Sunday, 30 August 2020

532 The Leisure Hive: Part One

EPISODE: The Leisure Hive: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 30 August 1980
WRITER: David Fisher
DIRECTOR: Lovett Bickford
SCRIPT EDITOR: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Leisure Hive

"I don't think much of this Earth idea of recreation. Why can't we do something constructive?"

A shock at the start gone is the familiar titles, replaced with something new, and a revamped version of the theme tune!

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The Doctor is trying to catch the opening of the Brighton Pavilion, but they've arrived on Brighton beach in the middle of winter. K-9 is damaged trying to fetch a ball from the Sea and Romana insists they go elsewhere, to visit the Leisure Hive on Argolis, built by the Argolin survivors of a nuclear war between Argolis & the Foamasi. The Leisure Hive is struggling financially and it's chairman Morix is dying. Their Earth agent Brock has had an offer to buy the entire radioactive planet from the Foamasi. Outside the Leisure Hive several creatures attempt to tunnel their way in. The Doctor & Romana arrive to see a demonstration of Argolis' Tachyon science from the youngest Argolin Pangol. His Mother Mena arrive on Argolis to take over the chairmanship from the deceased Morix. An accident occurs during Pangol's demonstration of the recreation generator, killing a visitor. The Doctor investigates and is taken for the Earth scientist Hardin, who has been conducting experiments for Mena. The Doctor & Romana accidentally see the recording of the experiments and are convinced they're faked. They attempt to leave, and return to the Tardis, but he Doctor's curiosity is piqued by the Recreation Generator and he is trapped inside. A figure manipulates the controls and Romana sees him being ripped apart on the Generator's viewscreen.

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Where do you start with this? Well I think the first thing it's necessary to do is point out that the show has a new producer, John Nathan-Turner. He'd started working on the series during Patrick Troughton's last year as a floor assistant eventually becoming production manager at the end of Tom Baker's third season. In that role he had masterminded the trip to Paris to film City of Death abroad and had become Graham Williams preferred choice to succeed him. Williams' superior, Graeme MacDonald. had preferred the experienced George Gallacio, the previous production manager, so as a compromise Barry Letts returned to Executive Produce the series over John Nathan-Turner, in his first job as producer. Gallacio, meanwhile, went on to produce the highly successful Miss Marple series which is great fun for spotting Doctor Who cast members in.

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Nathan-Turner arrived with a list of things he wanted to change and he most obvious is the title sequence: we big goodbye to the Tunnel sequence that's been with us for six years (and in a slightly different form for a year before that). Instead we get an animated sequence involving moving through a starfield, with the stars forming first the Doctor's face then the new logo. Thematically it's similar to the previous sequence with the idea of travelling being common to both sequences and the going towards concept of the opening titles and the receding from with the closing titles. This titles sequence, with a couple of modifications, will be with us for the next six years.

Alongside the new titles a new version of the theme music was recorded, whose end version now permanently includes the middle eight which for the last few years has only been heard on the six part stories. I'd never heard it before and was shocked by this new piece of music suddenly appearing in the middle of the Doctor Who music. I love this version of the theme and think it's aged wonderfully well. The theme was re-arranged by Peter Howell of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the Radiophonic workshop now become responsible for the incidental music for the show with John Nathan-Turner dispensing with the services of the series regular composer Dudley Simpson, who he felt was producing scores that all sounded the same. Oddly I hear the Leisure Hive score now and immediately think of the music for The TV version of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy by the Radiophonic Workshop's Paddy Kingsland, who'll score four of the eight stories this season.

Then we have the opening of the episode.... a long tracking cinematic shot over Brighton Beach, the only location filming for this story and coincidentally close to the new producer's home! I timed the shot and it lasts from 00:37-02:16, so 1 minute 39 seconds, and an attempt to screen capture it took 15 pictures! That's an awful lot of a 25 minute episode used up in one shot.

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There's another peculiar shot in the episode, and that's used twice: The shuttle coming into land. The only way you know what's going on is the voice over telling you the shuttle is landing: the visuals show an object moving towards you but there's no way you can tell what it is! But apart from these oddities the episode isn't bad. Yes it looks & sounds different, and perhaps it's a little slow & talky, but it wouldn't be the first episode of Doctor Who to be like that!

