‘The Ghost of Leckwick’, Chapter 1

16-1a-the-ghost-of-leckwick

1. The Guests of Lord and Lady Tottinghill

Roll original 1982 Peter Davison opening credits


SCENE #1 – EXT – DRIVEWAY, LECKWICK HALL  – DAY, AFTERNOON
On a cold snowy windy afternoon on Christmas Eve, a car drives round the huge snow-covered drive outside Leckwick Hall. This is Lord Frederick Tottinghill’s personal car as it stops right outside the front entrance. Snow falls heavily to the ground and the wind blows hard. The driver called Bickers steps out of the car as he runs round to open the door and let his lordship out. Lord Tottinghill steps out of the car, carrying some Christmas shopping with him, whilst Bickers closes the car door.

LORD FREDERICK
“Thank you, Mr. Bickers. Most gracious of you.”

BICKERS
(nervous) “That’s alright, m’lord.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Such a fierce wind we having, aren’t we!”

Bickers is about to leave, before Lord Frederick stops him.

BICKERS
(nervous) “Yes, m’lord. Excuse me. I have to take the car…”

LORD FREDERICK
(realises) “Oh yes, that reminds me! Mr. Bickers?”

BICKERS
(nervous) “Yes, m’lord?”

LORD FREDERICK
(politely) “I know this is short-notice, but I want you to drive me and my wife to a party.”

BICKERS
“Oh? When?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Tomorrow evening. That is alright, isn’t it?”

BICKERS
“What time, sir?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Oh about…sixty thirty pm…”

BICKERS
(panics) “Six thirty? Oh I’m sorry, sir. I would like to. But it’s my evening off for Christmas.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Well it won’t take long surely. It’s only a few miles away here from Leckwick. Of course you will have to pick us up…”

BICKERS
(agitated) “Exactly! I’m not going to sacrifice this evening for the sake of driving you to some Christmas bash or binge.”

LORD FREDERICK
(appalled) “Mr. Bickers?!”

BICKERS
“I’m sorry, m’lord. I’m not setting on human soil tonight. Especially not with the…ghost about.”

LORD FREDERICK
(puzzled) “Ghost? What ghost, Mr. Bickers?”

BICKERS
“You know the ghost I’m talking about, m’lord. The one that’s been lurking about in your halls this late and around here in Leckwick.”

LORD FREDERICK
(appalled) “Really, Mr. Bickers! I never of thought you to be that superstitious.”

But Bickers gets back into the car, shutting the door behind him.

BICKERS
“You can say what you like, m’lord. I can drive you in the morning and the afternoon all you like at Christmas. But I’m not risking my skin for some poltergeist. Especially not at Christmas. My wife will have a fit if she finds out. Anyway, I’m off!”

LORD FREDERICK
(calls) “Mr. Bickers, wait!”

But Bickers is already on his way as he starts the engine immediately and drives off instantly. Lord Tottinghill is left perplexed, watching Bickers go.

LORD FREDERICK
“Well I never.”

He then goes inside the hall.


SCENE #2 – INT – MAIN LOBBY, LECKWICK HALL – DAY, AFTERNOON
Inside the main lobby of Leckwick Hall, Lord Tottinghill enters with the door opened by his butler Beeston. He wipes his feet on the doormat to clear the snow off his shoes. He drops the shopping bags to the floor and Beeston shuts the door behind him.

BEESTON
“Good afternoon, sir.”

LORD FREDERICK
(flushed) “Good afternoon, Beeston.”

BEESTON
“May I take your coat, m’lord?”

LORD FREDERICK
(flushed) “Ah. Thank you Beeston.”

Lord Tottinghill takes his coat off and hands it to Beeston.

BEESTON
“Did you enjoy your trip into town, m’lord?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Yes I did, thank you Beeston. The streets were crowded. Still that accounts for late night shopping on Christmas Eve, what?”

BEESTON
“May I take your hat, sir?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Oh thank you, Beeston.”

Tottinghill takes his hat off and hands it to Beeston.

LORD FREDERICK
“Is my wife home, Beeston?”

BEESTON
“Her ladyship is upstairs, m’lord.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Ah!”

Lord Frederick then picks up his shopping bags from the floor and makes to walk up the stairs. Just then, Lady Angela Tottinghill comes downstairs to meet him.

LADY ANGELA
“Frederick, darling!”

LORD FREDERICK
“Ah! Angela, dear! There you are!”

LADY ANGELA
“How was your day, dear?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Oh fine, thank you darling. I’ve been telling Beeston that town was packed with shoppers.”

Both embrace and kiss each other.

LADY ANGELA
(sympathetic) “Oh dear! Poor you!”

LORD FREDERICK
“Then I went round to the Totter’s Arms to get out of the cold and keep myself warm. All our friends were there. Couldn’t have had a better day.”

LADY ANGELA
“Well I’m glad to hear it. Did you get those packages sent in the post?”

LORD FREDERICK
(reassuringly) “Yes, my dear. It’s all been taken care of.”

LADY ANGELA
“Did you get those gifts we’ve got for the children before they come home?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Angela, don’t fret my dear! They’re all here in these shopping bags.”

