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Doctor Who: The Leisure Hive (Story 110)
Doctor Who The Leisure Hive
Story 110
Actors: Tom Baker, Lalla Ward
Director: Lovett Bickford
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
NR     2005     1hr 26min

The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana decide to forego Brighton beach and take a much-needed holiday on the pleasure planet of Argolis. Ravaged decades before by an interstellar war, Argolis now hosts the Leisure Hive - an ide...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tom Baker, Lalla Ward
Director: Lovett Bickford
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros.
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 06/07/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 26min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Not the best, but still underappreciated
Sarah Hadley | Murfreesboro, Tennessee USA | 12/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Traditionally, although season 18 of the programme is oft-loved by fans (and deservedly so), "The Leisure Hive" is judged to be a story of merely 'okay' merits. I disagree - in the context of the series, it was a groundbreaking new look and feel for the show, taking it forcefully out of the 1970s and slamming it into the 1980s. Tom Baker, many fans' favorite Doctor, thankfully turns down the humor that made some of season 17's stories so annoying, and his new burgundy outfit is absolutely gorgeous. Joined by Lalla Ward as Romana, this is possibly the best Doctor/companion team ever seen on "Doctor Who". And I must say that Peter Howell's remix of the theme tune will forever be my fills me with a sort of excitement I never get with the other versions. All these points aside, "Leisure" itself isn't that bad. Sure, the plot is nothing terribly new, but the acting is credible and the special effects a definite step up from the previous year. Both the Argolin and the Foamasi are well-conceived aliens, even if the latter are somewhat ungainly. The incidental music deserves special note for being, in my opinion, some of the best heard throughout the 1980s era of the programme. Although these factors don't all add up to make a classic story, they do make a solidly entertaining one; "Leisure Hive" definitely deserves re-evaluation. Even if you want to pick on a season 18 story (and IMO, none of them are really bad), this isn't the one to choose."
The Dawn of the New Argolis! And the 18th season.
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 10/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Romana on Argolis: "It's the first of the leisure planets. In relative Earth Date 2250, there's a hideous war against some reptile people called the Foamasi. Most of the planet gets wiped out by two thousand interplanetary missiles, but the survivors build a recreation center called a Leisure Hive. And there's something called an experiential grid. Cells of different environments designed to produce physical, psychic, and intellectual regeneration."After not only missing the opening of the Brighton Pavilion but also getting the century and season wrong, the Doctor and Romana go to Argolis in 2290, forty years after that terrible war, and become involved in the intrigues of the native Argolins. Bookings to their hive are disastrous, as other leisure planets have anti-gravity swimming pools and speed learning. Brock, the initially pessimistic Earth agent who advises the Argolins to do something about their cash flow, accepts the position on the Board, but recommends they sell the planet and hive to the Foamasi, their ancient enemies, of which the Argolin survivors still have bitter memories. After all, selling them their own planet would be the ultimate defeat. Things have a chance when Hardin, an Earth scientist and lover of Argolin Chairwoman Mena, claims to have found a better use of tachyonics--to manipulate time.The main attraction of the hive is the Tachyonic Recreational Grid, run by the youthful Pangol. The science of tachyonics, the manipulation of faster-than-light particles, involves temporary duplication of any physical object, and the manipulation of the duplicate object without harming the original, demonstrated by Pangol going into the TRG and his tachyon duplicate's arms and head coming detached while it's talking. Soon, the TRG becomes the site of sabotage, accidents, and later murder, as Hardin's assistant Stimson is found strangled by the Doctor's scarf. And guess who's suspected?There's wonderful exchange when the Doctor, Romana, and Mena are gazing at the glowing red sands of Argolis. "Radon 222 decays rapidly." says the Doctor. Mena says, "But not the heavy metal dust. It won't be habitable for three centuries. ... Now you understand the purpose of the Hive. ... to promote understanding between life forms of all cultures and genetic type. There must be no more such wars. Each race learns to understand what it is like to be a foreigner." And the Argolins have the helmet of Theron, a golden hooded helmet resembling a curved KKK hood as a reminder of what happened to them.Adrienne Corri (Mena) is best known in Clockwork Orange as the ill-fated Ms. Alexander, the author's wife. David Haig does a good job as Pangol, being charming presenter, scientist, and Argolin patriot at the same time.The first story of John Nathan-Turner's turn at producer heralded some changes that had some great consequences. He toned down the silliness of his predecessor, Graham Williams, and tried to rein in Tom Baker, whose hat, long coat and scarf are red instead of the familiar brown. In trying to get a Star Wars-style image to Dr. Who, he had the new digital Quantel special effects used, as well as an electronic revamping of the theme music. And he even recruited Barry Letts, who had produced Who in the Jon Pertwee era, as Executive Producer for Season 18.The opening titles are changed, where instead of the bluish time tunnel, there was a galaxy of stars coming towards the viewer, with some in the center gradually forming the Doctor's face. The diamond logo was changed as well.A story on the horrors of nuclear war and the necessity for cultural understanding between races, with stylish designs (the Argolins' beehive hairdo, flowing yellow robes, goatees for men, and plastic statues) and concepts, how Argolins turn from green to human colour when they grow older. A pity that this and the final season story, Logopolis, are the two best stories in Tom Baker's last season as the Doctor."
First and last from Who's final producer
JKO | New York, NY USA | 06/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Another pair of titles from the Doctor Who library hit the DVD stands and although drawn from different eras of the programmes lengthy history, there is (unusually) a strong connection between the two that makes them an ideal pair for simultaneous release.

