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The Sun Makers
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Synopsis


The Collector
The Collector
 Far in the distant future, Earth has become uninhabitable, forcing mankind to colonise first Mars, and then Pluto...

 No longer the coldest planet in the solar system, Pluto is now warmed by a series of artificial suns. But access to the sunlight is limited to a select few... The majority of the citizens of the vast Megropolis cities are being overworked and overtaxed by the ruling elite, led by the Gatherer, and the sinister Collector.

 The Doctor, Leela and K9 arrive, and discover that all is not well on Pluto. The human population is being totally exploited, whilst deep in the Undercity, a small band of rebels seeks to overthrow the mysterious 'Company' that controls all aspects of everyday life.

 As the situation gets more desperate, The Doctor is forced to fight the oppression of the evil corporate rulers of Pluto. And their taxes...!

Source: BBC VHS Video


General Information

Season: Fifteen
Production Code: 4W
Story Number: 95
Episode Numbers:466 - 469
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Alternative Titles:"The Sunmakers"
Production Dates: June - July 1977
Broadcast Started: 26 November 1977
Broadcast Finished: 17 December 1977
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: BBC Visual Effects Workshop and BBC Television Centre (TC3 and TC6)
Location: WD & HO Wills Tobacco Factory (Hartcliffe, Bristol) and Camden Deep Tube Shelters (Stanmore Place, Camden Town, London).
Writer:Robert Holmes
Director:Pennant Roberts
Producer:Graham Williams
Script Editors:Anthony Read (Uncredited) and Robert Holmes (Uncredited)
Editor:Tariq Anwar
Production Assistant:Leon Arnold
Production Unit Manager:John Nathan-Turner
Assistant Floor Manager:Linda Graeme
Designer:Tony Snoaden
Costume Designer:Christine Rawlins
Make-Up Designer:Janis Gould
Cameraman:John Tiley
Incidental Music:Dudley Simpson
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Paddy Kingsland
Studio Sounds:Michael McCarthy
Lighting:Derek Slee
Visual Effects:Peter Day and Peter Logan
Title Sequence:Bernard Lodge
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Delia Derbyshire
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 2The Companions: Louise Jameson (Leela) and John Leeson (voice only) (K9 Mk I) Guest Cast: Michael Keating (Goudry) Additional Cast: Richard Leech (Gatherer Hade), Jonina Scott (Marn), Roy Macready (Cordo), Henry Woolf (The Collector), William Simons (Mandrel), Adrienne Burgess (Veet), Carole Hopkin (Nurse), David Rowlands (Bisham), Derek Crewe (Synge), Colin McCormack (Commander), Tom Kelly (Guard)Setting: Megropolis 3, Pluto (Far Future) Villains:Gatherer Hade and The Collector

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
466Part 126 November 197724'59"8.5PAL 2" colour videotape
467Part 203 December 197724'57"9.5PAL 2" colour videotape
468Part 310 December 197724'57"8.9PAL 2" colour videotape
469Part 417 December 197724'57"8.4PAL 2" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 40 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 8.8
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)65.55%  (Position = 95 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)62.27% Lower (Position = 147 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)66.24% Higher (Position = 162 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist as PAL 2" colour videotapes.



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Notes


This story is considered to be a satire on the British tax system. It was written by outgoing Script Editor Robert Holmes, who assisted his replacement Anthony Read while writing the story. Neither received a credit for being the Script Editor.

"The Sun Makers" was scheduled to be the third story in production for Season Fifteen, and so was labeled Serial 4W. However, it was then decided to air "The Invisible Enemy" as the second story of the season. Because this adventure was also set on a human colony, "The Sun Makers" was shifted to fourth in the running order, after "Image of the Fendahl", to avoid the appearance of repetition. Despite this change in order of broadcast this story was recorded before "Image of the Fendahl" which was recorded before "The Sun Makers".

Because of this change in transmission order this story sees Leela once again wearing her darker ‘savage’ outfit. This story marks the last appearance of her original costume. For the next two stories - her last - she would continue to wear the lighter one that had been first seen in the previous story.

This story saw K9’s first involvement in a story as a companion. K9’s first appearance in "The Face of Evil" had proved popular with both Script Editor Robert Holmes and Producer Graham Williams who had decided to keep K9 on as a regular character. Robert Holmes was able to quickly integrate the character more into this story than the brief cameo appearance, that he only had in the previous story "Image of the Fendahl". John Leeson returned to the show to provide the voice of K9.

Michael Keating, who played rebel Goudry, subsequently went on to play the part of Vila in Blake’s 7. His casting as a regular in Blake’s 7 was based partially on his performance in this story.