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Sadly there's one moment in the episode that totally takes you out of it now, but it's something that wouldn't have been an issue at the time.

HARDIN: Now, in this experiment we propose to explore the temporal anomaly inherent in the tachyon.
BROCK: What is he talking about?
MENA: The tachyon travels faster than light. We always knew time mechanics was theoretically possible. Watch.
HARDIN: The device is now activated
The time experiment demonstrating is narrated by Nigel Lambert, in his role as the scientist Hardin, and it sounds *exactly* like the narration he uses for the first series of Look Around You. If you've not seen this, or don't own a copy, then buy one now as it's fabulous.

Barely visible on screen in the video is Nick Joseph as Hardin's Aide. He had been a Bandit in Creature from the Pit, He returns as a Cricket Player in Black Orchid, a Lazar in Terminus and a Miner The Mark of the Rani. In Blake's 7 he was the Android / Muller's Corpse in - Headhunter and an Animal in Animals. He's an Armoury Officer in The Spy Who Loved Me and features in the closing scene of Star Wars as a rebel office now called Arhul Hextrophon.

The Old Lady in the Holo Demo is Eileen Brady had been an Aztec Lady in The Aztecs. She returns as a Citizen in Keeper of Traken and she's in Blake's 7 as the Harpist in The Keeper.

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The Younger Version of the Woman in the Holo Demo is Julia Gaye

Also seen only in this episode is Laurence Payne, as chairman Morix, who was Johnny Ringo in The Gunfighters, and will be Dastari in The Two Doctors.

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Making his first onscreen Doctor Who appearance as one of the Zero Gravity Squash Players is actor Graham Cole who would later go on to find fame as PC Tony Stamp in The Bill. This is his his first broadcast Doctor Who appearance, but he should have been seen last season as a young scientist in the cancelled Shada. He returns in Full Circle as a Marshman, Keeper of Traken as the Melkur, Kinda as a Kinda tribesman (there's two other Bill cast members in that one!), Earthshock as a Cyberman, Time-Flight as Melkur, The Five Doctors as a Cyberman, Resurrection of the Daleks as a Crewmember & Duplication Body and The Twin Dilemma as a Jacondan.

The other Squash Player is Mitchell Horner who later plays a Cricketer/Spectator in Black Orchid, a 1977 Schoolboy and a Mutant in Mawdryn Undead, and a Vanir in Terminus.

The victim of the Tachyon Generator, Visitor Lomon, is played by Fred Redford who returns as a Foster & Citizen in Keeper of Traken, a Male Passenger in Time Flight and in Snakedance as a Ceremonial Attendant Demon.

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His Body Parts, severed by the generator, are portrayed by different actors:

Martin Clark had been a Soldier in Masque of Mandragora and a Time Lord in Invasion of Time. He returns as a Rebel in State of Decay, a Brown Time Lord in Trial of a Timelord: Terror of the Vervoids and The Ultimate Foe and a Husband at Garden Centre in Battlefield. He was also in Blake's 7 as a Native in Horizon and The Black Adder as Sir Dominick, Prique of Stratford, in Born to Be King.

Joe Phillips had previously been a Extra in Robot, had been a Coven Member in Image of the Fendahl. He also is one of the actors playing a Holidaymaker in this episode. He returns as a Peasant in Village Centre in State of Decay, a Patient in Frontios and a Schoolboy in Mawdryn Undead.

Brian Massey also plays Lomon Body Parts & a Holidaymaker in this episode.

Similarly when Pangol's limbs are detached in a generator projection, they are are also portrayed by different actors:

Timothy Oldroyd is on his Doctor Who debut and is later seen as one of the Pangol Army in episode four. He returns as a Rebel in State of Decay, a Kinda in Kinda, a Passenger in Time-Flight, a Vanir in Terminus and an Officer in Enlightenment. In Blake's 7 he was, like Graham Cole above, one of Gerren's Associate in Games.

Doug Roe was a Guard & security Guard in Seeds of Death, a Military Policeman and Prisoner in The War Games, a UNIT soldier in The Ambassadors of Death, a globby Axon & Unit Soldier in Claws of Axos, and a Technician/Guard/Citizen in Pirate Planet. He too is later seen as one of the Pangol Army in episode four. He returns as a Foster in Keeper of Traken and one of Striker's crew in Enlightenment. In Blake's 7 he was a Federation Trooper in Seek-Locate-Destroy, Project Avalon and Blake.

