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Doctor Who - the Sun Makers [VHS] 
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Another adventure for everyone's favourite time traveller. The vast majority of the population labour in an underground city, crippled by the taxes imposed on them by the autocratic Company. It isn't long before the Doctor is siding with the underground rebel movement, but the need to overthrow the corrupt rulers takes on a new urgency when Leela is captured and sentenced to death by their leader, the sinister Collector...
Tom Baker's fourth season of Doctor Who marked a change from the exploration of Gothic horror. The unusually satirical "The Sun Makers" finds the Doctor, Leela (Louise Jameson) and robot dog K9 involved in a struggle against capitalism-gone-mad at the outer limits of the solar system. The Earth exhausted, mankind has colonised Pluto and lives in six vast "megropoli" lit by artificial suns. These colonies are run by The Company, with drugged human "work units" slaving simply to pay their funeral expenses. With video monitors, brain-washing and ruthless repression there is an obvious a debt to 1984, the white corridors echoing George Lucas' THX 1138 (1970) and the action a low-rent Star Wars. Michael Keating, who played a rebel in Dalek creator Terry Nation's Blake's 7 (1978-1981), is similarly cast as a reluctant freedom fighter. There are plentiful pot-shots at over-zealous taxation and bureaucracy--Robert Holmes wrote the story as revenge on the Inland Revenue after a frustrating VAT audit--and splendidly theatrical performances from Richard Leech and Henry Woolf as the ultra-capitalist villains. With no monsters and little conventional horror, Baker is on fine form in a briskly directed four-part comedy-thriller distinguished by its political edge. --Gary S DalkinSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The extras are a little under par by Doctor Who standards. The Dudley Simpson featurette is good. The 'making of' documentary is passable. The Day of the Dalkes trailer is very good! The out-takes are ridiculously short but it makes you realise that the team behind the DVDs try and get everything they can into them - we are normally spoiled by the extras!
In 'The Sun Makers', Robert Holmes is not just satirising "the UK tax system", as fan guidebooks usually inform us. He's satirisng the symbiotic link between the state and big business. Yes, the Collector's personal guard are called the "Inner Retinue" (which sounds a bit like "Inland Revenue"... thus implying that the Vat man is a bit of a brutal thug, geddit???) and there are are corridors called the P45, etc. But all this occurs under the absolute domination of an organisation called "The Company", run by a guy in a pinstriped suit, who is clearly doing this for the profits. Where do the profits come from? From the ludicrously exorbitant taxes (i.e. "breathing tax") paid by the population to the Gatherer, who is the ultimate state official but is grovellingly subservient to his corporate master. So, the state gathers and the Company collects. Really, how much clearer could this possibly be?
It's sometimes objected that the society in the story is more like a Stalinist dictatorship... because it's got torture chambers, prison camps, a news service that broadcasts government propaganda and lots of bureaucrats. Well, the capitalist world has torture chambers, prison camps, utterly subservient news and bureaucrats aplenty.
In 'The Sun Makers', the Company has, effectively, bought out the government...Read more ›
There is a re-assuring solidity about the production of Sunmakers, which might be unusual in a programme shot in a studio and the roof of and inside a tobacco factory, and in Camden Deep Shelters. The production design is very good indeed. It all fits together remarkably well.
The concept is really the silliest stuff, but the quality of the writing is so high, coupled with committed performances and good direction more than compensate for that.
The ubiquitous Mary Whitehouse effect is offset here by Robert Holmes' flair for nasty ideas - the Steamer for one - and some deliciously ripe dialogue - Hade has all the best lines, and Richard Leech is clearly having great fun - even the consumbank at the end of Episode 1 works well, given that it's just a transparent box and dry ice, and there's plenty of implication of the horrors of the Correction Centre, even if we never do see them.
William Simons does two very good episodes as Mandrel (after that he turns into a good guy) and his exchanges with Leela (Louise Jameson clearly having fun too) are delightfully nasty. If the two ever did come to a fight, I'd bet on it being bits of Mandrel that'd end up being sent to recycling.
Henry Woolf does a lovely star turn as the Collector, with a delightful nasal drawl that never really sounds properly human, and those scuttling fingers like tentacles under that big, bald dome of a head with its Dennis Healey eyebrows.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think in the 70's they made Who a lot more interesting and a lot less bumbling. Hartnell, Troughton & Pertwee were forever portraying the Doctor who got things wrong. Read morePublished 3 months ago by D. A. Sinclair
really good Dvd featuring Tom Baker as the forth doctor plus companions Lella, and K9Published 4 months ago by Mr. T. J. Bower
Good picture I hadn't realised how many doctor who's there was but will still collectPublished 5 months ago by val
A fun laugh a the British tax system with two brilliantly portrayed villains in Gatherer Hade and the Collector, this suffers from looking so terribly cheap (which it was) and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Tidgy's Dad
Terrific series, I have been a Dr Who Fan since I watched the first series as a young person. They just keep getting better and better.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer