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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Bad As I Once Thought.
1972's The Mutants is a Doctor Who story that has been marred throughout its life. The story has consistently been voted the worst of the Pertwee era offerings. I don't mind admitting that I was part of that ban wagon, the overall execution of Bob Baker and Dave Martin's second script was dire. The CSO was terrible, the acting poor {Cotton!!!} and the sets unappealing...
Published on 10 Mar 2012 by The Real M.B.E. Of Tooting

versus
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars treading water.
I have a lot of time for Jon Pertwee. Like Peter Davison, he is a moral and serious Doctor with a humane and caring quality I always enjoy. He also shares Davison's heroic streak. And as one of my favourite Doctors, I find I can happily watch most of his stories, and enjoy them, even the most derided efforts, like The Time Monster or Monster of Peladon. But The Mutants is...
Published on 31 May 2004 by Adrian Sherlock


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Bad As I Once Thought., 10 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
1972's The Mutants is a Doctor Who story that has been marred throughout its life. The story has consistently been voted the worst of the Pertwee era offerings. I don't mind admitting that I was part of that ban wagon, the overall execution of Bob Baker and Dave Martin's second script was dire. The CSO was terrible, the acting poor {Cotton!!!} and the sets unappealing. However, since the 2011 BBC DVD release of this story, I have enjoyed it a lot more and perhaps am starting to view the story in a different light. By no means will it ever be one of my favourite stories, but I think the mantle of the worst Doctor Who story in Pertwee history is a little harsh.

First off, the digitally remastered picture quality helps immensely in trying to enjoy this story. Secondly, both Jon Pertwee and Katy manning with the assistance of Paul Whitsun-Jones, George Pravda and Geoffrey Palmer help to save the performance side of events, the Doctor and Jo reveling in the fact that they are out amongst the stars for the first time in a while, furthermore, the story's main villain, the Marshal, is a fantastically realised character form Whitsun-Jones. George Pravda provides a brilliantly ignorant scientist and Geoffrey Palmer is just as good as it gets full stop. I also liked Garrick Hagon's performance as the rebel leader Ky, his angered portrayal is another pro to add to the growing list of attributes about this adventure.

The realisation of the Mutts is fantastic, they are portrayed as the monsters of the piece but are in fact just normal Solonians going through natural changes. Although the studio sets are quite dull and I am no fan, the location filming is excellent, the caves creating a certain amount of atmosphere that plays out well, the scenes with the CSO caves aren't as successful but none-the-less get the job done.

The BBC DVD release is the reason why I am viewing this less-than-classic story in a new light, the Doctor Who Restoration Team have as ever done a brilliant job in restoring and remastering these episodes for release onto DVD. The release's flagship documentary is fascinating to say the least, "Race Against Time" coming in at nearly 40 minutes is a brilliantly constructed piece of television, new series companion Noel Clarke narrates why there were so few Black actors in Doctor Who during the classic series and in television in general in the 20th century. An excellently produced doc that opens ones eyes to the inner workings of the BBC. As ever, there is the traditional "Making Of" documentary included on the release, as always it is very entertaining and enlightening. Cast and crew sit and discuss this controversial story.

Overall then, The Mutants will never rank highly in my books, its by far no classic but neither is it a bottom of the list failure. The BBC DVD release has bought out this story's redeeming features and it certainly has gone up in my estimations since. The acting is to a high standard from the main characters and the location filming only adds to the incredible atmosphere that the Mutants has to offer. 8/10. Recommended, especially for the DVD bonus content.

Thank you very much for your time in reading my review of The Mutants, its greatly appreciated.

M.B.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Changing opinion, 2 Feb 2011
By 
Don Kepunja "ownstunts" (Retford, Northern England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
It's perhaps appropriate, given this adventure's underlying message, that The Mutants seems to have changed in the near-40 years since its first broadcast - and only for the better. Long-vilified by seasoned fans, here it emerges on DVD (and immediately after fellow miserable outcast Meglos) looking slightly mad, very spangly and all rather good fun.

