Sunday, October 4, 2009

6th Doctor - Catch-1782

Serial 7C/U – Caption: 1872
Caption: 1872
An Alternate Programme Guide by Ewen Campion-Clarke
An Extract From The EC Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Hot Redheads

Serial 7C/U – Caption: 1872 -

The Doctor is idly cheering himself up by burning Mel’s post when he finds an invitation to the National Foundation of Scientific Research. This troubles him immensely – why is Mel been invited? Why hasn’t HE been invited? And why would an institute for advanced science studies set up in Berkshire of all places?

So engrossed is he in this deep mystery that he doesn’t notice Mel nagging him for fifteen minutes about the console alarms are going off. Still deep in thought, the Doctor picks up one of Mel’s training weights and smashes the console with it until the alarms stop.

As Mel wonders WHY the Doctor is burning her post, the TARDIS arrives at 1860 Munro Road, Berkshire, the site of the National Foundation. With its usual reliability, the time machine has managed to arrive a mere seventeen years late.

The Doctor is confident that any past misdemeanors he may or may not have performed involving Richard Dawkins’ wife and one too many Pan-Galactic Gargle-Blasters will have been entirely forgotten, and introduces Mel to heady world of tomorrow in the space year 2003!

Mel points out the Doctor is wildly exaggerating, and believe that the TARDIS chronometers are actually telling her they’ve arrived three minutes past eight in the evening. The Doctor desperately points out all the futuristic stuff around them.

"Look, an internet café! Cell phones smaller than the average house brick! DVDs replacing VHS! A war in Iraq! The Scissor Sisters are at number one! We’re in your FUTURE, Mel!"

"In the year 2003?"


"17 years into my future?"

"17 of your primitive years, indeed!"

"I thought you said 2003 was the start of a sociological dark age that would set humanity back hundreds of years!"

"Well... I did. And it is."

"Looks all right to me."

"All right? All right?! ALL RIGHT?!? Michael Grade has just been appointed Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors! How much darker can a dark age be?!?"

"Michael Grade isn’t THAT bad, Doctor..."

"My dear Melanie Bush, this is the same man who thought the Millennium Dome would be a good idea! And they have given that imbecile the keys to the kingdom! THE MORONS HAVE TRIUMPHED! THE VISIGOTHS ARE STORMING ROME AND THE POETS HAVE OPENED THEIR VEINS IN THEIR BATHS!"

At that moment, a booming voices tells them to shut up and pay attention – as the Doctor and Mel have landed during the centenary celebrations for the institute, and the arrival of the TARDIS and the sounds of its crew arguing have been put down to someone inconsiderately leaving their discman on.

It is now we discover Mel’s dark secret of how a lowly computer programmer from Pease Pottage could ever be summoned to attend – her uncle, John Hallam, keeps inviting her on the off chance she’ll find a nice boy to be with and maybe give up her sordid life of carrot juice, exercise and being sickeningly cheerful.

Today, however, experts in all sorts of classified research, the press and other dignitaries from Professor Bernard Quatermass to Ian Chesterton and Harriet "Hellfire" Jones, have all gathered to listen as John waffles on and on and on about his latest a revolutionary new discovery, and idly hope it will be more interesting than his last invention – liquid paper, which needs only to be poured into a printing press and heated four hundred degrees to create one sheet of A4.

The Doctor and Mel watch as Hallam announces he has developed a material that is resistant to the laws of gravity, and intends to use it as a new space alloy. He ignores the mockery of the crowd who point out, even if Hallam DID make this magical lighter-than-air substance, it would probably rip Earth’s atmosphere away and hurl it into space, killing off the entire human race.

"Who’s perverting the laws of nature here?" demands Hallam, shaking a fist. "Me? Or you chowder-heads?!"

As Hallam explains he intends to use this material to forge a globular space shuttle that will steer itself by a Venetian-blind arrangement that switches gravitational pull on and off, all the guests start making farty noises and mime holding their noses and pulling lavatory chains. Sir Patrick Moore himself hurls a brick at Hallam, accusing him of becoming so senile he thinks HG Wells’ "First Men on the Moon" is a practical guide to space travel.

