The Sun Makers

sun makers doctor who big finish

It`s been remarked on before that The Sunmakers is the Doctor Who story that`s most like Blake`s Seven, which was also in production at the time this was made. The idea of a DW/B7 crossover is one that has both fascinated and evaded fans for years, which is why I put together the Doctor Blake site with re-written scripts to include the Doctor and Leela alongside Blake, Avon et al. Check it out! Meanwhile, back in 1978…

Sunmakers by Adrian Salmon DWM357Some Who stories are about big ideas and concepts, some are about monsters and scares, but this one is an apparent satire on the British Tax System, alongside lots of moralistic imperatives to do with oppression of the workers and corporate greed. Wow! That’s so underwhelming that I’m nowhere near struggling to contain myself at the prospect of sitting through four episodes of that riveting subject matter!

And that’s the big problem with the story. You really don’t care if Cordo and his chums are getting screwed by the system, and you still don’t care when their rebellion succeeds. At least, I don’t. The only thing that really grabs your attention is at the end when a  lynch mob throws a man to his death from the roof of a very tall building. Just think about that scene and then think what that would look like in real life.

sunmakers covers

And that lynching at the end contrasts with the attempted suicide at the beginning. Trouble is, the former doesn’t get your attention anywhere nerar as much as the latter ‘cos you never for one moment think that Cordo really will top himself. He’s clearly a coward and you know he won’t go through with it. A better actor might have done a better job of convincing us that he really might jump, but Roy Macready isn’t up to it. And so we don’t give a monkey’s and we’re only at the start of part one and there’s another three of the buggers to go! And so we open with the second half of the initial Tardis scene as we really don`t need all the stuff with Cowardly Cordo and The Gatherer, as it’s a load of old talmars. We can find out about his “taxing” situation at the same time as The Doctor and Leela…

Part one has 13m of footage in the edit and includes the pervy scene of Cordo having a good old butcher’s at Leela`s arse as she descends the ladder, outdoing Jo Grant in the Flashing Your Knickers stakes and prompting fanboys all over the country to hit the freeze frame, ruining heaven only knows how many VHS tapes of the story back in the day. Of course now, with DVD…

doctor-who-complete-history-36Part Two posed no major problems and that meant we could cover the first two eps in under half an hour. Part Three, on the other hand, was much more of a challenge. The motorised thingy Leela and her chums escape on is so slow that the guards could have jumped on the bloody thing as it trundled past, so I`ve speeded up a couple of the shots to make the sequence a bit more believeable. I think it`s the kind of thing they might have done on the original if the episode had been overrunning, so let`s all just pretend it was!

The other thing that doesn`t help this sequence is the lack of rays coming from the guards` guns. Guards in general are notorious for not being able to shoot straight, so that fact that one of them actually manages to hit his target is something of a miracle! A sound effect and a piddly little puff of smoke is always guaranteed to look naff so I took the time to add in some ray gun effects to make things a bit more dramatic. I did this complicated sequence, involving re-using some of the music cues for dramatic effect, and exported the resultant file before returning to work on the rest of the edit.


Little Gabriel Woolf`s turn as The Collector is highly engaging, and at least he tries, despite the funny voice, to make the character slightly sinister. Of course, it doesn`t work in the slightest so I kept him back so that his first appearance is with Leela in the correction centre. The whole business with Leela getting “steamed” is one I would have dropped entirely if I could have, but it was impossible to get rid of it so it had to stay as it leads straight into the scenes where the rebellion starts.

A cheap story that completely fails to engage you until the lynch mob gets going, this was my last fan edit for the Graham Williams era, and saw the completion of one of my main aims when starting to do these edits – to re-do those stories so that they took themselves more seriously than they did originally, or at least as seriously as it was possible to make them!




The Sunmakers by Ben Willsher DWM439


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