There are no utterly-lost Pertwee adventures (technical issues still affect the future DVD release of classics like Ambassadors of Death, Mind of Evil, The Daemons and The Dinosaur Invasion, for now), but critical cold-shouldering means The Mutants is in some ways the closest we come to such a creature. It's shaping up as a vintage year for Pertwee fans, with Terror of the Autons, a revised Day of the Daleks and Three Doctors, plus swansong Planet of the Spiders, all in the DVD pipeline, but these we know and love. For many, the rummy six-parter presented here is undiscovered country and, coupled with unavoidable low expectations, means pleasant surprised lie ahead.

It's got a loose, relaxed, undercooked (but sometimes overheated) feel, and unfolds in a charmingly offhand manner, developments seeming to surprise the cast as much as the viewer in a way that keeps the adventure effervescent and wards off typical six-parter fatigue.

The lead himself is in fine form (and has the third Doctor even looked quite so swankily third-Doctor-ish?). Pertwee mixes a strange, Troughon-esque feyness and amused distance into his usual impressive performance, as the still-officially-exiled Doctor is suddenly whisked off by his Gallifreyan gaolers to the year 3000, and tasked with sorting out trouble at t'Skybase, an Earth Empire-run space station (the exteriors of which, at least, are spiffily done) that's orbiting high over turbulent planet Solos at a time of flux with apparent cosmic implications.

Relishing his return to off-Earth adventure, but resenting his errand-boy status, Pertwee's urgent, imperious, impatient Doctor switches moods slickly here as he bears down on new problem after new problem while his mission endlessly changes shape. His hilariously-efficient, explosive dispatch of sort-off-baddie-scientist Jaegar (Who fave George Pravda), after the Doctor quickly sizes him up as first necessary help, then a nuisance, then nothing more, is one of the great Pertwee moments no one ever talks about. They should!

Space-and-time travel always brings the best out in companion Jo Grant, we know, and Katy Manning shines in shrewd mode, showing Jo as not just a blinky-eyed little kitten-face but someone evolving into a smart improviser in the image of her Doctor. She pulls, of course, and her scenes with Solnian rebel Ky (proto-Johnny Depp Garrick Hagon; he's on the commentary track) hold much sub-textual fun, especially when Solos' poisonous atmosphere makes Jo feel a bit, er, faint...

For the admission fee you also get a fine, watchable supporting cast: Geoffrey Palmer shimmers in (and out a bit too soon, alack); John Hollis is a striking, stranded scientist and helpmeet dressed in Anita Roddick cast-offs; and Christopher Coll charms as a Scouse space security guard. Fans have often poked fun at Rick James' performance as Skybase servotor Cotton, but I dunno... it has a certain memorable charm.

Tristram Cary's squelchy, squonky, synth-heavy soundtrack (already out on CD, but better heard in context here) adds another layer of distinctiveness, providing as it does the precise sound of ropey-but-head-spinning CSO effects. There's a genuine sense of weirdness crackling throughout all six episodes that never fails to beguile and is undiminished by repeat plays.

By year's end, all of season nine should be out on DVD; from the fug of Accepted Fan Wisdom, The Mutants could well have emerged by then in a new light and deserving place among the best of the Pertwee years.

Oh, and it's a deliberate nod to Monty Python at the start, by the way.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite of the Pertwee era, 18 April 2007
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I thought this a fantastic story. It had an excellent well-paced and rather menacing build-up of "what's going on"-ness with the sense-of wonder of a strange world. Pretty good acting overall, and reasonable effects / production values (at least for the time). Jo gets a quite good part in this, driving some of the action rather than just being useless. Superb story, with several intertwined sub-plots. Various moral dilemas of progress versus the "savages", post-imperialist politics, and even the Martial (an imperialistic Viceroy figure)is misguided rather than evil to start with, though he's evil by the end after going bonkers. Good ending too, with something of a twist, albeit a little convenient. This was the high spot of the first series I was ever allowed to watch as a little boy, though Day-of the Daleks which began this season also great. I watched it again nearly 40 years later and found it stood up well - obviously given the production limitations of the time.

