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Doctor Who: The Sun Makers (Story 95) (2011)

Tom Baker , Louise Jameson , Pennant Roberts  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, John Leeson, Henry Woolf, Richard Leech
  • Directors: Pennant Roberts
  • Writers: Robert Holmes
  • Producers: Graham Williams
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 9, 2011
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001QCWQ62
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,218 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

The TARDIS, along with the Doctor, Leela and K-9, arrives on Pluto in the distant future. The time travelers discover the planet has a breathable atmosphere and enjoys heat from six small suns, but the humans who live there are taxed and exploited heavily for the privilege.

When Leela is captured and sentenced to death, the Doctor must save his companion, as well as stopping the ruthless Company, before it is too late.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THX-113WHO May 27, 2002
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
This was always one of my favorite Who's as a youngster and it is a joy to watch it again as an adult and think about what we are seeing. Since the reviews above [or below] do a fine job in outlining the plot, my tact will be discussing the look and feel of this superior, offbeat entry in the series.
If nothing else, this Who episode makes me think of George Lucas' first feature, THX-1138, and I am sure that the producers and designers studied that film for ideas, such as the drugged, dehumanized work units and the use of sterile, pre-exitsing "modern" locales. Some of the hallways, subway tubes and of course the rooftop set were probably all located in the same factory or power plant. The familiarity of the settings, redefined for science fiction, produce an odd reaction within the viewer that work very well in serving the plot.
The contructed sets actually remind me of 3d game levels; the wall fixtures are decorated with flat, 2 dimensional slabs of "textures" that represent circuit boards and electrical conduits. While the illusion they present is incomplete in places, the result as a whole creates a very believable world. There is also a claustrophobic nature to the episode that nicely fits in with this futuristic plutocracy; the whole Megropolis is one big production machine, and the humans are merely expendable drones that service it -- echoes of Metropolis, THX-1138, Soylent Green, Logan's Run, Silent Running, et al.
The only part of the story that seems underdeveloped is that of The Others; They have a nice little pit with great looking duct fixtures to skulk about in, but where are they looting all of their provender from? Where do they plan to spend the 1000 telmars? Where did Mandrel get that bullwhip?
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Tom Baker January 4, 2002
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
The Sunmakers is one of the more popular Tom Baker Doctor Whos. The Doctor, Leela, and K9arrive on the third moon of Pluto to find a human colony bogged down in taxes and work levied by the infamous company. In this colony, crimes are punished by being sent to a re-education center and the greatest crime is tax evasion. The ruler of this colony is the impish company representative who's voice would make the crypt keeper proud. There's a lot of opportunity for humorous dialogue ("let's say he wants to make a double vision tax for people with two eyes")and the story works hard to make a statement about beuracracy out of control. This is a classic Doctor Who of the Tom Baker Era.
On another note... if you're looking for new Dr. Who material. Look for the audio releases of the missing episodes. Look for my list "Missing Dr. Who's on Audio and Video" to find out about this. The jewel cases look really cool although amazon.com USA has not printed pictures for most of them on their web pages. Look for "The Web of Fear" for starters. "The Dalek's Master Plan" Audio Release is awsome too. Also check out Big Finnish productions for the new audio adventures of Dr. Who featuring Doctors ranging from Peter Davison to Paul Mcgann. Was this review helpful? Did you learn something new from it? Please vote Yes.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Perhaps everyone is afraid of the taxman...' November 19, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
A rather unusual story, 'The Sunmakers' is a highly clever, tongue-in-cheek dig at over-taxation and government and corporate beauracracy. Written by the incomparable Robert Holmes, this story deals with the plight of humanity, now confined to a terraformed Pluto and subservient to a greedy corporation which provides the means by which humans survive. The Doctor, Leela and K-9 become involved in the power struggle between the scheming officials of The Company and the uncultured rebels of the underground.
The characters Holmes creates for this story are highly effective, from the lowly, desperate worker Cordo to the marvellously larger-than-life Gatherer Hade and the slimy, evil alien Collector. The dialogue sparkles as well, with almost everyone getting his or her share of memorable lines. The caliber of the guest cast is universally high, with the aforementioned Hade and Collector stealing their scenes brilliantly. Tom Baker and Louise Jameson are typically superb, with Baker owning a priceless scene in the medical ward where he bumbles about in a stait jacket, all the while chatting to a fellow patient and plotting his escape. The climax featuring the Collector and the Doctor is also a fascinating scene.
Overall, 'The Sunmakers' is a fun and biting satire, brilliantly conceived, written and acted. Praise to The Company indeed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Doctor Who at its best August 22, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This story shows Doctor Who at its best -- instead of relying on flashy special effects, the show relies on social commentary, dark humor, and good, solid storytelling.

