The Sun Makers: Doctor Who: Season 15
The Sun Makers SYNOPSIS:
The Doctor and Leela land on Pluto in the distant future to find it inhabited by towering cities of the last human colonies. They save citizen Cordo from committing suicide as he can not pay the high taxes citizens endure from a totalitarian regime known as The Company who maintain the six suns that allow life on Pluto.
Cordo leads the Doctor and Leela to the under city to join the renegades. The Doctor is however captured and delivered to first the Correction Centre then meets with Gatherer Hade the main official of Megropolis One who believes the Doctor to be a citizen involved in a local defrauding conspiracy.
Leela, Cordo and K9 go to free the Doctor from the Correction Center where she is captured and delivered to the Collector a money obsessed madman confined to a life support chair. Leela is ordered to be executed. The Doctor returns to the under city where the renegades believe he is a spy for the Gatherer. However Cordo and another former correction center inmate Bisham report Leela's capture.
Cordo and the Doctor believe Leela had the right idea and if they can get Renegade Leader Mandrel to turn off the pacifying gas in the city atmosphere they will be able to initiate a revolution, rescue Leela and bring down the sun makers themselves, the gatherers, the Collector and his Company regime.
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The Sun Makers SERIAL DETAILS:
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The Sun makers CAST & CREW
Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Louise Jameson (Leela)
John Leeson (K-9 Mk. I)
Henry Woolf — The Collector
Richard Leech — Gatherer Hade
Jonina Scott — Marn
Roy Macready — Cordo
David Rowlands — Bisham
William Simons — Mandrel
Adrienne Burgess — Veet
Michael Keating — Goudry
Derek Crewe — Synge
Colin McCormack — Commander
Tom Kelly — Guard
Production Staff for serial 4W :
Writer - Robert Holmes
Director - Pennant Roberts
Script editor - Robert Holmes & Anthony Read
Producer - Graham Williams
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The Sun Makers REVIEWS
The Sun Makers sees a new style of series emerging.Everything's a dull orangey beige in the future, which sort of makes you think Telstra is sort of in charge of city colours now. After 3 and a half years of Gothic creepery the story seamlessly takes us into the next and much derided era of the series - The Tom Baker show days.
From now on the emphasis is comedy, not horror, and all the concepts are huge and surrounded by somewhat silly science but what the hell this ain't a documentary and the leading man is using all his charisma and comic timing to full effect and has yet to show he's bored with the part. Poor Louise Jameson is making the best of Leela but it's getting more obvious Tom doesn't like working with her much and puts her in her place at every opportunity. Surprised she stayed this long as her character is rapidly becoming a shadow of it's former self, through no fault of her own.
Thought the Sun Makers was fun and thankfully Robert Holmes writes the first script of this new approach to the show. It has solidly written characters, pity some of them aren't that well acted. The Gatherer is blusteringly brilliant, despite wearing the stupidest costume yet seen on TV but that's what people wear on Pluto 5000 years from now. It's almost sad to see him thrown off a roof. Cordo is sympathetic as the poor, put upon working citizen, something I can totally relate to, and the guy that runs the gang that lives in under the city is also good, the rest are forgettable. What isn't forgettable is that the studio sets look really cheap and cut out of foam and wobble a lot when actors bump into them so must assume this is the story where Dr Who got it's reputation for sets that wobble. It's even more noticeable as the location shooting on rooftops and in tunnels is very good and atmospheric.
Oh yeah the real bad guy is, as Grob says, a Dr. Evil look-a-like crossed with Dudley Moore, who isn't really well acted and deserves his toilet bowl flush exit. 6.7/10
Before I review the Sun Makers I must admit,sadly for me, I know WAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY too much about Doctor Who. And even sadder is the fact that pretty much all the stories we have reviewed up until now I haven't had too dip into the trusty Dr Who Television Companion or nip over to Wikipedia to quickly brush up on.
I just happen to know the episodes and who was in them and what they were about and the director and the writer and all that shit. I guess its like pulling any random computer code off the internet, handing it to Ross Mack and knowing he will be able to tell you what its for and where it originated from and where it belongs on what application. Some people are blessed with a knowledge on something that is baffling to other people. I know fuck all about computers. I know stuff all about geography. I've given up trying to find out how my car works, why the fish in my aquarium are dying and where my spare set of keys went. I failed at accountancy and I know next to nothing about girls. But I know my Who and that is really, really sad. And what is worse is I have fuck all idea about the Sun Makers.
Seriously, I just know nothing about it. I've seen Sun Makers twice and all I can remember from it is endless running up and down corridors and everything painted either beige or brown. Oh, there was some public steaming involving Leela and I think something similar happened to the Doctor when he went to an ATM. Oh, the rebels seemed really stock standard and there was a pre-mini-me in a wheelchair. Oh; and this I DO remember; Pluto had somehow acquired SIX suns and a breathable atmosphere - quite a astrological feat!
So I can't actually award it with something akin to Fear Her or the entire Colin Baker era, nor can I give it an N/A cos I have seen it. Now (apparently) there is a tonne of piss-taking going on with this story about taxes and procedures. Since I was a kid when I first saw it all the references went over my head then. When I saw it on the ABC a few years ago I still didn't get the jokes which may have had something with me achieving a very respectable 3% for my accountancy exam in Year 11. So the Sun Makers just seemed like a real average story to me so I'm gonna give it a 5. Well, it wasn't The Space Museum and it wasn't Family of Blood either. May as well go 5/10. Unless I seriously missed something!
I think the initial production meeting for the sun makers went something like this :-
Holmes - Did you know I have to pay even more tax when I script edit and script write?
Williams - Hey, you should write a story about this.
Holmes - You think? It's not really a Dr Who kind of story though?
Williams - Set it on Pluto
Holmes - You sure?
Williams - Yeah - give them a couple of extra suns or something...
Holmes - *blank*
Williams - You seen what else we've got for the rest of the season?
Holmes - Good point...I'll call it the Sun Makers
It's not that this is a bad story... I mean it's well written, there are some interesting characters, it all makes sense, Leela's in a steam room... it's just that it is totally unmemorable. I remember seeing it as part of the 1993 early morning repeats (I think they got to Invasion and then skipped all the way to Orchid... so this just made it) and wondering if this was ever even shown back in the day... then I saw the very end where the little bloke got sucked into his dentist chair thing... I did remember that... I like that bit.
I guess they were toying with the new "comedy" slant... a pity as the previous few seasons had been pure quality, but I wonder if the BBC's decision to offer Hinchcliffe something else, and then bring in Anthony Read was maybe an over-reaction to good old Mary Waterhouse (was she related to Matthew?). The problem with comedy in science fiction is that there's not that much to do before it gets a bit tired... and starts to become merely a parody of itself... I think Red Dwarf kind of suffered a bit from that.
Anyway, where were we... ah yes, The Sunmakers... yes, they haven't really got the comedy mix right yet... but it's not too bad. And did I mention the little fellow gets sucked into his dentist chair? Other than that, this is a big one for fans of running around corridors.5/10
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