THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE AFTER THE
NOVEL "COMBAT ROCK"
PRIOR TO THE TV STORY
"THE WEB OF FEAR."
'LOST IN TIME' DVD
RELEASED IN NOVEMBER
AND 'THE ENEMY OF THE
WORLD' AUDIO CD
RELEASED IN AUGUST
No sooner have the
Doctor, Jamie and
Victoria landed on a
than they are being
shot at by murderous
fanatics! A dramatic
places them in the
hands of Astrid
Ferrier and Giles Kent,
two people intent on
bringing about the
downfall of the
dangerous man - who
happens to look
exactly like the
has been hailed as
the answer to all the
problems. Yet is there
more to his
prediction of natural
disasters than meets
the eye? Could it be
that the death and
destruction which he
appears to foretell is
in fact of his own
ALL BUT EPISODE THREE
The Enemy of
23RD DECEMBER 1967 - 27TH JANUARY 1968
“It was you… or someone like you.”
The Enemy of the World is a thoroughly entertaining yarn, most famous for being the one story in the 1967/68 ‘monster’ season not to feature any sort of alien menace. David Whitaker’s script is a sort of ‘future historical’; a six-parter which largely adheres to the old ‘historical’ format, yet is quite firmly set in the future. This espionage thriller is also reminis-cent of many of the early James Bond films – Salamander would have made one hell of a Bond villain! Of course, to be able to enjoy the serial at all you have to be able to swallow the co-incidence that just as the first Doctor had his doppelganger in sixteenth century France, the second Doctor has his very own twin hell-bent on world domination…
For me, the most memorable thing about this story is how it exudes expense. The first episode begins with an amazing chase across an ‘Australian’ beach featuring hovercrafts and helicopters that many feature films of the time would have been envious of. This serial was also the first to be shot with a picture resolution of 625 lines instead of just 405, which also helps give it that little bit of extra sheen. Even the serial’s ambitious number of sets – it is quite literally set over the whole world – sets it apart from most Earthbound adventures
that are grounded in just one location.
In fact, in terms of the production The Enemy of the World has but two flaws. Firstly, the need to avoid recording breaks ruled out frequent costume changes for Patrick Troughton, with the result that the Doctor featured rather less in the action than would normally have been the case. Of course, Troughton’s thoroughly deplorable Salamander more than makes up the cosmic hobo’s absence; that cod foreign accent is simply magnificent! Secondly, we are left waiting until the closing moments of the final episode before we get to see the
Doctor and Salamander meeting face to face – earlier in the story, the film jammed in the camera being used to shoot the split-screen effect!
“Which is good, and which is bad?”
The second episode is very well written, with the Doctor and his companions facing an interesting dilemma. Do they believe Giles Kent and Astrid’s assertions that Salamander is a tyrant and help them bring him to justice, when all available evidence seems to point to the contrary? It is also this episode that first brings the wonderful sense of scale to the story as we see what has become known as the ‘Central European Zone’, as well as the ‘Austral-asian Zone’ and we also meet Salamander’s food taster, Feriah (Carmen Munroe), as well as the man himself.
Generally speaking, the third episode of The Enemy of the World is the one that fans will
be most familiar with though as it still survives today and was recently released as part of the Lost in Time DVD collection. Sadly, the extant episode is completely studio-bound and has to be one of Deborah Watling’s most horrendous outings; she really brings a new meaning to cheesiness in this episode! More positively, the episode features awesome perform-ances from two actors who would go onto play Gallifreyan Castellans – George Pravda, who plays the (unjustly) disgraced politician Denes, and the superb Milton Johns who plays the nefarious Benik.
Oddly, as with the missing episodes from The Space Pirates, there are not any telesnaps in existence from the fourth episode, meaning that the only way to enjoy it is through the BBC Radio Collection’s CD release with Frazer Hines’ linking narration. And judging it purely on the audio (which admittedly is not a fair test), it doesn’t seem like the best episode in the world. Both Hines and Watling are absent, the episode is set almost completely under-ground, and it features a hell of a lot of exposition.
“Some people spend their time making nice things, and other people come along and break them.”
The last two episodes are much better as they bring the story towards its sensational climax. There are lots of twists and turns – I was delighted to see one character in particular turn babyface, finally won over by the Doctor and his companions, yet on the other hand I was appalled to learn that one of the goodies was actually in with Salamander all along!
All told, The Enemy of the World is a fine example of some of Whitaker’s best writing. The final scene, where the Doctor and Salamander finally come face to face in the TARDIS is electrifying, and dovetails beautifully into the next serial, which as we all know is yet another Troughton classic…
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
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