Angela takes a quick peek in the bags from him.

LADY ANGELA
“Well that’s alright then.” (Pause) “Well, we might as well get things ready for tonight’s party.”

Both Lord Frederick and Lady Angela make their way to the reading room.

LORD FREDERICK
“Angela, darling?”

LADY ANGELA
“Yes dear?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Is our driver Mr. Bickers well?”

LADY ANGELA
“Yes. Why shouldn’t he be?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Well I don’t know. I was talking to him earlier and he seemed rather in a worried state.”

LADY ANGELA
“Oh? Worried about what?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Oh nothing really. I’m afraid we’ll be walking to Bunty’s party tomorrow evening.”

LADY ANGELA
“Oh, what a shame. And I bought myself a new dress to wear.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Bought the afternoon papers on my way back home, dear. President Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ isn’t making his fellow Americans happy. Some say he should get the boot.”

LADY ANGELA
(uneasily) “By the way dear, that reminds me. Professor Albert Rogers is coming.”

LORD FREDERICK
(uneasily) “Professor Rogers?” (Pause) “Oh. Good. That’s good to know. Thank you, dear.”


SCENE #3 – INT – READING ROOM, LECKWICK HALL – DAY, AFTERNOON
Both Frederick and Angela enter the reading room and sit on one of the couches.

LADY ANGELA
“We shouldn’t keep inviting Professor Rogers to these get-togethers you know, dear. He’s a real old bore. Not to mention slightly deranged.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Don’t be like that, Angela. It’s Christmas.”

LADY ANGELA
“Exactly. I hope he’s not going to be here tomorrow morning and we find him drunk on the stairs like last time when we held a Christmas party here.”

LORD FREDERICK
“He’s not all that bad, is he?”

LADY ANGELA
“He tried to beat you up, Frederick. He accused you of manhandling his sister.” (Pause) “Fancy a glass of sherry, dear?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Oh rather. If you’re having one.”

Angela fetches the decanter and pours two glasses of sherry.

LORD FREDERICK
(gradually) “Who else is coming to our Christmas bash tonight then?”

LADY ANGELA
“Well Professor Rogers is bringing his sister with him.”

LORD FREDERICK
(uncomfortable) “Oh yes. Mabel, is it?”

LADY ANGELA
“That’s right.” (Pause) “Then there’s also Mr. MacDougall coming by car and Mr. Bergo is also coming from Norway.”

As Angela speaks, a chugging whooshing sound is heard from outside which attracts Frederick’s attention. It keeps going before there’s a loud thump.

LADY ANGELA
“Here’s your sherry, my dear.”

LORD FREDERICK
(distracted) “Oh thank you, Angela darling.”

Angela returns and passes a glass of sherry to Frederick to which he takes. Both sit and drink their sherries whilst the TARDIS materialisation noise echoes outside. Frederick drinks his sherry, whilst Angela listens.

LADY ANGELA
(bemused) “What was that noise? Sounded like an elephant outside.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Church bells probably.” (slurps) “Ah thank you Angela for the sherry. I needed this.”

LADY ANGELA
“That’s alright, my dear. Now come on! Help me with the final arrangements for tonight.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Yes of course! What about your mother? Is she coming to the party tonight?”

LADY ANGELA
“Alas, no dear. I’m afraid she’s got a bout of flu.”

LORD FREDERICK
(distressed) “Oh, what a shame. We must call on her to check how she is.”

Just then, the lights flicker and dim without warning.

LORD FREDERICK
(annoyed) “Oh dash those lights of ours. They’ve been flickering on and off like that for the past two weeks. I told Beeston to have them replaced.”

The lights flicker again and a bulb pops out in a little explosion.

LADY ANGELA
(anxious) “Oh no. One of the bulbs in those lamps has exploded.”

LORD FREDERICK
“See what I mean. Irritating, isn’t it?”

Just then, the door bursts open and Beeston enters.

BEESTON
“Excuse me, m’lord?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Beeston! The man I wanted to see. These lights…”

BEESTON
(raises his voice) “Begging your pardon, m’lord. But three people have arrived out in the lobby wishing to see you. They’re strangely attired, m’lord.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Strangely attired? What do you mean strangely attired, Beeston?”

Before Beeston can answer, he’s rudely interrupted as the Doctor; Nyssa and Billy enter.

DOCTOR
(interrupts) “Excuse us. Sorry for barging in like this. Couldn’t wait out there, you see.”

BEESTON
(abrupt) “Pardon me, sir. You cannot enter here unannounced…”

DOCTOR
(to Lord Frederick; Lady Angela) “Hello Lord and Lady Tottinghill. Nice to meet you both. You are Lord and Lady Tottinghill, I take it?”

LORD FREDERICK
(baffled) “Beeston, who is this man? Why is he dressed for cricket in December?”

BEESTON
“He says he’s a doctor, m’lady.”

DOCTOR
(happily) “That’s right! I’m the Doctor. That’s me. Thank you, Beeston.”

NYSSA
“And I’m Nyssa…Lady Nyssa of Traken. Hello!”

