Sabalom Glitz was a rogue from the planet Salostopus in the galaxy of Andromeda. The morality of his activities was dubious even when their legality was not. Though Glitz's first love was money, he occasionally made uneasy alliances with the Doctor in his sixth and seventh incarnations, and also briefly worked with the Master.
Sabalom Glitz came from a broken home on Salostopus and credited his upbringing with unbalancing him and making him selfish. He became a criminal and spent some time in prison, during which he saw several psychiatrists, one of whom he attempted to kill. (TV: The Mysterious Planet) During his criminal career, he partnered with the Master for "a few nice little tickles", although the two did not trust one another, (TV: The Ultimate Foe) and became a wanted man in six different galaxies. (TV: The Mysterious Planet)
Secrets of the Matrix
Glitz planned to destroy the black light system which provided Drathro with energy and then steal the secrets. When Dibber destroyed the external collection aerial, the system became dangerously unstable, and only the Doctor's intervention prevented a potentially catastrophic explosion. Drathro was destroyed, and the secrets with him. (TV: The Mysterious Planet)
Near the end of the Doctor's trial by the Time Lords, Glitz, like Melanie Bush, was dispatched to the space station by his business partner, the renegade Time Lord known as the Master. Glitz accompanied the Doctor into the simulated reality of the Matrix to fight the Valeyard. The Master bribed Glitz to betray the Doctor, but in turn was tricked by the Valeyard. Given what he thought were the true secrets of the Matrix, the Master tried to upload them into the systems of his TARDIS. This activated a particle disseminator so that both were in fact trapped, causing the Master and Glitz to be paralysed within the TARDIS. After the Doctor had finally defeated the Valeyard, he pleaded with the Time Lords to show leniency to Glitz, who he believed still had some good in him. (TV: The Ultimate Foe)
Captain of the Nosferatu
Glitz next ran into the Doctor when he and Dibber planned the "crime of the century" on the planet Vandor Prime, where they also stole a spacecraft called the Nosferatu. The Doctor and Frobisher collaborated with Glitz to steal a valuable artefact in order to avert interstellar war by returning it to its original owners. According to this account, however, Dibber was killed during the mission. (PROSE: Mission: Impractical)
After regenerating into his seventh incarnation, the Doctor and Mel next ran into Glitz on Iceworld, a tourist destination and trading post on the planet Svartos. Glitz owed money to the vengeful Kane, having bankrupted himself with a gambling debt. The crew of the Nosferatu, who had rebelled against Glitz's dubious leadership, were sold to Kane to form part of his army of amnesiac warriors.
Glitz had by this time made the acquaintance of the then sixteen-year-old Ace, a human who had travelled to this time by time storm from the year 1987 and now worked as a waitress. (TV: Dragonfire) Despite their age differences, Ace had lost her virginity to him whilst on Iceworld. (PROSE: Happy Endings)
After Kane destroyed the Nosferatu, Glitz was consumed by vengeance. The folly of Kane's ambitions were revealed to him by the Doctor. Kane's people had died out thousands of years ago, leaving him no one on which to revenge himself. Kane chose to kill himself, leaving Glitz with Iceworld, which he christened the Nosferatu II. Glitz was not pleased when Mel decided to stay behind to help him run his business and make sure that he gave up his criminal ways. (TV: Dragonfire)
Glitz and Mel once encountered a Galactic Heritage fleet. The experience led Mel to describe the organisation as "a militarised, spacefaring National Trust". (AUDIO: The High Price of Parking) According to one account, Glitz sold Mel's possible futures to Speravore Investment Holdings and abandoned her on Ricosta to pay off his debts. (AUDIO: A Life of Crime)
According to another account, Glitz and Mel travelled with Dibber. After six months of travel, Mel left them in order to hitch-hike to Earth. (PROSE: Head Games) Following her departure, Glitz and Dibber took possession of a miniscope containing Drashigs, inside of which Romana II was imprisoned by Ruath. She was later rescued, and the miniscope was destroyed. (PROSE: Goth Opera)
Glitz was a burly, thick-set man whom Katryca described as "fat". He had dark, tightly-curled hair and a groomed beard which gave him a friendly air. His field gear included breeches, boots and a multicoloured jerkin with a layered epaulette on his right shoulder. (PROSE: The Mysterious Planet)
Behind the scenes
- Doctor Who scripts by Robert Holmes, a former police officer, frequently included some sort of "dodgy" colourful character, usually a criminal. These ranged from Garron, Vorg, Milo Clancey and Henry Gordon Jago, to the more serious Stotz and Rohm-Dutt. Of these, only Glitz appeared in more than one televised story. He was also the last major character created by Holmes, as the veteran writer died while working on Glitz's second story, The Ultimate Foe.
- Glitz is sometimes referred to as a companion, due to his return appearance during the last segment The Trial of a Time Lord. Although this is disputed, it is interesting to note that in the 2008-09 comic book series The Forgotten, when the Tenth Doctor encounters an entity capable of impersonating his past companions, the Doctor discusses the possibility of the entity turning into Sabalom Glitz.
- After his Krynoid audio The Green Man was produced, Zoltán Déry pitched an audio story focused on Glitz to BBV Productions, Bring me the Head of Sabalom Glitz, whose premise would have seen Glitz becoming "the most wanted man in the galaxy". It was ultimately unproduced due to Bill Baggs wanting to focus on The Faction Paradox Protocols.
- Glitz also appeared in the gag-comic strip How Much For Just The Planet?
- Brian Blessed, James Bolam, Roger Daltrey, Michael Gothard, Del Henney, Gareth Hunt, Alfred Lynch and John Thaw were considered for the role before Tony Selby was cast.
- Tony Selby considered the character to be a space equivalent of Arthur Daley from Minder.