The Dust Diggers: Episodes 1-2 plot summary

[posted 8:00 am, 6 March 2015]

Episode 1:

Sarah and Gemma appear in a flash in some caves. They spend some time exploring. Meanwhile, in another part of the caves, Scarsdale (Bob Grant as a thinly disguised Arthur Scargill) tells a group of miners that they must keep up their strike, otherwise the government will close the mine. Gormlus (Timothy Bateson) asks what they should do if the police attack them, and Scarsdale says they should fight back. The Fixer (Neil Brubby), disguised as a miner, gives Scarsdale some money, telling him that it is from a charity collection.

In a government office, the Director (Garfield Morgan) pleads with President Teemis (Margaret Tyzack as an even more thinly disguised Margaret Thatcher) and Chancellor Zantra (William Dysart as a barely disguised at all Michael Heseltine) to intervene. He says that unless the company gets a government subsidy, it can’t offer the miners a pay rise, and if they won’t go back to work, the company will go out of business. Zantra is sympathetic, but Teemis insists that the state must not intervene. If the company is too weak to survive on its own, it must die or be bought out. Zantra says it would be unwise to let a firm from another planet buy the mines. He suggests that if the strike is found to be illegal then the police could break it, but they must only act according to the rule of law.

Back in the caves, Sarah and Gemma are attacked by rubber monsters that look like flying fried eggs. The Director returns to his office and meets the Fixer, who agrees to fake some evidence that the strike is illegal. In her private room, Teemis strokes her pet snake and tells it that she wants the company to fail. The Fixer, disguised as a miner again, returns to the strike. Sarah and Gemma escape from the monsters and discover abandoned mining works. As Sarah examines the rocks, Gemma picks up a pickaxe. Suddenly several miners run in shouting “scab!” and capture them. Scarsdale says they are to be executed as enemies of the working man.

Episode 2:

Gormlus objects, saying that scabs can only be executed after a ballot of all union members. Scarsdale reluctantly agrees, but complains that balloting all members will take a long time. The Fixer slips away and tells the police that the miners have kidnapped the two women and are about to murder them. The police chief (Harold Innocent at his slimiest) is sympathetic but says that no action can be taken until the necessary forms have been filled in. The Fixer spends some time answering inane questions as the Sergeant writes down the answers in triplicate and laboriously files the forms.

Meanwhile, Sarah and Gemma talk to Gormlus, who tells them about the strike. Gemma says that she would help the miners to fight, but Sarah says that they must compromise in order to keep their jobs. Gormlus is ambivalent, saying that Scarsdale and the Director are as bad as each other. The Fixer eventually loses patience with the Sergeant and bribes him to hurry up.

Three Nipponoids (stereotypically inscrutable Japanese businessmen, all played by Eiji Kusuhara and copied with paintbox) tell Teemis that they are ready to buy the company when it fails and strip its assets, and that she will benefit as a shareholder in the Nipponoid Corporation. She guarantees that it will fail soon because the strike will continue. The Fixer comes in and Teemis gives him more “charity” money for the miners. He tells her that the police are planning to break the strike, but she says that the police are incompetent fools. The Nipponoids suggest that they could run the police more efficiently, and demonstrate their new robot.

Scarsdale gets increasingly excited as results of the ballot start to come in. The police finally prepare to move, but preparations are slow because every officer has to sign a form before drawing firearms. The Chief orders his men to kill everyone in the caves, including the hostages, because it will save on paperwork. The police attack, killing several miners, and burst into the cave where Sarah and Gemma are being held, pointing their guns at them. The sergeant shouts “fire!”.

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