BILLY
“Hi there, I’m Billy. Billy Walker. Just Mr. Billy though.”

DOCTOR
“As I said, we’re sorry for barging in like this, you lordship; your ladyship. We hope we’re not interrupting. But we were invited, you see.”

LORD FREDERICK
(puzzled) “Invited?”

DOCTOR
“Yes. Sorry for coming so early. We like to be on time. Well at least I like to anyway.”

BILLY
(ruefully) “That doesn’t always turn out well in your case, Doctor.”

NYSSA
(hushes) “Billy, be quiet please.”

LORD FREDERICK
(to Angela) “Darling? Have we invited a Doctor…?” (to Doctor) “Doctor…what was it?”

DOCTOR
“And Nyssa and Billy Walker. These are my two friends. They’re very nice, they are.”

LORD FREDERICK
“…Miss Nyssa and Mr. Walker. Have we invited them to the party, my dear?”

LADY ANGELA
(thinks) “I can’t put my mind on their faces and names, dear. We invited so many guests.” (Pause) “Anyway, it doesn’t matter. All guests are welcome at Leckwick Hall. It is Christmas after all, isn’t it?”

DOCTOR
“Oh absolutely, Lady Tottinghill. Couldn’t put it better myself.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Very well.” (to Beeston) “You may go now, Beeston.”

BEESTON
“Very good, m’lord.”

Beeston bows before he leaves the room, shutting the door behind him.

DOCTOR
“Thank you, your ladyship; your lordship! And…Merry Christmas to you both!”

NYSSA
“Yes Merry Christmas, your lordship; ladyship!”

BILLY
“Yeah! Merry Christmas indeed!”

Just then, the lights flicker again. This time it becomes frequent and all the lights in the drawing room completely go out and it becomes dark.

LORD FREDERICK
(annoyed) “Dash it! Not again with those lights!”

DOCTOR
(mysteriously) “Yes. I see you have teething troubles with your electricity, Lord Tottinghill. I wonder how that is. And why.”


SCENE #4 – INT – DRAWING ROOM, LECKWICK HALL – DAY, EVENING
Later that evening, the Doctor, Nyssa and Billy attend the party in the drawing room, having drinks and refreshments. They observe the other guests that have turned up and full of Christmas spirit. The Doctor takes some crisps before passing the bowl to Nyssa and Billy.

DOCTOR
“Crisps; Billy; Nyssa?”

NYSSA
(prudently) “Doctor, why are we here? The TARDIS couldn’t have taken us here by chance. Something caused a rupture when it happened.”

BILLY
“I thought the TARDIS was going to get a heart attack! I wonder how we ended up here.”

NYSSA
“Those neutrino pulses could have been transferred promptly by some subsidence of an angular conversion.”

DOCTOR
(whispers) “Quiet, you two. Try to enjoy yourselves.”

NYSSA
“You’re taking it calmly, Doctor. I thought you wanted to know what happened to the TARDIS and why it behaved so erratically.”

DOCTOR
“I do, Nyssa. That’s why we’re here. To look out for anything suspicious.”

BILLY
(astonished) “You mean something might happen? Tonight with the guests. With this house.”

DOCTOR
“Too many steps ahead, Billy. The TARDIS was brought here by some magnetic force that generated those neutrinos we discovered.”

NYSSA
“Perhaps somebody has a device to create these neutrinos. Perhaps it’s one of the guests.”

BILLY
(realises) “Someone who isn’t human then. An alien?”

DOCTOR
(whispers) “Quiet! Look! Here come Lord and Lady Tottinghill.”

The Doctor, Nyssa and Billy become cheery, as Lord Frederick and Lady Angela meet them.

LORD FREDERICK
“Good evening, Doctor. Miss Nyssa, Mr. Billy. Hope you’re all having a good time.”

DOCTOR
“Oh yes! These crisps and mulled wine do the treat, thank you your lordship.”

LADY ANGELA
“We’re glad to hear it.” (to Nyssa) “How about you, my dear? Our hospitality isn’t as good as other aristocrats…”

NYSSA
“No, no. I’m enjoying myself very much, Lady Tottinghill. Thank you for your hospitality.”

LORD FREDERICK
(to Billy) “And you, young sir?”

BILLY
(cheerily) “Oh, rather. This is the first time I’ve tried mulled wine before.”

NYSSA
(wearily) “Don’t drink too much, Billy.”

BILLY
“I know, I know. I’m not an alcoholic, Nyssa.”

Lady Tottinghill introduces Hamish MacDougall, who turns up, to the Doctor; Nyssa and Billy.

LADY ANGELA
(interjects) “We’d like you to meet a friend of ours from the Highlands. Mr. Hamish MacDougall.” (to MacDougall) “Hamish, this is…”

MACDOUGALL
(interrupts) “Och aye. Good evening to you all? That’s my name. Hamish George MacDougall. Chief of the clan MacDougall.” (to Doctor) “And you are…?”

DOCTOR
“I’m the Doctor. Just the Doctor, mind you.”

MACDOUGALL
“Ah good! A Doctor. A Doctor of what profession, sir?”

DOCTOR
“Everything.”

