Wednesday 9 May 2012

534 The Leisure Hive Part Three

EPISODE: The Leisure Hive Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 13 September 1980
WRITER: David Fisher
DIRECTOR: Lovett Bickford
SCRIPT EDITOR: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Leisure Hive

The aged Doctor is taken to a cabin by Romana, where Pangol has their movements restricted, arguing that the Doctor is still on trial for murder. Mena hints that technology once held hope for the Argolin before. Pangol reveals to Mena that the experiments were faked. The Doctor ponders why Pangol is the only young Argolin. He and Romana deduce the Tachyon generator has a second function. Hardin asks the Doctor & Romana for help as the Doctor wonders if the Recreation Generator isn't a Re-Creation Generator. Pangol rejects the Foamasi offer document and reveals to Brock that he is the child of the generator. The Doctor distracts the Argolin so Romana can examine the Generator. Pangol detects their presence and sounds an alert. Romana is rescued from the Generator by a Foamasi who shows the Doctor a device they found within the Generator. Seeing someone on the monitor the Foamasi hurries off followed by the Doctor & Romana . Reaching the boardroom it attacks Brock, ripping his face off to reveal a Foamasi underneath....

I'm struggling with this story anyway but there's a obvious problem in this episode: Tom Baker's performance is not old enough. It's almost the same as usual, just a little slower in places and a little more subdued and doesn't match what we see on the screen in terms of the aged Doctor makeup.

OK then: Masque of Mandragora establishes the Tardis translates speech for the Doctor and his companions (and us?) so why can't Doctor understand the Foamasi?

What I did love about this episode was the fabulous music within. It's been issued on CD, but sadly is long out of print, but thank the Lord the DVD has an isolated music option!. So I'm sitting here listening to the music for the episodes as I write this.

Douglas Adams, for all his marvellous qualities, may not have been the best script editor the show has ever had. (For my money that's Terrance Dicks.) I think he did a decent job fleshing out whatever Terry Nation gave him for Destiny of the Daleks (your mileage may vary with that statement) but even there he missed a vital error in the plot that the Daleks aren't robots. Gradually as the season went his attention was drawn elsewhere and as a result when new producer John Nathan-Turner and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead took over the script cupboard was bare of usable scripts. The first two stories into production this year were The Leisure Hive, from an idea David Fisher had had about aliens running a holiday camp, and State of Decay by Terrance Dicks, which had effectively been sitting on the shelf for three years since when it had been cancelled while it was known as the Witch Lords. So while transmission order for the first half of the season is

109 The Leisure Hive
110 Meglos
111 Full Circle
112 State of Decay

production order is

5N The Leisure Hive
5P State of Decay
5Q Meglos
5R Full Circle

Apart from these two stories all the writers for this first new season of Doctor Who are new. The evidence seems to suggest that this is a concious "new broom" choice by the production team as no director that has previously worked on the series gets used this year either. Terrance Dicks will return in a few years time as will another former script editor Robert Holmes. Only one pre Leisure Hive director ever returns to the series and that's Pennant Roberts.

Several of the cast you may be familiar with. It's an early television role for David Haig as Pangol (he was in Blake's 7: Rumours of Death earlier in 1980). He'll be most familiar to you as Inspector Grim in Thin Blue Line, or as Bernard, the groom at the second wedding in Four Weddings and a Funeral. We've already mention Nigel Lambert (Hardin) and his narration of Look Around You but that's not going to stop me plugging the DVD again . Regular commentator Tim Walker reminds me that he was also in Blake's 7, in the very first episode The Way Back as the computer operator. Ian Talbot, Klout, was Travis in the Silurians and Andrew Lane the Foamasi, was a Nimon in The Horns of Nimon while David Allister, Stimson, will be Bruchner in Terror of the Vervoids.

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