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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars

TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 June 2013
Romana wants a holiday. She isn't particularly impressed with the Doctor's choice however - Brighton beach in the middle of winter. Instead, she favours a trip to Argolis - one of the first leisure planets. The Argolin's experiments with the Tachyon Recreation Generator piques the Doctor's scientific curiosity, but all is not well at the Leisure Hive. Murder and sabotage shatter the peace of the holidaymakers, and naturally the Doctor finds himself right in the middle of it all ....

David Fisher's novelisation, published in 1982, expands quite considerably on his television scripts. In parts, particularly the section detailing the warlike history of Argolis, he produced a style not dissimilar to the late Douglas Adams, peppering the prose with some nice humourous touches. It was certainly one of the best Doctor Who books of the period, which makes it a good choice to release in the ever-growing series of Doctor Who Classic Novels audios.

It's very well read by Lalla Ward, her first in this series, although she has also read Gareth Roberts' adaptation of Douglas Adams' Shada. John Leeson provides the few lines of K9's dialogue and the sound design and music are quite restrained, not overpowering the reading, unlike some of the previous releases.

Running for 3 hours and 45 minutes across three CDs, The Leisure Hive is an entertaining reading by Romana II - Lalla Ward.
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on 5 February 2014
I was never a fan of the televised version, finding the storyline disjointed and muddled. However, the novelisation improves vastly upon it. Novelised by the author of the original script, much more time is taken in telling the story and letting it develop. This provides better reasons for events and helps to explain the motivations and ideals of both individuals and societies. This is most apparent in the depth of detail offered concerning the two alien races and the background to their conflict. It enables both the Foamasi and the Argolin to appear as legitimate civilisations and gives weight to the events of the book.

The opening beach sequence is extended and has a clearer reason for being included. It feels more like part of the story than it did in the televised version. The whole fiasco of K-9 ending up in the sea actually makes a bit more sense as well. I could never work out why Romana appeared to be trying to kill K-9 and then got so upset about it in the televised version. I assume it was some bad editing.

The Argolins always looked quite good on the television. Some of their austere appearance and manner is lost in the novelisation. But his is more than compensated by the improvement of the Foamasi who are no longer the cumbersome, overweight chameleon looking creatures but more agile lizard like beings with functional tails. They also benefit highly from a better portrayal of their skin suits and an explanation of their history and usage in Foamasi civilisation. They are much more credibly realised in the book.
The story still tails off towards its conclusion but it is consistently more informative and detailed than its televised counterpart.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 10 September 2012
This is the novelisation of the four part story first broadcast in 1980, as the first story of Season 18, and the first story produced by John Nathan-Turner. The novel itself is written by the writer of the story, which is good as it means the novel should really reflect the writer's original intentions. I found this on tv a confusing and rather muddly story; in the novel, it at least has the opportunity to explain elements that don't come across on the visual medium, so it's less confusing. But I'm afraid I still find it rather muddly.

The Doctor and Romana, with K-9 are taking a holiday on Brighton; or they are, until K-9 swallows too much seawater and blows a few gaskets, and the weather on Brighton is not suitable for a beach holiday, so Romana makes the Doctor take them to Argolis, the Leisure Planet. Here, if anywhere in the universe, they should be able to have a nice relaxing holiday - shouldn't they? Well, no, not really. The Tachyon Recreation Generator, used by the Argolins for the entertainment of their paying guests starts to play up with fatal consequences - but who is behind the scenes, and what does this have to do with the Argolins not getting the income they require to keep their Leisure Planet going? The Doctor and Romana are caught up in events that they really didn't want to have anything to do with, and must seek to redeem not only their holiday, but their lives.

My impressions? A good Fourth Doctor story, but one that just got all a bit muddled somewhere in the telling.
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on 18 July 2013
If you are a relatively new fan of the series, perhaps only introduced to the adventures & perils of the errant Time Lord back in 2005, imagine that tingling sense of excitement in the milliseconds after the BBC Continuity man said, "Now, BBC One hurtles through spaces and time. Come with us for a trip of a lifetime. Aliens, you have been warned! Christopher Eccleston is the new DOCTOR WHO" and transfer that frisson of energy back in time to August 30 1980 to a moment in the series' history when it, not for the first time, re-invented itself.

With a new theme music, new opening title sequence and a new maturity, DOCTOR WHO was regenerated, and with DOCTOR WHO - THE LEISURE HIVE fans were treated to a new style of storytelling - darker, science-factual biased, and Agatha Christie inspired mystery & intrigue - that set the tone for that 18th Season (yes, back in the ol'days, fans and the BBC designated them as `seasons' as opposed to `series') in the same fashion that Russell T Davies' ROSE had achieved.

