Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Sunmakers

Tom and Louise on the roof. Looks a bit Englandy to me!
Forgive me for being fooled, please. I thought for sure this would be a story about people making suns. It isn’t. What a great title let down by the fact that it’s misleading. Yes, the company running operations on Pluto did make six suns for the workers there, but that is not an important aspect to the story in any way.
A lot of action occurs in these awful corridors.
However, ‘The Sunmakers’ is a good story, let down by some shocking design decisions and an obvious lack of any budget whatsoever. I mean, half of the sets are no more than black drapes. Which I guess is fine if you’re a fan of the minimalistic movement, but when you combine them with corridors and a rooftop shot on film which don’t match, and most of the rest if the set painted orange and looking cartoonish – not to mention incomplete, it really detracts from the story in a pretty substantial way.
Which is a pity because Robert Holmes delivered a darned good script. A script about paying taxes (or not paying taxes), corporate greed and revolution. The characters are somewhat over the top and colourful, especially the Gatherer played wonderfully by Richard Leech, but I enjoyed that aspect. The workers are somewhat down-trodden, and the company pumps in gas to the Megropolis to keep everyone anxious and thoughts of revolution far from their minds. It’s not in all a situation that is impossible to imagine happening for real.
Leela in the correction centre.

The Doctor takes control.
The Doctor is at his best here. Tom Baker has all the shades of light and dark, humour and seriousness well at play during this story. Leela (Louise Jameson) gets a good deal to do on her own, and this was one aspect that made this Jameson’s favourite story. The rebels however, led by Mandrel  (William Simons) and supported by Goudry (played by Blake’s 7’s Michael Keating) were at times a little to West Side Story for me. Their genuine fear of Leela was a nice touch though. The collector though is the most interesting character, played by the rather short William Woolf. Stuck in his chair, the mannerisms
The wonderful William Woolf
In the rebels' lair.
are wonderful, considering the Collector was on morphed into a semi-human form, and was really a bacteria. Great idea, great performance.
K-9 gets a good run too, the white studio floors were good clearly for his drive units! Some of the corridor stuff was not so well directed, a but stunted and slow, angles that don’t quite work, shots that needed a fraction of a second or two shaved off to work properly. Still, it seems as if it was a very difficult story to put together.


1 comment:

  1. Bob Holmes view of bureaucracy...excremental bacteria :D