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Episode guide > Christmas special 2001 > Satan's Chimney

Christmas special 2001
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corner imageSummary info
Writer: David Renwick
Director: Sandy Johnson
Original broadcast date: (UK) 26 December 2001 on BBC1
Filmed in: 16:9 aspect ratio
Guest stars
Julia Sawalha as Carla Borrego
Stephen Berokoff as Herman Grole
Mary Tamm as Vivian Brodie
Stuart Milligan as Adam Klaus
Bill Bailey as Kenny Starkiss
Jay Benedict as Alan Kalanak
Lisa Stökke as Jodee Tressky
Matt Rippy as Bronson Peterman
Michael Knibbs as Bishop
Lorraine Hilton as Bishop's Wife
Nina Bhirange as Continuity Girl
Raymond Griffiths as Raymond
Bill Ward as Vernon Spools
Elliot A Cown as Tom
James Saxon as Inspector Bulstrode
Penny Smith as herself
Sonya Saul as herself.

View guest cast

Satan's ChimneyThe story opens at Doomdorf Castle in the year 1557. A woman is brought to the castle, she is a Protestant, and the Catholic Church is tying to stamp out this new religion. She is taken to a dungeon/pit shaped like a tube, made of stone. There is a doorway halfway up the side, so a small wooden ladder leads down to the floor of the chamber. The only other opening in the chamber is a small hole in the ceiling. The woman is tied to the floor and her head covered. The soldiers leave the woman struggling and lock the door. An hourglass is turned over and her husband, a priest, prays for her sole.

When the hourglass runs out, the soldiers and the priest return to find the woman gone, and small piles of ash where her arms and legs were tied to the floor. It would seem that her body and sole have been delivered to hell.

Back in the present. Vivian Brodie is on the set of her latest film, "Black Snow", and is filming a love scene. Sadly her co-star has a slight case of hypochondria and so isn't on set because Vivian has a mild throat infection. A member of the film crew is reading his lines, but it's clearly spoiling the mood of the shot. The Director, Herman, decides to go for some shots under the sheets and asks for the body doubles and the shots to be set up. Vivian puts on a robe and walks off the set with Herman. She takes a seat next to Jodee, another actress in the film (who is American) and they laugh about the situation, while Herman goes off to talk to Bronson about taking a more active role in the filming of the picture! Jodee adjusts Vivian's gown, and then asks for some help with her English accent.

Herman walks into Bronson's trailer to ask him to help Vivian out with the reverse angle shots they are tying to film. Bronson is watching base ball on TV but Herman turns off the TV with a remote control in order to get his attention. Bronson then picks up the remote with a tissue and starts to clean it as Herman has just come from the set!

We then see Vivian in the bed again saying her lines. However Bronson still isn't on set, he is saying his lines through a walkie-talkie, but alas the baseball game proves too much for him, and he starts to abuse the catcher in the game, once again spoiling the mood!

At Jonathan's windmill, he is opening his post. He's got a letter from Maddy saying that her book tour is going okay in America. "Austin is HUGE" she says. Jonathan then looks at a picture of Maddy and a beefy looking man who has a big arrow pointing at him with "Austin" next to it. Sorting through some other papers on his desk he comes across a flyer for Alan Kalanak, a world renowned escape artist. He finds a phone number for Carla Borrego, his agent and dials the number. Adam Klaus is working on his 8th magic television series, and Alan Kalanak will be a guest star. Alan is charging them for rehearsal time, and this is something Jonathan isn't too happy about - no other guest star they've ever had has charged for a rehearsal! He stops short, as he realises he's not getting Carla's full attention.

Carla Borrego is a theatrical agent, a woman who doesn't take kindly to being shouted at down a telephone. She is in the process of buying a new anklet, and is more concerned with charging it to a business account than talking to Jonathan, and after a swift few words, she hangs up on him.

As Carla leaves the shop, struggling with her many bags, a man walks through the door she is propping open. She is outraged and chases after him. She starts to give him a speach about not being a door prop, then the man asks if she lives near by. Carla sees he's not a bad looking bloke and simply says, "Quite near".

Meanwhile back on the set of the movie "Black Snow", Herman is trying to resolve the problems between Bronson and Vivian. Bronson doesn't see why Vivian is taking things so personally, he doesn't see anything wrong with him being a bit vigilant about a respiratory infection. "Vigilant?" Vivian screams. He must have been clairvoyant she shrieks and then produces a mock up of her head. How many weeks notice was given for that to be made?! Bronson responds by asking does she know how many germs are released in the average french kiss? Vivian attempts to open the plastic bag containing the mock up of her head but Brodie grabs it from her insisting the seal shouldn't be broken - it needs to stay sterile. "It's a pity your father wasn't!" Vivian says.

It's the morning after the day before, and Carla is making tea in her kitchen watching a showbiz gossip programme on TV. They are talking about Vivian and one presenter says that Vivian let slip she is having dinner tonight with her ex-husband Alan Kalanak. This not un-surprisingly catches her attention. They go on to say that Alan Kalanak has a standing challenge for anyone who can come up with a set of chains or locks that can hold him. He'll pay a $1,000,000 dollars to the person who can flummox him. Carla's new friend comes into the kitchen and gives her his phone number before leaving.

Herman walks into Vivian's trailer and tries to persuade her to talk about whatever it is that is bothering her. He suggests after filming is over that they take a break at Doomdorf Castle. Vivian comments that only Herman would give up a place in Miami to live in a dusty old castle in the middle of Scotland.

Jonathan tries to help Adam, but looks like he's in a compromising position as Carla walks in!At the theatre, Adam and Jonathan are going over the act for their new TV series. Adam is on the phone with Kenny Starkiss a man who years ago offered to help him with new tricks etc. a bit like Jonathan does now. He told Kenny that he couldn't use any of his tricks, but he recognised an up and coming talent when he saw one. Kenny went to Europe for a few years and was wondering if Adam would like to get together to discuss some ideas. Jonathan isn't too enthused - Kenny was mad. One idea was to train a double jointed pigeon which could open a door! While they talk Adam is floating around the stage as if he's flying - a part of his act they are practicing. Sadly as Jonathan reads allowed a letter from Carla Borrego with yet another outrageous demand on her clients behalf, the rope snaps and Adam ends up floating around upside down. Jonathan grabs Adam and they end up facing each other in a 69 position! Much to Jonathan's irritation, Carla chooses this moment to turn up at the theatre to see if it comes up to her clients standards.