Veet and Marn were originally written as male characters, they were changed to females during casting.

It was during production of this story that Louise Jameson informed the producers that she would be leaving the show at the end of this season.

Some of the features of this story bear a striking resemblance to the film Soylent Green, including the ‘deathday’ and the tax refund being based on the weight at the time of death, or the capability for ‘recycling’.

Robert Holmes intended the story to be a satire of his own experiences with the Inland Revenue services. However, much of the political content was toned down by order of Producer Graham Williams, who feared it would be controversial among viewers. Many of the letters and numbers used to denote the labyrinth of corridors in the city, for example ‘P45’, allude to British tax forms. The actor who played the Gatherer also had deep bushy eyebrows, very reminiscent of the then-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Denis Healey. However, Robert Holmes presented the villainous rulers of the colony as working for a private corporation rather than a government.

The Collector was originally due to be a member of an alien race called the ‘Userers’ but Graham Williams disliked this reference and so The Collector’s race was briefly changed to ‘Saurians’ before a compromise was reached with ‘Usurians’.

Delays incurred during location filming resulted in an overrun on the final studio day resulting in there being barely enough time to record the Collector’s ‘liquidation’. So disappointed was Visual Effects Designer AJ ‘Mitch’ Mitchell with the outcome that the experience ultimately encouraged him to leave the BBC and to seek freelance work.

There are a number of Aztec influences in the story’s costume and set designs - most notably in the Gatherer’ crested hat, the badges worn by Company executives and the large ‘sun god' symbol suspended at the back of the Gatherers’ office. These were a nod toward the original intention of set designer Tony Snoaden and costume designer Christine Rawlins to base their work on Mexican propagandist art, an idea that had been vetoed by the Director, Pennant Roberts.

This is the first story, recorded as part of Season Fifteen, to include any location filming. One of the many challenges faced during the recording of this story was to find a roof, which could serve as the top of Megropolis One, which provided an empty skyline to give the correct impression of height. Unfortunately, despite many attempts, no appropriate building could be found in the vicinity of London. The problem was finally solved by Production Assistant Leon Arnold, who suggested filming on top of the WD & HO Wills Tobacco Factory in Hartcliffe, Bristol. Look out during these scenes as a car park insignia is visible on the roof top.

The Gatherer employs many amusing forms of address for The Collector, including not only ‘your Excellency’ but also such gems as ‘your Magnificence’, ‘your Sagacity’ and ‘your Enormity’.

Part Two contains a rare false cliffhanger, where Cordo, Bisham, Leela and K9 spot an oncoming guard vehicle and Cordo says, ‘It's too late, they've seen us’. The reprise at the beginning of Part Three omits Cordo’s remark, and continues with Leela ordering K9 to hide, allowing it to easily disable the guards.

The Usurians are aware of the Time Lords and Gallifrey, having graded the former as ‘Grade 3’ in their ‘latest market survey’.

Near the end of Part Two, when prompted by Mandrel for a story, The Doctor begins, ‘Once upon a time, there were three sisters ...’ mirroring the same story he started telling Sarah Jane Smith, near the end of Part Three, of the 1975 story "The Android Invasion".

Leela is heard to refer to her tribe, the Sevateem, who appeared in "The Face of Evil".

The Doctor is heard to refer to Galileo Galilei in passing, saying ‘Galileo will be pleased’.

When one of the rebels rhetorically asks The Doctor, ‘What have we got to lose?’ he replies, ‘Only your claims!’ This is a playful paraphrase of the famous slogan derived from the last lines of The Communist Manifesto.

Three types of gas are mentioned in this story: Dianane, a deadly poison (to which Usurians are immune), Balarium, a muscle neutraliser, which also effects speech, and Pentocyleinicmethylhydrane (PCM), an anxiety inducing agent (which also purportedly eliminates air-borne infection).

K9 is heard referring to Pluto as ‘the ninth planet’. It was regarded as such at the time the program was written and broadcast. However, in 2006, Pluto lost that distinction when it was downgraded to the status of dwarf planet.

This story is echoed in The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror X" in which Comic Book Guy’s alter ego ‘The Collector’ kidnaps the Fourth Doctor for his collection.

Some textures of the walls are enlarged photographs of a die of an AMD microprocessor. The trademark of AMD is also visible.

The Collector ends his first conversation with the Gatherer with ‘this interview is terminated’. Max Capricorn, a character not unlike The Collector, ends a conversation with The Doctor with the same phrase in the 2007 Tenth Doctor story "Voyage of the Damned".