Hallam shouts he has created the mythical substance using some ordinary household bleach, peanut butter, a Max Bygraves LP and pure duralinianiam, the most convoluted material known to man.

He places it inside a second-hand-gas stove and tells everyone to stand back as the mixture cooks, but Melanie strides over to sort out all this abject silliness. Ignoring Hallam’s screams that his niece has missed the last sixteen invites and this is damn chutzpah, Mel announces that such a substance is impossible to create under these conditions and it’s childish to assume otherwise.

At that moment, the gas stove explodes outwards and Mel is sent hurtling upwards into the stratosphere.

There is a round of applause as the Doctor laughs heartily.

Around four years later, Mel plummets out of the sky and crashes into the backyard of a different house, six doors down, and lands amidst a heap of unrecyclable garbage. The fumes of impure things like coffee and microwave TV dinners immediately corrupt naïve Mel’s immune system, leaving her disoriented, nauseating and incoherent.

She is, therefore, halfway tolerable to be around.

As Mel stumbles around the place in a daze, she bumps into a spectacled Aboriginal with bleached blond hair. Dizzy, Mel staggers and falls unconscious at the feet of Sir Nigel Verkoff Esquire, burbling incoherently that she is trying to be productive until the Doctor turns up to rescue her.

Nigel frowns, and nudges her with a shoe.

"Oh... my... god!" he gasps as he sees her face. "Andrew! ANDREW!" he shouts over his shoulder. "Get out here, quick! You won’t believe this! Guess who’s just fallen out of the sky to land at my feet!"

A shaggy-haired figure in a singlet emerges. "Who?"

"JAYMA MAYS!" Nigel cheers. "My wildest dream come true!!"

"Jayma who?" Andrew asks, confused.

"JAYMA MAYS! You know? Jaaaaaaaaayma Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaays? She played Lucy in 'Epic Movie'! Emma in 'Glee'? Danced on that mat in Awakening by Switchfoot? No? Cynthia in 'Red Eye'! Come on, you must know her... she was that Texan barmaid the Japanese dude fell for in Heroes!"

"Oh, HER!" Andrew says, bugging out his eyes. "You mean the twenty-eight year old redhead Radford University graduate from Grundy, Virginia with the big blue eyes and the smooth pale skin, and an accent you could bathe in?"


"It’s not her."


"No. This one looks like Bonnie Langford to me," he shrugs.

"Yes... she does, I suppose. Still, if I was picky about which particular celebrity redhead was left half-insensible in my clutches, I’d never get anywhere, would I?"

"You never get anywhere anyway, Nigel."

"When I want your opinion, Andrew, I shall take great pleasure in kicking it out of you. Get her inside."

The two teenagers help her inside, where it becomes obvious that a mixture of concussion, poisoning and time differential has left her partially amnesiac and with severe personality disintegration.

It doesn’t help that Nigel begins getting her plastered on apple cider and dubs her "Tambi", naming her after the beautiful Tambourine Player from the Dandy Warhols, a figure Nigel worships with intensity that worries even himself.

Andrew speculates that that maybe "Tambi" is part of an elaborate 'Hustle'-style con job intending to take advantage of Nigel’s miniscule hospitality and rob him. Nigel concedes this is a real possibility, but as long as he gets a leg over, he can live with it.

As her disorientation grows, Mel incoherently rambles about her day job at Lethe Logistics and how it was utterly ruined in a pitched battle between cybernetic cleaning machines with an obsessive compulsive order, and a giant twelve-sided dice built to fire paranoia laser beams.

Andrew opines that "Tambi" is insane, but this only excites Nigel more, as Andrew himself has always suggested that Nigel could "get off with insanity" – though he was referring to various criminal charges placed against him by the local supermarket.

"Tambi", gripped by sudden paranoia, tries to run for the bathroom in the confused belief that this is where the Doctor will be looking for her, only to trip, somersault, do the splits and crack her head against the wall, leaving her even more concussed than before.

