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< 67. Dreamtime
69. Three's a Crowd >

68. Catch-1782

Rating Votes
10
12%
12
9
11%
11
8
36%
37
7
20%
21
6
13%
13
5
4%
4
4
4%
4
3
0%
0
2
1%
1
1
1%
1
Average Rating
7.5
Votes
104
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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
8
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Reviewed By: Drew VogelReview Date: 8/10/17 2:30 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

In some ways, this is an extremely unusual "Doctor Who" story. There's no violence, or even a threat of violence. It's a straight time-travel drama, if that makes sense. The only threat is that the "villain", Henry, wishes to for Mel to marry him. "Doctor Who" has always been an adventure series, and that means action, danger, and violence. Even stories that de-emphasize these elements usually don't leave them out entirely. I can understand people who don't like this story, or who find it boring, but I think it's a lovely change of pace. I certainly wouldn't want "Doctor Who" to be like this all the time, but it's a very nice change of pace.

On the other hand, the story is actually extremely similar to "The Marian Conspiracy", broadly speaking. Both stories give us a history lesson in Part One. Specifically, both stories give us the family history of the companion. Then, both stories proceed to involve the Doctor and companion in that history directly. If you're not convinced, look at the cliffhangers to each story's third episode. They are the same. In both, the threat is that one of our leads is actually part of that history already. In "The Marian Conspiracy", it looks like the Doctor is one of Evelyn's ancestors, and that he's destined to be executed by Queen Mary. In "Catch-1782", it looks like Mel is the mysterious Eleanor Hallam, who will live in Hallam Hall until her death in 1811.

To be clear, I don't mention this as a criticism. Similarities like these are inevitable in any long-running series, and the two stories are quite distinct in every other way. It does annoy me just a little bit that we now have two sixth Doctor/Mel stories in a row where the Doctor leaves her stranded for several months. If I were Mel, I might have stayed with Uncle John in 2003 after all that.

Anyway, I find this to be a very enjoyable story. I can see why some people don't like it, and there are some plot issues I could bring up if I were in a less generous mood, but overall I find this to be a charming and delightful story.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 5/22/17 11:23 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Subdued would be a good work for this story. Mel is transported back to 1782 from a party in the 21st Century by a mysterious metal interacting with the TARDIS and finds herself in 1781 where she's judged to be mentally unstable. The Doctor doesn't show up for several months in which she's mostly confined to bed.

This story has problems which many have noted, mainly that the plot is thin as far as what we expect from Doctor Who. It's essentially a historical in two places but even when compared to the traditional historical, it has little going on. However, the acting is quite good and while there's not a plot, there are a couple of interesting themes I think it explores. The idea of selfishness and self-interest entering into what should be acts of concern and compassion for others, both with Henry Hallum's aide to Mel, and the Housekeeper MacGregor's attempts to warn Henry off of Mel. In addition, there's something interesting that Mel spent six months as a drugged up prisoner, not as a subject of an evil alien race, but as the recipient of 18th century charity and hospitality.

So, while this isn't a favorite, there's something to be enjoyed, if you like something slower paced and less action packed, but with a bit of emotional reflection.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
4
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: traves8853Review Date: 8/28/16 9:39 pm
0 out of 2 found this review helpful.

Everything about this story is understated. The production values are slick and the plot is slim. There are some fine actors but they just aren't given enough to do. Bonnie Langford, as Mel, is the centrepiece and gives a truly sublime performance but without more going on storywise it's a bit of a waste.

The plot revolves around a time-puzzle and Mel is, once again, the damsel in distress. Thankfully, she isn't, however, reduced to hysterics. The story is padded and there is no real character progression. A couple of nice ideas but ultimately wasted. BF has all the pieces in lace for something truly stunning to occur. They even took quite a brave step by not having a monster and making an almost pure-historical. It's just crying out for an equally brave script and a more dynamic director. Alison Lawson hasn't written for BF since and Gary Russell seems to need a good script to give good a good directing performance.

The whole thing is rather forgettable. Especially, the music. It's one that you want desperately to work because it's attempting something different. However, as I have already said the writing isn't there and the execution/directing is particularly staid on this occasion. One of those times to wonder 'if only...'.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
7
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 7/1/15 10:45 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Catch-1782 is a story which for the first half focuses its plot on the character of Melanie Bush. Yes, despised companion Mel gets to have a story to shine and the combination of writer Allison Lawson's writing and Bonnie Langford's emotional performance makes the story a very enjoyable one that cements the fact that Mel had potential to be a great character which is realized here especially. You can really feel for her sadness as Mel thinks the Doctor has abandoned her and can't remember who she is. In the second half when she starts to remember who she is it even gets worse as her ancestor tries to get her to marry him. Lawson also uses the script to make a statement on forms of medicine used on the diseases we don't understand and how they hurt more than harm. Everything about the script oozes a good story, but sadly can't be great for one reason. It is too short of a story. Yes as the story explores a lot of aspects including a paradox that should become the driving force once Mel regains her memory it doesn't causing the story to be less than perfect because of how it just wraps itself up too nicely.