Thursday, December 31, 2009

5N4 - The Leisure Hive 4

The Leisure Hive concludes with easily my favourite transition from incidental music to end theme music in the history of Doctor Who. It helps that Peter Howell did both sections of music to make this transition as appealing as it is, of course. Howell's suite during the generator sequence brings that scene to life, as well, and is a rare opportunity for a composer to take centre stage that Dudley Simpson was never afforded (or asked for, possibly).

I've enjoyed The Leisure Hive, but I've noticed that I've mostly focused on the design aspects of the production. The story itself is entertaining enough on its own, as written by David Fisher. But it's the script editing of one Christopher Hamilton Bidmead that gives it, and the entirety of Season 18, its science based bent. Bidmead also excised most, if not all, extraneous material from Fisher's scripts. The result is four tightly paced episodes, some of which, after extra long reprises and credit sequences, still barely manage to make it past the 20-minute mark in duration.

I know that Bidmead gets a lot of flack in Who circles, if only for his raging ego, but I imagine that his work on the series is one of the reasons why I enjoy Season 18 so much. However, Bidmead's desire to set the series back on the course of science after several years of fantastical storylines may have swung the pendulum too far to the other side. When too much science creeps into things, the drama stalls. When the characters take over, The Leisure Hive can be an enjoyable watch indeed.


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