Brittany Watches Classic Who

     ↳ The Leisure Hive (#110)

★★★½ / 5

Doctor Who enters the 80’s with this four part opener to season 18. An interesting and entertaining story, The Leisure Hive serves as a great series opener. Most notable about this story is the fact that the Doctor has decided to be rid of the randomizer on the TARDIS controls, thus allowing for the Black Guardian to trace him.

Old man Doctor looked like Moses.

I don’t understand why on earth K9 just ran right into the water, but I suppose it’s just because the new folks in charge thought K9 was too silly and didn’t want him in the story. But I’m very glad that John Leeson is doing the voice again.

At this moment I couldn’t help but think of how excited Captain Jack would be.

And Tom with that little alien baby was so cute :)

I wonder what it would be like if I did serious reviews of these stories…

Fun Fact:

  • Every serial between The Leisure Hive and The Five Doctors is linked in some way, either directly leading from one storyline to the next, or through direct reference
  • At the beginning of the story, on Brighton beach out of season, the Doctor grumpily states that this is the second time he has missed the opening of the Brighton Pavilion (by the best part of two centuries, it would appear). The first time was with Leela in Horror of Fang Rock.
  • Beginning with this story, the Doctor abandoned his famous multi-coloured scarf in favour of a burgundy and purple one. Also, the question mark motif made its first appearance here as a regular element of the Doctor’s wardrobe. The Doctor also sported a new burgundy overcoat, as part of his new colour coordinated clothing.
  • A new TARDIS prop is introduced in this episode which replaces the one used since The Masque of Mandragora. This prop would be used right until the end of the original series’ production in 1989. This was also the first story to use the Quantel DPE 5000 digital image processing system. Filming on the story ran badly over budget.
  • Production of the serial was extremely challenging. Tom Baker and Lalla Ward’s tumultuous off-screen relationship was at a nadir, causing the mood on set to be distinctly chilly.
  • CLOTHING - Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, Barry Letts and Christopher H. Bidmead all protested John Nathan-Turner’s decision to add question-marks to Baker’s shirts, arguing that it was gimmicky. Baker in particular was unhappy with it and told Nathan-Turner that it was “annoying, absurd and ridiculous”, while Bidmead later called it “a silly, quite absurd gimmick really”. Bidmead, who found working with Tom Baker “difficult to say the very least”, supposedly told Baker and Nathan-Turner during recording of The Leisure Hive that exclamation marks would have been more appropriate for Baker’s shirts. The Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy would later protest his question-mark adorned jumper in similar terms, but the question-mark motif would remain until the end of the classic series in 1989. Baker also disliked his new scarf, requesting that his old multi-coloured one be re-instated, but expressed gratitude to costume designer June Hudson for refusing to adhere to Nathan-Turner’s demands to ditch the trademark scarf altogether and managing to find a compromise.

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