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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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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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on 18 March 2017
Great
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on 27 December 2012
Love this story. Some great side characters who really get to me. Excellent acting and storyline, takes me back to my childhood enjoyment of Mr Pertwee, who was my first Doctor.
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on 22 March 2017
Item was exactly as described and arrived earlier than expected
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on 3 May 2017
good
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on 10 April 2011
First of all I have to say that I'm rather concerned, and not only as a historian by training, that some fans seem to want CSO in classic Dr Who stories replaced with computer-generated images. This would be as potentially alarming and damaging as the current craze for colourising old black-and-white films/photographs (digital remastering doesn't change what's already there, merely makes it more comfortable to watch). TV programmes are useful for what they tell you about the time at which they were made, not just its sociopolitical mores but the extent of its technological advance. To replace the CSO superbeing Ky with a CGI would be (a) pointless, because the original isn't all that bad, and (b) misleading to future historians.

Viewing the DVD of The Mutants confirms, once again, my suspicion that Who fans who seem determined to rubbish certain stories usually don't know what they're talking about; so I'm looking forward to the release of Planet of the Spiders plus, hopefully, The Daemons. As far as I can see the only dud Pertwee stories are Death to the Daleks (tedious and unexciting) and The Time Monster (an excruciatingly badly acted ****-about). The Mutants has itself been described as tedious, but it's not that dull really once you start to follow the story. And if it needs a saving grace, it's got one - the Mutts. They're excellently realised and it's a pity we don't see a bit more of them. The novelisation and TV version of The Brain Of Morbius makes clear that if the mutation is allowed to take place at its proper pace, the insectoid Solonians are a highly intelligent, advanced, dignified, peaceful race of space travellers. I've always found it ironic that Salman Rushdie, who's spent quite a bit of time moaning about how racist white British people are, missed the whole point of the story and thought it was actually encouraging racism by portraying something as ugly and evil purely because it looked different! An example of how people often misunderstood and underappreciated Doctor Who in the old days.

It may not be the best Dr Who story ever, but it's certainly far from being the worst.
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on 11 January 2014
I really enjoyed all of the Jon Pertwee era of Dr Who as it demonstrates the social and economic matters that where occurring during the early 1970s, and how appetite movements within South Africa. As in the 1970 adventure `The Ambassidors of Death' in shows that not all aliens or monsters are evil, and in case of the Solosan Mutants they are the victims of the evil, sadistic and closed minded Marshall played brilliantly by Hammer Horror classic actor Paul Whitsun-Jones to the best cameo appearance by Geoffrey Palmer as the Solos Administrator who wants Solos to become Independent.

In this story, we have a blend of actors from all area of the UK who acted with great pathos especially from another Welsh Hammer Horror Actor John Hollis who played Hermit Scientist Sondergaard, Northerners James Mellor who portrays Solos Warlord Chief Varnon and Christopher Coll as Security Chief Stubbs to the overseas actors, please step forward Canadian Actor Garrick Hagon as Ky, the Solon Rebel who wants the Earthlings or the `Overlords' to stop bombing and polluting Solos with evil chemicals created by Professor Jaegar played by Polish actor George Pravada to Stubb's pal and fellow Security Guard Cotton played with great easy by West Indian actor Rick James. There is some reviewers said that Rick James's acting wasn't up to scratch, but in my personal view, this could have been Rick's first acting job, and he could have been nerves could have been on his mind acting with more experienced actors, but despite that it still an outstanding story, so I award this a full `five' stars.

But one thing, I would love to see the completed version of Tom Baker's Doctor Who 1979 unfinished and incomplete adventure `Shada'. I do apologise about mention again and again, but in my opinion I think that 3D realistic CGI is needed, and Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, John Leeson, Christopher Neame, Daniel Hill and the other cast members of 'Shada' could be done by using the same method by combining live which includes Acting Extras to portray the Main Cast in reproduced and replica costumes with blue masks for the realistic CGI animated faces to be added on, and the Timelord Prisioners on 'Shada' in matching late 1970s sci-fi prison outfits and 1970's style wigs (the same techniques as the re-vamp Star Wars Movies), blue screen and digital enhanced voice recording technology to 3-D Animate and Construct Tom Baker's missing and incomplete 1979 adventure `Shada' instead of bone-idle, lazy, lacklustre, pathetic and incomplete 1992 VHS version released by BBC 2E.

Iain Levine out of his own pocket had already had the completed version of `Shada' completed with both Lalla Ward, Christopher Neame, John Leeson (who is providing the voice of K-9, instead of David Briarley), Dennis Hill and the other cast member. Iain Levine employed a voice over actor who impersonated both Tom Baker's and Dennis Carey's voices, so the project was already done. It was only some closed minded person form BBC E2 who put a stop to it, it could have been the high fee from the Douglas Adam estate or the animation wasn't up to scratch, but a lot of Whovian including myself are curious of finding out what `Shada' would have been like if the 1979 strike never happened, and they are pleased that his televised completed adventures are now released, but to me and several Whovians feel that the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who is only 96% complete.

For all long-term Whovians, please start an on-line petition campaign on `E-Mail', 'Facebook' and 'Twitter' to ask Planet55\Quintas Entertainment to bring out the full and complete 3D animated version of 'Shada' to be released as a 'Special Edition' DVD to mark a tribute to writer Douglas Adams and producer Graham Williams, and to celebrate Tom Baker's 80th Birthday for 2014, come on BBC E2, please listen to the long-term fans for ONCE!!!
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on 2 February 2013
The Doctor and Jo Grant arrive on a planet where 'mutants' are being hunted down and destroyed. But soon they find there's more to these creatures than meets the eye.

This is a story which, with its anti-racism message, sets out with good intentions. However, you know what they say about the road to hell. As a story it's fairly entertaining with some good ideas, and the Marshal makes a memorable villain. The final part, however, resembles a bad episode of 1960s Star Trek with a 'super being' flitting about solving all the problems just like that. Another problem is that this is one of those tales of morality which shoots itself in the foot by having the token black character played as a dreadful patronising stereotype. And who thought calling him "Cotton" was a good idea?

The extras make this purchase well worth it if you're a fan of the series. There are three documentaries including a 'making of', a look at the role of black character throughout Dr Who's history and a feature about one of the show's designers.
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on 18 April 2007
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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on 2 February 2011
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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