Instead of the usual alien menace swarming in guns blazing (or biological weapons inflicting plague or causing mutation or what have you), determined to destroy the poor innocent humans, we are presented with a future distopia. We see an entire world that is nothing but a wholly owned subsidiary of a corporation. The land, the machines, the government, *the people* all are effectively company property. Crushing taxes are just another way to transfer wealth upward, maximize corporate profits.

Arriving on this dreary world, the Doctor and Leela find a man beyond hope, preparing to commit suicide. In saving him our heroes begin a chain of events which will save the entire world -- or destroy it.

This is Louise Jameson (Leela)'s favorite Doctor Who story, one where she felt her character was shown off to the best effect. I have to agree -- this one fired on all cylinders. The Doctor is funny and subversive, the companion spends enough time away from him to be a hero in her own right, the villains give broad performances without sinking into pantomime, and Robert Holmes gives us one his most biting and clever scripts.

A winner from top to bottom. Five stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeking the "Best Of" Early Dr. Who (Honorable Mention)
Perhaps I have a prejudice against producer Graham Williams' era of Dr. Who creeping in. I have been watching my collection one by one, starting with ROBOT (Story 75), and there... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tinfoot
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
Ok Baker Doctor Who episode which tells of the story of various unival evil charaters and the role the Doctor played.
Published 2 months ago by Edward Kirven
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor and Leelah on Pluto
A few plot holes but otherwise a fun adventure tale with Leelah and the Doctor leading a rebellion against the greedy corporate overseers.
Published 2 months ago by N. Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who versus the tax man
Classic Doctor Who with Leela and K-9. Anyone who enjoys the classic Tom Baker series will love these episodes. Highly recommended for classic Doctor Who fans.
Published 5 months ago by STEVEN RAGNAR
3.0 out of 5 stars But how much is the Doctor worth?
A terrifying Tom Baker serial about the most frightening thing in the world: taxes. It's a great story, but awfully boring at times.
Published 9 months ago by Sixes and Sevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr. Whom not Who?
I have a special interest in Tom Baker's works for the BBC. I like the idea of the "Company" controlling things. It happens on a regular basis.
Published 11 months ago by Charles J. Wilhelm
5.0 out of 5 stars ..."PRAISE THE COMPANY"...
This is my favorite episode of Doctor Who
It's a timeless Masterpiece. (Pun intended)

I am very thankful this was brought to dvd.
Published 11 months ago by Onwaaard
5.0 out of 5 stars "Perhaps everyone runs from the Taxman?"
Many fans and viewers only familiar with modern 'Doctor Who' might gasp in disbelief at the cheapness of this 1977 instalment, but it's a personal favourite of mine and it really... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Oliver Burton
5.0 out of 5 stars From Gothic horror to sci-fi satire.
Although this comes from the so called "silly period" of Tom Baker's run as Doctor Who, it's not that silly. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Patrick Correa
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Baker is my "Doctor".
Whovians remember the Doctor they first viewed as the best; I came up during the Tom Baker era and really appreciate when a DVD of a long unseen episode comes out. Read more
Published on April 4, 2012 by Admiral Kenobi
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