Friday, 7 October 2011

319 The Mutants: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Mutants: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 15 April 1972
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Mutants
Episode Format: 525 video RSC

Jo & Kai have teleported down to Solos but she quickly has trouble breathing the atmosphere. The Marshall tells the Doctor that Solos is now under martial law: his law and coerces the Doctor into trying to open the box if he searches for Jo. He is taken to the Skybase lab where Jaeger is carrying out experiments on Solos' atmosphere trying to reverse recent changes. Kai takes Jo to the caves where the atmosphere is clearer and easier for her to breathe. The Marshall kills Varan's son, the administrator's assassin, earning Varan's wrath who flees into Skybase. Kai believes that the Overlord's pollution is causing the mutations. The Doctor joins Stubbs who are hunting for Varan in the belief he is a mutant. Varan tells The Doctor & Stubbs that Varan killed his son, while Cotton is instructed to tell the Doctor that Jo is in hospital on Solos. Jaeger proposes to use rockets to alter Solos' atmosphere but the Doctor is angered at the plan knowing will wipe out the Solonians. Cotton tells the Doctor the truth and together they plan the Doctor's escape to Solos with Varan, but as the Doctor puts his plan into action, deactivating power to all of Skybase bar the transporter. Arriving on Solos Varan attacks him....

Hmm, I'm not sure this episode really goes anyway or does much. OK, I'm not having a good day today so didn't enjoy it that much but it felt so slow. You'll recall from the Sea Devils that I'm on the look out for computer equipment from UFO: well there's two items in this episode that might be recycled from that show: the computer bank with it's reel to reel tape in the Skybase lab and the square panel of LEDs on the Skybase transporter each look both familiar and slightly out of place here..... but not as obviously out of place as the Marshall's communicator which is evidently a bicycle pump!

Paul Whitsun-Jones, The Marshal, we've seen before as The Squire in the Smugglers. Likewise Geoffrey Palmer, the assassinated Administrator, was Masters in Doctor Who and the Silurians, and will later return as Hardaker in Voyage of the Damned. Only one of the two guards has appeared in Doctor Who before: Christopher Coll, Stubbs, was in The Seeds of Death: Episode 1-4 as Phipps. His companion Cotton, played by Rick James has another genre appearance in the penultimate Blake's 7 episode Warlord as Chalsa. The Skybase scientist Jaegar, played by George Pravda, was Alexander Denes in The Enemy of the World, and returns as Castelan Spandrell in The Deadly Assassin. Of the prominent Solonians James Mellor, as Varan, was previously in The Wheel in Space as Sean Flannigan. His opposite number Kai is played by Garrick Hagon, a familiar genre figure with a CV as long as your arm He's been seen in the Spy Who Loved Me and Moonbase III. A lot of his work has been as a voice artist: I remember him voice Captains Carter & Halley in Star Fleet, the superb British adaptation of the Japanese series X-Bomber. His wife, Liza Ross, also appears in Star Fleet as Lamia (and several other minor female characters). Star Fleet has finally come out on DVD so you can now enjoy it for yourselves. Best puppet series ever. Oh and Garrick Hagon was also in another science fiction film that you might have seen, but we'll come on to that in later episodes when another actor involved also shows up.

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