Nigel takes "Tambi" to his large, heart-shaped bed and plies her with Scottish brandy and pain killers, in turn making her even more confused, disorientated, fragile and vulnerable – which is just the way he likes them!

Unfortunately, as Nigel pops outside to brag at Andrew how he’s going to finally get some with someone he can pretend was Jayma Mays, he accidentally locks himself out of his bedroom.

Andrew laughs loudly as Nigel collapses into a whimpering heap, prevented from seducing a delirious, babbling human woman by three inches of wood. By which, he means a 'door', of course. Sickos.

The Doctor meanwhile, years ago, is enjoying a nice relaxing break from travelling with Mel. It occurs to him that she should have returned to Earth by now, and muses that the alarms in the TARDIS – which seemed so extraneous at the time – were actually incredibly important and Mel has been thrown through time.

After finishing three hundred different Sudoku books and solving his Rubik’s cube for the sixteenth time in a row, the Doctor decides he’s pissed about enough and probably should finally get round to rescue her – maybe the delay will finally drive some humility into his irrepressibly irritating companion.

Returning to the TARDIS, the Doctor starts kicking the console again and again until bits of it explode and the time rotor starts to rise and fall in a curiously erotic way.

As smoke billows around the control room, the Doctor sets the co-ordinates for 12 December 1871, on the off-chance that Mel might have hurtled through the Vortex unprotected and arrived there.

The TARDIS arrives on the 12 December, 2007, at 1871 Munro Road. The Doctor emerges to find himself at the front door of a bungalow owned by a friendly Asian family, the McGregors, who are slightly baffled when the Doctor introduces himself as his own valet.

They have not met his "youthful ward, Melanie Bush" and frankly have no idea what the Doctor is talking about when he claims she "wandered away from her coach earlier that summer". The Doctor thanks them for their time, shrugs, and decides to sod off.

As he heads over to the TARDIS, the door to the house opposite opens and a bored-looking teenager in a trenchcoat emerges. He explains he is called Dave and doesn’t particularly have anything to do with this, but asks if the Doctor is a talented lock picker or maybe knows one?

The Doctor admits he happens to have a couple alien lockpicking devices about his person that can open any mechanism designed by higher anthropoids, and also trigger a thermonuclear meltdown if left on top of a VCR while it’s rewinding.

Dave asks if the Doctor would mind giving his criminal talents to help his troublesome flat-mate, a delusional young man whom Dave has been unable to give a shit about for years. The Doctor, curious, agrees to help break into things in return for 30 per cent of the goods inside.

Dave leads the Doctor to Nigel, and the Time Lord is totally taken aback to see the Aboriginal teenager. They once crossed paths in London, 1702, when Nigel Verkoff was dressing up as women and acting as a petty criminal to secure funds for an adult nightclub! On numerous occasions since then they have bumped into each other, and the Doctor demands an explanation.

Nigel awkwardly rubs his neck and explains that, although he doesn’t like to brag or anything, that he is half-human on his mother’s side. His father was an alien from the planet Zeist and is thus an Immortal, able to endure throughout time and space until the Prize is gathered and the Quickenings end.

The Doctor clears his throat and notes he’d assumed as much, and turns his attention to the lock as Nigel breathes a sigh of relief that the Time Lord believed that heap of bullshit.

On a roll, Nigel explains that his girlfriend was driven insane when she once got trapped in a lift that played the Macarena music on a perpetual loop. Since then, rather than commit her to an asylum, he has placed "Tambi" in his room and doped her up with laudanum and no accounts should anyone take her deluded claims to have traveled through time and space remotely seriously.

The Doctor assures Nigel he’s seen this sort of thing a lot, and finally breaks into Nigel’s room to find Mel handcuffed to a bed wearing a black silk negligee and some whipped cream.

Although dazed and disoriented, Mel recognizes the Doctor instantly and begs him to take her back home. Irritated at the complete lack of gratitude, the Doctor sniffs loudly and pretends not to recognize her, and even goes so far as to help Nigel gag her silent.

