The Mutants, the next adventure for Pertwee’s Doctor was a six-part story written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin. It ran from 8 April to 13 May, 1972.
The Doctor and Jo (Katy Manning) receive a message pod from the Time Lords that needs to be delivered to Solos. This allows the TARDIS to work again for this adventure. If I was the Doctor, I’d be getting a little tired of this. And in typical Time Lord fashion, they also don’t tell The Doctor to whom the message pod needs to go to. So they have to hand it to almost everyone they meet to see if it opens.
Away they go, to 30th Century Solos. They find themselves on an orbiting ship referred to as a Sky Base and quickly get caught up in all manner of intrigue. It is the eve of planetary independence for Solos, and the Marshal of Solos (Paul Whitsun-Jones) and his fellow humans, including the Administrator (Geoffrey Palmer), who rule the planet, and referred to as Overlords, are preparing to withdraw and Earth.
The Solonians, live in a segregated existence with the Overlords, but are hopeful of a new era if they are truly given their freedom and independence. Unfortunately, the planet’s atmosphere has been corrupted by experiments conducted by the Marshal and has triggered mutations in some of the Solonians, and made the air unbreathable to humans. The Marshal, however, does not wish to release the Solonians, and has a scheme to still make a huge revenue from their ‘loose’ freedom. He also allies himself with some of them, to assassinate the Administrator, then follows the first rule of assassination: get rid of the assassins.
The message box is meant for one of the Solonians, Ky (Garrick Hagon) who finds himself in a leadership position, with some help from Jo, and leads his fellows, including the mutations. It’s quickly discovered that the mutants are actually the next step in a number of evolutionary changes for the Solonians, and the polluted atmosphere has merely speeded the transformation up. This is something The Doctor discovers alongside an Earth scientist, long thought lost, Sondergaard (John Hollis).
Ky and Jo, alongside his allies await the arrival of authorities to look into the Marshal’s activities, and attempt to hold the Sky Base until they do. Meanwhile, The Doctor works to restore an ecological balance for the planet, suitable for the Solonians, but still a poisonous threat to the Overlords.
With some help, Ky advances to the final evolutionary state of the Solonians and is able to save the planet, and have freedom for his people, while the Doctor and Jo make a discrete exit.
Next time, we come to the end of Season 9 as The Doctor confronts… The Time Monster!