The Leisure HiveBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 4 May 2004 - Reviewed by Bill Albert

Leisure Hive was the first episode of Tom Baker's last season. It featured several important new things including a new fiberglass Police Box, a new K9, and a new theme and graphics. It was also the first use of new computer based effects that were, by 1980 standards, fairly state of the art. It was a brave new era for Doctor Who and David Fisher's script was chosen as the introductory story.

There are a lot of good things about this story and a few really bad things. Unfortunately the bad things are the first five minutes of episode one and the last five minutes of episode four. It's off to a bad start with Romana and K9 walking along the beach. In a silly fit Romana throws a beach ball into the water and orders K9 to fetch. With K9's advanced brain you'd think he'd know that water and electronics don't mix but ZAP, he's down for the count. Certainly there could have been better ways to write him out for the story than making him and Romana look stupid. The conclusion is also way to fast and none of the characters even pause to accept the sudden revelations that take place. The villain is transferred to a child and the Argolian leader's body is regenerated to her youthful self and not one character is even phased by that.

There are lots of good things in between however. Lovett Bickford's directing pace is very good and it's a very steady and the story never slows down. With David Fisher's writing being so tight you could almost argue that this is a real time story. Things are happening so fast that the characters never pause to just watch the world go by or wait for things to happen. Another good thing about this story is the design of the Leisure Hive and the Argolians. They are both dressed very sharply with bright primary colors that give the story a very comic book look.

Despite the bad opening and closing the entire story is a good start to a new era of the series and the end of Baker's time on the show. Even though Baker was starting to look a bit tired of the role the Doctor's reactions in this story link quite well with the events in Logopolis. Perhaps the moment had been prepared for for quite some time.