the Postman? Come on! The letterbox flap! It’s arrived”
sad DOCTOR WHO fan Kodak™ moment, when
excitement overcomes logic, common sense and adult maturity. The pending arrival
of THE LEISURE HIVE on DVD was like waiting for a New Series
to start. Really. It was.
A sleeve spelling error. Brighton breach. R! That doesn’t bode well for
A ‘hair in the gate’ during the opening panning shot not electronically
removed by the Restoration team. That doesn’t bode well for the DVD.
that was it.
LEISURE HIVE is a controversial production. Not for the plotline (though
after viewing this again I am sure appreciation will re-develop in coming months)
but for the wholesale changes to the programme’s approach (style versus
substance) distilled by a new team. Both the opening titles and theme music were
as much a shock (a positive one) as the end of EARTHSHOCK episode
1. Here, the electronic cleaning of the opening titles is superbly executed by
the Restoration Team (Designer, Sid Sutton discusses the creation of the show’s
new titles in an extra, SYNTHESIZING STARFIELDS).
releasing this production on DVD so close the launch of the New Series is prophetic.
How to make the series different but familiar, recognising the need to move forward
whilst having two feet in the past, satisfying existing (loyal) fans whilst attracting
an extra 5 million viewers?
this release, BBC WORLDWIDE have assembled a range of DVD extras
that are perfect, focusing on all aspects of the production (no frivolous ‘spoofs’ included)
- direction, costume, design, writing, music and contribution from its Producer.
As for the commentary: the ingredients of Director, (Script Editor) Writer and
Actor enlighten the viewer theough intelligible discussion and frank exchanges
of mutually respective views.
Ward edges the commentary soundtrack would a 15 BBFC DVD rating, as she observes, “The
helmet (of Thereon) looks so phallic stuck up there with Velcro”.
Lovett Bickford gives a master class in direction, explaining the benefits of
working with long lens creating a depth of field. He describes the planning and
execution of the meeting room scenes (“Woody Allen does a lot of actor
walking out of frame and then back in. It’s effective.”), and
his original design for the Foamasi. The new Script Editor, Christopher H(amiliton)
Bidmead confirmed that David Fisher “brought some very good ideas to
the script. Ahead of his time.”
AVALON TO ARGOLIS (produced and directed by Steve Broster - a breath
of fresh air to the extras production team) interviews writer David Fisher and
Bidmead. (I got so wrapped up in this presentation I forgot to take notes for
this review). Absorbing.
Sutton is proud of his work (the 1980s DOCTOR WHO theme titles)
and if he was only for it he would be happy. In SYNTHESIZING STARFIELDS,
Sutton chronicles the development and realisation of the titles (including the
innovative used of a cardboard tube). No doubt the 2005 New Series’ titles
will be CGI and I hope that their impact and suitability will be impact as much
as Sutton's. BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s Peter Howell calmly examines his
new version of the iconic theme tune and the shift from ensemble musicians (used
by Dudley Simpson) to electronic techniques. There are several minutes of archive
footage with Howell which reveals why he sings on the theme tune. Absorbing.
Nathan-Turner is forever John Nathan-Turner and his contribution to A
NEW BEGINNING is stunning. Always candid, he explains why he wanted
a new title sequence (stingingly cruel). In this archive interview from 1994,
he was interviewed in a seaside ‘greasy spoon’ café? He deserved
you thought that DOCTOR WHO costumes were perpetually re-cycled
then watch LEISURE WEAR. Costume Designer, June Hudson talks
affectionately about her work, including the creation of the Fourth Doctor’s
new costume (by the way, it’s known as ‘plum’, not ‘burgundy’),
the adoption of the ‘?’ and the Foamasi aliens.
programme itself has had its colour restored to its 1980 richness, and sound ‘surrounded’ audibly.
However, the programme’s special effects (such as the Foamasi forced entry
into the Hive) could have been enhanced (as they did with EARTHSHOCK)
- but that is a minor grip.
DVD package but, excuse me, I have to watch it again.