MACDOUGALL
“Impressive. Are you familiar with the traditions of my clan, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“Oh yes! I was fortunate in meeting the first of your clan. Duncan his name was, descended from Somerled, Lord of the Isles, at a time when the Western Isles were part of Norway.”

MACDOUGALL
(puzzled) “Oh aye.” (Pause) “And who are these two wee mittens of yours?”

DOCTOR
“This is Nyssa of the Traken Union, and Billy of the House of Walker.”

MACDOUGALL
“Good evening to you both.” (to Nyssa) “My lady!”

MacDougall kisses Nyssa’s hand.

NYSSA
“Very nice to meet you, Mr. MacDougall.” (puzzled) “Why are you wearing a dress?”

MACDOUGALL
(affronted) “A dress?”

DOCTOR
“Kilt, Nyssa. Mr. MacDougall’s wearing a kilt!” (to MacDougall) “Mr. MacDougall, may I ask how your clan…?”

The Doctor draws McDougall away, whilst Billy talks quietly to Nyssa.

BILLY
(amused) “You really are from another planet, aren’t you Nyssa. That’s a real Scotsman you’ve just met. They’re proud of wearing their kilts.”

NYSSA
(puzzled) “But why does he wear one, Billy? And showing off his legs in such cold weather?”

Billy reluctantly is about to explain to Nyssa, until a huge man enters.

BERGO
(booms, to Frederick) “How do you do, Frederick!”

LORD FREDERICK
(baffled) “Oh. Yes.”

BERGO
(booms) “Remember me? I’m Gustav Bergo. A Norwegian. I come from Norway! Oh yeah!”

LORD FREDERICK
“Ah yes. Hello, Mr. Bergo. So glad you could make it!” (to Nyssa; Billy) “Miss Nyssa; Mr. Walker. This is Mr. Bergo. He represents the Sarpsborg Stadion in Norway.”

Billy reaches out to shake hands with Bergo.

BILLY
(cheerfully) “Oh really. How do you do, Mr. Bergo!”

BERGO
(booms) “How do you do?! Nice to be here!”

Bergo shakes Billy by the hand with a very firm grip. Billy reacts in pain as if his hand is about to be crushed. Bergo eventually lets go.

LORD FREDERICK
(politely) “Mr. Walker and Miss Nyssa came with the Doctor, Mr. Bergo.”

BERGO
(booms; to Nyssa) “How do you do, pretty lady!”

NYSSA
(politely) “Er…how do you do?”

The doorbell rings.

LORD FREDERICK
“Would you care for a drink, Mr. Bergo?”

BERGO
(booms) “Yeah! Drink and food! Now! On the table!”

Mr. Bergo walks away, whilst Nyssa checks how Billy is with his hand.

NYSSA
(concerned) “Billy! Is your hand alright?”

BILLY
(in pain) “That was a tight grip. Must be really enthusiastic, these Norwegians.”

NYSSA
“I wonder who else is coming to this party.”

The doorbell then rings again.


SCENE #5 – INT – MAIN LOBBY, LECKWICK HALL – DAY, EVENING
In the main lobby, Beeston attends to the front door. Professor Albert Rogers, who is American, and his sister Mabel enter, shaking the snow off their coats.

BEESTON
“Good evening sir; madam. Cold night tonight, isn’t it.”

PROF. ROGERS
(irritably) “Think I don’t know that, butler!”

BEESTON
(realises) “Oh. Hello again.”

PROF. ROGERS
“Hello again…Bertie.”

BEESTON
“It’s Beeston, sir.”

PROF. ROGERS
(abrasively) “I said, Beeston!”

Just then, Lord Frederick enters the lobby.

LORD FREDERICK
(charmingly) “Ah. I thought I heard someone coming in.”

BEESTON
“Professor Albert Rogers and his sister Miss Mabel Rogers, sir.”

LORD FREDERICK
(cheerfully; to Professor Rogers) “Hello Professor Rogers. How are you?”

Frederick puts out a hand to greet Rogers. But Rogers doesn’t shake his hand.

PROF. ROGERS
“I will not shake hands with you, Lord Frederick. Due to our previous meeting I have taken into consideration how I shall conduct myself with you.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Yes, I’m sorry about the last time you came. We’re willing to make amends…”

PROF. ROGERS
“I’ve no idea what game you were playing, but I’m willing to forgive and forget so long as no trouble happens.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Yes, of course. Of course. Um…would you care to join us? You and your sister?”

A loud gong goes off, as the signal for ‘dinner is served’ is given.

LORD FREDERICK
“Ah! There goes the dinner gong. We can continue our conversation…”

PROF. ROGERS
(dismissively) “Yeah, yeah! Whatever!” (to Mabel) “Mabel, get in here will you!”

MABEL
(shrieks) “Alright, alright, alright!!”

LORD FREDERICK
(to Mabel) “How do you do, Miss Mabel. I’m pleased to see you…”

MABEL
(shrieks) “Don’t touch me!”

PROF. ROGERS
“She screams all the time! She gets upset! That’s why she’s crazy!”

LORD FREDERICK
(uneasily) “Err yes. Well…shall we go for a din-din? Are you ready?”

