Doctor Who and the Mutants

3rd Doctor Novelisation
Narrated by: Jon Culshaw
Length: 4 hrs and 15 mins
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Jon Culshaw reads this gripping novelisation of a classic adventure for the Third Doctor. 

The Time Lords send the Doctor and Jo on a mysterious mission to Skybase One in the late 30th century, from where the Earth Empire governs affairs on the primitive planet Solos.

Yet on the eve of their independence, something is happening to the Solonians: their hands are becoming claws, and their skin is changing to scales. Why are they gradually turning into monsters? 

The Doctor and Jo soon discover that the natural order on Solos is threatened by the ruthless Marshal and his scientist Jaeger. Their dangerous quest has only just begun....

©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Stevie F.
  • Stevie F.
  • 01-18-20

Dr Culshaw does it again.

Jon Culshaw is of course renowned for his "Tom Baker" and once again delivers a tour de force as his vocal talents are put to good use in recreating the distinct voice of Dr Who number 3 Jon Pertwee. Culshaws talents being to life what is really a very average story from Pertwees third season. I was also mightily impressed by his vocal recreation of the character of the marshal, played on television by the late Paul Whutsun-Jones. He captures his voice perfectly. So much so in fact that I closed my eyes and could visualise the said actor standing in character delivering his lines. (Sadly, Paul Whutsun-Jones died less than 2 years after this story was screened at the early age of 50. He was a stalwart of film and television from the early 50's until his untimely death). He also performs the character of Cotton very faithfully. Culshaw lifts a plodding tale from pure mediocrity to several hours of enjoyable entertainment. His performance alone raises the rating from 2-3 stars to 4. A must for fans of Classic Who and for fans of Jon Culshaw. He must be used more often by BBC books when they seek to record any Target novelization featuring Dr's 3 and 4.

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Profile Image for S. Morris
  • S. Morris
  • 12-06-19

Great Classic Who

After hearing Jon Culshaw's narration of "Death to The Daleks", I was drawn to this title seeing Culshaw's name associated with it. Culshaw's voice talents makes him a perfect choice as a narrator of such stories - actually, any story given his wide range of and ability to learn and mimic new voices. The best narrators on audible are often those who can render varied voices to provide much greater immersion into the audio format. Culshaw's Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker is amazing and really enhances the story telling.

Now, onto the story itself. Unlike other Doctor Who audio novels I have listened to, The Mutants is not one I have previously seen on television or DVD. My favourite period of Doctor Who being the first half of the Tom Baker era when Hinge cliff and Holmes were working behind the scenes to deliver the Gothic horror phase of Who. however, Pertwee's reign as the Doctor is my second favourite Who era, but I tend to not find the Earth based stories, of which there were so many in the Pertwee years, nearly so interesting and so The Mutants stands out as one of the relatively few non Earth bound stories that naturally appeal to me.

Having now listened to the story, I have ordered the DVD. What left a big impression on me, was just how much there is in this story. There are multiple threads and a plot which is not sparse or simple, unlike a lot of newer Who. It sort of surprises me as to how involved the plot is given it was "supposed" to be squarely aimed at a younger audience back in the early 1970's. This might have something to do with the current state of British TV with regard to younger viewers and the seemingly much shortened attention spans of the children of today.

I haven't seen the DVD version yet and I'm sure there will be the usual shaky sets, simple special effects compared with today and some dodgy electronic music, but the underlying strength of the story is what really counts here. The Mutants clearly comes from an era when stories could take more time to develop, which is an aspect I like and appreciate. if anything, perhaps the Mutants was a tad too long, but I'd rather have that than the fast paced, wrap everything up as quickly as possible type formats more common today. We really get the time needed to understand and get to know the characters here.

This is another wonderfully adapted television story by Terrance Dicks and I do love his clear and efficient writing style. However, unless I missed something, there did seem to be a glaring plot hole in this story, namely the Solons seem to have no trouble breathing the atmosphere on Sky base i.e an environment suitable to humans, yet changing their planet' to have the same atmosphere as Earth, is going to kill them, I didn't understand that.

Other than that minor niggle, The Mutants is an excellent story well worth your time. Having said that, if you like your Who to be somewhat more "modern" then it's probably not for you as you will likely find the plot unfolds too slowly. For old fossils like me, it's something to relax and drink in slowly like a fine wine and not to be rushed :)