Number : Season 15, serial 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 episodes.
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 tax.
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 – to make it stand-out.
Review With Spoilers :
The Sun Makers is the fourth serial of season 15 and mixes sci-fi, with political satire.
If the addage that – there are only two sure things; death and taxes. Then it seems ripe territory, for a Who story.
It takes a good long look – and sideswipe, at oppressive 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 star-system; 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 Doctor 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 as a satirical swipe at corrupt beaurocracy or as a Who concept episode. 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. It might, in theory be possible to do a satirical politic episode but it needs really snappy dialogue.
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