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Trivia / Doctor Who S18 E1 "The Leisure Hive"

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  • Duelling Works: ITV premiered Buck Rogers in the 25th Century directly opposite the first episode, after a high-profile promotional campaign. ITV had never previously attempted to compete with Doctor Who by scheduling science fiction in that slot before, and its change of policy in 1980 is credited as being a major factor in the significant slump in ratings seen for the early stories in Doctor Who's eighteenth season. Not only did small audiences watch the first episode, but figures dropped each week. By week three, Doctor Who did something it hadn't done in eighteen years: it fell out of the top hundred programmes for the week it was transmitted.
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  • Mid-Development Genre Shift: Writer David Fisher originally envisaged the story as a humorous pastiche of gangster movies, in keeping with the tone of the previous few seasons under Graham Williams and Douglas Adams. The desire of the new production team of John Nathan-Turner and Christopher H. Bidmead to make Doctor Who more serious and science-focused meant the story ended up becoming a dystopian drama. Remnants of the original idea are still present in Fisher's novelization of the serial, however.
  • Real-Life Relative: The baby Pangol was played by Alys Dyer, whose mother was production unit manager Angela Smith.
  • Troubled Production: Production of the serial was extremely challenging:
    • Tom Baker and Lalla Ward's tumultuous off-screen relationship was at a nadir. The two were also vocally opposed to practically all of the changes that John Nathan-Turner instituted, and as this was the first story of the season to be produced, the combination of Creative Differences and actor hostility caused the mood on set to be distinctly chilly right from the start.
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    • Director Lovett Bickford's management of the shoot caused it to go so badly over budget that John Nathan-Turner was severely reprimanded by his superiors. Bickford would never work on the series again.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Siân Phillips was offered the role of Mena.
    • John Nathan-Turner planned on ditching the Fourth Doctor's scarf starting with this story, but backed down after costume designer June Hudson refused to comply. The pair compromised by instead giving the Doctor a new burgundy outfit with a red and purple version of the scarf that blended in with his coat rather than popping out against it.
  • Working Title: The Argolins and Avalon.
  • You Look Familiar: Laurence Payne had previously played Johnny Ringo.

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