Great stuff.

Hywel
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mutatingly Good Adventure, 17 Jan 2014
By 
Timelord007 (The Tardis) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
Dedicated to Director Christopher Barry who sadly passed away on 11th February 2014.

Positive.
1)Jon Pertwee & Katy Manning share great chemistry as the Doctor & Jo Grant.
2)The location filming at Chislehurst Caves in Bromley adds an atmosphere to this story.
3)Intriguing story by Bob Baker & Dave Martin that raises several topics.

Negative.
It's a little slow to start with & it's not a well remembered adventure.

Dvd Info.
Running time 145 minutes, 6 episode story, Special features include Commentary by 1)Katy Manning, Terrance Dicks & several members of the cast & production, Moderated by Nicholas Pegg.
2)Mad Mutt making of The Mutants'
3)Race against time documentary.
4)Picture Gallery.
Coming soon trailer.
Subtitles.
Digitally remastered picture & sound & more smaller extras.

Trivia.
1)A Solonian Mutant is seen killed at the start of the Fourth Doctor adventure The Brain Of Morbius.
2)Garrick Hagon was in George Lucas cult classic movie Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope as Luke Skywalkers friend Biggs & has also appeared in Steven Seagal's movie The Shadow Man.
3)Geoffrey Palmer has also appeared in two other Doctor Who story's ,The Silurians & Voyage Of The Dammed.
4)Bob Baker & Dave Martin co-created K-9 whom debuted in Fourth Doctor story The Invisible Enemy.
5)The opening episode attracted a viewing audience of 9.1 million viewers in 1972.

Review.
The Third Doctor & Jo Grant arrive on Starbase 1 hovering in space above the planet Solos in the 30th Century as Solos is about to gain independence from the earths glorious empire.

The Doctor is on a mission for the Timelords to deliver a mysterious box that has manifested itself at UNIT HQ send by the Timelords for the Doctor to give to one of the occupants of the planet Solos, But who?.

The Doctor & Jo discover that the inhabitants of Solos are slowly mutating into Ant like creatures.

The Doctor works out that a conspiracy is taking place led by The Marshall who intends to rule Solos himself & convert it's atmosphere to allow human colonization on the planet as it's current poisonous atmosphere is deadly to humans.

The Marshall plans to wipe out the entire population of Solos killing the planet's inhabitants as the Doctor finally solves the mystery of the why the inhabitants mutation is occurring they are evolving into a advanced super race & this mutation is part of there intermediate stage of there evolution.

Timelord Thoughts.

I seen this story on UK Gold 1995 a few days after my Nans passing, My Nan was like my second mum & we were very close as she supported me through some very traumatic times in my life & still missed today.

Feeling completely heartbroken i watched this story over the course of the week in it's episodic form & silly as it sounds got me through Nans funeral & the aftermath of losing such a loved person.

I love this adventure it asks many questions about our society today as we as humans are evolving but are we truly putting aside our differences for the greater good of mankind?

Jon Pertwee excels as The Third Doctor getting involved in the action & showing his Doctor's authority when debating the genocide of Solos against The Marshall whom sees himself as a dictator of the Earth Empire.

Katy Manning as Jo Grant is also excellent as she shows compassion for the inhabitants of Solos & there painful mutation getting involved in the story's elements.

The script by the Bristol Boy's Bob Baker & Dave Martin raises some tough questions about ethics & about how we judge ethnic minority or people whom are different from ourselves which no doubt is the message Barry Letts & Terrance Dicks were trying to get across in this story.

A slightly slow first episode but this adventure soon gets into gear & raises some interesting themes about dictatorship, Racism & acceptance in society.