As she grows frantic, the Doctor loudly tells Nigel of the unending, unendurable lectures a former companion of his once delivered after the Time Lord got completely rat-arsed on the planet Corriana 6, celebrating the end of the Shadow Wars. "I bet she’s really regretting being so stuck up and, sanctimonious now, isn’t she?" he jeers as Mel sinks further into despair.

The Doctor goes on to say that if he was ever to stumble across that particular companion, say stuck in another time zone for months on end, suffering from treatment for an illness she doesn’t have, it would be incredibly generous for him to rescue her, wouldn’t it?

He advises Mel to think on that and when she’s begging for his forgiveness to let him know. Despite her muffled pleas, he jeers at her that he’s probably just a strange dream flashing through her drug-addled mind. "Just think!" he laughs. "If you actually HAD some kind of social life, you might have built up some kind of natural resistance to alcohol! That, my dear Melanie, is the Sound of Irony!"

Outside, Andrew makes Dave a tuna salad roll and broods over the situation. Do they let Nigel have his wicked way with an innocent woman? After all, it might actually turn Nigel into something approaching a normal person to finally get his rocks off? Or would it just be funnier to let Nigel become increasing fixated on her, and then break his heart at the last minute?

The Doctor arrives and idly asks if any more of that tuna salad is going spare – he hasn’t eaten for four years... or an hour... depends on conterminous time, really.

Dave suggests that since it is patently obvious that "Tambi" is actually the Doctor’s companion, he might as well take her from 1872 Munro Rd, thus devastating Nigel and his carnal desires to play out a fantasy with Jayma Mays.

The Doctor admits he’d rather string it out for a few more days, really get Mel to choke on the humble pie, but then realizes if they were to mix up a hangover cure to undo the effects of the laudanum, Mel would become incredibly violent and most likely use her gymnastic skills to rip Nigel limb from limb.

"I LIKE it!" Andrew enthuses.

As the trio set to work trying to create an alien restorative potion out of household chemicals and leftover mayonnaise, while meanwhile Nigel strips down to his armadillo skin posing pouch, slips on a DVD of "The Drop Zone 89: Anal Fists of Glory!" and sings 'Africa' in what he no doubt considers to be a non-annoying manner.

Mel insists that she has no interest in these squelchy activities, and would rather work off any frustration with some companionable gymnastics and a stricter fitness regime, but Nigel just assumes she’s still doped up with laudanum to realize how sexy he is.

As Nigel applies ridiculous amounts of baby oil to himself, Mel announces she had been put off the whole idea now she’s seen Nigel’s true colours and wants to go. Nigel’s offer to be the one that is tied up in her stead is turned down, much to his dismay.

Weeping, Nigel downs an entire bottle of laudanum and sobs that all he wants out of life is to climb the walls of ecstasy with a beautiful redheaded jailbait girl from telefantasy – is that too much to ask?

He muses that maybe he never recovered from the cruel rejection he suffered from Nicole Kidman, and has become deranged after pouring all his energy into seducing Alyson Hannigan – though he insists that the goal itself is completely justified as and of itself...

The Doctor sends Dave rescue Mel, and asks Andrew to dig a hole in the gardens so they will be able to bury Nigel alive for a laugh or at the very least a considerably entertaining episode of Tony Robinson’s Time Team when they unwittingly unearth Nigel’s remains.

As he and Andrew dig a grave, Nigel threatens to kill both of them and take even STERNER measures should the Doctor defy him. Fortunately, the Doctor whacks Nigel over the head with a spade, and will have no need to return once Nigel’s buried. Andrew insists that it was mercy, since Nigel’s reputation could never have recovered from a complete emotional breakdown that’s been pending since he first saw Lesbian Spank Inferno at the tender age of four and a half.

As Mel finally emerges from the house, the Doctor and Andrew are patting down the mound of Earth as the muffled screams of Nigel threatening to 'rip out their skeletons and force them to eat it' fade to silence.

Mel is starting to feel disoriented again due to the Doctor striking her over the head with the spade, and soon has completely forgotten about being marooned in 1872 Munro Street and since this means the story is thus completely canonical, they celebrate with champagne.

