The TARDIS takes the Doctor and Turlough to the London of 1702 where a mysterious highwayman roams the streets, a local occultist has made contact with the dead and gentlemen of fashion are disappearing, only to find themselves in a chamber whose walls weep blood...
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As the spirits begin to gather around the Doctor, Billy arrives on his horse and offers him a ride to safety. Whilst fleeing, he realises that the playing card bequeathed to him by Sir Nikolas is actually a biological storage device capable of absorbing the DNA imprint of anyone in contact with it. Arriving at Doctor Holywell's shop, the Doctor burns the playing card to prevent the spirits from following him, thus wiping the DNA stored and evading the ghasts.
He keeps the card safe for later as Hannah reenters the shop, wearing same pair of boots as Billy. The Doctor soon notices and leads her to confess that she is on Earth to hunt Carthok of Daodalus as he was responsible for the murder of her parents.
From a bush outside, Turlough and Jasper witness lights in the attic of Nikolas's house. Breaking in, they enter a room with blood-stained walls and a pungent smell of rotting flesh. They are caught wading through the human debris by Nikolas who emits an electric charge, immediately melting Jasper's weapon. He shackles them in the attic with the rest of the 'disappeared' men. After receiving the address from Poltrot, The Doctor and Hannah enter the house and are confronted by Valentine and reveal him to be Carthok. Hannah attempts to shoot him, but is overpowered and led into the chamber.
Valentine explains that he aims to harvest the minds of those he captures and use them to regenerate his crashed spaceship. He only reappears every 30 years and uses the stimulus of his victims to directly repair the craft. As Hannah threatens him again, he shoots her and shackles her inside the chamber. He then states that he needs only one more mind to repair the ship and sees it fit that Hannah, who has suffered his wrath before, should be the final sacrifice,
Dr Holywell observes the increasing lights from outside the house. He breaks down the door and arrives in the chamber, handing the Doctor his coat. He watches as Hannah begins to be possessed by the machine. The Doctor attempts to initiate a ruse by playing up the Wisden Almanack to be an object of great power. Intent on finding it, Valentine grabs the coat and begins to rummage through it. Quickly seeing the misconception, he throws it to the side but not before touching the wiped card with his bare hand. Without his realising, the card begins to download and store his biological data.
Hannah, now given the chance to escape the chamber, decides to stay on and urges every past victim of Sir Nikolas' to hone in on the card. The spirits begin to stir one last time, stronger and louder than ever before; the spirits of thousands of men, spanning centuries, are taking revenge on their executioner. The spirits overwhelm Valentine, pouring into his body until his skin becomes hollow and he crumples to the floor, dead.
Unable to save Hannah, the survivors flee the house as the spaceship explodes in a spectacular fashion. They say their goodbyes at Dr Holywell's home and leave the occulist as confused as before.
- The Doctor - Peter Davison
- Turlough - Mark Strickson
- Henry Gaunt - Nicholas Briggs
- Quincy Flowers / Ned Cotton - David Walliams
- Edmund Carteret - Jonathan Rigby
- Jasper Jeake - Mark Gatiss
- Poltrot / Major Billy Lovemore / Librarian - Jez Fielder
- Sir Nikolas Valentine - David Ryall
- Dr Samuel Holywell - Steven Wickham
- Hannah Fry - Julia Dalkin
- Hannah is given brandy to settle her nerves.
- The Doctor gives Turlough his 1928 edition of the Wisden Almanack.
- The Doctor considers cricket to be "the greatest game in the universe", and gives Turlough an extended lecture about it.
- The Doctor and Valentine play patience.
- The Doctor jokes that he is ‘here to read the meter’.
- Jasper learned of Edmund's death from Mother Connitt.
- This story was originally released on CD and cassette. It is now available as a download, as well as to stream on Spotify.
- This audio drama was recorded on 26 and 27 June 1999 at the Nu Groove Studios, London.
- This story is set between the television stories Resurrection of the Daleks and Planet of Fire.
- The title of the story comes from a type of a horror theatre invented in France around 1700. Later, Gatiss put this word in a line for Charles Dickens in his first TV story The Unquiet Dead.
- The idea for the story originated from a card-game sketch that was written by Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson and featured in The League of Gentlemen in 2000/2001.
- Gatiss's idea for a disguised highwayman comes from the film The Wicked Lady.
- Nick Briggs suggested to use the line from the script The Architect of Pain as the title. Other working titles included Chamber of Blood and Restoration.
- Gatiss did a lot of research into the way people spoke in the 17th century. But it was not used in the final version because it was too hard to understand for modern listeners.
- Alistair Lock's soundtrack to the story was released on CD in Music from the New Audio Adventures Volume 1, alongside the scores for The Fearmonger, The Marian Conspiracy and The Spectre of Lanyon Moor.
- It is the first Big Finish audio story to feature only one incarnation of the Doctor which in this case is the fifth, making him the first Doctor to have a Big Finish story where there is only the one actor playing the Doctor.
- Julia Dalkin is credited as Julia Deakin both on the Big Finish website and in The Big Finish Companion: Volume 1.
- The story begins on the day that William of Orange died: 8 March 1702.
- Turlough enjoyed studying history at Brendon Public School on Earth in 1983. (TV: Mawdryn Undead)
- The Doctor finds a cricket ball and a ball of string in his pocket. (TV: Four to Doomsday)
- The Doctor tells Turlough that he has seen — and was very impressed by — a Type 70 TARDIS. (AUDIO: The Sirens of Time)
- Turlough complains when he has to save Hannah, saying that "this really isn't me at all". He would later save Peri Brown, protesting "Earthlings". (TV: Planet of Fire)
- Official Phantasmagoria page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for Phantasmagoria at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide