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63) THE MUTANTS

8 April - 13 May 1972

Average Viewing Figure: 7.8M

Plot

On the planet Solos strange creatures lurk in the caves as the planet is about to become independent from Earths' rule

Cast

Jon Pertwee (The Doctor), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Paul Whitsun-Jones (Marshal), James Mellor (Varan), Garrick Hagon (Ky)

Geoffrey Palmer (Administrator), Christopher Coll (Stubbs), Rick James (Cotton), George Pravda (Jaeger), John Hollis (Sondergaard)

Peter Howell (Investigator), Jonathan Sherwood (Vorn), Sidney Johnson (Old Man), Roy Peace (Solos Guard)

David Arlen (Warrior Guard), Martin Taylor (Skybase Guard), Damon Sanders (Solos Guard), John Scott Martin (Mutt)

Uncredited Cast

David J Grahame (Old Man), Vic Taylor, Brychan Powell, Peter Whitaker, Reg Cranfield (Solonians), Astely Harvey, Keith Ashley

Ron Tingley, David Waterman, Ronald Gough, Dave Carter, Dennis Plenty, Ali Baba (Skybase Guards), Steve Ismay (Bodyguard)

Terry Walsh, Geoff Witherick, Dennis Plenty, Brian Nolan (Overload/Solos Guard), Joe Santo (Exit Guard)

Mike Torres, Eddie Sommer, Laurie Goode, Nick Thompson Hill, Mike Mungarvan, Rick Newby, Bill Gosling (Mutts)

Ian Elliott (Guard Warrior), Derek Chafer, Alex Hood, Terry Sartain (Warriors), Ken Nazarin, Evan Ross (Advisors)

Crew

Bob Baker, Dave Martin (Writers), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Tristram Cary (Incidental Music), Brian Hodgson (Special Sounds)

Fred Hamilton (Film Cameraman), Dick Manton (Film Sound), Dave King (Film Editor), John Horton (Visual Effects Designer)

James Acheson (Costume Designer), Joan Barrett (Make-Up), Frank Cresswell (Studio Lighting), Tony Millier (Sound)

Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Jeremy Bear (Designer), Barry Letts (Producer), Christopher Barry (Director)

Uncredited Crew

Fiona Cumming, Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Assistants), Joan Elliott (Director's Assistant), Philip Hill (Floor Assistant)

Gordon Phillipson (Grams Operator), Mike Turner (Vision Mixer)

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • Western Quarry, Northfleet, Kent

  • Stone House Farm Caves, Frindsbury, Kent

  • Chislehurst Chalk Caves, Chislehurst, Kent

  • Television Centre: Studio 3

  • Television Centre: Studio 4

  • Television Centre: Studio 8

  • Television Centre: Studio 4A

Deaths

  • Marshal [killed by Ky]

  • Varan [sucked into the vacuum of space]

  • Administrator [killed by Vorn]

  • Stubbs [killed by The Marshal]

  • Jaeger [killed when The Doctor sabotages his equipment]

  • Vorn [killed by The Marshal]

  • Warrior Guard [killed by a Skybase Guard]

  • Warriors [killed by Skybase Guards]

  • Bodyguard [shot dead by Stubbs]

  • Mutating Solonian [killed by Stubbs]

Production Days

  • 13 Days between Monday 7 February - Tuesday 28 March 1972

Production Errors

  1. Jon Pertwee says the line 'I couldn't open it even if I wanted to' twice 

  2. During episode two , a boom microphone appears above Stubb's head after The Doctor shoots the swords out of Varan's hand 

  3. Why doesn't Varan explode when he is sucked into the vacuum of space? And how did Jo, Cotton, Stubs and Ky manage to cling onto the inside of Skybase and survive?  ​​

Working Titles

  • Independence

  • The Emergents

Verdict

Perhaps what’s most remarkable about The Mutants is what a colossal creative mess it is. The story is nothing original and shamefully recycles themes from previous seasons, and does nothing to give them a new edge or angle. The final product is generally low-key with a disconjointed plotline and a series of dangers which are dealt with and conquered in the most uninteresting of ways by the main and secondary characters. The direction is uninspiring, with little attention or care, which make the seemingly interesting moments – uninteresting, and the seemingly exciting set-pieces – unexciting.
Despite the tackiness and tired feel of the episodes, there are some fine moments, which give The Mutants some freshness, and bring new ingenious ideas to science-fiction. The Mutts are marvellous creations, and Solos itself actually lends itself to the main narrative, which makes the whole mystery behind the mutations exceedingly interesting as the plot slowly unfolds across the six-episodes. Overall Bob Baker/Dave Martin provide six stronger, more disciplined scripts, but the over ambitious narrative of everything makes for some poor production values and even more questionable science-fiction moments. The extensive advice the writing duo received results in well-grounded, structured characters brought to life by some equally talented artists. However, the silliness of the final episode contradicts the hard work the pair put into their characters; the Marshal is too easily tricked into giving his game away, and some characters appear to be willing to put themselves in harm’s way when they should be doing the exact opposite. 
As another ‘the evils of colonisation’ serial, The Mutants works out ‘fine’ but the production is lacking in energy at times and continually descends into childish gimmicks and games, making it a would-be sleeping giant that could have been so much more.***

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