The Eternal Summer was the one hundred and twenty-eighth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Jonathan Morris and featured Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa.
It was the second story in a trilogy centring around the fictional town of Stockbridge. This audio also marked the audio debut of Maxwell Edison, played by Mark Williams. Edison, like the village of Stockbridge, was created in Doctor Who Magazine comic stories.
Publisher's summary Edit
One man alone knows that something's wrong: Maxwell Edison, Stockbridge's unofficial ambassador to the universe. Or "flying saucer nut", as the locals have it. He'll need help proving it: from the local postmistress Miss Nyssa, perhaps; or the village Doctor, the fellow that's been living at the Green Dragon Inn these last 30 years.
They'd better hope that autumn never comes to Stockbridge. When autumn comes, the world is doomed...
Part 1 Edit
The meta-bionic drive system of the Rutan's ship has gone faulty and is about to cause the ship to explode, which could wipe out half of England. The panic-stricken Fifth Doctor along with Nyssa attempts to stop it...
A knock on the door awakens the Doctor. Alice Withers has brought him breakfast in bed. She addresses him as Doctor Smith. He is utterly bewildered that she knows the kind of tea he likes and his favourite breakfast meal despite his claim of never having met her before. He begins asking her questions to which she gives exceedingly vague answers. It is revealed he is living in Stockbridge and that he knows Alice, even if he can't remember her at present.
Heading downstairs, the Doctor meets and begins to question her husband Harold Withers. Harold reveals that the Doctor has always been a guest at the Green Dragon, "for as long as [he] can remember", and that he cannot recall when the Doctor arrived. The Doctor is further puzzled that there haven't been any visitors to the village either. He says he must go looking for someone and suddenly Alice remembers that what he is doing today is exactly the same thing he was doing yesterday.
The Doctor walks through the village, noting to himself that everything is as it seems. Suddenly a young girl on a bicycle, named Jane Potter, crashes into him, and the Doctor has some strange flashback. He asks her if she can help him find his companion and it is revealed that Jane already knows Nyssa, surprising him, and that she is at the post office. Far off, a man undercover recognises the Doctor and is shocked and unnerved over seeing him again.
The Doctor finds Nyssa in the post office where it is revealed that she too is mystified by their circumstance, after having arrived all the villagers claimed to have already been aware of her identity and to have known her "for as long as they can remember", whereas she is just as confused as the Doctor. She recounts their final moments aboard the Rutan ship before its imminent explosion after which she woke up here. The Doctor notes how similar Stockbridge looks to one of their previous visits, prompting Nyssa to recall Andrew Harper and wondering if she may be able to find him. The Doctor suggests that they'll head down to the local pub, the Green Dragon, to get some information.
At the bar, Nyssa inquires from Dudley Jackson as to the whereabouts of Andrew but he recalls no such person of that name ever having lived in the village. The Doctor asks him what year it is, and after a strange flashback, he replies that it's the 4th of August 2009... 1950. They leave. The Doctor points out the cars in the street don't have glaze and there's no antennae dishes, placing the era in either the 60s or 70s. They bump into Jane again, dressed in 1950s clothing headed to a wedding that they are unaware of. Nyssa asks her what day it is, and she replies that it's the 12th of June 1984. The Doctor notes that there's something strange going on with time. They arrive at the wedding... and the marrying couple turn out to be Alice and Harold from earlier, in their 20s. The Doctor is confounded. Just then they see a fire in the distance, realising that the village school is on fire.
A boy named Philip has been trapped in the fire. He is rescued from the wreckage and the Doctor is brought over to try and save him, but the Doctor, after much effort, pronounces him dead on the scene... and suddenly time reverses. The Doctor and Nyssa find themselves at a funeral which was for Harold. The Doctor is utterly perplexed. They go and read the gravestone and find that Harold, Alice and Philip's names are written on the tombstone but the Doctor points out that there are no dates. Suddenly the Doctor spots a police telephone box. Thinking it's the TARDIS, they go and investigate, only to find that it is just an empty police telephone box. They use the phone and the voice on the other end says that time is winding backwards. The phone then rings, the Doctor answers, repeating the same words he had just heard unintentionally, and realises the voice he had just heard before was him in the future. The Doctor surmises that someone doesn't want them contacting the outside world. The Doctor says time is moving too quickly and that the villagers don't realise it.
