‘THE ENEMY OF THE WORLD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Doctor vs. Salamander
For Deborah Watling
This story ‘was lost but is now found’ as the prodigal son’s father would say.
I saw ‘The Enemy of the World’, the six-part ‘Doctor Who’ story that was recovered in 2013 and originally released on DVD in 2014, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I’m extremely thankful that the story has been re-released onto a 2-disc Special Edition DVD with brand-new special features in March 2018.
I was pretty delighted that the BBC announced in October 2013 that two missing stories of Patrick Troughton’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ had been found. These included ‘The Enemy of the World’ and ‘The Web of Fear’. I’m extremely pleased these episodes have been found as it is superb to have them back.
‘The Enemy of the World’ was first broadcast in 1967 to 1968 during the Season 5 of ‘Doctor Who’ with Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor. Before these missing episodes were found, the only episode of this tale to have survived was ‘Episode Three’. This was included in the ‘Lost in Time’ DVD set.
This is also Barry Letts’ first association with ‘Doctor Who’ and the first story that he directed. I’m sure the late Barry Letts would be delighted to know that this story has been recovered and is now complete. Barry would go on to be the producer of ‘Doctor Who’ for the early 1970s with Jon Pertwee.
I first purchased the TV soundtrack of the story on an audio CD in 2011. I found listening to the story hard-going despite the linking narration provided by Frazer Hines. But after seeing ‘The Enemy of the World’ on DVD, I enjoyed it since it is well-directed by Barry Letts and well-written by David Whitaker.
What makes ‘The Enemy of the World’ so special is that it features Patrick Troughton not only playing the Doctor, but also the villainous Salamander. This is a doppelganger adventure where Patrick gets to play two parts in it and the TV tale also features the Doctor with his companions Jamie and Victoria.
I’ve had a special A4 print of Alistair Pearson’s artwork for ‘The Enemy of the World’ signed by Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling and Phillip Morris (the missing episodes hunter who found both ‘The Enemy of the World’ and ‘The Web of Fear’) at the ‘Pandorica 2015’ convention at Bristol in September 2015.
It’s superb that this story and ‘The Web of Fear’ are two of Deborah Watling’s stories that were lost but now found. I felt sorry for Debbie/Victoria as most of her stories were missing. But now we have more to enjoy with Victoria since she does stand out really well for me as well as Frazer Hines as Jamie.
In this story, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria visit a futuristic Earth. After being attacked by would-be assassins in Australia, the Doctor and his friends are rescued by Astrid Ferrier. She tells them that the Doctor resembles a cruel man called Salamander. The Doctor is eventually asked to impersonate him.
When I first saw ‘The Enemy of the World’, I was amazed by the first three minutes. The story looks brand-new and I couldn’t believe it had been missing all these years. I told the lovely Debbie Watling about this at the ‘Time Warp’ convention in Weston-super-Mare, July 2014 and that I did enjoy it a lot.
The story has the feel of a James Bond-movie adventure in it. I really love the chase sequence with the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria at the beginning. There’s a lot of political intrigue and suspense relating to Salamander. I’m so pleased it stands up well with cliff-hangers, action, plot, characters and everything.
Patrick Troughton is the star of the show both as the Doctor and Salamander. I like how Patrick shifts from playing the Doctor to Salamander. As a viewer, it’s disturbing to find the villain looking like your hero and doing nasty, horrible things such as poisoning Fedorin; killing people and erupting volcanoes.
Patrick must have enjoyed playing two different characters in this story. It was funny to see the Doctor in his underpants and ready for a swim. I liked his line in ‘Episode Three’ when he says, “Sad really, isn’t it? People spend all their time making nice things and other people come along and break them.”
Deborah Watling is very good as Victoria in this adventure. She doesn’t scream so much as she’s done before in previous stories. She comes across as pretty strong. I liked it when Victoria tells Bruce not to shout at her when he barks at her. I did like it when she’s worried the Doctor ‘will catch his death ‘. 😀
I enjoyed it when both Victoria and Jamie defy Salamander in ‘Episode Five’ before they realise that it is actually the Doctor. There’s a new freshness to Victoria in this adventure when I watched her. She’s able to put her Victorian attitudes to good use, even when she assists in the kitchen in ‘Episode Three’.
Frazer Hines is equally good as Jamie. I liked how resourceful he is, especially when he seemingly saves Salamander’s life in order to get in and become one of his guards. Jamie is clearly confident and I liked it when he bluffs and mentions Victoria as his girlfriend which seems connected to his love for Victoria.
Jamie also looks good in his uniform when serving for Salamander. I liked how Jamie gets curious about what goes on with the political situation of Salamander conquering the world. He’s not usually so brash and impulsive in this tale, though he does punch one of the would-be assassins at the beginning.
The guest cast is superb! There’s Bill Kerr as Giles Kent, who is seemingly opposed to Salamander and Mary Peach as Astrid Ferrier who rescues the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria. There’s also Colin Douglas as the bullish security guard called Donald Bruce; Milton Johns as Benik and Carmen Munroe as Fariah.
This adventure does end on a cliff-hanger. The Doctor and Salamander finally meet in the TARDIS. Salamander is about to kill the Doctor before the TARDIS sets off into time and space. Salamander soon gets sucked out into the time vortex while the Doctor, Victoria and Jamie hold on for dear life. 😮
Like I said, ‘The Enemy of the World’ was originally released on DVD in 2013. There weren’t many DVD special features apart from a DVD sleeve booklet with production notes in it and a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘The Web of Fear’. Thankfully the 2-disc Special Edition DVD for the story was released in March 2018. I purchased the 2-disc Special Edition DVD after attending the ‘Folkestone Film, TV and Comic Con’ in May 2018 for my birthday weekend. 🙂
On Disc 1 of the 2-disc Special Edition DVD for ‘The Enemy of the World’, as well as re-mastered episodes there is also a trailer for the story. There is also a commentary with Frazer Hines, Mary Peach, Milton Johns, Gordon Faith (Guard Captain) and make-up supervisor Sylvia James, moderated by Simon Harries. There’s also an info-text commentary option to enjoy.
On Disc 2, there’s the ‘Treasures Lost and Found’ documentary; ‘Recovering The Past – The Search For The Enemy Of The World’; ‘Remembering Deborah Watling’; a Jon Pertwee introduction and ‘Restoring Doctor Who’. There’s also a photo gallery of the story and PDF materials including a ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story and original scripts of the story.
I really enjoyed ‘The Enemy of the World’ when I first saw it on DVD in 2014 and again for the 2-disc Special Edition DVD in 2018. It’s fantastic that this story is now complete and it can now be added to the collection of ‘Doctor Who’ stories available on DVD and Blu-ray that are steadily getting bigger. 😀
‘The Enemy of the World’ is worth seeing as a ‘Doctor Who’ story, especially for Patrick Troughton’s performances as the Doctor and Salamander as well as Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling. It’s amazing to believe this story was once lost for many years and if you like action adventure, you’ll love this one!
‘The Enemy of the World’ rating – 10/10
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