PROF. ROGERS
(unimpressed) “Din-din. Never heard of it.”

LORD FREDERICK
“This way. I’m sure my wife will be glad to know you’re here.” (to Beeston) “Beeston. Will you see that the soup is ready to be served?”

BEESTON
“Yes sir.”

Beeston goes off, leaving Lord Frederick to attend to Professor Rogers and his sister Mabel to the dining room.


SCENE #6 – INT – DINING ROOM, LECKWICK HALL – DAY, EVENING
In the dining room, Lord and Lady Tottinghill, the Doctor, Nyssa, Billy, Professor Rogers, Mabel, MacDougall and Bergo have dinner. They sit around a huge table as Beeston serves the soup.

BEESTON
(to Lord Frederick) “Soup for you, sir?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Ah! Thank you Beeston.” (Pause) “I say, that soup doesn’t look at all bad, does it Beeston?”

BEESTON
(shrewdly) “No. It doesn’t, sir.”

Tense atmosphere as Beeston continues serving the soup around the table.

PROF. ROGERS
(sternly) “I do not like comical actions!”

MACDOUGALL
(approvingly) “Ah good on you sir. I don’t like comical actions either.” (to Bergo) “Do you like comical actions, Bergo lad?”

BERGO
(booms) “Who said ‘comical actions’? I love comical actions! Oh yeah!”

Meanwhile the Doctor talks to Lord and Lady Tottinghill.

DOCTOR
“So how long have you two been lord and lady of Leckwick Hall then?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Oh about a year or so. Angela and I were honoured by the king with this house. This is our second Christmas celebration here.”

NYSSA
“Second?! And you haven’t found anything unusual during your time here?”

LADY ANGELA
“No, my dear. Why do you ask that?”

DOCTOR
“Err…what my friend means Lady Angela is whether or not you and your lordship have encountered any abnormal anomalies in the house. Creaks, hauntings and so on?”

LADY ANGELA
“You mean…like ghosts?”

NYSSA
“We wouldn’t put it quite like that, your ladyship.”

LORD FREDERICK
(laughs dismissively) “Oh really. Child’s talk! Ghosts and goblins? Absolute rot and poppy-cock. What a load of cobblers.”

BILLY
“You don’t believe in ghosts then, your lordship?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Of course not. All that’s stuff for Halloween and not Christmas.”

LADY ANGELA
“Ah but remember, dear. Scrooge was visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.”

LORD FREDERICK
“All the stuff of fiction, dear. Invented by the great mind of Charles Dickens himself.”

LADY ANGELA
(to Doctor) “By the way, Doctor. How did you manage to get to Leckwick Hall? We saw no car of yours in the car park.”

DOCTOR
“Oh we came here by an alternative route…”

As the Doctor tries to explain, Billy whispers to Nyssa.

BILLY
(whispers) “Nyssa. Perhaps the Doctor was wrong. Perhaps the TARDIS simply got dragged off course by mistake and there’s nothing wrong with this house at all.”

NYSSA
(whispers) “No, Billy. Something breeched its way into the dimensional sphere of the TARDIS interior. Those neutrino levels were off the scale.”

BILLY
(whispers) “What are neutrinos anyway? I didn’t ask.”

NYSSA
(whispers) “They’re elementary particles, Billy. They travel close to the speed of light – electrically neutral – able to pass through the ordinary matter of this universe undistributed. Neutrinos are extremely difficult to detect and have a small nonzero mass.”

BILLY
(whispers) “I see.” (Pause) “No I don’t. But I get the idea. Someone passed through the TARDIS and he or she came here from nineteen thirties Earth by making himself invisible or something.”

NYSSA
(whispers) “I don’t see how the TARDIS can be attracted to a pre-technological society as this. Neutrinos are created by types of radioactive decay or nuclear reactions like those in the Sun; or nuclear reactors or cosmic rays.”

Lord Frederick then interrupts, as he taps his glass with a spoon.

LORD FREDERICK
(calls) “Can I have all of your attention, please?”

Everyone slowly stops chatting and becomes silent as Lord Frederick speaks.

LORD FREDERICK
“Thank you everyone. Err…just to say…Thank you all for coming. I hope everyone is enjoying themselves tonight here at Leckwick Hall.” (Pause) “You are all enjoying yourselves, I take it.”

PROF. ROGERS
“Yeah everything’s starting to get dull now. The soup’s bitter, but apart from that everything’s fine.” (to Mabel) “What about you Mabel? Are you doing alright?”

MABEL
“No.”

PROF. ROGERS
“There you are, you see. I told you. Everything’s fine.”

Professor Rogers then takes out a small leather case from his jacket. Everyone is astonished once they see it.

BILLY
(curious) “Um…excuse me, Professor Rogers? What’s that little leather case you’ve got there? If you don’t mind me asking?”

PROF. ROGERS
“This case contains an imperial ornament given to me by the President of the United States. It has been given to me for safekeeping.”

BILLY
“An ornament? What sort of ornament?”

Rogers becomes silent for a moment. Then he opens up the leather case and reveals the treasure inside to everyone. Everyone gasps in awe.

PROF. ROGERS
“What do you think of that then, hey? Beautiful, ain’t it?”

LADY ANGELA
(awed) “It is, Professor. Yes. Very beautiful indeed.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Don’t get carried away, dear!”

NYSSA
“I’ve never seen a diamond like that before. Its sheer size.”

BERGO
(booms) “Oh yeah!”

BILLY
(intrigued) “What is it? A crown jewel or something?”

PROF. ROGERS
“A world novelty. This is the Florentine Diamond. A lost diamond of Indian origin. It’s light yellow in colour with a very slight green [overtones. Cut in the form of an irregular; intricate; nine-sided one hundred twenty-six facet double rose, cut with a weight of one hundred and thirty seven point twenty seven carats. This diamond is also known as the Tuscan, the Tuscany Diamond, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the Austrian Diamond and the Austrian Yellow Diamond].”

Whilst Rogers talks, the Doctor whispers to Nyssa.

DOCTOR
(whispers) “Florentine Diamond, Nyssa. A fascinating mystery.”

NYSSA
(whispers) “You know something of it then, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
(whispers) “The diamond has been recorded in history. Both documented and disputed as one got shifted and sold from one place to another to different people. Its presence here concerns me.”

NYSSA
(whispers) “Why, what’s wrong with it then?”

DOCTOR
(whispers) “The diamond was last reported to have been sold in America during the nineteen twenties.”

NYSSA
(whispers) “So it was sold to Professor Rogers.”

DOCTOR
(whispers) “The diamond was never recorded in history that it was given to Professor Rogers in the nineteen thirties.”

The Doctor and Nyssa ponder on this, until the butler Beeston enters and interupts.

BEESTON
“Excuse me, m’lord.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Yes, Beeston? What is it?”

BEESTON
“I’ve received a phone call from the Met office. They said that serious snowfall is coming to this part of the country. Right under our noses. I felt it right to inform you of this, m’lord.”

LADY ANGELA
“Oh dear. That means we’re going to get snowed in!”

LORD FREDERICK
“Well, never mind, dear. We can put these people up for the night can’t we?”

LADY ANGELA
“Yes of course, darling. I wasn’t forgetting that.”

DOCTOR
“Thank you, your lordship and ladyship. We most appreciate it. Don’t we Nyssa; Billy?”

NYSSA
“Yes indeed, Doctor.”

BILLY
“Oh yes. I’m looking forward to a White Christmas.”

LORD FREDERICK
“Is that alright with you, Professor Rogers? Lady…?”

PROF. ROGERS
(dismissively) “Yeah, yeah. Whatever.” (to Mabel) “Mabel? That’s alright with you? Us staying the night in this miserable dump, isn’t it?”

Mabel screams.

PROF. ROGERS
“There you are, you see! She’s happy, my sister.”

MACDOUGALL
“I’m happy to stay the night too, Lord and Lady Tottinghill.”

BERGO
“Oh yeah! I am glad to stay!”

LORD FREDERICK
“Excellent!” (to Beeston) “Beeston. See to it that guest quarters are prepared.”

PROF. ROGERS
(interjects) “Make one for me and Mabel. My sister won’t sleep alone and she gets upset and goes crazy!”

LORD FREDERICK
“Very well. (to Beeston) “Do that, will you Beeston?”

BEESTON
“Very good, m’lord.” (clears throat) “Shall I send for the fish course now, m’lord?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Yes. Thank you Beeston.”

Beeston acknowledges and leaves.

BILLY
(thrilled) “So Christmas night at a country mansion. I’m honoured.”

DOCTOR
“Me too, Billy.” (Pause) “Let’s hope no ghosts will haunt us tonight.”

LORD FREDERICK
(laughs) “Doctor, I’ve told you before. There are no ghosts in this house!”

At that moment, the lights flicker and they start to go out, making everyone uneasy.

MACDOUGALL
“Oh aye? So why do your lights start flickering all of a sudden?”

DOCTOR
“Surely the sign of a haunting, hey your lordship?”

The lights flicker again. Then suddenly the lights explode and go out. There is a mixture of startled screams and cries before everyone calms down.

DOCTOR
“And the lights have now gone out. Someone must have broken a fuse.”

PROF. ROGERS
“Mabel, will you stop touching my leg!”

Mabel shrieks whilst everyone feels uneasy in the dark.


SCENE #7 – INT – DOCTOR’S BEDROOM, LECKWICK HALL – NIGHT
In the Doctor’s allocated bedroom, he; Nyssa and Billy discuss recent events.

NYSSA
“Well I must say that was one of the most…weirdest dinners I’ve ever attended. I wonder where Lord and Lady Tottinghill get their guests from.”

BILLY
“That American professor gave me the creeps. And his sister Mabel. She’s very squeamish.”

NYSSA
“The professor says she’ll scream about anything. I didn’t think he meant it. Mr. MacDougall seems okay. And Mr. Bergo…”

BILLY
“Yeah, he can be quite overbearing sometimes.” (chuckles) “He does make me laugh though, Mr. Bergo does.”