Meanwhile, Nigel finally manages to dig his way out of the grave - only to find he has emerged out onto the local railway line, as a freight train hurtles straight towards him, and the story ends on the cheerful sounds of Nigel screaming in agony as he ripped violently out of view by the thundering steam train.

Book(s)/Other Related -
Doctor Who Visits The House of Verkoff
Nigel Verkoff Visits The House of Usher
"Are You Going To Weep Into Your Latte Or What?" Chat Up Lines For Hardcore Date Rapists by "Dr" Owen "Bigmouth" Harper

Goofs -
Am I the only one to have a problem that some passing guys believe that Mel was telling the truth about time travel after the Doctor casually tells them so? I mean, if somebody told YOU they were from the future, you'd almost certainly think they were mad, even if their friends agreed with them! And this is from a roaring eccentric with poor taste in clothes proclaiming that he is from a different time! Is there some kind of special handshake involved in these situations?

Technobabble -
The Doctor disconnects the intuition spools of the TARDIS’ plot contrivance circuits, allowing it to locate Mel despite all the laws of probability, and all the wishes of the audience.

Links and References -
The Sixth Doctor and Nigel Verkoff last cross swords in Baltimore, 1985, where Nigel singly failed to get to first base with Peri – "The Ripoff" (Serial 6Z/C).

Untelevised Misadventures -
The Doctor once got his ears pierced and started strutting around the 800th millennium in studded leather, calling himself "Bayban the Butcher" and spoiling for a fight.

Groovy DVD Extras -
Optional commentary by Colin Baker, Andrew Beeblebrox and Dave Restal for the train crash sequences.

Dialogue Disasters -

Dave: Nigel, did you REALLY sleep with Delta Goodrem?
Nigel: I’m just not sure, David. I’m just not sure. Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell what is real, what I’ve dreamed and what I’ve imagined... but in any case, she was best sex since the Olsen Twins.
Nigel: Just joking, Dave. They were rubbish.

Doctor: A break in time? Now that's unusual in rural Berkshire in 2003, but a National Science Foundation in rural Berkshire? That’s INSANE!

Hallam: Just who the hell are you? And how do you know Melanie?
Mel: ...I AM Melanie.
Hallam: A likely story!

Dialogue Triumphs -

Doctor: There is a problem... Mel herself! She has become Jayma Mays, part of your history as Verkoff’s sex slave. We can't take Mel back. To leave your history unchanged, we must leave her here, to live out her life as Verkoff’s first notch in the bedspread!
Andrew: Really?
Doctor: ...Oh, fuck it, let’s rescue her anyway.

Doctor: 'Melanie Bush BSc Hons'? I didn’t know you had a BRONZE swimming certificate, Mel!

Nigel: Caring for her has helped me to bear the loss of Nicole Kidman. She's gone... Nicole, er, Mel is gone! By the way, in case nobody’s got it, I haven’t recovered from the loss of Nicole!

Andrew: Sometimes perverts are not what they seem...

Viewer Quotes -

"I feel a little bit sorry for Mel, with Nigel as her captor. I know she is psychotically naïve about Michael Grade, but still..." – Cameron J Mason (2007)

"The weakest premise for a story ever is given to the strongest characters of the Sixth Doctor and Mel – it’s like a badly-written soap opera than a serious sci fi audio play. Only fans will listen to this, and it’s time that Big Finish gave professionals like me who knows what constitutes a REAL adventure. Anyone read my brilliant story "End Time" where the Valeyard and Sil try to take over the next universe but one using the space station from Lark In Space, and only Mel, the Brigadier, some random Jocondan and the entire High Council of Time Lords can stop them? No? How ironical! Did I mention that Sylvester McCoy is scum who can burn in the fires of hell?" - Ron Mallet (2005)

"The Doctor remains ebullient throughout, and at times seems rather callous to Mel’s plight." - Stater of The Bleeding Obvious (2008)

"Where is the death? The explosions? This is the weakest Big Finish I can recall hearing. But I am not criticizing it. Me? Criticize a Sixth Doctor audio? NEVER! Even if it IS shit!" - Jo Ford Prefect (2005)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"I created a new type of metal once. I called it Barry and made a razor sharp ashtray, perfect for beheading drifters. Works better once it’s been in a pop-up toaster though, gets it nice and hot."

