Each episode is identified with date of transmission, duration, ratings in millions, and (for 1963-1974 only) archive status.
26 November 1977 | 24'59" | 8.5
03 December 1977 | 24'57" | 9.5
10 December 1977 | 24'57" | 8.9
17 December 1977 | 24'57" | 8.4
The TARDIS arrives in the city of Megropolis One on Pluto where to the Doctor's amazement there is a warm sun (one of six), oxygen, and a thriving factory community. The people, such as D-grade Citizen Cordo, are not so happy, however, as the Company that controls the planet works them to the bone, pays them a pittance and then taxes them on everything imaginable.
Cordo and the Doctor join up with an underground band of rebels, led by Mandrel, who are out to smash the system, and discovers that the power behind the Company, represented through the human collector of taxes, Gatherer Hade, is an Usurian known as the Collector.
The Usurians are notorious for enslaving whole planets through business ventures and then fleecing the inhabitants through exorbitant taxes and other bureaucratic means. The Collector is a particularly nasty and money-grabbing individual, who has the population well and truly subjugated, while the Company continues to make ever greater profits.
The citizens are kept in line by a calming gas, PCM (pento cycleinic-methyl-hydrane), distributed throughout the complex. The Doctor manages to stop production of this gas, leaving the enslaved workers free to make up their own minds about the state of affairs.
For the Usurian Collector the Doctor has different plans. He programs the Company computer to apply a 2% growth tax and the Collector who cannot cope with making a loss, reverts to his natural form - a type of poisonous fungus.
Synopsis from Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Handbook by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, reprinted with permission; further reproduction is not permitted.
(Assistant Floor Manager), Christine Rawlins
(Costumes), Tony Snoaden
(Designer), John Tiley
(Film Cameraman), Tariq Anwar
(Film Editor), Dudley Simpson
(Incidental Music), Janis Gould
(Make-Up), Graham Williams
(Producer), Leon Arnold
(Production Assistant), John Nathan-Turner
(Production Unit Manager), Anthony Read
(Script Editor), Paddy Kingsland
(Special Sounds), Derek Slee
(Studio Lighting), Michael McCarthy
(Studio Sound), Delia Derbyshire
(Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer
(Title Music), Peter Day
(Visual Effects), Peter Logan
The Sun Makers, a satire on the British tax system, was written by outgoing script editor Robert Holmes, who assisted his replacement Anthony Read while writing the story. A number of Aztec influences in the story's costume and set designs – most notably in the Gatherer's crested hat, the badges worn by Company executives and the large ‘sun god' symbol suspended at the back of the Gatherers' office. These were a nod toward the original intention of set designer Tony Snoaden and costume designer Christine Rawlins to base their work on Mexican propogandist art, an idea that had been vetoed by director Pennant Roberts. Veet and Marn were originally written as male characters, changed to females during casting. Location work (the first serial of the season to do so) was done at the roof of the Imperial Tobacco Factory in Bristol, for a rooftop where no skyline would be visible. During production of this story, Louise Jameson informed the producers that she would be leaving the show at year's end.
For more in-depth information about the contents of this story, a complete episode-by-episode detailed breakdown can be found at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
Released as “The Sun Makers” in the UK [July 2001] and Australia/New Zealand [September 2001] (BBC catalog #7133), US/Canada [February 2002] (WHV catalog #E1607); episodic format, photomontage cover.
Novelised as “Doctor Who and the Sunmakers” by Terrance Dicks (Target #60), first released in 1982 with cover art by Andrew Skilleter. Released in hardcover in 1982. Also re-released in the "Doctor Who Classics" series Star Books in 1989 paired with "Doctor Who and the Face of Evil".
For more details on the various novelizations of this story, with additional background material, artwork and details of both UK and foreign releases, visit On Target
Descriptions of each story screen capture above right, top to bottom:
- The Collector (Henry Woolf)
- Gatherer Hade (Richard Leech) with Marn (Jonina Scott)
- the Doctor is trapped in the corridors
- the TARDIS arrives on the ceiling of Megropolis One
- Goudry (Michael Keating) with members of the resistance
- Leela (Louise Jameson)
- Mandrel (William Simons) held captive
- Leelas rescuer is none other than K-9