Carla looks around the stage and says it's no Caesars Palace, but it maybe okay. Then, as she's feeling "uncommonly generous today", she offers to get her client to give them an extra hour to block their shots for no extra charge. Jonathan's reply?

"You got lucky last night then?"

Carla is outraged that Jonathan would ask such a personal question! But someone has put some colour in her cheeks, he comments. She confesses that Vernon, despite being a man, is thoughtful, honest, charming. "They say opposites attract," Jonathan mutters.

"In fact," Carla goes on ignoring the comment, "you maybe talking to the future Carla Spools." His family's big in the betting business, she tells him.

Jonathan turns to face her laughing slightly. "You're not serious? Vernon Spools? And he's in the betting business? What did he do, go through your draws and hit the jackpot?" he says.

[For those who don't know, Vernon's Pools is a betting game where you bet which football matches will end in a score draw or no score draw]

To prove him wrong Carla phones the number Vernon gave him and gets nothing but laughter on the other end. Embarrassed, she tells Jonathan he's the most horrible person she's ever met and then leaves. Jonathan has a smile on his face and then gets back to work.

A car arrives at a hotel and out steps Vivian. She's got an hour before her friend arrives. She goes to her room and an answer phone message tells her that he'll be a few minutes late. Running a shower, she goes to her wardrobe to pick an outfit to wear. All her clothes are shredded to pieces! She spots something hanging out of draw and finds her underwear is also cut to ribbons. Shocked she looks up only to see her head hanging from a door behind her with a knife through the forehead. It's the mock up of her head that Bronson had made.

Shaking, she phones someone. She tells them she understands how they must feel, but... the response she gets isn't good, "Please don't say those things..." she says as tears roll down her face.

Meanwhile Jonathan and Adam go to visit Kenny. Unfortunately it looks like they may have been mislead about Kenny's career as they find him sleeping on the front porch of the address he gave them. Adam comments that he didn't do very well in Norway then? What? Kenny replies. Well you told me on the phone that you've spent the last few yeas in Norway, Adam says. "In a doorway," Kenny corrects him. It would seem his wife gave him an ultimatum - magic or their marriage. Kenny simply remembered the words Adam wrote to him, "I can recognise an up and coming talent."

Adam takes pity on him and hires him as an associate creative consultant. Needless to say Jonathan isn't impressed. This is what happens when you encourage "an up and coming talent" he says sarcastically. Now Jonathan has to pretend to work with him just so Adam doesn't feel guilty anymore. He stops talking when Kenny appears via a trap door and tells them of a new idea he's got. He wants to make the guillotine trick a bit more realistic, and suggests finding a man with a terminal illness who wants to earn a few bob for his family and chop his head off. Adam fobs him off nicely and says their guest star will be arriving any moment now. Looking at the back of the hall he sees Alan Kalanak closely followed by Carla and motions to a stage hand to pull a leaver - Kenny disappears back down the trap door!

Back on the set of Black Snow Vivian arrives while the rest of the cast are running through a scene. They are sitting down outside the set reading through the script. The scene has Bronson talking with Jodee, he's trying to justify why he's sleeping with her mother. Vivian cuts in saying "gun shot", a sound effect in the script. The director then runs through some other shots which we see as a story board. Out in the woods a woodsman is chopping logs when one turns into a skull, he chops it in two and the phantom appears, taking the two pieces and placing them back on the pile. Meanwhile back inside Bronson and Jodee's characters Matt and Susan are struggling with a door trying to open it. The door is locked from the inside and can't get in. The director continues - the scene dissolves to show a grounds man hacking into the door from outside with an axe. They find Vivian's character holding a gun with blood on the side of her head - dead.

Back at the theatre Alan Kalanak runs through his act. A box the height of a man, standing on end is spinning while a woman, Alan's assistant, is walking round it. Periodically she stops and waits, and is rewarded with some chains, some rope, padlocks etc. thrown from the box. Eventually the box stops spinning and Alan steps out somewhat breathless. In the wings Jonathan watches in awe.

Back on the set, Vivian is having some make-up blood painted on her face simulating a gunshot wound. The crew are putting the finishing touches to the shot. They go for a shot which will end with a tracking shot right into Vivian's eye. Vivian positions herself playing dead in the study, and everyone else leaves the room. We see a window in the office, it's dark and raining heavily outside.

They go for a shot and the grounds man breaks down the door, but when they enter the room they find Vivian has actually been shot in the chest. Blood is soaking her shirt. Jodee screams for Herman to come in. Herman tests for a pulse and says she's still alive - barely. He tells someone to call for an ambulance. He asks Vivian who did it, and she slowly points to the window before collapsing - dead. The window is not broken, nor can we see anything through it that looks suspicious. An ambulance arrives along with Inspector Bulstrode.

Back at the theatre Alan is packing up after his run through. Adam is spouting loads of pleasantries about how great he is. He then turns to Carla and calls her the woman who can have 10% of him, and hugs her. He then whips out her bra! He turns to Alan and says it's a great little trick that Alan taught him back in the 70's. Alan replies that since he became a lay preacher, he's left those kind of tricks behind him. Carla snatches back her bra and leaves along with Adam. Before Kenny leaves he says "Pair of wire cutters up the arse - think about it." Neither Alan or Jonathan are impressed and choose to ignore the comment.

Alan comments that Jonathan could be a lot happier in his career at the moment. Perhaps that's why he solves impossible murders in his spare time. Alan has done his research, but he doesn't want to seem too predatory. Please, Jonathan says, be predatory! Alan then practically offers Jonathan a job. Jonathan says thanks, and also thanks him for the extra time he spent with them today, he knows Carla probably had to nag him into it. Alan is surprised, he told Carla a while back that he needed to be at the theatre all day there was no question of him not having time for them.

Carla comes back looking sombre. She's holding her mobile phone and looks at Alan. "It's Vivian," she says. "In God's name, what's happened to her?" Alan asks.

