Production Code: 4W
1 - 26/11/1977 18:05
2 - 03/12/1977 18:05
3 - 10/12/1977 18:05
4 - 17/12/1977 18:05
The TARDIS arrives in the future on the planet Pluto where there are now six suns, a breathable atmosphere and a large industrial community. The Company controls the planet and exploits the workers, pays them a pittance and then taxes them on everything imaginable. The Doctor and Leela join forces with an underground band of rebels led by a man named Mandrel.
They learn that the head of the Company's operations on Pluto, represented by the human official Gatherer Hade, is an Usurian known as the Collector. The Usurians enslave planets through economic means and then fleece the inhabitants with exorbitant taxes. The Company keeps the citizens in line by diffusing a calming gas, PCM, through the air conditioning system.
The Doctor manages to stop this, and the workers then rise up against the Company and hurl Gatherer Hade to his death from the roof of a tall building. The Doctor meanwhile gains access to the Company computer and programs it to apply a two per cent growth tax. The Collector, unable to cope with the loss of his profits, reverts to his natural form - a type of poisonous fungus - and is rendered harmless.
With Leela held hostage by the rebels, the Doctor is forced to attempt to withdraw some money - a thousand talmars - from a consumbank booth using a stolen and forged consumcard. Suddenly the door of the booth slams down and a strident alarm sounds. The booth fills with gas, and the Doctor is overcome.
Leela, K9 and two workers named Cordo and Bisham are trapped as a vehicle containing a group of armed guards rapidly approaches them down a corridor.
Leela is strapped to a trolley by the Collector's guards and rolled into a condensation chamber to face death by steaming. The Doctor tries to reach her through some vents, but time is running out as the temperature is building in the heat exchanger and the steam will very shortly have to be released into the system. Leela resolutely awaits her fate...
Back in the TARDIS, K9 is waiting to finish the game of chess that he was on the point of winning against the Doctor when they arrived on Pluto. The Doctor makes an adjustment to the TARDIS controls that causes the ship to lurch violently, sending the chess pieces flying. He tells K9 that as soon as he has reset the coordinates, they can finish the game. K9 groans.
The Space Merchants.
Cartier's 1984 (the first shot is identical).
Brave New World.
The Iron Sun.
Isaac Asimov's Nightfall.
The Inland Revenue and taxation.
The BBC TV logo.
Visually influenced by Metropolis.
The Doctor misquotes Das Kapital ('What've we got to lose?' 'Only your claims!')
The Doctor and K9's chess game derives from Spassky vs Fisher in 1972.
Cordo : "Praise the Company."
Mandrel : "Stuff the Company!"
Hade : "Citizen Doc-tor. What an unusual name!"
The Doctor : "Yes, especially for an Ajacks."
Hade : "Indeed. There are so many Wurgs and Keeks in Megropolis Three that I sometimes wonder how my colleague Gatherer Pyle manages to keep track of them all."
The Collector : [As Leela is about to be killed in the steamer, with microphones set up to broadcast her screams.] "This is the moment when I get a real feeling of job satisfaction!"
The Company is based on Usurius. Usurians are listed in Professor Thripsted's Flora and Fauna of the Universe as a poisonous fungi. Three types of gas are mentioned: Dianane, a deadly poison (to which Usurians are immune), Balarium, a muscle neutraliser, which also effects speech, and Pentocyleinicmethylhydrane (PCM), an anxiety inducing agent.
The sonic screwdriver is able to open the Company safe.
Megropolis 3, Pluto.
The Company came to Earth when its natural resources were almost gone and shifted the population to Mars, after their technicians made it habitable [previous Martian colonies, like those mentioned in The Daleks Masterplan, did not involve terraforming]. Once Mars too had been exhausted the operation moved to Pluto, missing out the four intervening planets which the Collector describes as being 'not economically viable'. The Doctor says he hopes the humans will be able to return to a regenerated Earth.
Pluto was believed to be the outermost body in the solar system until the discovery of Cassius. Pluto has six megropolises (each with its own in station fusion satellite). The miners in Megropolis 3 are known as Ajacks (The Gatherer believes the Doctor is one.)
Popular Ajacks names include Wurg and Keek. School is called Preparation Centre and money units are Talmars. Kandor, an Executive Grade from Megropolis 4, once survived three years in a correction centre. PCM is pumped into the air to keep the population subservient. The Usurians have a file on Gallifrey.
The Doctor says the Droge of Gabrielides offered a whole star system for his head. The Company holds records on the Doctor's activities: he has a long history of 'violence and economic subversion'.
The Gatherer employs many amusing forms of address for the Collector, including not only 'your Excellency' but also such gems as 'your Magnificence', 'your Sagacity' and 'your Enormity'.
Michael Keating, now better known for his role as Vila in Blake's 7, plays the rebel Goudry.
There are 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 propagandist art, an idea that had been vetoed by director Pennant Roberts.
When the Gatherer is to be thrown off the roof by an angry mob, his exclamation and facial expression suggest someone who's watched too many Kenneth Williams films.
The Collector's computer makes various silly 'Boing!' noises.
You can see car park insignia on the roof top.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Tom Baker
Leela - Louise Jameson
Voice of K9 - John Leeson
Bisham - David Rowlands
Collector - Henry Woolf
Commander - Colin McCormack
Cordo - Roy Macready
Goudry - Michael Keating
Guard - Tom Kelly
Hade - Richard Leech
Mandrel - William Simons
Marn - Jonina Scott
Nurse - Carole Hopkin
Synge - Derek Crewe
Veet - Adrienne Burgess
Director - Pennant Roberts