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Audio - Catch-1782
(Alison Lawson)

 "Catch-1782" was the release for April 2005 and features Colin Baker, as the Sixth Doctor, and Bonnie Langford, as Melanie Bush. Formerly called "The Time Spirit" this story has been written by Alison Lawson. This is Alison Lawson's first Doctor Who audio play for Big Finish Productions. It was recorded on the 25th and 26th October 2004 and is directed by Gary Russell.

 This story was scheduled to be released in May 2005 but due to cast availability for "Three's a Crowd" Big Finish Productions decided to swap these two releases. Therefore "Catch-1782" was released in April and "Three’s a Crowd" was released in May.

Also starring are: Derek Benfiled, Michael Chance, Keith Drinkel, Ian Fairbairn, Rhiannon Meades and Jillie Meers.

Sixth Doctor
Sixth Doctor
 When Melanie’s uncle, John Hallam, invites her to the scientific foundation, where he lives, to attend a centenary ceremony marking the organisation's inauguration and to witness the burying of a time capsule in the foundation’s grounds, The Doctor decides they should attend. However, even Berkshire may conceal a kink in time and a prototype time capsule that is oddly duplicated.

 While at the foundation, and instead of partaking in scientific discussion while consuming champagne and nibbles, Melanie takes the chance to slip away so that she can delve into her family history for the building the foundation is housed within once belonged to them. However, unbeknown to The Doctor and Melanie the prototype time capsule is made of an unstable material which the presence of the TARDIS opens a kink in time and so Melanie soon finds herself blasted back into the past trapped far from the twenty-first century.

 Melanie it seems has arrived within the house of Henry Hallam in the month of December in the year 1781. There she meets the grieving Lord or the Manor – who has recently lost his wife, housekeeper Mrs McGregor and Henry’s physician and friend Doctor Wallace.

 Lost, alone and seemingly confused Henry Hallam takes pity on Melanie and gives refuge until she can recover her senses. Unfortunately for Melanie her post-temporal time travel sickness and confused knowledge of the future condemns her to a life in the past. And worse the physicians of 1781 misdiagnose her daze and give her a strong drug which puts her into a drugged stupor for six months. During this time Henry Hallam's kindness turns into affection as he looks to replace his late wife with Melanie or, as he believes her to be called, Elena.

Melanie Bush


Melanie though is convinced that The Doctor will turn up to rescue her. But why is it taking so long?

Luckily for Melanie The Doctor eventually arrives to rescue her. But there is a dilemma for it appears that Melanie has inadvertently become a key part of her own family history and so it seems is condemned never to return to the twenty-first century.

 How will the Hallams’ history, which John has researched, rebound on his niece? Will Melanie be able to escape the grieving Lord or the Manor who falls for her out of sympathy? And will obsessive, the insanely jealous housekeeper, who wants Henry for herself, come to her rescue or will she succumb to the treatment of the ineffective physician who's blind to the truth of what's before him?

The Doctor may have arrived to rescue her, but after being banished from the house, Melanie is still alone and in danger from a man obsessed with affection for Melanie.

Will The Doctor be able to rescue her or will he have to leave her in 1782, so as to preserve her and John's future, and will he be able to resolve this catch 1782?

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  • Featuring the Sixth Doctor and Melanie Bush.
  • Serial Number: 7C/T
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 100 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 27'07", 2 = 23'12", 3 = 28'11", 4 = 24'21"
  • Total Story Length: 102'51"
  • This story takes place between "The Trial of a Time Lord" and "Time and the Rani" and after "The Juggernauts".
  • Early Title: "The Time Sprite".
  • Cover Illustration: Lee Binding
  • Recorded: 25th and 26th October 2004
  • Recording Location: The Moat Studios
  • Released: April 2005
  • ISBN: 1-84435-135-1

On the Back Cover:

When The Doctor and Mel visit the National Foundation for Scientific Research as it celebrates its centenary, Mel expects only to be able to catch up with her uncle. She doesn’t expect to meet her own ancestors...

 What is buried in the grounds of the Foundation?

 What secret has Henry Hallam kept from his descendants for three hundred years?