Alan goes back stage and uses a phone to call the set. He speaks to an inspector investigating the case, but we only hear his side of the conversation. He offers to help the inspector any way he can. Finishing the call Carla asks if Vivian had any enemies. Alan says he doesn't know anyone who hated her - they all loved her. But at dinner the other night, there was an air of frailty about her. She kept pulling her skirt down as if it was too short. She'd borrowed something from wardrobe as she didn't have one to wear. Alan didn't believe her. She cut into her steak and blood came out, she looked up and Alan could see the terror in her eyes.

Carla tells him she has a lot of contacts in this business, and she can ask around. It won't bring Vivian back, but at least they'd feel like they were doing something. Alan tells her the way in which she was killed, was like magic, and that's really not her department. Maybe she needs some professional help?

Carla arrives at Jonathan's Windmill at night. It's raining hard and the ground, she soon discovers, is very muddy. Her shoes seem to sink in it! She reaches the front door and finds a handwritten sign saying "Wipe your feet before you come up" on it. She screws the sign up and goes upstairs. In Jonathan's living room she places a fat folder containing background on Vivian and the film she was making, including information on friends and family. For some reason Alan thought it would be a good idea to pick Jonathan's brain. Carla is soaking wet, and takes off her coat. "I don't suppose you possess such a thing as a towel-" she asks, but before she has finished the sentence Jonathan holds up a towel for her (a la Radar from Mash style!).

As Jonathan sits down and starts to go through the folder Carla brought with her, she thinks out loud about the weird circumstances surrounding Vivian's death. She was shot through the heart in front of everyone through a sheet of glass which didn't break? Jonathan starts talking about Herman and his weird film he was making, do you know what the catering budget on a film like this is? Could feed a third world country! Carla turns on him, hasn't he been listening to a word she's been saying!?? If he'd bothered to turn on the news, he would know what she was talking about.

Jonathan goes into a monotone voice, says what is known, while still going through the pile of stuff Carla has brought with her. Vivian was behind a locked door in full view of the film crew. No-one went in or out of the room. The murder weapon wasn't found in the room, and no where a murderer could have hidden. The gun on the desk was a prop and hadn't been moved. According to ballistic reports the gun would have had to been fired from at least 5 meters away. Placing the murderer a good six or seven feet outside the window. The window was clearly still intact and hadn't been opened. The window was protected on the inside by another glass panel bolted to the wall with 24, 2 inch screws. There was also no water on the inside of the window which there should have been if it had been opened as it was raining.

Jonathan suddenly spots something in the papers he's been looking at. Vivian's CV. She's hardly been out of work since her first film, 2 or 3 films a year, television shows in between etc. Except in 1973-74 - there's nothing? Carla explains this away by saying that all actors have a few years when they don't do much. He shouldn't take everything at face value. You mean, things might not be what they seem? he asks sarcastically. Carla misses the sarcasm and starts to go through the cast of the film. They are all talented hollywood actors, they can make you believe whatever they want. Bronson Peterman, Vivian's co-star - by all accounts he was driving her batty. Jodee Tressky, who was playing Vivian's daughter in the film. What she got up to on her previous film is nobody's business! Let's just say it involved one of the electrician's and some cinnamon flavoured bubble gum and leave it at that she says!

Something else Jonathan forgot to mention earlier, Carla begins to say, but Jonathan finishes the sentence for her. Is that before she died Vivian pointed out the window. Carla continues to think out loud - the gunman or gun woman had escaped across the lawn before everyone had piled into the room. "You think she was pointing outside do you? Interesting," Jonathan says. Carla is not amused, so Jonathan elaborates a little. "It was raining heavily, doesn't that suggest something blinding obvious?"

Before Carla can answer, Kenny pops out of a large chest on the floor holding a stop watch and makes Carla jump. 26 minutes, 40 seconds Kenny says - surely he's on track and getting better? Jonathan comments that Kenny shouldn't forget that the weight of all the soil on top of him will effect his air pressure, so he should try again and see if he can get it up to 30 minutes. He closes the chest and then calmly asks Carla how she takes her coffee. She replies calmly but keeps staring at the chest on the floor.

Carla has a look around Jonathan's place and spots the book Maddy wrote about the mysteries he's solved. Is this...? "Yes" Jonathan replies before she can finish her sentence.

"So where-?"

"In Texas, some publishing junket."


"Just the once in a hotel room, which we realised afterwards was probably a mistake."

"Do you know you can be so-"

"pre-emptive? I know. That was the problem."

Carla leaves, but before she can get into her car, Kenny appears out of nowhere and says he heard about her experience with Mr. Vernon Spools. He overheard some of the stage hands laughing about it at the theatre. Kenny believes he should be taught a lesson. Needless to say Carla isn't too thrilled. She thanks him for his interest and then leaves - terribly fast.

The next day Carla arrives on the set of Vivian's film. Bronson is shooting the other half of the bedroom scene Vivian had problems with earlier. There's a stand in model for Vivian, but the camera can only see her shoulder and arm and the back of her head because of the angle it's shooting at. Jodee watches on from behind the camera. She then says, "This is necrophilia" and walks off. (Necrophilia - "sexual attraction for or sexual intercourse with dead bodies" - Collins concise english dictionary 1993).

Alan, Carla and Jonathan are walking around outside the house where filming is taking place with Herman the director. Herman is explaining that there is too much money involved for him to abort filming. Plus they have to be out of the house next week as the owners return. Alan says that Carla and Jonathan may be able to inject some fresh energy into the investigation. What will they need? A few hours to sniff around? Herman warns them that they might not want to sniff around Bronson - he's not having a good day. If they want to look around the study, they will have to clear it with Inspector Bulstrode. Jonathan says he'll go have a look at the window and asks Carla to go talk to Bronson. Carla objects, what's she supposed to say do? She's not Maddy Megallen. "I know. Suits you." Jonathan says before he wanders off in search of the study. Carla turns and looks at Bronson's trailer wondering how she's supposed to get in. Then a couple of wardrobe people wander across her path with a rack of costumes, and an idea starts to form.

