. [[ContrivedCoincidence The same one. Every time.]]
* SerialEscalation: Each death is more outrageously funny and/or scary than the one before.
* ASpotOfTea
* SuicideNotMurder: Mr. Shaughnessy says this of ''every death''.
* SuspectIsHatless:
---> "(When trying to remember what she looks like) Fairly sure the ladyship doesn't have a beard!"
* TalkingTheMonsterToDeath
* TemporalParadox: Kicked off the timeloop.
* TimeStandsStill: At the beginning of the story, before Charley and the Doctor are admitted into the time loop.
* TimeyWimeyBall: The Doctor rescuing someone from certain death has ''never'' had any real adverse effects before, and certainly not to the extend that Charley's rescue seems to be having. Charley developing a DoubleConsciousness as a result is also a new development in the series. Both concepts would later be explored more thoroughly in the 2005 TV series episode "Father's Day".
* [[UnPerson UnPeople]]: Edith isn't allowed to backtalk, or offer her opinion. Mrs. Baddely says the staff in general "Are nobody". [[spoiler: Seeing as they're trapped by a temporal parasite, they've ''literally'' become [[UnPerson UnPeople]]]]
* WhamLine: ''[As Charley and the Doctor sit in the TARDIS]'' [[spoiler: ...I was wrong to think we could escape the house, instead weve ''taken the house with us''...]]
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman?
--> [[spoiler: Edward Grove]]: Please, Doctor! [[spoiler: It's her life or mine!]] ''Please!'' [[spoiler: Please make her kill herself!]] It's her life or mine!!"
--> The Doctor: "...''Exactly''.
* WhenTheClockStrikesTwelve: ...bad things happen.
* WhoDunnit
* WorldLimitedToThePlot
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