Just then, they are approached by Maxwell Edison. He says he wanted to make sure it really was the Doctor before revealing himself. The Doctor introduces him to Nyssa. Nyssa seems a little put-off by him but the Doctor assures her that Maxwell can be trusted and he does, as he claims, somehow, have some sort of supernatural "sixth sense". Maxwell explains that something is wrong in Stockbridge, as the school fire happened twenty years ago, and events seem to be occurring in non-linear order. Maxwell mentions that there are ghosts here as well. They make there way over to a spot Maxwell claims is where super-natural phenomenon are occurring. The trio observe three beings wearing spacesuits manifest and begin approaching them. The Doctor tries to warn Nyssa to stay away but suddenly they disappear, having taken Nyssa with them...
Part 2: Edit
Three unknown entities talk amongst themselves and note the weakening barrier since Nyssa has been taken and they agree that the Doctor must cooperate in their plans otherwise he will die.
Maxwell and the Doctor discuss the events with Maxwell. The Doctor is concerned that the ghosts approached them. Time is still radically fluctuating. The Doctor tries to head to the next village and Maxwell warns and waits for him, as he inevitably ends up back in Stockbridge, apparently unable to leave. He theorises they are trapped in a time bubble. They are greeted by Dudley who points out the decorations around the village in preparation for an event and Maxwell and the Doctor realize they are in yet another mixed-up time fluctuation.
From afar, the Doctor and Maxwell are suddenly caught experiencing Dudley's past, including his marriage, the abortion of his would-be child and eventual decline. Next the two experience Dudley's memories of the death of Jane. They then find themselves in Dudley's bar, the Green Dragon, and he offers the two drinks. He reveals that he has experienced that flashback many times, surprising the Doctor. He also explains that they, the residence of Stockbridge, re-experience their entire lives every day in the same flashbacks. Just then someone comes to warn them about a school fire in an act of deja-vu but Alice is inexplicably alive and when the Doctor questions her death, she reveals she is aware she has died but that was yesterday. The Doctor and Dudley manage to rescue one of the children but Philip still dies, just as he did before. The Doctor tries to break the pattern but Philip dies yet again and suddenly they are back in Dudley's bar where he reveals that it's the same as always. Just then, they hear the telephone ringing from the old police telephone box. The Doctor answers and Nyssa replies, panicking, and explains that he can see her by returning to the same place she was taken at midnight.
Just then the Doctor suddenly finds himself at Alice and Harold's house where Alice is now dying as opposed to Harold. The Doctor is highly perplexed but Harold says they just go on and get used to it. The Doctor, however, questions that if he knows she will be fine tomorrow, why is he still crying? Harold thinks it is the payment for living in what he claims is heaven, but the Doctor thinks that this Stockbridge is quite the... contrary. Suddenly time fluctuates again and now the roles reverse. The Doctor questions Alice now. Next, he questions Maxwell, and why he doesn't seem so bothered by the current situation. Maxwell reveals that he gets to revisit his happiest memories and that, mirroring the words of Harold and everyone else, it is "the price they pay". Interrogating Maxwell further, he learns about the Lord and Lady of the Manor. It becomes cold and the Doctor starts off.
The three entities note the recent change of events amongst themselves again, saying that the Doctor should never be permitted to leave.
The Doctor and Maxwell head to Wellsworth Woods and although Maxwell tries to stop him, the Doctor continues on. The mysterious ghost-beings from before in environment suits appear and approach them. One of them turns out to be Nyssa who tells the Doctor he has to make physical contact to leave with her but Maxwell stops him. The Doctor, frustrated and confused, demands to know why Maxwell stopped him, when Maxwell reveals that if he goes they will all die since they are really the ghosts. The beings from earlier, who had disguised themselves as residence of Stockbridge, appear and tell the Doctor he is to meet the Lord and Lady of the manor.