Upstairs in the house Inspector Bulstrode is trying to get inside the mind of Vivian Brodie, while a colleague writes notes. As he talks Jonathan looks around the room from the doorway.

"I'm an actress in my early fifties. Still glamourous. Still desirable to young men and to old. And those that know me well can see that I'm unhappy. I may be menopausal. An unhappy love affair, like my character in the film I decide there's nothing left to live for. Her death scene, will be my death scene." the inspector says.

"You think she topped herself?" Jonathan asks. The arguments are compelling, the Inspector replies. "She managed to fire a gun at her own chest from 15 feet away? And then made it disappear? And screwed in a six foot panel and mopped up the water while she could barely lift up her arm?"

The Inspector finally turns to look at Jonathan, "And you are?". "Just leaving," Jonathan replies.

In Bronson's trailer, Bronson is close to tears. He looks at a note. It reads "Everything is known! Beware Death awaits you at Doomdorf castle."

Carla then lets herself in to Bronson's trailer. She's wearing a nurse's outfit and has a jar of cream with her. She says it won't take long and starts to un-button Bronson's shirt. Only it's a nasty business this Goat Tick Fever she says, playing on his hypochondria. He falls for it hook, line and sinker and Carla has some fun with a large tub of cream and a hollywood movie star.

Meanwhile Jonathan is now climbing a ladder and inspecting the window from outside. It's covered in ivy and he's looking at the ledge above the window.

Alan and Herman are having lunch. Raymond, another actor in the film is sitting with them. Herman says there is something he needs to run past Alan. He wants Alan's blessing to bury Vivian at Doomdorf castle. There was a nice spot up there that she liked. They would go there and talk. Alan touches Herman's hand and says there is no shame in it. He knows Herman meant a lot to Vivian too. Raymond then makes a funny noise, and Herman introduces him to Alan. He plays the man from the world of shadows. He's a midget and he doesn't speak at all.

Jonathan is still up his ladder looking at the ivy. Jodee pops her head out of the window above and says the police already searched through the ivy and found nothing. Jonathan comments you can be looking so hard for something that you miss the obvious. Jodee asks if he's worked out who killed Vivian yet? Maybe he thinks she did it? Jodee gives 2 reasons why it wasn't her, 1. she's not that smart, and 2. no motive. Jonathan says that as she was outside the door when it happened, they have to presume a silencer was used. Jodee says they were making a lot of noise, and Tom was going coo-coo with the axe. Tom? Jonathan asks. Jodee points to Tom who is walking by.

Jonathan goes and talks to Tom. He was in the army for 3 years, and you think they'd be nothing left to shock you. But the look in her eyes... Vivian was the most beautiful person. Like, in the film his character has only 2 scenes, chopping some wood and chopping a door down. "Character consistency, very important" Jonathan quips. Tom doesn't notice, and just says - yes that's right! His character doesn't have a name, in the script it just says Grounds man. But Vivian was going to talk to Herman - see if in the credits he could have a name, like Jack or something. That look in her eyes though - makes you wonder what she'd seen out there.

Carla now has Bronson in only his designer pants and is smearing cream on his legs while he finishes off his torso. Carla comments on how bad the press is trying to drum up a rift between him and Vivian when they probably got on like a house on fire. Wouldn't he agree? Bronson looks down at Carla as her hands are climbing a bit higher than he'd like. "Right..." he says. Carla realising she has outstayed her welcome somewhat, gets up to leave. Bronson asks what the likelyhood is there that he could get bitten on his um....bits. Carla replies it's not strictly part of her duties. Bronson asks her to leave the jar behind and he'll finish himself off. As she leaves Carla takes the letter Bronson was looking at earlier.

She leaves the van, but sneaks a peak at Bronson as he continues with the application of the cream to bits. She then gets out a camera to capture the moment!

Carla opens the letter she "borrowed". We then see her in a car with Alan and Jonathan. "Death awaits you at Doomdorf castle. I'm telling you I could feel his goose bumps." she tells them. Problem is, Alan says, they were all on the other side of the door when it happened. We have to assume that everyone here is innocent. Jonathan then comments again about the window and how dark it was outside. With all the lamps inside, the window would have acted like a mirror. He could be way off, but he reckons she wasn't pointing at anyone or anything outside the window, but at someone standing behind her.

A few days later up in Scotland near Doomdorf castle, Vivian is at last being buried. Bronson objects to Carla's being there. Alan explains that Carla looks after his interests in the UK. Bronson says he doesn't appreciate her way of doing things. Carla then takes matters into her own hands and takes Bronson to one side showing him the pictures she took of him applying the cream. She politely explains they are pictures he wouldn't like his fans to see on the Internet tomorrow! He backs down immediately.

As Vivian is buried Herman says some lines from Edgar Allan Po. Jodee looks at Bronson and then turns away sharply. She walks away with Bronson following asking what's wrong. Bronson says it's not like he killed her, what's her problem? If Jodee has something to say to him, she should just say it. Jodee says she wouldn't want to introude on his grief. What's that supposed to mean, Bronson demands. It means that he doesn't care if Vivian is alive or dead. Herman jumps in to stop the fight and Bronson gets into Herman's car to go back to the castle. Jodee slams the door behind him and gets into a car behind them with Jonathan, Carla and Alan - who have played witness to the whole exchange.

"When did you last sleep in a place with a moat?" Carla asks on the drive back.

"I once passed out in front of a block urinal," Jonathan replies.

"It's not really the same," Carla says.

"Not really."

Back at the castle, Carla is sleeping on a lavishly decorated bed. Jonathan appears with a gong and rings it right by her ear. Dinner is ready downstairs. Carla is not best amused, and is even less amused when Jonathan doesn't leave. He's just going to stand there while she gets ready is he?! She can understand how Jonathan has the nack of making woman disappear. It's not something he'd have to work at really is it?!

Downstairs at the dinner table Herman is rabbiting on about fate one day bringing justice to who ever killed Vivian. He then asks Alan to say grace before they eat dinner. During dinner Carla turns to Jonathan and says "It's just when he said someone's done a terrible thing, I couldn't help feeling he meant someone in this room."