Reg Woods had been a Palace Guard in Androids of Tara, a Bearer in Creature from the Pit, and would have been a Krarg in Shada. Likewise he is later seen as one of the Pangol Army in episode four. He returns as a Guard in State of Decay, has his role as Policeman at Station cut from Black Orchid, and then returns as a Security Guard in Timeflight and a Member of Striker's Crew in Enlightenment. In Blake's 7 he's a Scavenger in Deliverance, a Rebel in Voice from the Past, a Menial in Ultraworld, a Space Rat in Stardrive and a Space Princess Guard / Passenger in Gold. He's also in The Professionals episode Black Out in what IMDB describes as "Bit Part" and the Fawlty Towers episode The Kipper and the Corpse as a Hotel Guest.

The Doctor also gets his limbs detached in the episode's finale. The actors used there are familiar names who all later play Pangol Doctors in episode 4:

Derek Chafer was a Saxon in The Time Meddler, a Greek/Trojan Soldiers/People in Square in The Myth Makers, a Guard in the Massacre, a Settler in The Gunfighters, a Cyberman in The Moonbase, a Guard in Fury from the Deep, a Cyberman in The Invasion, a Miner, Issigri HQ in The Space Pirates, a Military Policeman & a Unit Soldier in The Silurians, a Prisoner in Mind of Evil, a Primitive in Colony in Space, a Guard in Curse of Peladon, a Warrior in the Mutants, an Exillon in Death to the Daleks, a Guard in Monster of Peladon, a Soldier, Armourer & Brethren in Masque of Mandragora, a Levithian Guard in Ribos Operation a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara, and a Skonnan Elder in Horns of the Nimon He returns as a Gundam in Warriors Gate.

David Rolfe was an Exxilon in Deah to the Daleks Guard in Monster of Peladon Astronaut in Planet of Evil Courtier in Masque of Mandragora He's in The Young Ones: Sick and in Jeeves and Wooster plays Butterfield in Sir Watkyn Bassett's Memoirs.

Roy Seeley was a Noble in Androids of Tara. and a Skonnan Elder in Horns of the Nimon He returns as a Logopolitan in Logopolis, a Time Lord in Trial of Time Lord Mysterious Planet & Mindwarp, and a Crimson Time Lord in Trial of Time Lord Terror of the Vervoids and The Ultimate Foe. In Blake's 7 he's an Arbiter in Death-Watch. In Star Wars he was a stand-in for Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca.

A number of actors play unnamed Argolin Guides:

Derek Suthern first appeared as a Path Lab Technician in The Hand of Fear returning as a Mentiad in Pirate Planet, a Gracht Guard & Zadek Guard in The Androids of Tara, a Mute in The Armageddon Factor, a Guard in The Creature from the Pit, a Mandrel in Nightmare of Eden and a Skonnan Guard in The Horns of Nimon. He would have made a fourth appearance as a Krarg in Shada if that hadn't have been cancelled. That also deprives him of appearances in five consecutive Doctor Who stories with this appearance! He returns at the end of that season as PC Davis in Logopolis part one followed by playing a Cricketer in Black Orchid, a Policeman in Time-Flight, and a Man in Market in Snakedance. In Blake's 7 he was a Federation Trooper in The Way Back, a Scavenger in Deliverance, a Federation Trooper in Trial & Countdown, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Hommik Warrior in Power and a Space Princess Guard / Passenger in Gold. He appears in the Roger Moore James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me as an Atlantis Guard and is in Fawlty Towers as a Hotel Guest in both The Germans and The Psychiatrist.

Maurice Connor is making his Doctor Who debut here and returns as a Gundan in Warriors' Gate and a Foster in Keeper of Traken. He was also in Blake's 7 as a Space Princess Guard in Gold and appears in Gerry Anderson's Doppelgänger / Journey to the Far Side of the Sun as a Suit Technician. Several of the actors and props from this later reappear in UFO.

Douglas Stark had been a Sorenson Monster in Planet of Evil and a man in Image of the Fendahl. He returns as a Cricketer in Black Orchid one of the Management in Time Flight, a Soldier in Caves of Androzani, Mercenary in Dragonfire and a Pallbearer in Remembrance of the Daleks.

