4W. The Sun Makers

Season Fifteen - 1977/1978

Script Editor: Robert Holmes
Writer: Robert Holmes
Produced by: Graham Williams
Director: Pennant Roberts
Designer: Tony Snoaden
Incidental Music: Dudley Simpson


In a city on Pluto Citizen Cordo anxiously awaits news about his father, and receives good news: His father died at 1:10, and it was a fine death. Cordo is told to pay the death taxes at Gatherer Hade's office. Hade's office is very grand, and even has a mahogany desk. Cordo has never even seen wood. The Golden Death chosen by Cordo costs 117 talmars, but he was told it would only cost 80, but the collector had recently raised taxes by 17%. That, and the additional extras, taking into account the deceased's weight after death, leaves a total of 117 talmars. Hade tells Gordo he can work extra shifts to work off the extra amount, even though he is already working a double shift at the Foundry.

The TARDIS lands on Pluto, and the Doctor is concerned. Pluto should be a lifeless rock, but the scanner shows a huge factory complex. The Doctor and Leela go to investigate, leaving K-9 inside the TARDIS. They emerge from the TARDIS onto a roof. The air is Earth-like, but scented, and it's warm, about 20C. The Doctor uses a telescope to look at the city on Pluto, and nearly misses Cordo walking past.

The building they are on is 1,000 metres high, and Cordo intends to throw himself off. The Doctor and Leela stop him, and ask him about the taxes that he cannot pay. The TARDIS making an authorised landing has been notices, and Hade and an assistant, Marn, investigate. Cordo leads the Doctor and Leela off the roof, explaining that there would be a 5 talmar fine. Only the Executive grade are allowed in the light of the sun.

After travelling in a lift Cordo wants to leave the Doctor to find the Others, who live in the Undercity. The Doctor, and Leela, decide to go with him. Cordo warns then that there is no light in the Undercity. Leela is astounded that he would be afraid of the dark, but he has never experienced the dark as Pluto doesn't have a night - there are six suns providing constant light - one for each Megropolis. As they get near the hatch that leads to the Undercity Cordo becomes nervous at the lack of light, but it's too late as the Others appear.

The Doctor, Leela and Cordo are 'escorted' to the leader, Mandrel, who doesn't believe the Doctor's story about being from another planet as there is no life on the other worlds. Cordo explains to Mandrel about how he cannot pay his taxes. Mandrel tells him if he wants to join he must also join in with the stealing that they do from the rich above. Mandrel says the Doctor looks like an Ajack - miners from Megropolis 3 - and gives him a 1,000 talmar consumcard they took off another Ajack, and tells Cordo to show him how to get to the Consum Bank. Leela is kept behind as a hostage.

In the subway the Doctor is met by K-9, despite telling him to stay in the TARDIS. Since leaving the TARDIS K-9 has been watched on cameras by Hade and Marn, and they watch him meet up with the Doctor and Cordo. Thinking the Doctor is an arms smuggler Hade sets off the warn the Collector, whilst the Doctor uses the card at a bank machine to withdraw 1,000 talmars. As he does so an alarm sounds, and the cubicle he is in fills with gas. Cordo runs as Megro guards arrive to collect the unconscious Doctor.

The Doctor wakes up in the Correction Centre. Despite being in a straitjacket the Doctor is able to get off the bed to talk to another person, Bisham, in the Correction Centre who is there is because he was curious about a drug called PCM - which the Doctor realises is an anxiety inducing drug, but Bisham has been told it is a drug to remove airborne infections. He tells the Doctor that the PCM is spread through the air conditioning system that is used in the cities, but not in the Undercity.

In the Collector's office Hade asks the Collector for men to help eliminate the Others, but the Collector says it s against Company policy, but when Hade says it could be paid for by an increase in taxes, and that dissent could affect profitability the Collector agrees.

In the Undercity when the Doctor does not return Mandrel orders Leela to be killed, but she fights back. When she hears from Cordo that the Doctor has been taken to the Correction Centre she is ready to mount a rescue attempt. The Correction Centre is underneath the Palace, and the Inner Retinue are armed. For those reasons no men will go with Leela, apart from Cordo. When she re-enters the city she finds K-9 waiting. Oddly Leela feels afraid, and K-9 tells her about the chemical inhibitor in the air.

After telling Hade about the Doctor he tells Marn to release him from the Correction Centre. She takes him to Hade. Hade gives the Doctor the 1,000 talmars, and offers an apology for the way he was treated. As the Doctor leaves Marn acvtivates a tracker. The Doctor returns to the Undercity and hands the talmars to Mandrel, and finds Leela has gone.

Leela, Cordo and K-9 make it to the Correction Centre and free Bisham, but the Doctor is not there. On the way K-9 had stunned a guard, and on the way back the guard had gone, and Leela assumes that he has raised the alarm. As they try to leave they find the subways have been blocked by guards. K-9 stuns some of the guards and they take one of the guards' cars. As they drive past other guards a shot hits Leela and she falls from the car. They return to the Undercity without her.

Leela is taken to the Palace where the Collector is concerned when he learns she is not numbered. When she recovers Leela is hostile towards the Collector's questions. When Leela mentions the Doctor is a Time Lord the Collector asks his computer about them, and learns that they have no real market value. The Collector calls for Hade, and tells him who the Doctor is, and issues a warrant for the Doctor's arrest - and for Leela's execution.