After everyone has finished eating Bronson gets up and starts walking around saying how he'd change it if he owned the place. Take out a few columns and you've got yourself a heated pool here. He makes the mistake of saying the castle is pre-dickensian, and Jodee asks if he takes stupid-pills. Bronson responds that he knows more than they think, like he know how the stunt with the window was pulled off. This should be good, Jodee quips.

The frame is fixed solid, he says, but what if the glass was able to slide up into a cavity in the ceiling? As he talks the staff of the castle leave, walking behind him. What is this? Bronson asks, a fire drill?! Herman explains that the staff don't like to stay in the house after dark, they believe parts of the house to be possessed. But who knows if the legends are true? Legend? Carla says.

Herman takes a book off a shelf called "Satan's Chimney - a history of Doomdorf Castle". Back in the 1500's the Catholic Queen Mary began a reign of terror to realign the church with Rome. To make examples of those who apposed her she had them brought to Doomdorf castle and placed in a dungeon deep beneath the castle, where it is said any protestant would be delivered straight to hell. According to the story, they were laid out and tied to the floor of a shear stone well. And the door above was locked. When it was opened a few minutes later nothing was left of the body, only a few small piles of ash. Herman hands Alan a piece of paper with an historical account of a protestant bishop who lost his own wife to this fate. He asks Alan to read it as his eye sight isn't too good.

Raymond fishes out the rat from Bronson's trousersAlan reads the account, and then they all go down to the dungeon to have a look at it. On the way down Bronson has an encounter with a rat going up his trouser leg. Raymond the small and silent actor from the film pulls down the zipper of Bronson's trousers and fishes out the rat, much to Bronson's relief. However as Bronson is a hypochondriac he decides to take the tour some other time and leaves to go back to his room. Herman asks Raymond to go with him, see if he's okay.

Carla takes the opportunity to asks Alan and Jonathan what they think about Bronson's idea of the sliding panel. Alan says nice idea but if fails the audience inspection. The police will have been all over that room, and they found nothing. Jonathan backs him up by saying the ivy outside was suckered to the window, proving it hadn't been opened for months.

Down in the actual chimney section of the dungeon Herman continues telling them the story. Herman confesses he's been down here more times than he should have. He's been over every inch of the dungeon and found no hidden rooms, no loose bricks. The only opening besides the door is a small round hole in the ceiling, possibly a flume or chimney of some kind, hence the name Satan's Chimney. Jodee comments that if you were going to lock someone away, this is the perfect place to do it. I mean, there's no way out of here. Herman reminds her that she is in the presence of the best escape artist in the world. Jodee turns to Alan and says that's right, how does it go? You'll give a $1,000,000 to the person who can create a room or trick that you can't escape from. Alan says he hasn't paid out yet, and he doesn't intend to start now. He decides to try and escape from the room. Jonathan protests saying that the locks etc will be rusted away, but Alan rises to the challenge.

He's locked in the room and they leave him to it. 15 minutes later they go back in and find only a skeleton chained to the floor where Alan was. Jodee is impressed, Alan has escaped and even found a skeleton from somewhere! As they leave Herman asks when will the trick end? Jonathan admits he hasn't known him long, so he doesn't know. Jonathan's mobile phone then rings and it's Alan he tells Jonathan that he maybe onto something and to trust him. He then rings off abruptly. Jonathan pretends he's still talking to him for a while and then tells the rest of them that Alan suddenly remembered he had to be somewhere tomorrow and so he's left.

Everyone goes to bed, but Jonathan has trouble sleeping. He looks out the window which overlooks the draw bridge then goes back towards the bed when he hears a car. He goes back to the window and sees Alan leave in a car driving over the draw bridge.

The following morning Jonathan is out in the courtyard of the castle looking at the stone paved floor. As he looks around Carla appears. Don't tell me she says, we are standing above the dungeon which you've calculated the exact position of by counting the number of steps we took last night. Jonathan recounts the number of steps and the direction they took them in to her but then wonders where the supposed chimney goes? There's no hole in the ground here. Blocked up over the years? Carla suggests. She's still baffled as to how Alan got out of the room. Short of some secret passage way they don't know about? Jonathan says that the people who built the castle would have to be more clever than that - so clever that they still can't see it.

The question is what has Alan been up to between the time he escaped and called Jonathan and when he drove over the draw bridge at 3:30am. Carla's surprised - what you saw him go? Jonathan starts muttering to himself. He went to bed and the drawbridge was up, and now it's down... On the phone he said he was on to something - I wonder what it was? Carla says. More importantly, why didn't he tell us, Jonathan says.

At breakfast, Jodee asks if Carla and Jonathan are going to stay around for a few days. Bronson is a nervous wreck. When Jodee suggests they compare ideas about how Alan did it, Bronson spits out what he's been trying to eat and digs in his pockets for some medication to calm him down. He empties a powder into his glass of water and downs it quickly. Herman suggests he shouldn't be up, Bronson agrees and they leave. Carla asks Jodee what's wrong with Bronson. The plague? Jodee quips. Carla and Jonathan sit down and Carla is about to pour the coffee when Jodee suddenly jumps up in the air and says something bit her. She sits on Jonathan's lap and asks him if he can see anything. Only a scratch which she probably made when she tried to get rid of what bit her. Jodee then asks him if he'd like to come upstairs she has something to show him.

Upstairs, Jodee takes out a lap top computer and says everyone knows Vivian kept a diary. Jodee thought it might help them find out who murdered her, so.... She gave it to the police Carla says. Yeah right! Jodee replies. But here's the weird thing, you open the folder called Diary, and you'll get another folder called diary and file called password.txt. If you try and open the folder it will ask you for a password, so you open the password file and it shows you 66YEAR. Type in 66YEAR as the password, and access is denied. It doesn't work. So, Jodee believes that 66YEAR isn't the actual password, it's there to help remind you what the password is.

Stumper, Jonathan says. Carla takes the seat in front of the computer and says have you tried 66 in words? Access is still denied. How about six-six? Nope - still no joy. Jodee then leans over Carla to type on the keyboard. What about six six without the hyphen? Jodee's hand then covers Carla's on the mouse, access is still denied, but one begins to wonder if Jodee's is still trying to access the file... Carla is clearly getting uncomfortable, so Jonathan says, "Fancy a walk?" Carla jumps at the chance!

