Browse the WBW Podcast
Browse the WBW Podcast
Browse Classic Who reviews
Browse Classic Who reviews

Doc does a lot of maturing while Romana shares the gift of immortality with a bunch of cornetto hairdos

After inter-stellar, nuclear war with the reptilian Foamasi ravaged the planet Argolis, forced the few remaining survivors below ground, and made them sterile in the process, the Argolins did the only sane thing, and turned their home into a low-rent Center Parcs. As luck would have it, K-9’s just exploded, so Romana suggests they head there to unwind.

Boasting non-gravity squash courts and all the science classes you could want, the titular Leisure Hive in fact plays host to intricate experiments in tachyonics as a last recourse in keeping the Argolin civilisation alive. But what if the experiments are fake? And why are people dying during ‘armless scientific demonstrations? Only Doc and Romana can figure it out.

Here's what we think of C110 The Leisure Hive

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

2.8

Jim | @jimmythewho

3.5

Here's what we think of C110 The Leisure Hive

We rate Doctor Who stories on a scale from 0.0 to 5.0. For context, very few are excellent enough to merit a 5.0 in our minds, and we'd take a 0.0 Doctor Who story over a lot of other, non-Whovian stuff out there.

Leon | @ponken

2.8

Jim | @jimmythewho

3.5

Here's what you think 6 Responses to “C110 The Leisure Hive”
  1. Peter Zunitch

    New Intro, new music, new producer, better recording, updated effects, more serious, more hard scifi. It might seem strange to some but MY doctor is actually TWO doctors. From now through all of Peter Davision, this is MY Doctor Who.

    There are only three things that bother me about Leisure Hive. First, the floating past the squash players where there is no reaction from the players. Second, the obviously repeated swinging arm marching of the Pangols, and third, the thought of balls falling off as you age really makes me uncomfortable. The rest is totally tolerable, and some of it is outstanding.

    Shining star award this week must go to Tom’s aging makeup, which would still be flawless on an 8k screen. It’s better than many million dollar budget movie attempts.

    The writing has a good deal of depth. There’s a detailed backstory, a diverse extended world, and decent characters. Both the Argolin and somewhat Fomasi would be a great new-Who race, and it would be great to re-visit them. Retro-rewrite, Tom doesn’t really do much here. There’s also intrigue, but very little action. I also feel there could have been a better explanation as to why people are dying in the machine and what is causing all of the experiments to fail. There’s just a few too many “I”’s not dotted and “T”’s not crossed.

    It’s a good start to the season, but it’s not amazing. Now wearing my “Mena Rocks” t-shirt, I give it a leisurely recreational 3.6

  2. Andy Parkinson | @caffreys71

    And so, we get to Season 18, a season that begins with so many new things such as new producer. theme tune and opening sequence to name but a few, but also one which will signal the end of so much. By the end of this season we will have lost K9, Romana and most importantly Tom Baker! This absolutely sucks and it’s something I’ve never recovered from in nearly 40 years! For me Tom was always the greatest Doctor and it was a sad day when he finally hung up his scarf.
    The Leisure Hive is a mix of whodunnit and an allegory about racism/nationalism with a chunk of the mafia thrown in for good measure.
    Our story starts with Romana II showing why electronics and water are not supposed to mix, and no number of bags of rice are going to fix K9 soon!

    Likes:

    The special effects and models are good and make the show look less cheap and shonky.
    The costumes/make-up are really good and I really enjoy the Foamasi only being shown in little glimpses (very like Alien it’s better when you don’t see the monster properly) and it adds to the mystery at least until the full reveal later in the story – then unfortunately they look rubbish. Fun fact – the Foamasi costume would later be reused in Hitch-Hiker’s as the G’Gugvuntt leader.
    Tom Baker’s portrayal of the aged Doctor is fabulous and it’s utterly believable. Tom at his very best.

    Beefs:

    Why is everyone taken in by the phoney Brock’s sudden acceptance of a seat on the board, and why is he (a West Lodge Foamasi) so interested in Hardin’s experiments as a possible source of revenue when his interest is in the running-down of the Hive so that his group can buy it?
    The music! Although I’m fine with the new electro style but there’s just too much of it!
    Despite the good models, the Earth shuttles are pants and we don’t really see enough of them to make them any use.
    Pangol explaining the tachyonic generator – he says he’ll spend the next hour and a half explaining the wave equations, no wonder Argolis is going bankrupt! It’s supposed to be a holiday destination – not the worst school field trip ever!!
    The Pangol/Doctor clones are clearly all different heights!