The extras are the usual interviews & the commentaries by the cast & production are interesting.

Jon Pertwee quoted in his book "I Am The Doctor" he couldn't remember anything about this particular story which is a shame as it's quite a good Third Doctor adventure that delivers important themes that still affect our society even today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who; The Mutants - An entertaining adventure with a bit of a message from the glory years of Who, 23 Feb 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
Even though he was the Doctor long before I was born (Peter Davison was my first Who), Jon Pertwee has firmly established himself as my favourite of the lot due mainly to his presence and persona, and the interesting and intelligent scripts he was given. Received fan wisdom has it that this story is a bit of a dud, but only in comparison to other Pertwee stories. The worst of the Pertwee years is still miles ahead of some others, so in absolute terms this is actually a pretty good and entertaining tale, with, as is usual for a Bob Baker and David Martin script, a strong message and some interesting concepts.

It is a complex story, with several threads running through it. The two main lines are first the cruel oppression of a planet and it's inhabitants by the Earth Empire in the form of a deranged Marshall, culminating in an attempt at genocide. The second is the mysterious plague afflicting the locals, and their gradual mutation into... what? The Doctor and Jo are thrust into the middle of all this by the Time Lords, who want a message delivered. The Doctor has to suss out the mystery of the mutations, prevent the genocide and deliver the message. All in a day's work!

There is more than enough here to fill the six part run time adequately. The exploration of the evils of apartheid and the Doctor's revulsion at such ideas is well done and not too overpowering. The scientific ideas presented are interesting and never totally unbelievable, which is another thing I like about this era of Who. And Pertwee managaes to talk about particle reversal for a whole six episodes without ever changing the polarity! The basic idea behind the mutations, and the way the Doctor solves it is an interesting and well laid out tale. All in all I really enjoyed this adventure and the 6 episodes flew by.

This is a two disc special edition from 2Entertain. As usual the picture quality is the best possible (The Who team are really leading the way in how classic TV should be restored and presented on DVD) and the two discs are stuffed with interesting extras. The info text is informative, with discussions of the history of South Africa through to the frustration of the Director at the set builders. The second disc is packed with various documentaries, including a fascinating look at the history of black actors in Dr. Who over the years.

An excellent presentation of a very entertaining and thought provoking story. 5 stars
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars treading water., 31 May 2004
I have a lot of time for Jon Pertwee. Like Peter Davison, he is a moral and serious Doctor with a humane and caring quality I always enjoy. He also shares Davison's heroic streak. And as one of my favourite Doctors, I find I can happily watch most of his stories, and enjoy them, even the most derided efforts, like The Time Monster or Monster of Peladon. But The Mutants is a tough one to sit through, I have to confess. The acting and production values are no worse than usual and in some parts is quite good. There's an intelligent SF plot about a race who change drastically to adapt to their environmental changes. There's a socal satire with a potent point to make about the black and white seperatism in South Africa, another worthy element. Paul Whitsun-Jones, who guest stars as the Marshal, is a top actor and makes a distinctive character of the main villain. But...and this is a hard thing to have to admit, the Mutants somehow comes accross as tedious and boring, long winded, uninvolving and flat, not all the time, but most of the time. Many of the supporting characters are singularly uninteresting and fail to engage or be likeable, the action, while competent, is all routine and lacks any kind of suspense. There is little or no wit and no sense of cliff hanging suspense or danger. It is sad, but true, that this is a workmanlike and worthy story which largely fails to entertain or engage on almost any level at all. The writers have a great idea, but they are just treaing water in the shallow end of the pool, and six episodes is way too long!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Who Goes Political", 10 Feb 2011
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
How I managed to miss Dr Who 6 weeks in a row I don't know but this is a story I've never seen before and it's a good one. Not a classic and overlong but lots to enjoy.
Taking cues from the real life situation where the British gave back independence to India in some haste, the Earth governments as personified by Geoffrey Palmer's Official decide to pull out of governing the planet Solos but the Marshall ( a wonderfully OTT Paul Whitsun-Jones) decides on a mad plan to prevent independence.
this is all against the backdrop of what appears to be a sickness that mutates the Solonians into insect like creatures. The Doctor is sent there by the Timelord with a mysterious box that will only open on presentation to the right person, which is frankly bordering on the Jeremy Beadle.
This is a script without quite the legs for 6 parts (it would have been a cracking 4 parter) but with lots of good nunances where there are parallels to some real life situations which are not overdone. E.G. Pertwee doing his usual fine work as the story's moral authority attacks the Marshall's genocidal policies but doesn't go into a long political speech about the evils iof empire. Also the rebels fighting for independence are not always likeable. While it's clear that Garrick Hagon's Ky is on the side of the angels, he's still impatient and rash. These more rounded characterisations are to the story's credit.
Well cast in the main, although Rick James and Christopher Coll are good but don't quite make Cotton & Stubbs the double act the script suggests. There's also 3 time Who guest George Pravda (best known for Spandrell in Deadly Assassin)who rises above the fact he appears to be wearing a dress that he really doesn't have the hips for.
John Hollis is great as the wise Sondergaard, particularly working with Jon Pertwee.
Katy Manning's Jo is a bit more go getting here especially bluffing the Marshall.

Sets and the general look is good, atlhough it's dated by the extensive use of CSO.
James Acheson's costumes seem to include early versions of Timelord costumes he designed for 3 Doctors & Deadly Assassin.
Episode one is especially slow paced but it does pick up a bit later.

There's a pic n' mix commentary and it's okay but not one of the best. Starts well with everyone shouting "It's" in reference to how the opening sequence of a ragged looking man running to camera is like the famous Monty Python opening. Usual suspects Katy M, Terrance Dicks and surviving mutants writer Bob Baker amongst others have some interesting memories.
Mutt Mad is a good well put together making of, with stories about why the original cuss word for Mutants "Munts " had to go, how a mould designed for space age walls turned up in other shows & what director Christopher Barry thinks looking back.
Race Against Time is a look at the use of ethnic minority actors on British TV with particular reference to Who. A wide range of contributors,an intelligetly written & a broad scope. It considers stories like Marco Polo & Talons of Weng Chiang using Oriental actors as extras or in supporting roles while making up white actors to look Oriental in main roles. Both sides of the argument are considered.
Interesting facts include how bad the record for using minority actors was in the 3rd Doctor's era, when the 1st black person appeared on the cover of the Radio Times & how no minority actor was cast as a major villain in classic who. It goes up to new Who and considers the rumours a black actor might be cast as Dr 11.It stumbles a bit by limiting this part of the discussion to a black Doctor rather than considering an oriental or Asian Dr as well, but still a great documentary.
The best extra is Academy award winning designer James Acheson's look back at his start in the business on Who. Plenty of great stories about how much he liked both Doctors he worked with, how cheaply he made the gellguards in 3 Doctors, why he left during Deadly Assassin and what hollywood Director's a bit of a Who fan. Slight demerit for not telling him his Timelord costumes influence the show to this day.
there's a brief clip of Peter Purves looking at 3 monsters on Blue Peter which is great for me as I saw the exhibition they were a part of , but with no introduction will mean little to anyone else.

More for big classic Who fans, a good package.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story overlooked for flashier gimmicks!, 2 Feb 2011
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
The Three Doctors, The Daemons, Day of the Daleks, all gimmicky, all fan favourites, all basically nonsense.

Then we have the Mutants. It feels more solid a story than perhaps any other since Inferno, for my money it seems way before its time. This story would not be out of place in 1983 or 1988 and staring Sylvester and Sophie.
The politics, the sheer imagination of the design work, the inevitable dragging out of the Marshall's will to power all scream quality.
I have to confess that I am a fan of this story. The premise is fascinating and very 'deep' it's a type of science fiction we have barely seen before or since in DW. An alien race itself as the protagonist, antagonist, plot and theme.

The acting does have a few weak spots,( Cotton,) but who, of the mainly white audience of Dw could act convincingly, a part written with the rhythms of west indian regional speech, " Great Innit he just ups and clears off" sic, in a cockney accent. It's the rhythm man, not the acting.

Visuals, put yourself in the mindset of 1972, and the effects seems really ambitious, and convincing, with special praise to the model work, set design, and the manufacturers of bicycle pumps.

Music. Speaking as a fan of Tristram Cary's Dead Planet score and Malcolm Clarke's Sea Devils music. I absolutely love the alien ambience of the soundtrack. I always say that it's the mood, pace and tone of music that counts, which is why Death to the Daleks does not work. The views of Solos through the porthole and the firestorm scene as the explosions impact on skybase are particularly beautiful and intimate, whilst conveying the silent expanse of space.

This is a cracking story that, like the War Games, just gets better on repeated viewing, ( You'll always find something new to love about it.) The levels of violence seem to make this a companion piece with Colony in Space, another Pertwee alien- planet saga.

The extras are pretty good, but the docu about Race in Dw is extremely interesting and sobering. Even, despite Terrance " Up the Empire" Dicks comments, it's impossible to think of DW as ever siding with the imperial power and not with the oppressed. It is lovely in a time of PC values to think of the Doctor, way back in 1972, as the alien judging no'one, assessing the situation on its merits, helping the innocent and taking up the banner of freedom from imperialism.

Right on Doc!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story but drags on a little, 9 Dec 2010
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
This story comes from the "exile" period of Jon Pertwee's era on Doctor Who.

Yes, he travels to another planet but he is, in this story, an intergalactic DHL man as he is asked to take a message from the Time Lords to the planet Solos. So why is this an interesting tale?

Well, it's not the "delivery boy" plot that's for sure. Basically, this story is an allegory on two issues. Firstly, this story deals with the way the Earth Empire sees any planet as fair game and their territory (for this read the history of the British Empire). The second allegory and was more contemporary was the theme of Apartheid. The non-mutated Solonians fear their mutated counterparts, whilst the Earth Empire, in the form of the Marshal, uses this as an opportunity to build a power base.

This story falls into the category of a story with a message which formed part of the Barry Letts' era. Granted, the costumes and the special effects are dated but we look at this with the benefit of things such as CGI and modern prosthetics.

The only real downside is the story's pacing and this story could have been done in four episodes rather than six.

The extras look interesting, particularly the Noel Clarke hosted "Race Against Time".

Overall, a good package for this story, but minus a star for the reason of the story's pacing.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Super 70s space adventure!, 26 Nov 2010
By 
P. Sanders "prhsuk" (Belfast) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972] (DVD)
There was a period where I dismissed a lot of Pertwee stories as tedious, cheap-looking padded nonsense, but since watching them again on DVD I've really begun to enjoy them, especially with the extras revealing just how experimental some of the effects were for the time and the sense that Barry Letts was actually trying to develop a narrative arc for the Doctor over his tenure.

I watched "The Mutants" again recently and I loved it. This is Pertwee era doing a rare full-blooded space SF adventure, with no UNIT, no Master or Daleks. Instead it's cool spaceships, barren planets and really well done insectoid aliens. The plot is intelligent and thought-provoking and it's nice to see Jo and the Doctor away from dreary 1970s England and by themselves on an adventure. It starts with the mystery of a Time Lord gift and opens up into an intelligent critique of South Africa and British colonialism. I even enjoy the 70s vision-of-the-future sets.

Sure it's long at 6 episodes, and as per usual a few of the performances are a little wooden, but I don't care. Pertwee in space!
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Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972]
Doctor Who - The Mutants [DVD] [1972] by Jon Pertwee (DVD - 2011)
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