In the Undercity the Doctor asks Mandrel, Bisham, Cordo and the Others about the Company, but no-one really knows what the Company really is, or does. Between Bisham and Mandrel a plan is created to turn down the temperature on the PCM so it cannot be volatilised into the air conditioning. As the Doctor re-enters the city his is picked up by Marn's tracker, and Hade takes charge of his arrest. In the city Mandrel shuts down the PCM vapour towers, and the Doctor learns about his bounty - and the scheduled execution of Leela via steamer.

Freeing Leela would mean someone needs to be inside the steamer to open a vent, and whoever did that would also be killed. K-9 suggests that he could withstand the steamer longer and blast the vent to open it. After K-9 opens the vent the Doctor has chance to go rescue Leela from the condensation chamber. When the execution does not go to plan the Collector orders an investigation. Megro guards are sent to the PCM control room, and are overpowered.

With the PCM rapidly being removed from the air people all over are rebelling, refusing to work and to leave their 'dormers'. Some even go to the roof to see the sun. The Doctor and Leela make it to the computer room in the Palace where the Doctor is able to send out a fake bulletin to say that the rebels are in control of Megropolis 1, and that the Gatherers and Tax Collectors should be arrested. On the roof Hade confronts the rebels, and is thrown off.

Whilst the Doctor is sending the message Leela finds a vault, and the Doctor opens it using his sonic screwdriver. The Collector returns to the computer room and the Doctor has a chance to talk to him. The Doctor asks the Collector about the Company. The Collector tells the Doctor that the head office is on Usurius, and the Doctor says he has heard of Usurians. The Collector explains to the Doctor that when Earth was dying the Company stepped in to move everyone to Mars, and to make the planet habitable. The costs were paid for by taxes. When the resources on Mars ran out the Company created a new environment on Pluto. The Collector then says that when the suns eventually die the branch will close - there is nowhere else economic for the Company to move - leaving the humans to die.

To quell the revolution the Collector threatens to release diaene - a deadly poison - through a sprinkler system in the city. Leela is able to stop the Controller from activating the control. The Doctor feeds some additional tax figures into the computer, and thinking he is losing control of the Company branch on Pluto the Controller reverts to his natural state - a 'sea kale with eyes'. No longer appearing human he disappears into a vat in his chair and contained.

The Doctor, Leela and K-9 leave the humans to re-establish themselves on Pluto, and to re-colonise the Earth.

Regular Cast

  • Leela: Louise Jameson
  • Voice of K-9: John Leeson

Guest Cast

  • Gatherer Hade: Richard Leech
  • Marn: Jonina Scott
  • Cordo: Roy Macready
  • Mandrel: William Simons
  • Goudry: Michael Keating
  • Veet: Adrienne Burgess
  • Nurse: Carole Hopkin (1)
  • Collector: Henry Woolf (2-4)
  • Bisham: David Rowlands (2-4)
  • Synge: Derek Crewe (3-4)
  • Commander: Colin McCormack (3-4)
  • Computer Voice: John Leeson (3-4)
  • Guard: Stuart Fell (4)
  • Guard: Tom Kelly (4)
  • Extras: Norman Bacon (1-3), Simon Barratt, Barbara Bermel (1,4), Chris Balcombe (3-4), Paul Barton (3-4), Roy Brent (3-4), Peter Clare, David Cleeve, Alan Crisp (1-2), David Downes, John Dryden (1-2), David Eynon (1-3), Max Faulkner (2-4), Louis Giboin (3-4), Gill Goldstone (3-4), Ronald Goodale (3-4), Patricia Gorino (2), Elizabeth Havelock, Ann Higgins (1-3), Dave Holland (1-2), David Honeyball (2-4), Leonie Jessell (3-4), Malcolm Johns (4), Stephen Kane (3-4), Robert Lee (2-4), Andrew Lord, David Ludwig (2-4), Valero Martinez (3-4), Keith McDonald (3-4), Josephine McEvoy (3-4), Charles Molton, James Muir (2), Keith Norrish (2), Ton Northan (3-4), Stephen Phillips (3-4), David Richens (2-4), Roy Rosen (1-3), Peter Roy (2-3), Harry Sharples (3-4), Jan Shilling (1-3), Barry Summerford (3-4), Ken Taylor, Angela Towner, Clifford Tozer, Alan Thompson (2-4), Cy Town (2), Harry Van Engel (4), Kelly Varney (1-2), Adrian Varcoe, Mario Venn, Jeff Waine (3-4), Gerald Webb, Jennie Weston

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 466. Part One Saturday, November 26, 1977 6:05 PM - 6:30 PM 8.5M
BBC 1 467. Part Two Saturday, December 3, 1977 6:05 PM - 6:30 PM 9.5M
BBC 1 468. Part Three Saturday, December 10, 1977 6:05 PM - 6:30 PM 8.9M 68%
BBC 1 469. Part Four Saturday, December 17, 1977 6:05 PM - 6:30 PM 8.4M 59%

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • Television Centre Studio 3
  • Television Centre Studio 6

Outside Locations

  • Camden Town Deep Tube Shelters, Camden, London
  • Hartcliffe Wills Tobacco Factory, Bristol, Avon


There is no script editor credited for this story.