    The reptile in a skin suit is reminiscent of V among others and at least they don’t have the flatulence problem that the Slitheen do!! This is a good story to open the new season. combined with the new effects etc make it an enjoyable romp. I wonder if David Icke maybe watched this episode too many times when he came up with his whack job idea that we’re ruled by alien reptiles in skin suits?

    I award this 3.9 Helmets of Theron out of 5.

  3. Kristaps Paddock

    This story opens one of my favorite seasons of Classic Who, and is solid, but not as good as many of the stories that would follow. I will give this many points for being a departure from “Monster of the Week” sci fi, and I love all the talk about tachyon energy. Furthermore, it continues the “hard sci fi” angle by having a nonhuman character that doesn’t somehow know how to speak English.

    That said, I have to subtract some for the “old” makeup Tom Baker wears, that amounts to having pink oatmeal smeared on his face, along with a bad wig. Oh, and the unicorn horn that drops berries as the Argolins age is a less than successful choice. In all, competent but just lacks a little pizazz, except for the BRILLIANT new title cards and intro music. Three point four.

  4. John Knight | @KnightWriter80

    Hello Boys! The Knight Writer is back on track!

    The Leisure Hive always has and always will hold a very special place for me. From the moment when the TARDIS materializes and I thought, as a young child, that it had squashed the poor Argolin who was trying to educate the group, to the magnificent Helmet of Theron, and the incredibly memorable Pangol March…this one I certainly did NOT want to miss out on providing a mini for.

    The opening scene is one I often tend to skip over, it’s just JNT strutting his stuff and showing his disdain for the advent of K-9 in the first 4 minutes of the program. But everything else is absolutely incredible, a wondrous blast into the “future” (80’s style), with the new intro & music, the Doctor’s new coat/scarf, and the newly enhanced approach to the incidental music & its use.

    It is not without its flaws, I’ll admit, but I have a difficult time really seeing them through my rose-coloured glasses. This is the first story to air in the UK after the day I was born, and the Pangol March remains one of my Top 3 favourite incidental music tracks of the entire original series.

    One of my Top 5 favourite Tom Baker stories, but not my favourite of the season, I’m going to give this 4.7 out of 5, which is the approximate number of times the helmeted extras had to loop around and out through the Recreation Centre door.

  5. Kirstin Dougherty

    You mentioned Foamasi?

    The Leisure Hive is one of those stories that I like, but I really don’t know why. It’s not that great really and at times it’s boring as hell.

    Gone is the funny and sometimes bonkers Fourth Doctor. Now we will have a very serious & moody Fourth Doctor with tacky question marks on his shirt.

    PROS:
    -The overall look is very good. Director Levitt Bickford did a very good job with the look of the show. Sure he took nearly six months to edit it and blew the budget, but it looked good.
    -The Older Doctor Make-up looks very realistic and well done
    -The Doctor writing a problem on the TARDIS to knock a guard out was entertaining.
    -“Arrest the scarf!”

    CONS
    -The music is so fucking loud! I get it, JNT, you wanted to show everyone the show has changed, but the background music shouldn’t be one of the first things I notice.
    -The Foamasi costume looks cheap as hell. I don’t even care about how a huge ass lizard fits into a smaller body. It looks like a monster head on top of a green trash bag.
    -I was super happy that John Leeson returned as the voice of K-9, but then super pissed 5 minutes later when he blew up.
    -How were the neck restraints that were put on the Doctor and Romana so easily taken off by an alien?

    2.5 Tacky Tachyonic Crystals out of 5

  6. Paul Waring | @pwaring

    Oh dear. The Leisure Hive – not very good is it? Two minutes of panning Brighton beach gives us an example of the slow, pondering nature of this story, which manages to run under time despite the padding. Baker is a far cry from his magestic performances a few seasons before, and the rest of the cast is underwhelming.

    There’s nothing particularly wrong with the plot – scientists meddling with time experiments, rival factions jostling for power, and a planet destroyed by radiation have all worked in other stories. I really like the concept of the Foamasi, although the cheap costumes and the limited exploration of their background doesn’t do them justice. They are put to much better use in the Eighth Doctor novel Placebo Effect (which I highly recommend).

    Overall, for me this story marks the point at which Baker has stayed on too long and the show needs a new actor in the leading role. It is towards the bottom of my Classic Who rankings, and doesn’t have the redeeming feature of being ‘so bad it’s good’, or hilariously bad acting (see: The Horns of Nimon). 2/5

    P.S. If you ever branch out into recording music, I reckon Children of the Generator would be a good band name.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you haven't already... Subscribe now!

Subscribe to us on iTunes now! We're dropping a new episode every week (pretty much), reviewing Classic Who, New Who and all kinds of bonus stuff from spin-offs and conventions to Doctor Who comic books.

We last reviewed...

A028 Prisoner Of The Sun