Carla isn't impressed. Not content with parking her bum on Jonathan's lap, Jodee ties to come on to her as well! "If her face had got any closer it would have been a skin graft!" she says. They walk to a near by stream where Carla takes off her shoes and socks before crossing it. All the while she accuses Jonathan of wanting to see her and Jodee get it on - would be like 3 dimensional chess for him - planning 8 moves in advance! A thought then occurs to her - that's why Jodee wanted to get into Vivian's diary. She had feelings for Vivian and wanted to find out if Vivian felt the same. Jonathan turns to Carla, there's something not right here and he can't say why. Like the manuscript that Alan read out, why does he keep thinking all the words were wrong? Someone is playing a very elaborate game and until they know who they had better watch their backs and keep that password to themselves. Carla begins to agree, but then stops. Password? Did she miss something? Oh come on Jonathan says - "It's not rocket science." She was close with thinking of the number as words. Think of them as letters, specifically roman numerals. And how's your French for year. VI VI an - she could have come up with something more original than her christian name Carla says and then stops abruptly. She's crossing the stream and she's stepped on something. Alan Kalanak's dead body floating in the water.

The police are called, but the assumption is that Alan fell from a bridge to his death. How could he have fallen?! Carla asks. Up in her room Carla is babbling on about Alan's death. He found something out and now he's paying the price for it. Meanwhile Jonathan is sitting in a chair going through the manuscript that Alan read out at dinner a few nights ago. Carla is amazed! Jonathan knows there's something no right with it, like there's another layer to it. His brain is fogged up at the moment, he needs something easier to work on. He suggests getting into Vivian's diary to see where it leads. As they can't trust anyone at the moment, Carla will have to keep Jodee busy while Jonathan does it. "And how do you propose I do that?" Carla asks. Jonathan gives her a look, and Carla says no way. She is still saying no as Jonathan drags her out the door!

Jonathan goes to Jodee's room and enters the correct password. He finds a number of Word documents all with a year on them. Checking that Carla has Jodee entertained through the window, he starts to read.

Jodee comes onto CarlaCarla asks Jodee if she thinks Alan's death was an accident. Carla doesn't think so, not that she's an authority on such matters. Jodee starts to pat her on the back gently and then talks about her anklet - it's so pretty, she never noticed it before. They sit on a bench in the garden and Jodee raises Carla's ankle onto her lap. She starts to stroke her hair and her leg, then stops. She says she's making Carla uncomfortable. No... no, Carla says, "Who's uncomfortable!?" and we see Jodee kiss Carla's neck.

Jonathan has found some interesting entries in Vivian's diary. He transfers the files onto a floppy disk he found in the disk drive, and then leaves. Carla finds him in her room later when she walks in after saying goodbye to Jodee. "I am going to need so much therapy," she says as she walks in. She found herself thinking about food when she was with Jodee, she went from steaks to ribs....and then those small yorkshire puddings... what does this mean? Jonathan simply says it means they now know why Vivian Brodie was murdered.

Carla instantly stops babbling. Why? An eye for an eye, Jonathan says. What? Revenge? But Vivian never killed anyone, she wasn't capable of murder. Oh yes she was, Jonathan says. She was capable of making decisions about what to do with her life, her career, and making some tough decisions, only a woman can make. Her diary speaks of a termination she had in the late 80s, which wasn't even acknowledged to the father. You don't have to look far to find someone with a divine mandate to kill. Someone from a right wing fundamentalist church, who is a lot more dangerous than we gave him credit for.

When Alan Kalanak met Vivian for dinner she found out exactly how much he knew about it. He had managed to get hold of confidential medical files, and confronted her about aborting their child. God will judge her he says and he will not be lenient. But he was at the theatre all day Carla points out, he was nowhere near Vivian? Which is exactly where he was planning to be, despite what Carla had told Jonathan. He knew somehow that something bad was going to happen. When you came in and said it's Vivian, anyone lese would have assumed that meant, Vivian's on the phone, but what did he say, "In God's name what's happened to her?".

The only thing that still puzzles him is that there are some strange gaps between entries in the diary. Why would Vivian leave a lot of blank lines in?

We can't sit on this Carla says, they have to tell the police. Talking of which Jonathan says as he looks out the window and sees Inspector Bulstrode driving towards the castle.

The Inspector gives a brief version of events, and in his version, Alan Kalanak kills Vivian for the abortion of his child. His conscious then gets to him and he takes his own life.

Jonathan isn't impressed. He's still unclear as to how Alan managed to kill Vivian when he was 50 miles away. Or how he escaped from the dungeon, which the Inspector has had a look at and seen for himself that it's all solid stone. The Inspector admits freely that Alan has probably taken that information to the grave with him.

The Inspector leaves, and Jodee looks at Carla and Jonathan. She's not happy. Carla apologies, if it looked like they didn't trust her. They went to the police first. Jodee leaves visibly upset but doesn't say anything. Carla turns to Jonathan and says, that's them finished here - they should think about leaving.

Jonathan goes to find Herman to say goodbye and finds him in an editing suite looking at footage from the film. He turns to Jonathan and says how what goes on in front of the camera is of no consequence, with some skilful editing the words and pictures can be made into another form of illusion, much like Jonathan's. Herman says how sorry he is for Jonathan, he knows that he had plans with Alan. "Not sad enough to morn his death I suspect," Jonathan says. Herman turns back to his editing screen and watches the footage taken of Vivian as she died, pointing to the window.

Upstairs Carla is packing to leave. When she comes across the note she took from Bronson's trailer. Death awaits you at Doomdorf castle. She goes to Bronson's door and knocks on it. There's no answer so she tries the door, it's locked. She knocks more loudly and then peers through the keyhole. Bronson opens the door - looks frightened and tells her to leave him alone and slams the door in her face.

