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Over the past few days, consistent with things I said in Forum:Moving the tables of content to the right, I've been trying to beef up the lead sections on television story pages. And that was all going very well, with some people saying some very nice things about my additions.
Then I got to The Leisure Hive and unexpectedly came within an edit of being in an edit war. So I bring the matter here for greater discussion, as our new edit war policy demands.
Here is the lead as I wrote it:
For the first time ever, the title sequence failed to depict the time vortex, replacing it instead with a representation of normal space. Delia Derbyshire's arrangement of the Doctor Who theme was likewise completely abandoned. These wholesale alterations to the programme's opening sequence would, with relatively minor adjustments, remain in place until season 24. At the same time, Nathan-Turner decided to end composer Dudley Simpson's long association with the programme. He opted to allow the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to handle the incidental music for Hive.
Hive also brought a new, much more stylised look for the fourth Doctor. Like the changes to the opening sequence, those to the Doctor's outfit would persist through Nathan-Turner's era, particularly that of the question mark motif. Also discarded was the notion that each Doctor had a certain "look", which could alter somewhat, depending on the serial. Instead, Hive heralded the beginning of the "uniform" approach to costuming the Doctor.
Narratively, Hive was an unusual story in that it was commissioned directly by the producer rather than the script editor, because Christopher H. Bidmead was not yet hired. New executive producer Barry Letts also had a significant hand in shaping the story's outline.
Production of the serial was extremely challenging. Tom Baker and Lalla Ward's tumultuous off-screen relationship wsa at a nadir, causing the mood on set to be distinctly chilly. Director Lovett Bickford's management of the shoot was highly incompetent, causing it to go so badly over budget that John Nathan-Turner was severely reprimanded by his superiors. Bickford would thus never work on Doctor Who again.
The contemporary audience failed to redeem the behind-the-scenes difficulties. Not only did small audiences attend the first episode, but figures dropped each week. By week three, Doctor Who did something it hadn't done in 18 years: it fell out of the top 100 programmes for the week in which it was transmitted.
Initially, Bold Clone redacted it back to just the first paragraph, under the mistaken belief that story pages were in-universe, and I'd put a lot of real world stuff in there. After my restoration, he changed his rationale to "this is just too damned long" and just picked random paragraphs to cull.
So the question before the forum is this: Is the lead too long? I kinda need to know before I waste my time doing more.
I argue that it's not, because story leads are different than other leads. What's important about a story to one person may not be important to another person. Episodes represent not only narrative points, but behind-the-scenes milestones as well. A story like The Leisure Hive will have a longer lead because it's the beginning of a new era of Doctor Who. Thus, there are a ton of things that make it notable. I'm not saying the lead as I have it can't be edited. But just randomly pulling whole paragraphs is too blunt force an approach for my tastes. For some people, what's important to know is the state of the Tom/Lalla thing. For others, it's a general characterization of how the shoot went, or what big changes JNT made.
- It's interesting and leads you into the article, making you want to read more.
- I think we've been lulled, thus far into thinking that a short "this is story X, part of season Y, produced in year XXXX" lead for an article is the norm.
- I really think an interesting lead is the way to go, it helps to pull people into the article, and I say this from writing several Feature article things for the main page where the idea is to pull people to "Read more", and this is what an interesting lead into an article does.
- It is lengthy, but as you say it is, but it the beginning of a new era, so it has much to cover. --Tangerineduel / talk 12:31, January 8, 2011 (UTC)