Monday 5 March 2012

469 The Sun Makers Part Four

EPISODE: The Sun Makers Part Four
TRANSMITTED: 17 December 1977
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Sun Makers

The Doctor escapes just in time but Mandrell calling his communicator alerts the Collector & Gatherer to his presence and they send guards to investigate. Bisham reports that the PCM levels are falling dramatically. The Doctor decides to infiltrate the Collector's palace and take control of the public video system. The Collector is agitated at the reports of unrest. Once in the palace the Doctor opens the Collector's safe, but Leela accidentally triggers a booby trap and is stunned. The Doctor broadcasts his message to the Megropolis. Marn is found by the revolutionaries and elects to join them. The Gatherer finds workers on the rooftop of his building but they throw him off it and he falls to his death bellow. The Doctor confronts the Collector who tells him the company, based on the planet Usurius. He recalls that Usurians are a sort of poisonous fungi. The Collector tells how the moved the humans from the Earth, to Mars and then to Pluto. When Pluto's resources are exhausted Pluto and the humans will be abandoned. When the revolution nears the Collector's palace he prepares to release a poison into the atmosphere but is stopped by the Doctor & Leela. The Doctor feeds a growth tax into the Collector's computer forcing him to revert back to his true form and giving the people control of the city.

And all over in a bit of a rush with very little opposition. Indications are, especially given the scene where everyone is running around everyone yelling for K-9, that this episode might have been running a little short. In many ways it's quieter then the others but still has the same levels of humour: Liz joined me for it and was giggling at some of the bits where when she'd watched the story previously she hadn't liked it.

Not exactly your average Doctor Who story at all, much more light and humorous than many. But it works, especially coming as it does after the very dark Image of the Fendahl. I loved it and thought it was great fun. The story came about as a result of an encounter between Robert Holmes and the tax man. Holmes certainly seems to take great joy in humorously pointing the finger at the tax system during it.

The Sunmakers was the last Tom Baker story to be novelised, inevitably by Terrance Dicks, in 1982. That left three stories in his reign un-novelised and we'll come to the first of these very shortly. It was released on video in 2001 and on DVD in August 2011.

After Sunmakers Doctor Who took it's now traditional Christmas break during which Robots of Death was repeated as two fifty minute compilation episodes. This was the last time there would be Doctor Who repeats at Christmas breaking a tradition that stretched back to the Daemons in 1971.

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