Jonathan underlines the words Alan supposedly said to him on his mobile phone on the manuscriptCarla tells Jonathan about her encounter with Bronson as they get into a cab and leave the castle. As they leave over the draw bridge Jonathan gets that look his face that Maddy would recognise in an instant! What? Carla asks. Jonathan's thinking about when he saw Alan leave the castle in his car. He didn't actually see him drive - he saw Alan and he saw the car... They then pass some chains holding the draw bridge in place. He scrabbles in his pocket for the manuscript and looks at it again. "Now it's glaring!" he says, "he must have had a mike in there somewhere." Carla is confused. Jonathan asks the driver to stop the cab, and takes out a pen. He repeats Alan's phone conversation word for word, and as he does so he underlines words from the manuscript. Herman must have had a mike in the dinning room somewhere, and then edited the reading Alan gave at the table to make up the phone call Jonathan received. And all the times they've travelled in Alan's car, you think he'd remember it was left hand drive. So when he saw him leave the castle at 3 in the morning, what he actually saw was Alan in the passenger seat. What does this add up to? Carla asks. One conclusion, Alan Kalanak never left the dungeon alive.

Back at the castle, Jonathan and Carla sneak back into the dungeon. Carla asks if it's stupid to wonder what it is they are looking for? Inspiration Jonathan says. Carla gets the impression that Satan's Chimney was never designed to be a chimney. Then a spark of inspiration hits Jonathan! He thinks back to the time when Jodee sat on his lap, there was no wasp or insect in that why did she do it? He leaves to test his new found theory about the draw bridge. He tells her to stay put but on no account to go down in the pit.

As Jonathan walks towards the drawbridge controls he is seen by Bronson from one of the turrets. Meanwhile Carla is down in the dungeon and decides to sit down dangling her legs into the pit. As she does so her anklet comes off. She retrieves the ladder and goes down into the pit to get it. Jonathan meanwhile moves a handle and the drawbridge controls burst into life. It starts to raise the drawbridge. In the pit Carla suddenly gets a sinking feeling and with good reason. The ceiling starts to descend towards her. She walks back to the ladder but trips on one of the metal hoops sticking up from the floor that prisoners were tied to. She lands on the ladder and breaks it slightly. She starts to climb it anyway, but it breaks completely. Luckily a hand catches her. It's Bronson, he pulls her to safety just in time. Jonathan arrives behind them as the ceiling comes down past them. It's a disk of stone the same diameter as the pit, and only one stone thick. On the other side is a replica of the floor. As the new floor reaches the bottom of the pit, the chains holding it release automatically and they disappear through the hole in the "new" ceiling.

It would have scared anyone in the 16th Century - it's basically an old conjuring trick. In the editing room Jonathan confronts Herman, Bronson, Jodee and Raymond. The operation of the draw bridge and the false ceiling is probably well documented in the castle archives. Something someone with an interest in gothic buildings would be keen to find out more about. The chains of the drawbridge also control the raising and lowering of the false ceiling in the pit. In the old days, the chains were probably tied to the hoops with rope and then set alight, hence the legend of small piles of ash being left behind. The self releasing mechanism is something Herman has invented.

Jodee then says it was all Herman's idea, like a movie, everything needs a director, but it was definitely a four way deal. They all saw what he'd done to Vivian, and were all in it to make him pay. They did a good job too, getting Alan to read the manuscript and record it. A quick re-edit after dinner and it would be ready to play to Jonathan down the phone. The arguments after the funeral, all designed to distract attention from Alan. So his guard was down, and he's never one to pass up a professional challenge, so the whole bit in the pit about challenging him to try and escape - all planned. Bronson and Raymond are needed upstairs to raise the draw bridge and so they leave. The skeleton is already in place, everything is set. The draw bridge is raised, Alan is killed. Bronson then uses a mobile phone to called Jonathan and plays Herman's re-edited version of Alan voice.

The drawbridge is then lowered again and in the early hours of the morning Alan's body is taken out and put in his car. If there was a taller driver, Jonathan may have noticed sooner that something was wrong, but then maybe Raymond wasn't the first choice to drive the car. They all turn to look at Bronson. He admits he was supposed to drive the car, and that he had problems with it. It left him physically sickened, hence the weird behaviour at breakfast.

Bronson had written the note that Carla found. He was going to send it to Alan, but never did, proving he wasn't exactly a willing accomplice. Carla joins in now. The whole thing about Vivian's diary, you already knew what was in it, you just didn't want us to find out until you were ready. Alan's motive for murder would come out just too late for him to be arrested. And with Alan supposedly jumping off a bridge and killing himself, how much further are the police going to dig? Not far. Herman then gives Jonathan a question to ponder on. "What do you imagine is the most evil crime a man can commit? Think on it. And when you're wondering where you go from here, remember the guilty aren't always those who kill. Understand that, and you'll understand why Alan Kalanak's sole rightly belongs in hell."

Back in London Carla and Jonathan share a cab to her house. Carla is still amazed that Jonathan got it all worked out from Jodee's imaginary wasp bite. It's because it was right there in front of him on the table. The coffe pot . As Carla pushed the plunger down, the imagery it created would have been obvious to Jonathan, so Jodee did the first thing she could think of to distract him.

Carla goes to suggest Jonathan should come up for coffee, but that doesn't seem appropriate anymore. Jonathan says he wouldn't mind borrowing her loo though. They go in, and Carla points Jonathan in the right direction, and she goes into her front room. Turning on the light she is surprised to see Kenny sitting there. He says he was on his way to tell her the good news, when her cab pulls up. How did he get in? she asks. Picking a lock is a lot like satisfying a woman he replies. Carla is appalled by the idea, but then asks him, what good news? Kenny found Vernon Spools and paid him a visit in the family betting shop a few hours ago. He wasn't hard to find in the yellow pages. But the phone number he gave her, they'd never even heard of Vernon Spools. Carla finds the phone number in the bin and looks at it. She then turns it upside down and a different phone number is visible.

Kenny says he has a lot to offer a woman, and lets his hair down. Carla punches him and he falls back onto her bookcase. She tells him to leave and throws him out. Jonathan comes into the room as Kenny is leaving, saying he'll call her (he still thinks it could work out!). Jonathan says she can see why America beckoned, working with Kenny isn't fun. Carla asks if he think she still over charged him. A magician who pulled off a murder they'll probably never know how he did it. Jonathan goes back to what Herman said before they left the castle. The guilty aren't always those that kill. Carla says, Herman wants us to see Alan's death as an act of justice. Or does he, if Alan Kalanak didn't kill Vivian himself, what are we left with? He either planted a device which was never found, or he set someone else up to do it for him... And the way Vivian pointed at the window, it wasn't like she was pointing, more like trying to reach someone.