 Can Mel escape her own past?

Visiting your relatives can sometimes be trying, but surely it should never be this difficult?


On the Inside Cover:

 DO YOU LIKE GHOST STORIES? I WAS NEVER much of a fan of them until one day someone told me that the building I worked in was supposedly haunted. It made me think. Not so much about what ghosts may be, whether they exist or why people believe in them, but what fantastic stories are told about them and how marvellous the spine-tingling feeling is when you hear those stories.

 So is Catch-1782 a ghost story? No, not really. But if you travel to your own past, are you the ghost or are you walking among ghosts? I pondered this question while on holiday, sitting in the sunshine with a glass of wine, and the idea for Catch-1782 began to take shape.

 The astonishment I felt when Gary Russell liked my idea and commissioned me to write the play was matched only by my terror at having to write real, recorded Doctor Who. That terror was, however, eclipsed by the pressure of deadlines and the play was soon written. Then rewritten. And rewritten again. But the pressure didn’t matter, because it was a dream come true.

 I enjoy writing for the Sixth Doctor, who I feel has much to offer in terms of emotional range. I worried a little about putting Mel through the mill, but was pleased to be able to write for her in a historical setting where she is the centre of attention.

 Catch-1782 was fun to write. I hope you enjoy it.

Alison Lawson,
October 2004

Alison Lawson has written a number of Doctor Who short stories for Big Finish’s Short Trips anthology range. This is her first audio drama. However, we suspect it won’t be her last.

Production Notes:

Although Catch-1782 was initially conceived with Peri in mind, it was then decided to use Mel instead. This allowed an exploration of Mel’s ancestry - a plot originally earmarked for Julia, the daughter of Professor Munro. At first, Mel’s transportation was the work of a mischievous elfin character, a time sprite who sought to cause mischief and mayhem, and make Mel’s eighteenth-century life hell! But as the story progressed, and the characters in Henry Hallam’s household became stronger, it was realised that the sprite itself was largely redundant and was, in fact, detracting from the historical setting.

 Casting Mel’s family was fun - and director Gary Russell turned to Cohn Baker for help. As a longtime fan of one of Cohn’s old TV series, The Brothers, Gary enquired from Colin the whereabouts of Derek Benfield, who’d played lorry driver Bill Riley. Luckily, Cohn and Derek were still great mates. Then, to play Mel’s Georgian relative, Gary asked A Family at War actor Keith Drinkel, unaware that he too was an old friend of Colin’s! Naturally, a great deal of studio time was therefore spent reminiscing rather than working...


Who's Who?

The Sixth Doctor

First television appearance: "The Twin Dilemma"
First chronological Big Finish audio appearance: "Davros"

 He has been exploring the universe fix hundreds of years. He fights injustice. He defeats evil. He helps people. In his sixth incarnation, The Doctor’s propensity for philology, sesquipedalianism and all matters grammatical has developed to a degree of dexterity that puts all others to shame. He has recently found himself travelling with Mel, an energetic and effervescent young woman. Her optimistic attitudes and able-minded attack of problems have helped soften the at times terse and troubled Time Lord.

Melanie Bush

First television appearance: "The Trial of a Time Lord"
First chronological Big Finish audio appearance: "The One Doctor".

 A computer expert from twentieth-century Earth - Pease Pottage, East Sussex, to be specific - Melanie Jane Bush is young, bright and enthusiastic. She enjoys her time with The Doctor and the adventures they have. They met for the first time from Mel’s point of view in 1989 - however, The Doctor had by this point seen his future and had already met Miss Bush! More recently, the pair encountered the twisted scientist Davros and became embroiled in a battle between two of his creations - The Mechanoids and the Daleks!

Full Cast List:

The Doctor Colin Baker
Melanie Bonnie Langford
John Hallam Derek Benfiled
Dr Wallace Michael Chance
Henry Hallam Keith Drinkel
Professor David Munro Ian Fairbairn
Rachel Rhiannon Meades
Mrs McGregor Jillie Meers

The Production Team:

Writer Alison Lawson
Director Gary Russell
Sound/Music Russell Stone
Theme Music David Darlington
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
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