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.
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).
“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.