Colin Baker Speaks!
"It'll be twenty years since I first stepped into the TARDIS as the Sixth Doctor, but that isn’t a scary figure? Time rattles by. Landing the role has meant an awful lot to me. The rest of my career might fade but Doctor Who wall mean something. This bloody life is such an eye-blink in cosmic terms that to have an after image for a few generations makes you feel a little less unimportant. I don’t like feeling unimportant. Is that pathetic of me? And if it is, at least I’m not as pathetic as Master Nigella over there."

Bonnie Lanford Speaks!
"I’ve been molested by Nigel Verkoff twice now. I was rehearsing in Drury Lane, on stage, with the upper circle boxes packed full of lighting equipment. When I glanced up, there, for a moment, was a desperate-looking loser with bleached blond hair and sunglasses. Then the box was full of equipment again, because he fell out of the box and into the seats. Broke his spine in three places. I was comforted by that, it’s said to be extremely good luck."

Rumors & Facts –
Considering the nature of Big Finish, it is surprising how rarely the story of Nigel Verkoff trying to seduce Doctor Who actresses have occurred. Actually, they occur more often than is good to know, but no one is stupid enough to turn it into a story for the series.

Until now.

With the new TV show being incredibly and impossibly popular, Big Finish knew that if it its output were to become even vaguely appealing to the mass audience, it would have to be inconsequential, predictable, throwaway, unoriginal and utterly forgettable. To this end, Producer Gay Russell insisted they continue to get first time writers who would not be script-edited in any way.

The latest victim was Bernice Yang and her target was a character-building story for the Sixth Doctor and Mel. Yang, who had submitted several distinctly unenjoyable short stories to the Big Finish anthology books, was renowned for being incredibly tedious and boring, as well as not actually liking Doctor Who.

For example, a sign of JUST how unfamiliar Yang was with the basic format of Doctor Who, she had Mel meeting up with her uncle who WASN’T shrunk to the size of an action man figure or slaughtered by passing aliens. In fact, there were no passing aliens involved at all. Or even monsters. Or historical oddities.

In short Caption: 1872 has to be the most pathetic Doctor Who story in the history of anything anytime ever-ever-ever!

Yang rightly believed that after rubbish like Medicinal Porpoises and The Afronauts, no one would complain if her Sixth Doctor story plumbed previously unthinkable depths of interminable boredom. In fact, she rapidly came to the conclusion that if she DIDN’T write something badly, derivatively and lacklustrely melodramatic it would stick out amongst the other Big Finish releases like dog bollocks on a gnat.

The horror of having to come up with a full four-part story strained Yang’s intellect to its limits, and she decided to make it incredibly slow and boring with lots of characters repeating information to each other several times over. She realized that she was unlikely to come up with a truly memorable villain, and so decided not to use one at all – and if that lead to a lack of any threat, danger or drama, she didn’t particularly care.

Yang decided to cannibalize the few other audio plays she’d listened to, and quickly stole the main thrust of the plot from Jacqueline Raynor’s The Maid Marian Conspiracy – in which the Sixth Doctor faffs about in the ethnographic present, before spending the last three episodes elsewhere in a doomed quest for love.

From Andrew Cartmel’s Sphincter for the Adept, the sequence of the companion being hurled through time and space to an isolated house filled with sex-obsessed wierdoes.

From Steve Lyons’ The Fans of Vulcan, Mel being lusted after by a sci fi geek and from Alan Scott Woodward’s The Afronauts, the Sixth Doctor pointlessly hanging around Mel and generally getting in the way of the main plot.

Yang briefly considered the problem that plagiarising an audio less than three months old could be a tad transparent, but realized that, once again, she didn’t give a shit, and only a last minute rewrite by Gay Russell fixed the problem of Mel, a 1986 girl, apparently living in the year 2003.

