Friday, 22 July 2011

The Leisure Hive (Part 2)

Originally Broadcast 5th September 1980
Written by: David Fisher

The Doctor and Romana try and help rejuvenate a dying species as murder and mystery play a hand in the second of four parts for this 1980 adventure.

More spoon feeding dialogue plays a hand but luckily Fisher’s gotten rid of his book of clich├ęs for this next part, although I’m still not being a huge fan of Bickford’s directing skills. He does have a good idea with the ‘monster’ by revealing him slowly over time, although now we’ve been waiting two episodes with still no proper sight of them, “maybe it’ll be worth the wait” this reviewer thinks sarcastically, having seen the Foamisi in all their glory.

I’m not sure who failed to do their job but this serial is seriously under running as well, this episode barely scraping the twenty-minute mark whereas it should be hitting around four minutes longer, it’s a shame this DVD doesn’t carry some deleted scenes (if any exist) as it’d be fascinating to see if anything was cut to make it this short on purpose.

The brilliant David Haig, watch out for him!
There are three particularly good things that stand out in this story that I failed to mention in my review of episode one and they are as follows:
1)      June Hudson’s costumes. Hudson is probably the most famous classic Who costume designer and I love all the costumes from the episodes she undertook, as she’s so inventive with the small budget. The Argolin costumes here are fantastic and really carry an Ancient Rome type powerful look about them
2)      Peter Howell’s incidental music. Whilst not the best at times, this music really strikes a different after the wonderful Dudley Simpson was axed by JNT. It’s quite adventurous and sets the tone well for the adventure side of the serial.
3)      The set design isn’t the greatest Doctor Who has ever had, far from it, in fact, but the sets are memorable and fairly believable, I can’t really knock them as they do the job and look effective. This paired with the more-than-brilliant lighting work undertaken in this episode and they really strike up a powerful partnership.

There’s not really a lot more to shout about in this episode, there’s some good acting and there’s some less-than-good acting, although it doesn’t get in the way too much, but is noticeable in one scene in particular (see if you can spot it, faithful reader). There’s a great idea for a cliffhanger not too wonderfully executed, but I believe this to be an editing problem and not one of Bickfords, as he directed the episode one cliffhanger with greatness.

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