The Leisure Hive from 1980 is the very first story to be produced and broadcast by the show's longest running producer, the highly controversial John Nathan-Turner. Ghostlight, made and broadcast nine years later was his last and indeed the last of the original series twenty-seven year run. It wouldn't be for another sixteen years that Doctor Who made it back onto UK screens in a regular series.

Seeing both shows again now really highlights quite clearly the long and drawn out demise of the original series and the reasons for the inevitable cancellation. When The Leisure Hive hit the UK's BBC1 on August 30, 1980, it was in many ways the dawn of a new era. The previous three years under the aegis of producer Graham Williams had seen the show degenerate into a rather slapstick version of itself with strong storylines often let down by weak production values, design and tongue-in-cheek performances from the assembled cast, including the lead actors themselves. With the departure of both Williams and script editor Douglas Adams (on his way to greatness with The Hitchhiker's Guides) a new broom literally swept through the programme and brought some much needed seriousness and higher production values to the show. The commentary by actress Lalla Ward (Romana), Lovett Bickford (the director) and Christopher H. Bidmead (the script editor) recalls many of the changes taking place at this time and other contributions from the costume designers, graphics, special effects gurus and musicians who worked to give the show a much needed overhaul, share in this sense of excitement and regeneration. But already the signs of the problems with the new producer are evident. As everyone involved with this DVD reluctantly admit, Nathan-Turner had a great eye for visuals and PR, but had very little regard for storylines or scripts. Or at least a sense of what would or wouldn't work. Indeed, the fact that the scripts for The Leisure Hive barely fill the required four twenty-five minute episode slots is indicative of his inability in this area.

Three Doctors later and Ghostlight features Sylvester McCoy as the Time Lord in the final death throes of a once great show. Here the problem is that the scripts are too long and far too complex for their intended broadcast length and savage cuts along the way during production only add to the show's mess. Again, the commentary (this time by actress Sophie Aldred (Ace), script editor Andrew Cartmel, musician Mark Ayres and author Marc Platt) goes a long way to revealing the behind the scenes problems in getting the programme to air.

But that's not to say there isn't a lot to enjoy in both of these stories. Ghostlight in particular has a lot going for it, as long as you don't try too hard to understand what's going on! The writer and editor are perplexed as to why anyone should be confused, whereas everyone else contributing to the DVD, including all the lead actors, make it clear they haven't a clue what's going on! The set design, acting and direction is really first rate and was a good example of Cartmel's vision for the show, trying to bring more mystery back into the character of the Doctor and the stories themselves. It's in many ways a shame that it proved to be the end of the road. The optimism of The Leisure Hive also makes for enjoyable viewing and again the design and guest cast make it a very watchable adventure.

For me, the most interesting, but also the saddest part of The Leisure Hive DVD is Lalla Ward's commentary. Opening her second season as Time Lady Romana, the show was made just months before her ill-fated and short-lived marriage to her co-star and Doctor number four, Tom Baker. Clearly, nearly twenty-five years later, she has a great deal of ill feeling towards her former husband and this spills out repeatedly as she describes the show for the DVD audience. Thankfully, the Ghostlight commentary helps explain what on Earth is going on, but in all honesty, I'm still none the wiser!

Great to see the Doctor Who collection growing on DVD and if you're a fan of the show, these will be invaluable additions to your collection. If you're not, there's a lot to enjoy here and it's well worth the entrance fee! As always, the effort put into the extras is in no way diminishing with various sound options and a slew of new interviews and out-takes available. But is it just me, or are the DVD covers for the Doctor Who series getting cheaper and nastier with each release?"
"Future generations will appreciate it..."
Huntsmęńus | New Orleans, La | 07/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Doctor and Romana visit Argolis, a Leisure Planet that has a poisonous atmosphere from nuclear war and a safe, sterile Hive where recreation of temporal and spacial illusion entertain tourist. But immediately after their arrival, Romana and the Doctor are accused of murder. Not a bad start to Season 19 and also a new era for the program as well. Many changes were made when John Nathan-Turner, the new prodcuer, arrived. Changes included new theme arrangement and opening credits; toning down the humor; and more focus on style rather than strength of story(of course many shows during the 80s were cursed with this type of thinking). The serial itself is more than tolerable. Lovett Bickford's direction is very good, nice camera angels and lighting. Tom Baker's new burgundy outfit fits very well with the new feeling and execution of the program. But it just seems to be missing a bit of soul. And hard core Who fan can the tell the difference between Who in the 70s and Who in the 80s, and there's a big contrast. The restoration of the serial is crisp and clean. The cleaned-up location footage really stands out. And a 5.1 audio remix. The extras are very informative, specializing in docus about the new era of the program. And, of course, commentary. Highly enjoyable."