“A life cycle unique in the history of the universe”: Doctor Who: The Mutants, The Stone Tape, and the search for British identity in 1972 telefantasy

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I am here going to focus on two of the highlights of 1972's telefantasy output. One was a single play for BBC2 by Nigel Kneale, creator and writer of the Quatermass serials of the 1950s, The Stone Tape, directed by Peter Sasdy. The other was Doctor Who, now in its ninth season and with its third actor in the title role, having also undergone a radical change of format in 1970 from a tale set anywhere in time and space to stranding its protagonist on contemporary Earth. By 1972, however, the production team were beginning to feature more adventures in the far future, with that year's serials including three taking place largely or entirely in futuristic settings, one partly in the distant past, and only one completely on contemporary Earth. Both The Stone Tape and the Doctor Who serial, The Mutants' are, in various ways, harbingers of what was to come later that decade, and both also address similar questions about British identity in a postcolonial, post-imperial context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalFoundation: The International Review Of Science Fiction
Issue number142
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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