The Doctor is brought to the manor but berates the patrons of the village as they believe they have been granted eternal life which the Doctor decries as insane. Just then, he is presented to the Lord and Lady of the manor. The Lady turns out to be Nyssa and the Lord turns out to be none other than the Doctor, or at least, his future self...
Part 3 Edit
Nyssa awakens after having just been taken from the forest, except still in the forest, and it is not midnight but broad daylight outside . She is greeted by a kind woman and a team of other people in environmental suits.
The Doctor is shocked to be meeting his future self but refuses to believe that the being standing in front of him is him. It is revealed that they can't let the Doctor go because if he does leave then the events that caused the Lord of the manor to become what he is now will never have occurred.
Nyssa probes the woman who has seemingly rescued her for answers. The woman introduces herself as Lizzie Corrigan and reveals that she and the team are part of the Psychic Investigation Group, 'PIG' for short.
The Doctor chats with the Lord and Lady of the manor. He is taken to the oldest part of the manor, first built by the Lord and Lady of the manor and recognizes warp-core engines amidst the foundations, indicating the Rutan ship survived.
Lizzie reveals that they are investigating Stockbridge, since it just seemed to have disappeared off the face of the planet since WWII and couldn't be found. All that appeared on maps was a point that couldn't be found.
The Doctor realizes that he managed to avert the explosion through the metabolic fail-safe of the ship's drive, and a stasis field was created that could allow the pilot to repair it... or else retreat. Meanwhile Lizzie explains that it started when people began experiencing hallucinations when they came near to the outskirts of where Stockbridge would have been. Then two villagers approach for asking for which the Lady mentions that the people in the village stay alive by being stuck in their final day before death. The Lady reveals she must feed on their past in order to sustain herself, a process known as absolution which is what causes them to continue reliving their past every day. The Doctor argues with Maxwell, telling him that to the Lord and Lady they are nothing but nourishment.
Dudley's memory is feasted upon and as they are distracted by their feasting, the Doctor quietly slips away. Lizzie explains that to them, Nyssa registered as a ghost but seemed very corporeal so they decided to try and save her. Next Nyssa discovers that while inside the ghosts appear every day inside, outside it's every couple hours. Lizzie then gets a call saying that the largest PSI surge has just been detected and they're going to check it out.
The Doctor and Maxwell go look at the hyper-spatial warp-core engine. He explains that it requires massive power and uses it to figure out that the time bubble is breaking down, hence why time is dilating and it will eventually pop. Lizzie and Nyssa arrive on site and she explains to Nyssa how they enter the time bubble. Nyssa suggests they use the psychic energy to try contact the Doctor and volunteers herself. The Doctor and Maxwell discover that someone is trying to break through the bubble eat Wellswood (PIG), which he explains is dangerous and cause destabilization. The Lord and Lady, trying to search for the Doctor, have a vision of the imminent destruction of the time bubble (without it they will cease to exist) and decide to seek help from someone else. Nyssa on the outside uses the psychic energy to contact the Doctor through the police box telephone, telling him to come to Wellswood at midnight, the same message the Doctor had heard earlier in his point of view. Nyssa also reveals she felt Veridius' presence. The Doctor and Maxwell are trapped by the villagers, recognizing them as not belonging. Outside, PIG prepares to enter. Nyssa puts on an environmental hazard suit and enters with Lizzie and others. She sees the Doctor and the scene from earlier plays out and she tries to get the Doctor out but Maxwell stops them. The same scenario as before plays out but the storm inside inside the time bubble is becoming worse.
Nyssa recommends they try again and Nyssa manages to make another opening, where they spot the Doctor and Maxwell. The two make it out through the opening. The Doctor tells them to turn the machine off so they don't destroy the planet. The Lord and Lady panic as the time bubble is collapsing. They speak with Viridios about how to stop this and what to do, who tells them to expand the time bubble to consume the whole world.