"Warfare came easy like breathing to the Argolin"

Released as an unabridged audiobook by AUDIOGO, David Fisher's TARGET publication once again entices the reader into the inescapable web of deceit and warmongering that the planet of Argolis (originally known as Xxbrmm) finds itself trapped within; deceit from both external sources aiming to sabotage its economic stability and remove its inhabitants, and from within to challenge the ruling elite's naivety and weakness. A novelisation that cleverly and, at times, wittily in a prose style that seems to be an appreciation of Douglas Adams (THE HITCHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY author and former DOCTOR WHO Writer/Scripted Editor) expands on his original teleplay. An indignant, `jobs worth' Deckchair seller and a compliant Candy Floss seller replaces the broadcast lingering, sweeping camera-pan across the stone-strewn Brighton beach, whilst he introduces android stewards aboard the Argolin Space Shuttle and details the centuries of conflict sought by the Argolin as they ravage and plunder like galactic Vikings and their eventual clash (in effect, a disastrous six-minute meeting to discuss a disputed barren asteroid) with the Foamasi race (an reptilian-like alien with the ability to compress themselves into skin-suit as a disguise to infiltrate and undermine).

"Casually, he rolled up the `Brock skin' like an old pair of Overalls. Romana touched the skin. It still felt warm and soft as it was made from incredibly fine suede".

Overall, a novel that embraces chivalry & honour and the passion for warfare & conflict, mirrors humanity's own chaotic and challenging history, which would both end and re-start with the birth of the new Argolin.

To be honest, it's one of my personal favourite novels and broadcast stories. One of a handful that I can never tire of revisiting, finding or highlighting something that I had not seen before.

Equally, there is something comforting, reassuring and assiduous in Lalla Ward's audiobook reading. Effortless, yes, that's the word; not forced, not trying to be clever or singularly ebullient.

With clarity and dramatic presence, Ward delivers an authoritarian yet time weary Fourth Doctor alongside a vivacious Romana whilst her scheming Argolin `youth', Pangol is suitably petulant and distrusting in contrast to the aging, placatory CEO of ALE (Argolin Leisure Enterprises), Morix. Never forcing to delivery characterisation, Ward, along with David Troughton and Geoffrey Beevers, is becoming one of the more accomplished AUDIOGO readers who clearly understand and appreciate the subtle and sensitive `art' of audiobook reading, pitching their creative enthusiasm at a level that does not patronise the loyal DOCTOR WHO fan who has delved deep - especially in these times of world financial austerity - into their TARDIS moneybox to purchase the CD or Download.

One criticism that I do have is the post-production; periodically, it's scant. In previous AUDIOGO releases, MEON PRODUCTIONS has lavished an aural suite of incidental music and, more importantly, situation-specific sound effects that had become as much a part of the storytelling as the reading itself. Never whimsical nor argumentative, Simon Power's contribution have frequently elevated (read: saved from mediocrity) a reader's struggle to engage the listener but here, for THE LEISURE HIVE, there is a brevity that is out of character and it's noticeable. However, the sound realisation of the scaled-skin Foamasi is a triumph, less synthetically comic-book and `radio telegraphic' than the televised version; lyrical yet tonally ambivalent delivering a true alien that would not be out of place in the NEW SERIES.

Overall, whilst I am dually disappointed that the author was not given an opportunity (granted by AUDIOGO) to tweak and add further to his original 1982 novel and that the post-recording treatment (including a less-than electronic-mechanical voice for seawater-drenched K9) is as stripped to the bare bones as a Foamasi criminal at the swishing claws of an FBI (Foamasi Bureau of Investigation) `under-skin' Agent, DOCTOR WHO AND THE LEISURE HIVE is a most agreeable addition to the CLASSIC SERIES audiobook library, and with SEASON 18 being so rich, diverse in its storytelling content it would be a regrettable for AUDIOGO not to bring its novelisations to a whole a new, sponge-like listening audience.

Perhaps, a special edition audiobook box-set release of THE E-SPACE TRILOGY read by Matthew Waterhouse, Tom Baker and Lalla Ward?

Oh, that would be a treat.
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on 24 July 2016
Loved it
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on 30 October 2014
It for Christmas. If good as was TVs can't wait for it
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on 2 July 2013
I tend to find fihers ideas rather dry and academic (his new Audiobook version of Doctor who feel like I am listening to Academic research books rahter than a good Novel)

Well here it is again , only this time its original. With a dash of Douglas Adamas type humour that I think comes across more from Lalla Ward`s reading than the novel itself. But it really did seem to drone on and one for so long one forgot what was happening.
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