Annet Peters had been an Operation Golden Age Woman in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, a Citizen in The Pirate Planet and a Passenger Nightmare of Eden She returns as a Lazar in Terminus. She's got a couple of decent sitcom appearances to her name as Mrs. Wareing in the Fawlty Towers episode A Touch of Class and as a Woman in Restaurant in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin episode Hippopotamus.

Jenny Roberts was a Passenger in Nightmare of Eden.

Martin Fisk, plays the only named Argolin Guide, Vargos. He was previously in The Sweeney episode In from the Cold as Eddie Jackson. He's also in Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: The Moving Finger as Owen Griffith.

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LOTS of Holidaymakers in this episode:

Huntley Young was a Ghoul/Audience Member/Stagehand/Doorman (Fred) in Talons of Weng Chiang and a Slave in Destiny of the Daleks.

Inga Daley was a Movellan in Destiny of the Daleks.

Norman Bradley had been a Skonnan Guard in Horns of Nimon and would have appeared as a Young Scientist in Shada He returns as a Cyberman in Earthshock and a Guard in The Five Doctors

Ranjit Nakara returns as a Gaztek in Meglos, a Male Escapee & Duplication Body in Resurrection of the Daleks, and a Resistance Fighters/Alphan in Trial of a Timelord: Mindwarp.

Maureen Stevens returns as a Castrovalvan Woman in Castrovalva.

Hi Ching Returns as a Gaztek in Meglos. He's also in Agatha Christie's Poirot as Chow Feng in The Lost Mine and Alien³ as a Company Man.

Ling Tai returns to Doctor Who as one of the Sea Base Personnel in Warrriors of the Deep and as Shou Yuing in Battlefield. She was a Crackerjack! co-presenter in 1984. She played Lin in the Mornin' Sarge episode I Blame the Parents.

Ina Claire returns as a Female Onlooker at the Junkyard in Remembrance of the Daleks.

Also playing Holidaymakers are Anna Van Karina, Emmanuel Josiah, Pauline Lewis, Patti Patience, Ansley Pollard, John Salpeas, Willow Wipp, Sarah Gardner and Pearl Graham.

This is the episode where John Leeson returns as the dog's voice, after a year off. OK, this is the only episode of the story K-9's in but his original voice artist is still back!

When we join the story things aren't going well for Argolis. Having rebuilt the ruins of their planet from a war with the Foamasi, constructing the recreation centre called the Leisure Hive, they now have financial troubles:

BROCK: I must tell you that even those based on optimum exploitation predict a serious financial down run. That is the optimistic scenario.
PANGOL: You won't believe this. Brock looks like backing out.
BROCK: However one fact is absolutely clear. Argolis is suffering from an escalating negative cash flow.
PANGOL: What's that mean in plain language?
BROCK : Bluntly, Argolis is headed for bankruptcy.
MORIX: This Leisure Hive is expensive to maintain. Bookings last year were bad.
BROCK: And next year looks catastrophic
You wonder don't have t wonder why for long though .....
PANGOL: Over the years, visitors have been interested in the tricks it is possible to play with these solid images. So by way of a preface to the scientific analysis that follows let me demonstrate some of the more spectacular possibilities.

PANGOL: A tachyon field can therefore be made to arrive at point B, that visidome, say, before it's departure from point A, the Generator. For the next hour and a half, we will examine the wave equations that define the creation of solid tachyonic images.

If that's the Argolins' idea of recreation/leisure, no wonder their holiday camp business is in trouble!

However after this episode aired Doctor Who was in trouble recording a rating of just 5.9 million viewers, lower than the lowest rating for the previous season. By contrast Horns of Nimon episode 4 had 10.4 million viewers. The same night the first episode of The Leisure Hive aired ITV was showing (thank you Encyclopaedia of TV Science Fiction) the first episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Planet of the Slave Girls shown in the UK as a single 105 minute episode. Yes I know The Awakening is the first actual episode of Buck Rogers: ITV showed this on first. Buck Rogers was networked by ITV: all the ITV stations in the UK were showing it nationwide at the same time and this has a crippling effect on Doctor Who's viewing figures for the first five stories of the season. I can remember watching the original airing of Buck Rogers: by contrast I had no idea a new season of Doctor Who had started and the first I saw of it was a small amount of one of the Full Circle episodes, and then picked up watching regularly from Warrior's Gate.

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