DOCTOR
“The guests may seem strange to you two. But we have to consider how important they are to the neutrinos and everything. Never underestimate anything is what I say.”

BILLY
“But this is the nineteen thirties, Doctor. Things can’t be bad as that. This was almost a happy time and uneventful. Years before World War Two started.”

DOCTOR
“Don’t get too carried away by the romanticism of the nineteen thirties, Billy. Things aren’t as black and white as you think.”

NYSSA
“The lights exploding in the dining room, Doctor. That can’t be coincidental.”

DOCTOR
“No it can’t Nyssa. Energy emissions from the neutrinos must have caused that. The lights flickered so violently to burn out.”

Snow falls heavily from outside and the wind blows against the windows.

DOCTOR
“Now I think we should be careful as possible. Go back to our rooms and wait.”

NYSSA
“Wait for what, Doctor?”

DOCTOR
“I’m not sure. One of the guests doing something suspicious. Like Lord or Lady Tottinghill burning their house down, I don’t know.”

BILLY
“Professor Rogers will probably be up to something.”

DOCTOR
“The important thing is that we stay on guard. We keep alert to everything that goes on whilst we’re in this house. It may happen tonight, it may happen tomorrow.”

NYSSA
“We mustn’t give the impression that we’re up to something Doctor. We could easily be spotted and give the game away about what we’re trying to do here and who to look for.”

DOCTOR
“Exactly my point there, Nyssa! So you two behave as if you’re having the time of your lives here and not to show that you’re worried.”

NYSSA
“I’ll try and manage that, Doctor. And you, Billy?”

BILLY
“Yes. I’ll try. It won’t be easy, but I’ll try yeah.”


SCENE #8 – INT – CORRIDOR, LECKWICK HALL – NIGHT
That night, the clock strikes eleven whilst everyone is asleep. The night is cold and snow falls heavily outside. During the night, the dinner gong gongs eerily from downstairs. This wakes Nyssa up, as she comes out of her bedroom in her dressing gown, door creaking as she comes out. She switches on a torch to see her way through the dark and closes the door behind her.

NYSSA
“That gonging sound. It must be coming from downstairs.”

Just then, another bedroom door opens. Nyssa jumps out of her skin, before calming down and relieved to see Billy, holding a torch, coming out of his bedroom.

BILLY
(reassuringly) “Hey, hey Nyssa. It’s alright, it’s only me Billy!”

NYSSA
(relieved) “Billy! You scared me! What are you doing out here?”

BILLY
“Same as you. Though not in your cute little slippers that you’re wearing. I can hear the dinner going from downstairs. And I know that it’s not Father Christmas.”

Both become silent, as the dinner gong keeps gonging.

NYSSA
“There it is again. I wonder what’s causing it.”

BILLY
“Maybe it is a ghost after all.”

NYSSA
“Billy, stop it!”

They continue listening for a while, before Nyssa makes her way towards the downstairs. Billy then stops her in her tracks.

BILLY
“Nyssa! You’re not thinking of going down there, are you?”

NYSSA
“I need to know what’s making that noise, Billy.”

Nyssa is about to continue her descent down the stairs, before Billy stops her again.

BILLY
(nervously) “Would…would you like me to come downstairs with you?”

NYSSA
“I can take care of myself, thank you Billy.”

BILLY
“Yeah I know, but…who’s going to take care of me?”

NYSSA
(gradually) “Alright, Billy. Just be careful Don’t trip over anything.”

BILLY
“As if I would.”

Billy then knocks his foot on something hard and cries out in pain.

NYSSA
“Do be careful, Billy!”

BILLY
“I’m sorry!”

NYSSA
(sighs) “Come on.”

Nyssa leads the way, taking Billy with her as they go quietly downstairs.


SCENE #9 – INT – STAIRWAY, LECKWICK HALL – NIGHT
On the stairway, Nyssa and Billy continue to listen to the dinner gong gonging.

NYSSA
“It is the dinner gong. Who could be sounding it, I wonder.”

BILLY
“Perhaps it’s a burglar.” (slightly annoyed) “Oh I wish I had some mallet on me or something.”

They stop at the foot of the stairs, as they take a moment to listen to the dinner gong. The dinner gong then stops and there’s silence.

NYSSA
“It’s stopped.” (Pause) “Let’s see what going on in the dining room. Follow me, Billy.”

BILLY
“Okay.”

Nyssa takes Billy’s hand and leads the way into the dining room.


SCENE #10 – INT – DINING ROOM, LECKWICK HALL – NIGHT
Nyssa and Billy enter the dining room and look around to see if anybody’s about. There is a moment’s silence.

BILLY
“Hmm. Nobody about.”

NYSSA
“There was somebody here, Billy. I’m certain of it.”

BILLY
“He must’ve had quick feet then.” (Pause) “Unless it was a ghost…”

NYSSA
(interjects) “Now come on Billy. We’ll look for anything. Let’s check the dinner gong first and discover what caused it to sound off like that.”

BILLY
“Righty-ho.”

They look around the place to explore. Nyssa approaches the dinner gong to examine it. Moment of silence ensues.