Part 4 Edit
The Doctor meets Lizzie and tries to stabilize the breach to buy them more time. Viridios explains the plan to the Lord and Lady, and saying that the Doctor and Nyssa's future is their past and that their circle is complete. Outside, Maxwell is delighted to meet Lizzie, PIG and a group of people who believe in the paranormal as he does. The Doctor reveals to Nyssa that they may need to go back inside. He explains that the time bubble is about to expand and will freeze all life on earth making them the same as the residents in Stockbridge and it will swallow both him and Nyssa up, ensuring the future of the Lord and Lady of the manor will be maintained. Maxwell and Lizzie get along, and she offers him a place on the team of PIG and they awkwardly but sweetly manage to set up a date when the current predicament ends. The Doctor interrupts them and explains that he and Nyssa need to go back in. They do and the Doctor warns Lizzie that the machine they use to penetrate the bubble must be shut off once they are inside to not cause further damage to the bubble and when they get inside the bubble they notice that time has sped up dramatically. Maxwell believes they have gone to sacrifice themselves and he is saddened because he thinks he is useless and can't do anything to save them. He asks Lizzie for a badge but his trick is revealed when he reactivates the machine to go back inside himself, much to Lizzie's horror when she returns. He kisses her and goes inside.
The Doctor and Nyssa are found by the villagers and beg him to let them die as they can't stand going through the absolution cycle again. They help the Doctor inside the Manor. He discovers that the only option they have to avert this timeline and stop the time bubble's expansion is to blow the core, sacrificing themselves and everyone inside the bubble. However, they are found by the Lord of the manor. Maxwell tries to find the Doctor. He answers the ringing telephone in the police box and Viridios is on the other end, telling him, threateningly, that he cannot escape his past. It is revealed that Maxwell Edison had died in a car accident earlier that year, but he tells Viridios that it doesn't matter and hangs up.
The Doctor asks the Lord of the Manor how he came to be but they are interrupted by the Lady becoming hungry and she enacts the absolution process on some of the villagers, but ends up killing them, shocking Nyssa. She continues to devour and kill the rest of them and attempts to feast on Nyssa who inadvertently causes the Lady to have flashbacks of many of their previous adventures. This causes the Lady of the manor to remember that she is really Nyssa, remembering how they were saved by Viridios, who reveals itself to the two, and the Lord devours the Lady. The manor begins to fall apart and Nyssa and the Doctor flee.
They are found by Maxwell, but wonder why he is here. The phone in the police box rings, and it is Lizzie, able to contact them because the time bubble field is weakening. She says she's going to try open the aperture of the bubble but is cut off by Viridios, who warns Maxwell he will not leave. Maxwell tells the Doctor what Lizzie said but the Doctor becomes angry, saying they will destabilize the bubble and destroy the planet. The Lord of the manor arrives and Viridios speaks through him. Viridios reveals it has been asleep for millions of years but has now awakened to take over the planet. Maxwell reveals to the Doctor that he is already dead and will sacrifice himself, despite the Doctor telling him this is his chance to live. Viridios fears Maxwell, as he was not part of the village and has some psychic ability and has always been a nut-case who thinks for himself. Encouraged by the Doctor he punches the Lord out and the three make a run for it. A hole opens up, made by PIG, and the three attempt to escape.
Maxwell awakens in Stockbridge, confused. He asks a nearby man about the current year, which the man reveals is 2009. He asks about Alice and Harold but it is revealed that they died years ago. He asks about others but they have all passed away, at their proper time. He asks about himself and his death but the man has no idea what he's talking about. Suddenly he spots Lizzie and runs towards her but she doesn't recognize him. He chats with her but it is revealed that PIG never existed as he realizes that that timeline has been aborted with the destruction of the time bubble, and she is now a real estate agent and regular resident of Stockbridge.
The Doctor and Nyssa, still stuck in the bubble, seem not to have made out in time. Unsure of what will happen next, he tells Nyssa to grab his hand as they fade away....