However, Yang’s plot ran aground after writing the totally superfluous opening episode which had absolutely nothing at all to do with the following three episodes. It was then she simply turned to her meticulously-kept diaries of 1000 words a page and simply copied down an incident from her childhood when her adopted brother (Big Finish stalwart and sexual deviant Nigel Verkoff) was arrested for attempting to make out with a concussed redhead in the mistaken belief she was Alyson Hannigan after a monumental drinking binge.

Thus it was decided that Verkoff would portray himself in the story, tentatively entitled "Time’s Spite!" – in reference to the Sixth Doctor cruelly leaving Mel to her fate, and the revelation that he was in fact setting her up from the start.

Truly, Caption: 1872 puts Mel through hell before the end of the story. Once Mel is covered in low fat whipped cream, Langford conveys her distress very well, especially when she cries, "I am NOT enjoying this! No way! But don’t stop!" With her disorientation enhancing her natural confusion, she does indeed sound a bit like Jayma Mays, especially when she mindlessly repeats anything anyone says.

For his part, Verkoff protested that the storyline could be much more interesting if Mel genuinely fell in love with his character, and then the story could be a tragedy when the Doctor arrived to destroy Mel’s chance at happiness? Or maybe if Nigel pulled out a sawn-off shotgun and forced the Doctor and his flatmates into a ridiculously contrived and over-elaborate death trap? Or perhaps his flatmates reveals their total respect for Nigel made them fear he would abandon them for this red-haired hussy/hopeless drug-addled amnesiac, and attempted to murder people for various reasons? Or, in Verkoff’s words, "something halfway INTERESTING" happening in the script?

It was then Yang decided to end the story with Verkoff being run over by a train – which apparently made the script "a more compact, tighter story" according to the rest of the cast and crew.

Of course, the great appeal of character-based stories is their ability to say far more about the characters involved than those that feature a greater emphasis on plot. However, Caption: 1872 has little to say about either Mel or the Doctor, and more with slagging off the brother of the author for his incredibly poor sexual prowess as he drugs and salivates over redheads on the off chance they might be different redheads who appear in his favorite TV shows.

Caption: 1872 is not a successful story as though it has a kernel of potential, Yang never comes close to realising it because much of this production feels contrived and lacks credibility. While this play continues the current trend of conforming (more of less) to the duration of a four part original series story, it still feels drawn out due to the underdeveloped, and, consequently, padded script and with no strong storyline or interesting achievement in characterization, it begs the question of what is the point?

APART from taking the piss out of Nigel Verkoff until he is sucked inside out, of course?

Nigel Verkoff Speaks!!!
"Caption: 1872 is my favorite audio release of 2005 that I starred in, and it leaves me wondering just why it towers so monumentally in my affections over other releases, Terri’s Firmer or The Dreaming for example, which just leave me cold.
An audio play isn't so much different to a painting, except in the medium of sound rather than vision. And this painting is an appealing painting of me in my finest leather studded bondage gear, coping a feel off the legally-unsound-of-mind Bonnie Langford. I swear, as a painting, it’s going to become more famous than the Skeleton on the Toilet. It’ll be EVERYWHERE! I LOVE SPAM EMAILS!
It's not about Dustbins or planets being invaded, but my finally getting to third base with a beautiful redhead from a long-running science fiction TV show. Of course, I would prefer Rebecca McCarthy, but she was still underage at the time. And, you know, the restraining order was still in place.
Kidnapping Mel is a good example of someone knowing the right devices and restraints to use, whilst still appearing to come up with something utterly original. Chains, handcuffs, some low level direct current... irresistible devices, and all focussed on the story of one man and the mystery of the strange prisoner he held in his bedroom.
Bonnie Langford is extraordinarily good in conveying Mel’s torment. A few years ago she would probably have been voted "Companion We Would Most Like To See Permanently Doped Up On Laudanum So She’ll Stop Annoying The Hell Out Of Us" but now we feel for her. Because she never got to sleep with me.
A Greek fucking tragedy, ladies and gentlemen."

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