Towards the very end of the excellent retrospective documentary that accompanies this limited edition re-rerelease of this early Paul McGann adventure, author Robert Shearman comments that some people have made listening to this part of their Christmas routine. It’s something I can fully understand – by no means every audio play stands up to a second listening, let alone multiple, but Chimes does, and it was absolutely no hardship at all to listen to it again in this new edition. Everyone is firing on all cylinders – from Shearman to producer Gary Russell to director Barnaby Edwards to the cast, and Andy Hardwick and Russell Stone on sound duties. Shearman is one of those writers whose pieces work on so many levels (he’s got a novella coming out soon from Rebellion that fans of Chimes will really appreciate) and when you’ve got everyone on the same wavelength, something extraordinary can happen.
If you’ve not heard it before, then try to go into the story unspoiled – as with anything with a key plot twist, you view/listen to it very differently once you’re aware of that element, and you’ll never have that “Oh of course” moment more than once. If you’re buying this vinyl edition, chances are you’re a fan already, so I suggest listening to the documentary disc first because there’s plenty in there that you may well not know (particularly with regard to some of the technical elements) which you can then pick up on during your umpteenth relisten. The documentary is well put together – all the key personnel explain their parts, and you can find out the connections with both Kinda and 9/11…
Verdict: An excellent package of one of Big Finish’s finest ever productions. 10/10