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  • Doctor Who: The Leisure Hive [VHS]
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Doctor Who: The Leisure Hive [VHS]

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Product details

  • Actors: Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, Adrienne Corri, David Haig, Laurence Payne
  • Directors: Lovett Bickford
  • Producers: John Nathan-Turner
  • Format: VHS
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: BBC
  • VHS Release Date: 24 Jan. 2000
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CTFU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 212,840 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Another adventure for everyone's favourite Time Lord. The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana take a holiday on the planet Argolis, in the giant pleasure dome known as the Leisure Hive. Unbeknown to them, Pangol, the son of the Argolin leader Mena, is planning to provoke a war with their age-old enemies the Foamasi, using the Tachyon Recreation Generator to create an army of duplicates of himself.

From Amazon.co.uk

It's hardly surprising that the Beeb take so long releasing DVDs in the Doctor Who series when they're as highly polished and as carefully selected as The Leisure Hive. Particularly significant in terms of the series' history, this sequence marked an end to Who's descent into vaudeville, and heralded the entrance of hotshot, new-broom Series Producer, John Nathan-Turner.

The opening long, slow pan across a wintry beach, on which an autumnal Doctor sits slumped, immediately declares the show's serious intentions. The narrative itself is an erudite discussion on fascism and racism taking in regeneration, megalomania, cloning and a series of Agatha Christie-esque murders. It's the style, rather than the story, however, that's foregrounded in The Leisure Hive: along with his new sober approach, Nathan-Turner brought a new theme tune, a new logo, a new striking red costume and a new title sequence--one that, tellingly, moved away from the enclosed time tunnel to show the vastness of space opening up. Productions values are similarly high: the Quantel effects are impressive even now, and the performances are quite stunning, particularly Baker's as the prematurely aged, infirm Doctor.

By dispensing with the clowning and with what he termed "Douglas Adams' undergrad humour", Nathan-Turner reinvigorated a show that was becoming stale. The diegetic rebirth brought about by the Regeneration Drive at the show's denouement is an apposite motif, emblematic of the rebirth of the show itself--The Leisure Hive truly represented a new beginning for Who.

On the DVD: the images, colours and new 5.1 sound are all impressive, as are the abundance of extras. "A New Beginning" features a rare interview with Baker himself, and "From Avalon to Argolis" indulges in some very satisfying back-biting. There's also a nostalgia-inducing contemporaneous clip of an impossibly young Blue Peter presenter looking genuinely frightened by the exhibits of the then-great Longleat Doctor Who Exhibition. --Paul Eisinger --This text refers to the DVD edition.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dalek Sek on 17 Nov. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Well. I should really despise this, but I don't.

For a start, it is my favourite Doctor - Tom Baker. And Lalla Ward is wonderful as Romana nr 2. There are some strong supporting roles too.

Even the new theme music is quite catchy.

That's the good stuff. And the performances mentioned above are strong enough for me to get over the following....

John Nathan-Turner has arrived and there is a new effects gadget at hand. The problem is that every opportunity possible is taken to play with the new toy.

Unfortunately, the theme music has proved so popular that for some reason the entire story has almost turned into a musical, with mood music permeating almost every moment, suffocating some of the nuanced perfomances of the actors.

Poor Dudley Simpson, with Blake's 7 ending at roughly the same time, he would have every right to have felt rejected by the shiny new generation of BBC producers.

The whole story has a totally different feel. This transition in producers, for me has a bigger impact than some of the transitions in the leading part. The ever present synth chords remind me of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Ok. But too much of a good thing can make you sick.

Fortunately, throughout the rest of the season, these issues subside a bit. Maybe they got it out of their systems.

Finally on to the story. (at last you may say, but if you buy this, you will see why I have gone on so much about the production).

Well, it is OK. It has plenty of fake science which doesn't stand up, but there again that has never stopped Doctor Who in the past.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bob Marlowe on 16 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD
A fun if occasionally slow story. Author David Fisher once levelled at Douglas Adams the criticism of being too in love with ideas at the expense of story. Here he's a bit guilty of the same because despite the solid premise of Argolin race running a leisure complex and turning to science to save their dying race amidst some mafia style inter-racial politics, once it gets onto tachyons it gets bogged down in concepts. Nice to see some use of real science though.
The Argolins are a good June Hudson design, art deco with pods that fall off as they near death. Sadly the Foamasi are not so successful. Okay in long shot, but like giant sock puppets in close up.
Good stylish direction even if Lovett Bickford gets a bit too arty in places-witness the epic tracking shot on Brighton Beach and the overuse of quantel effects. Quantel effects are used for an awful episode climax in part 1.
Good rather than great performances from the guest cast, solid work from Who rep actor Laurence Payne, Adrienne Corri (reportedly an authority on tachyons!) and David Haig- but no standouts.
As with all of his last season, Uncle Tom is on autopilot sometimes but once engaged (e.g. on hearing his scarf was wrapped round a murder victim, he suggests "Arrest the scarf then!" gleefully) he is the Doctor of old. He also gets a chance to play a much older Doctor too. Lalla Ward is a lovely bubbly Romana and produces a look of horrified astonishment on seeing the Doctor transformed by an experiment.
In all, it does look as if production values shot up a notch since the previous year and made a good start for JNT as producer.
"A New Begining" is a showpiece documentary on the start of JNT's tenure as producer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Man Out Of Time on 10 Sept. 2012
Format: DVD
This was the first story of S18, the first for the JNT, Bidmead crew and the new look for Who as it stepped into the 1980s. But it wasn't all firsts; it was also the last season for Tom Baker.

The Leisure Hive still ranks as my favourite story from S18. There's still a hangover of the previous season's approach and some Adams-eque humour (a twenty minute war, squash players floating around in zero gravity and the baddies derived from an anagram of Mafiosi) and it gels rather seamlessly with the new look, which was very effects heavy and a visual and audio delight care of Peter Howell's soundtrack and the excellent direction of Lovett Bickford. Bickford has been criticised in some quarters - almost as if he's the Ken Russell of Who! - but personally I love his directorial flair, it really raises the stories game and provides the viewer with something genuinely special. After all, if you want to herald the dawn of a new era, you should do it in style!

The extras compiled for this DVD are very good. There's an interesting documentary on the intentions of the new era which includes some rehearsal footage of Tom going off at the deep end and the commentary featuring Lalla Ward, Christopher H Bidmead and Lovett Bickford is in turns both fascinating, enjoyable and frustrating - largely because the self important, delusional, arrogant bore Bidmead seems to think it's perfectly fine to sit there and slag off Bickford's directorial style and Tom's performance and overall behaviour. Bickford remains the gentleman and refuses to rise to the criticisms whilst Lalla - the former Mrs Baker whose marriage to her co star ended acrimoniously - rightly leaps to the defence of her ex husband and the overall tone and style of the show she so enjoyed working on. It's telling to note that when Bidmead got to sit with Baker for the commentary of Logopolis he kept his criticisms to himself. What a two faced stuffed shirt!
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