This story was repeated on BBC One in August 1978.

Professor Thripsted’s works also appear in the Virgin Book’s The New Adventures novels "Christmas on a Rational Planet" and "Lungbarrow", as well as in the BBC Book’s Eight Doctor Stories novels: "Alien Bodies", "Placebo Effect", "Unnatural History", and "Interference: Book Two".

A novelisation of this story, titled "Doctor Who and the Sunmakers", was written by Terrance Dicks and published by Target Books in November 1982. Terrance Dicks chose to tone down the scene in which revolutionaries cheer as they hurl one of their former oppressors from a roof, reducing the apparent horror so that the rebels concerned feel that their actions have gone ‘a bit too far’. This novelisation was also paired with the novelisation of "The Face of Evil" and released as the last of Star Books’ Doctor Who Classics range in May 1989.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 Anthony Read's first involvement in the show as Script Editor (all-be-it uncredited).

 This story saw K9’s first full involvement in a story as a companion.

 The first story, recorded as part of Season Fifteen, to include any location filming.


The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 The last time Leela is seen wearing her original 'darker' version of her famous leather outfit.

 Peter Day's last involvement in the show as Effects Designer.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The Doctor and Leela in the TARDIS
The Doctor and Leela in the TARDIS

The TARDIS arrives in the far future on the planet Pluto where there are now six suns, a breathable atmosphere and a large thriving industrial community - the city of Megropolis One.

The Doctor and Leela soon discover that the people, such as the D-grades, are not so happy as the Company, that controls the planet and owns the false suns that have been created around Pluto to provide the ability for some of mankind to live, is using its economic stranglehold over mankind to extort ever growing taxes. The Company exploits the workers by working them to the bone, pays them a pittance and then taxes them on everything imaginable.

As soon as they arrive, on the roof of Megropolis One, The Doctor and Leela witness Cordo, a D-grade citizen, who is so overwhelmed by the size of his tax bill that he has decided to take his own life by jumping from the roof. But luckily the arrival of The Doctor and Leela saves him from his chosen fate. The Doctor and Leela learn from Cordo that each Megropolis is ruled by a taxation Gatherer, and the entire operation on the planet reports to a malevolent Usurian known as The Collector.

The Doctor and K9 Playing Chess
The Doctor and K9 Playing Chess

The Usurians are notorious for enslaving whole planets through business ventures and then fleecing the inhabitants through exorbitant taxes and other bureaucratic means. The Collector though is a particularly nasty, bald-headed, green-hued, wheelchair bound, money-grabbing individual, who has the population well and truly subjugated while the Company continues to make ever greater profits.

The Doctor learns that some of the citizens have rejected this social order and have chosen to live in the dark tunnels of the Undercity. The Doctor and Leela, along with Cordo, decide to venture underground so as to encounter the band of rebels. They discover that the renegades are a vicious bunch of thieves and drop-outs, led by the brutal Mandrel, who are out to smash the system.

Leela Exiting the TARDIS
Leela Exiting the TARDIS

However, when Leela is held hostage by the rebels, who threaten to kill her, The Doctor is forced to attempt to withdraw some money - a thousand Talmars - from a Consumbank booth using a stolen and forged Consumcard. To assist him The Doctor summons K9 from the TARDIS unaware that the Gatherer of Megropolis One, Gatherer Hade, has been alerted to the arrival of the TARDIS and uses an electronic tracker to follow K9 as the robotic dog searches for his master. K9 soon finds The Doctor and Cordo at the Consumbank booth. Gatherer Hade also sees them and suspects they must be arms dealers and so arranges for the booth to be filled with a gas. Overcome by the cloud of noxious gas The Doctor falls unconscious.

When The Doctor awakes he finds himself restrained in a Correction Centre alongside a similarly incarcerated man named Bisham. Despite the prospect of being tortured The Doctor is more concerned for Leela, whom Mandrel threatened to kill if The Doctor did not return. The Doctor though is unaware that Leela is more than capable of looking after herself and her standing with the rebels further improves when Cordo, who evaded capture, returns to the Undercity with news of The Doctor’s capture. The Doctor finds himself being questioned by Gatherer Hade, who eventually decides to release The Doctor and have his movements tracked, believing he will lead them to the heart of the conspiracy against The Company. Unaware he is being tracked The Doctor returns to the Undercity only to find that Leela, K9 and Cordo have left the Undercity in an attempt to rescue him.

