The Sun Makers – 1978 – S15 – E4/6

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Number : Season 15, episode 4 of 6.

Which One : Tax collectors on Pluto.

Cast : The Doctor : Tom Baker
Leela : Louise Jamison
K9 : John Leeson (Voice)
The Collector : Henry Woolf
Gatherer Hade : Richard Leech
Marn : Jonina Scott
Cordo : Roy Macready
Bisham : David Rowlands
Mandrel : William Simons
Veet : Adrienne Burgess
Goudry : Michael Keating
Nurse : Carole Hopkin
Synge : Derek Crewe
Commnader : Colin McCormack

Written By : Robert Holmes

Produced By : Graeme Williams

First UK Broadcast : 16 November – 17 December 1977

Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : The Doctor, Leela and K9 visit a future Pluto, where an oppressive government regime – tax the inhabitants severely. Some of the Plutonians have become rebels and hide in the underworld of the cities – refusing to pay their taxes.

Whats good : It pokes fun at bureaucratic government process and the (over)taxing of civilians, which make government regimes – richer and more powerful. Leela.

Whats bad : It feels long. Boring. Not a lot happens and it doesn’t have a memorable wow-factor moment in it.

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Review With Spoilers :
The Sun Makers is the 4th episode of season 15 and has a go at political satire.

It takes a good long look – and sideswipe, at oppresive government regimes; who overtax their citizens to maintain control. It has some moments of humour in it too, especially the collector’s categorization of every planet and starsystem – based on tax value.

But in the main, there is a lot of running up-and-down generic grey corridors here and talking about tax – in great detail; which won’t float the average Who fan’s boat.

At times, The Sun Makers, falls into boring melodrama with too much dialogue; which is neither snappy or fun. It doesn’t really build to anything of note, either and the final act is as flat as the first (and second).

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“Grinding oppression of the masses is the only policy that pays dividends!” The Collector

The best things about The Sun Makers, is Leela’s rebel sub-plot; after being abandoned by the Doctor and some fun interplay ensues – especially when Leela threatens to “fillet” a would-be attacker.

Also, Henry Woolf is well cast and has some good scenes – playing the snivellingly sycophantic Tax Collector. He also has a memorable Bond villain-esque look about him.

Even the unveiling – at the end, of the real power behind the Tax Collectors, being a seaweed alien monster, does little to fire the imagination or the eyelids – after an hour-and-a-half of little happening.

This story was probably good on paper and that is where it should probably have stayed.

🔵🔵⚪⚪⚪ (2/5)

Old Doctor Who


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