NYSSA
“There’s no mechanical device attached to the dinner gong here. Nothing to suggest any advanced technology. Or anything to explain what caused it to emit that sound it made.”

Meanwhile, something catches Billy’s eye as he goes to the dining room table.

BILLY
(intrigued) “Hey Nyssa! Look here’s Professor Rogers’ diamond that he was showing us earlier. It’s still on the table.”

NYSSA
(puzzled) “That’s curious and odd. Why did he leave it behind? It was rather careless of him considering he claimed it to be so valuable.”

BILLY
“It is beautiful, Nyssa. Look at it!”

Billy picks the diamond up from the table.

NYSSA
(cautiously) “I don’t think you should touch it, Billy.”

BILLY
“But Nyssa…”

NYSSA
(panics) “No, no. I don’t think you should touch it, Billy!”

BILLY
“I’m not going to break it!”

NYSSA
(panics) “No you’re going to break it, Billy! Don’t touch it! Don’t…”

But it’s too late as Billy accidentally drops the diamond to the floor and it’s smashed. Moment of silence ensues.

BILLY
“Oops.” (Pause) “Sorry. It’s…broken in half.”

NYSSA
(annoyed) “Billy Walker, I can’t take you anywhere!”

The dinner gong suddenly goes off again. Nyssa and Billy turn round startled. The gonging grows louder and louder.

NYSSA
(astonished) “But that’s impossible. Nobody’s banging the gong. It can’t go by itself.”

They watch as the gong keeps gonging for a while.

NYSSA
“It isn’t stopping. Somebody must be generating it electronically. Billy, I…”

But as Nyssa turns round, she finds that Billy has gone. The gong still keeps gonging away.

NYSSA
(afraid; cries) “Billy?! Billy where are you?”

With no response, Nyssa rushes to the dining room door. She looks out to see if Billy’s there.

NYSSA
(calls) “Billy, are you out there?! Billy! Billy, where are you?”

Just as Nyssa steps back into the dining room, a loud mocking laughter echoes. The gong still gongs whilst the laughing happens.

NYSSA
(calls; frightened) “Who are you? Who’s there? What do you want?”

The voice ignores her as it still keeps on laughing.

NYSSA
(bravely) “I’m not afraid of you! I’m going to find Billy, whatever you’ve done to him…whoever you are. Where are you? Show yourself!”

At that moment, someone enters the dining room, switching the light on. The laughter and the gonging stops. It is the Doctor with Lord Frederick and Lady Angela, as they meet Nyssa, seeing her terrified.

DOCTOR
(surprised) “Nyssa!”

The Doctor walks forward to face Nyssa.

DOCTOR
(concerned) “Nyssa, are you alright?”

NYSSA
(relieved) “Doctor! Am I glad to see you?! And with Lord Frederick and Lady Angela!”

LADY ANGELA
“What’s going on here? Have we had burglars?”

LORD FREDERICK
“Angela and I heard the dinner gong going off its rocker which woke us up. We came down here to see what it was all about and we met the Doctor on the way.”

DOCTOR
(concerned) “Nyssa? What has been happening here? You look terrified!”

NYSSA
(trembles) “Doctor. Someone…has just taken Billy away from me!”

Nyssa trembles as the Doctor embraces and comforts her whilst in the dining room.


© Tim Bradley, 2016

 Go back to

‘Introduction’ to ‘The Ghost of Leckwick’

Go next to

‘Chapter 2’ of ‘The Ghost of Leckwick’

Return to ‘Merry Christmas From The Doctor, Nyssa and Billy’
Return to ‘The Fifth Doctor by Tim Bradley’
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2 thoughts on “‘The Ghost of Leckwick’, Chapter 1

  1. Awesome first chapter, pacy tense, creepy & atmospheric, the snowy conditions gives the story a feel of isolation & the characters again a extremely well written, this Professor Rogers Hmmmmmmm is he based on anyone I know because that surname is very familiar? Lol

    At least Nyssa wasn’t abducted this time but poor Billy, were is he & who is that laughing?

    You have a knack of writing strong engaging story’s mate, this sets up events perfectly & I easily pictured the characters in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed Chapter 1 of ‘The Ghost of Leckwick’!

    I’m pleased you were able to enjoy the story and that you found it pacy, tense, creepy and atmospheric. Oh good! I’m glad the snowy conditions gave you those feelings as you read the story and that you enjoyed the characters. Some of them, especially the guests like Professor Rogers, Mabel, MacDougall and Bergo were inspired by Stephen Buckley when we did that sketch of ours.

    No, no, that’s a coincidence! Hehe! 😀 I know, I know, the surname sounds familiar, but I wrote this story way before I knew someone had a similar surname like Professor Rogers. 😀

    Did you enjoy it when Nyssa told Billy not to touch the diamond and he broke it? Yes, I thought it’d be interesting if Billy got abducted this time instead of Nyssa in this episode. Where Billy is and who’s laughing at the end of the chapter…well, you’ll have to find out more in the next chapter.

    Glad you’re enjoying this Christmas episode by me so far Simon and very pleased you can easily picture the characters in your mind as you read it.

    Thanks. See you in Chapter 2!

    Tim. 🙂

    Like

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