On discovering that The Collector is keeping the citizens in line by the use of a calming gas, PCM (pento cycleinic-methyl-hydrane), which is distributed via the air conditioning system throughout the complex, The Doctor persuades the rebels to start a revolution against The Company. Their first target will be the main control area where the PCM is added to the air supply. Mandrel and his gang are also persuaded to start destroying the monitors throughout the Megropolis and to start spreading the message of the organised revolt.

Gatherer Hade and Marn
Gatherer Hade and Marn

Unaware of The Doctor’s release Leela, Cordo and K9 attack the Correction Centre to try and rescue The Doctor but only succeed in freeing Bisham. However, as they depart the Centre they find all their possible travel routes blocked by Inner Retinue troopers. Leela leads her friends in an attack on the guards, but in the skirmish she falls from a troop transporter they have commandeered. The captured Leela finds herself in the presence of The collector who deduces from interrogating her that Gatherer Hade’s conspiracy theory is unfounded and orders that Leela to be steamed to death in a public execution. However, due to the public announcements The Doctor learns of Leela’s fate and so heads off to rescue his companion from the steamer, but he does not have much time.

Because the production of the PCM gas has been stopped more of the enslaved workers become aware about the state of affairs and so rise up against The Company and a group of former workers even gang up against Gatherer Hade who is hurled to his death from the roof of Megropolis One.

Meanwhile after rescuing his companion, in the nick of time, The Doctor and Leela head for The Collector’s Palace, and there The Doctor sabotages the computer system by programming it to apply a 2% growth tax. The Collector then arrives and is challenged by The Doctor, who denounces his operation on Pluto. Furious at The Doctors meddling The Collector tries to gas the population of Pluto but is stopped when Cordo and some of the rebels arrive and help The Doctor defeat the remaining members of the Inner Retinue.

Taunted by The Doctor, The Collector then checks his computer to find The Doctor’s re-programming has resulted in a projected bankruptcy. Unable to cope with making a loss, and because of the revolution, The Collector reverts to his natural form - a type of poisonous fungus - and is rendered harmless when The Doctor seals him in a compartment at the base of his wheelchair. The Doctor, Leela and K9 then depart in the TARDIS leaving Cordo, Mandrel and the others to contemplate re-colonising Earth which by now has renewed itself.

 
Leela and The Doctor with Cordo
Leela and The Doctor with Cordo
The Doctor is Trapped in the Corridors
The Doctor is Trapped in the Corridors
Goudry with Members of the Resistance
Goudry with Members of the Resistance
The Collector
The Collector
 
Cordo, Bisham and Leela
Cordo, Bisham and Leela
Leela
Leela
K9 Comes to Leela's Rescue
K9 Comes to Leela's Rescue
The Collector Reverts To His Natural Form
The Collector Reverts To His Natural Form




Quote of the Story


 'This is the moment when I get a real feeling of job satisfaction!'

The Collector (As Leela is about to be killed in the steamer)



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Video
VHS
The Tom Baker YearsSeptember 1992BBCV 4839PhotoClip only Introduced and commented on by Tom Baker Double cassette release
Video
VHS
The Sun MakersJuly 2001BBCV 7133Photo-montage
Video
DVD
The Sun MakersAugust 2011BBCDVD 2955
Audio
CD
The Sun MakersMay 2020Photo-montageMusic Score
Audio
LP
The Sun MakersMay 2020Photo-montageMusic Score


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the Image of the SunmakersNovember 1982Target No. 60Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterISBN: 0-426-20059-4
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who Classics: The Face of Evil & The SunmakersMay 1989Star BooksTerrance DicksAndrew SkilleterDouble story release.
ISBN: 0-352-32417-1
CD
CD
The Sun MakersFebruary 2019Target No. 60Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterAudio version of the Target Novel read by Louise Jameson (Leela).
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 27 (Released: October 1990)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 123 (Released: April 1987)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 306 (Released: July 2001)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 357 (Released: June 2005)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 358 (Released: July 2005)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 503 (Released: October 2016)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
Tom Baker
The Fourth Doctor

   

Louise Jameson
Leela
 
John Leeson (voice only)
K9 Mk I
   




On Release

Tom Baker Years VHS Video Cover
Tom Baker Years VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Original Television Soundtrack CD Cover
Original Television Soundtrack CD Cover

Silva Screen
AUDIO
   
Music LP Cover
Music LP Cover

Silva Screen
AUDIO



In Print

Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
Doctor Who Classics Cover
Doctor Who Classics Cover

Star Books
NOVEL
Target Audio CD Cover
Target Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD
   


Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 27
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 27

CMS
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 123
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 123

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 306
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 306

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 357
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 357

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 358
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 358

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 503
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 503

Marvel Comics
   

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