The Doctor's Acquaintances
(From the Books and Audios)
 
22 Edward Grove
Audio - The Chimes of Midnight
The Chimes of Midnight
(Robert Shearman)
 Name: 22 Edward Grove

 Format: Audio

 Time of Origin: ‘Born’ on 24 December 1906, between 10:00pm and 12:00pm, but technically only existed as a sentient entity at the moments when the clock struck, even as it could manipulate Time to draw those moments out.

 Appearances: "The Chimes of Midnight"

 Doctors: Eighth Doctor

 Companions: Charley Pollard 

 History: While The Doctor's travels in time mean that he encounters a range of life-forms, his encounter with 'Edward Grove' is a particularly strange encounter as the entity that called itself Edward Grove was essentially a sentient building that only came into existence because of The Doctor's actions.

Eighth Doctor
Eighth Doctor

 Initially, 'Edward Grove' was simply 22 Edward Grove, an Edwardian house that existed in 1906, its owners being an unidentified lord and lady with a staff of butler Mr Shaughnessy, chauffeur Frederick, lady's maid Mary, cook Mrs Baddeley, and scullery maid Edith Thompson. Under normal circumstances, the TARDIS arriving there would have been unremarkable, were it not for the fact that Edith Thompson would go on to become the cook for the Pollard family at some point prior to 1930, where the daughter of the household, The Doctor's future companion Charley Pollard, would become the closest thing Edith had ever had to a friend because she treated Edith like a person, even if it was only small acts of kindness. As a result of this friendship, in the 'original' timeline, Edith would commit suicide on Christmas 1930 because she was struck with grief over Charley's death in the R101 ("Storm Warning") and the knowledge that nobody left at the house cared about her, but as she had now met Charley in 1906, a paradox was created as Edith's reason for killing herself now both did and didn't apply.

 It is not entirely certain what happened at this point, but based on the theory that 'ghosts' were created because traumatic events such as deaths left psychic impressions on old houses, The Doctor speculated that they were witnessing an event so traumatic that it 'inspired' the house to sentience due to the accompanying temporal paradox. Due to the temporal anomalies of Edith's future suicide, the lower levels where the TARDIS had materialised became trapped in a loop, with the servants who had been in the kitchens locked in their defined roles, continuing to insist that they were nothing and nobody outside of their position as servants to Edward Grove before they were even clear on who or what their 'lord' was. As the loops continued, the servants began to demonstrate awareness of what was happening to them, but Edward Grove's conditioning meant that they were still incapable of rejecting their roles, content to be trapped in their loops as they were essentially 'immortal' in that they couldn't die for good.

 Even before it had gained enough sentience to actively communicate, as soon as the TARDIS materialised in the kitchens, Edward Grove attempted to 'lock' The Doctor and Charley in the scenarios it had created for the servants. As a result, the servants initially accepted The Doctor and Charley as an inspector from Scotland Yard attending a Christmas dinner with his niece, before a casual comment by Charley changed them to a pair of amateur sleuths, the house then trying to incorporate Charley as the daughter of the human lord. The Doctor swiftly realised that they were dealing with more than just a time loop around this specific couple of hours when the chauffeur displayed anachronistic knowledge, referencing Agatha Christie fourteen years before she was published and claiming that he drove a car that hadn't even been invented yet. The Doctor was also struck by the residents' focus on the concept of suicide, everyone claiming that all the victims had killed themselves despite it being clearly impossible for Edith to have drowned herself in a sink, Mrs Baddeley to stuff herself to burst with her own pudding, or Frederick to run himself over with his own car inside the house. After experiencing the loop for the second time - with Edith now suffocated with the sink-plunger - The Doctor realised that they were dealing with something that gained power from the deaths themselves, as the murders were over too quickly for the killer to gain any kind of sadistic satisfaction from the act of killing.

 After their attempt to leave the house failed as the TARDIS had now become part of the paradox, The Doctor was finally able to confront the servants and confirm the identity of his enemy, prompting Edward Grove to converse with The Doctor by drawing out the moment when the clock struck eleven while possessing Shaughnessy the butler. The Doctor accused him of abusing his existence, only able to take action through the suffering of others, but Edward Grove countered that human lords also abused their servants in such a manner and the only difference was that he was at least honest about what he was doing to them. The Doctor rejected this idea, arguing that servants still had the chance to progress in real life whereas Grove's actions just trapped them in a loop. At the same time, Edward Grove transferred Charley to a place outside even the loops where Charley could talk with Edith's spirit about her suicide over Charley's death, hoping to use this moment to reinforce the paradox; Edith also revealed that the other residents of the house were being influenced by her own future memories, such as the chauffer's brief affair with the maid being based on her own memories of a similar relationship she had later in her life.

 Realising that those who 'died' in the loop were trapped outside the universe until the loop reset, The Doctor ordered Shaughnessy to kill him before the clock finished striking eleven so that he could talk to Charley and Edith and explain the situation to them. The Doctor's words reminding her of what she had accomplished, Charley was able to talk Edith out of committing suicide, assuring Edith that she would always remember her when she stepped out onto other planets and explored other times with The Doctor. With this reaffirmation that her life had value, Edith rejected the idea of suicide, Edward Grove's attempts to protest that it was a matter of its life or Edith's being countered by The Doctor solemnly informing Edward Grove that he was aware of that, unconcerned about the existence of a unique entity that had no better use of its existence than to torment others. With the paradox resolved, the time loop ended, with history starting over at the moment that The Doctor and Charley materialised in the cupboard, allowing them to assure Edith that she mattered before beginning their travels again to keep it simple.

 
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Parts of this article were compiled with the assistance of David Spence who can be contacted by e-mail at djfs@blueyonder.co.uk
 
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