- The Doctor/Lord of the Manor - Peter Davison
- Nyssa/Lady of the Manor - Sarah Sutton
- Maxwell Edison - Mark Williams
- Lizzie Corrigan - Pam Ferris
- Harold Withers - Roger Hammond
- Alice Withers - Susan Brown
- Dudley Jackson - Nick Brimble
- Jane Potter - Abigail Hollick
- Vicar - Barnaby Edwards
- Geoff - Nicholas Briggs
- Alice Withers may be a descendant of Maud the Withered.
- The Lord of the Manor almost utters the Doctor's true name, but has forgotten it.
- Maxwell has read all of Terry Pratchett's books.
English towns and villages Edit
- Stockbridge exists/existed within a time bubble for sixty years.
Cultural references from the real world Edit
- Lizzie tells Max that her PIG teammates are fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files.
- Lizzie compares the situation in Stockbridge to the storyline of the 1954 film Brigadoon starring Gene Kelly and Van Johnson.
- Maxwell references the film Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell when referring to the time bubble.
- The Beatles are referenced as well as their songs Maxwell's Silver Hammer and Eleanor Rigby
Food and Beverages Edit
- Psychic energy was apparently discovered in the 19th century. This may have been reversed with the aborted timeline.
- Viridios is a God from Roman mythology. It is also referred to/known as "The Green Man".
- CD 1 contains the CD extras following parts 1 & 2.
- Included on CD 2 is The Three Companions; Episode 9 - "Many Meetings".
- This audio drama was recorded on 11 and 12 June 2009 at The Moat Studios.
- Subscribers whose subscription included this story received the bonus story Museum Peace, originally printed in the Dalek Empire anthology, read by Nicholas Briggs.
- This story is set between Time-Flight and Arc of Infinity.
- This story was originally released on CD and download.
- Maxwell references a common TV trope in which a "stupid" character suggests a stupid idea, only to inspire the "smart" character to come up with the solution with inspiration from the bad idea. While it is played as a joke in the story and the Doctor demonstrates its absurdity, it is a common trope in Doctor Who, for example, a variant of this occurs between Jamie and the Doctor in TV: The Dominators.
- AUDIO: Castle of Fear leads directly into this story.
- When the Lady of the Manor touches Nyssa, there are flashbacks to AUDIO: Circular Time, AUDIO: The Mutant Phase and AUDIO: Primeval.
- Maxwell Edison first appeared and met the Doctor in COMIC: Stars Fell on Stockbridge, which is partially dramatised here in flashbacks.
- Nyssa unsuccessfully looks for her former lover, Andrew. During this quest, his surname is revealed to be Harper, despite being stated as Whitaker in AUDIO: Autumn. However, this is likely due to the paradoxical nature of this story, which may have been reverted when the timeline was corrected.
- The TARDIS interior would revert to that of a regular police box again in TV: Father's Day.
- The Doctor compared the village's circumstances to the fake Devesham which he and Sarah Jane Smith discovered on Oseidon during his fourth incarnation. (TV: The Android Invasion)
- The Doctor orders a ginger beer from Dudley while at the Green Dragon. He ordered the same drink in a similar circumstance on a fake earth in his fourth incarnation, claiming it was a personal favourite. (TV: The Android Invasion)
- The Doctor tries to get the Lady of the Manor to remember her life as Nyssa by reminding her of Adric, (TV: The Keeper of Traken, Logopolis, et al.) Tegan Jovanka and the Master, (TV: Logopolis, Castrovalva, et al.) and the Cyberman. (TV: Earthshock, AUDIO: Spare Parts)
- Lizzie lived in Stockbridge until her death at 112 years old. (AUDIO: Plague of the Daleks)
- The Doctor mentions Castrovalva when he noticed that Stockbridge topography has gone wrong. (TV: Castrovalva)
- When Maxwell enters the time bubble to save Nyssa and the Doctor, he shouts "Geronimo!", a word that would become something akin to a catch-phrase for and used a lot by the Eleventh Doctor. (TV: The End of Time, The Beast Below, et al.)
- Official The Eternal Summer page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for The Eternal Summer at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide