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Dr Who: The Mutants DVD

Sunday, 06 February 2011 14:46

The Time Lords send the Doctor and Jo on a mission to deliver a sealed message pod to an unknown party aboard a Skybase orbiting the planet Solos in the 30th century. Solos is due to gain independence from Earth's empire, but its Marshal is determined to prevent this. He arranges the murder of the Earth Administrator and, with his chief scientist Jaeger, plans to transform Solo's atmosphere into one more suited to humans.

In the latest Doctor Who DVD release from 2Entertain, Ky, a young Solonian leader, is falsely accused of the murder and flees to the planet, taking Jo with him. The Doctor follows and joins them in an old thaesium mine. Ky turns out to be the intended recipient of the message pod, which opens automatically for him. Inside are stone tablets carved with ancient inscriptions. 

Doctor Who - Pertwee's The Mutants on DVDFrom starting with a scene that makes everyone who watches it think of Monty Python, in particular the caveman dashing towards the camera to say “It’s...”, this serial turns into pointed allegory, tackling subjects that paralleled apartheid in South Africa, and the then-fight for independence in the former Rhodesia – both hot topics at the time.

Writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin – the creators of canine mobile computer K9 (incidentally whose new Australian series is also out now) - made no bones of the fact they were using a popular teatime serial to tackle the issues of the day. Looking at some of the reviews on the Amazon website, I was amazed that some folk bluster that Doctor Who was just a kids’ show, and was never about wider issues! Whether it’s Star Trek, The Prisoner, UFO or a host of other multi-layered TV series, the cult medium is littered with examples of using the fantastic as a way to comment on our own experiences in the real world.

Perhaps commentators such as these don’t like the conclusions that have been drawn by the scriptwriters? It’s harsh to realise that the world being described in the mainstream media is nowhere near the reality of what’s really going on.  However, they prefer not to let alternative views invade their comfort zone.  This is how tyranny has always emerged and gained a foothold – by people turning away when what they needed to do was face the truth. As wrongly pilloried researcher David Icke has noted, “To have your head in the sand, you first have to be on your knees”.

Indeed, this is probably one of the key messages of “The Mutants” – those who know what’s going on are always marginalised and the powers-that-be try to take them out of the picture. Those who are painted by the establishment as the villains (or “terrorists” as some now get labelled) are actually trying to secure the rights of the silent majority.

But of course, Doctor Who, just a bit of ‘fluff’, isn’t it?  Isn’t it? And jeez, six parts.  That’s a lot of screen time.  Must be boring as it’s so long?  Well, just go back to sleep, then. Ignore the metaphor. Everything’s fine.  Move along. Nothing to see here.

Special features on this DVD release include the following:

  • 6 x 25 mins approx colour episodes with mono audio.
  • Commentary (Stereo). With actors Katy Manning (Jo) and Garrick Hagon (Ky), director Christopher Barry, script editor Terrance Dicks, co-writer Bob Baker, special sounds supervisor Brian Hodgson and designer Jeremy Bear. Moderated by Nicholas Pegg.
  • “Mutt Mad” (20’ 43”) – cast and crew look back at the making of the story. With actor Garrick Hagon, producer Barry Letts, director Christopher Barry, co-writer Bob Baker, script editor Terrance Dicks and designer Jeremy Bear.
  • “Race Against Time” (37’ 38”) - Noel Clarke narrates a documentary looking at the representation of black actors in Doctor Who and on British TV as a whole. With writer and critic Bidisha, writer Stephen Bourne, actor Fraser James, and Doctor Who Magazine’s assistant editor Peter Ware.
  • “Dressing Doctor Who” (27’ 04”) – three-times Academy Award winning costume designer James Acheson takes an affectionate look back over his earlier work on Doctor Who from his home in New Zealand. Narrated by Simon Ockendon.
  • Blue Peter (1’ 35”) – Peter Purves takes a look at a collection of Doctor Who monsters prior to the opening of an exhibition of visual effects.
  • Photo Gallery (2’ 56”) - production, design and publicity photos from the story.
  • Coming Soon - a trailer forthcoming DVD release “The Ark”.
  • Programme subtitles.
  • Subtitle Production Notes.
  • Radio Times Listings in Adobe PDF format.

“The Mutants” is out now on DVD, with a ‘PG’ certificate, a running time of 85 minutes approx, and a RRP £19.99, or get it for less at


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37