Jonathan takes the floppy disk he made out of his pocket and puts it into Carla's computer. We now know that Herman put the password onto the diary, Vivian never used one. But what if there was a way she found of hiding something without using a password? Carla decides to change the subject, and says that it was horrible what Jonathan made her go through on that bench with Jodee. She can still taste the cinnamon. The worst thing is that she may have actually enjoyed it. What if she discovers a man couldn't do it for her..? "Let's put that to the test shall we?" Jonathan says.

Carla leans in for a kiss but Jonathan turns his attention back to the computer screen and finds one of the blank gaps. Vivian has simply turned the text to the same colour as the background. He highlights it and turns it back to black, and hey presto, all the hidden bits of Vivian's diary. Carla, not impressed at first as she's not got her kiss, suddenly becomes interested in what Jonathan has found.

Carla stops her car outside a weird looking caravan. 10:15pm and no lights on, Jonathan says, should be safe to assume no-one's home. Carla asks Jonathan for the cast and crew list from the film to check they have got the right address. Amazingly Jonathan comments as he hands her the list, how it's the small details that can fool you. That whole thing about the distance the gun had been fired from, wasn't part of the calculation afterall.

Carla says if they must go looking for evidence, can they get on with it. They get out of the car, and Jonathan picks the lock to the caravan. When Jonathan finds a light switch, they find the inside of the van is a shrine to Vivian Brodie. As they look around, Tom returns, the man playing the grounds man in film. He says he was told they would never find out, the police would never find him. And now they've come to arrest him. But they have to hear his side of the story.

For as long as he can remember, Tom has wanted to be near Vivian. That's why he had to get the part of the grounds man. Just to be near her. They spent time together, he got her autograph, and then she told him he was the most important person in the world to her. And he believed her. But he was nothing to her. She could have had all of him, but she didn't want him. He went to kiss her and she pulled away. But he could make her suffer just the same, it was Tom who ripped up all her clothes and put the knife through the head on her door.

She tells her ex-husband what Tom's done. But it turns out they both had a score to settle with her. Alan said they could make her pay, that it was all a game she played. Then it came to him, the idea of using Tom's part in the film. It took them less than a day for them to finalise the idea, working together. They built a gun into the axe Tom would use to break down the door. It would fire out of the top of the blade, so when the axe was through the door and horizontal, Tom could fire it at Vivian. He didn't think about afterwards, Tom says. He felt sick. Afterwards, Herman approached him, somehow he knew it was Tom, but he told him not to worry just go away and hide, he'd take care of everything.

Herman did what he did, because he knew there was no way Vivian would want Tom to go down for it. She said Tom was the most special person in the world, and there was more truth to that than Tom will ever know. It would seem that all the time off in the 70s was because Vivian had gotten pregnant and had a child, but given it up for adoption. He would be Tom's age now... Only now that they have seen the private bits of Vivian's diary do they now know what happened at the dinner with Alan when he confronted her about aborting his baby. Vivian doesn't know who Tom's father was, she was young and it was how you lived in the movie business, she couldn't even tell you what country he was from. She gave Tom up for adoption and as such forfeited the right to be a mother.

Poisoning a son's mind to kill his own mother? If that's not the worst crime a man can commit... Vivian had confided in her oldest friend in the business, Herman, about Tom. And when Vivian pointed at Tom's reflection in the window, Herman was right beside her, and could see who she was pointing at.

Tom tries to strangle Jonathan Tom refuses to believe it's true. He grabs a light bulb and squeezes it until it breaks and then pulls out the cord and wraps it round Jonathan's neck. He makes Jonathan say it's all lies. Jonathan says as much, but Tom doesn't loosen the cord. Carla panics, and tries to help by talking to Tom, trying to persuade him to let Jonathan go. She see Tom's dog, and tries the tack "Who will look after Jonathan's dog if you kill him?" The tack works and they are allowed to leave.

At the theatre, Adam Klaus is interviewing prospect contortionists for an illusion. Jonathan isn't happy, he thought they'd agreed to not do the trick. He then comments that Kenny is late in today. Adam tells him he let Kenny go for sexually harassing one of his PAs. Seems he was trying to repeat Adam's trick on Carla, and got is watch caught on her bra strap. He tried to bite it off and it all got ugly.

Adam is interviewing contortionistsAdam has all the ladies interviewing for the job bent over with their legs on either side of their face. He starts to take pictures, and Jonathan is holding a ruler next to them. Adamis after maximum compression. Carla then walks in, and Jonathan goes to talk to her, although he doesn't get much talking in!

She has a go at him, asking why hasn't he called. She did save his life, and she's not a horrible person. After all they went through together the least he could have done was call her, see if she's okay.

It was only last night Jonathan says. It's only 12 noon today - thought you'd want some rest. Yes, well, that's the other thing he needs to know, she's insecure and prone to emotional outbursts! So, now he knows the whole picture it's up to him, whether he wants to see her again. He suggests dinner later on that night. She looks at him, and says I'll let you know if I'm free and walks off.

Getting back to Adam, Jonathan is given the ruler again and Adam resumes taking pictures of the woman contortionists. Jonathan says he was close to having another career with Alan Kalanak. "But think how you would have felt Jonathan, working for a moral deviant? Ideologically deranged, with no scruples of any kind?" Adam says.

"You get used to it" Jonathan mutters.

corner imageGuest cast
Carla Borrego
Carla Borrego
Herman Grole
Herman Grole
Vivian Brodie
Vivian Brodie
Adam Klaus
Adam Klaus
Kenny Starkiss
Kenny Starkiss
Alan Kalanak
Alan Kalanak
Jodee Tressky
Jodee Tressky
Bronson Peterman
Bronson Peterman
Bishop's wife
Bishop's wife
Continuity Girl
Continuity Girl
Vernon Spools
Vernon Spools
Inspector Bulstrode
Inspector Bulstrode
Penny Smith
Penny Smith
Sonya Saul
Sonya Saul
Christmas special 2001
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