Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World
The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria land on an Australian beach (actually Clymping Beach, West Sussex, which eight years later stood in for a Scottish beach in Terror of the Zygons) in 2018. The Doctor learns from Giles Kent (Bill Kerr) that he is the exact double of Salamander (also played by Patrick Troughton), who has found a way of harnessing solar energy and ending starvation. But Kent and Astrid (Mary Peach) believe that Salamander's ultimate plans are to establish himself as a dictator. With the Doctor impersonating Salamander, they try to find what Salamander's real plans are...
If there is one DVD release that Who fans would love to render obsolete, it would be Lost in Time, Released in 2004 following that year's discovery of a previously missing episode (“Day of Armageddon”, the second episode of The Daleks' Master Plan), that three-disc set collected all the “orphaned episodes”, the surviving ones from any serial fifty percent or less complete. One of those stories was The Enemy of the World. Broadcast in six parts between 23 December 1967 and 27 January 1968, The Enemy of the World had its master videotapes wiped by the end of 1969. 16mm telerecordings were made for overseas sales but in time these were junked, and by the time the BBC reviewed its archiving policy in the late 1970s, only the third episode was still held by the BBC. The archives of foreign broadcasters which had shown Who stories in the 60s and 70s have been contacted over the years, with some successes. By 2013 the number of missing Who episodes had been reduced to 106. There is no doubt that some of those have gone forever, though with every one of those we still have the scripts, and soundtracks recorded off-air by fans at the time of broadcast. In many cases, we have clips and extracts for episodes which do not survive in full. We also have telesnaps – still photographs taken during the broadcasts – though for reasons unknown, Episode 4 of Enemy is unusual amongst 60s episodes in not having had any taken.
And that might have been it. One of the countries which Enemy was sold to was Nigeria, in a package of three six-part stories along with the one two before it, The Abominable Snowmen (of which only Episode 2 survives) and the one after, The Web of Fear, of which only the first episode survived and of which more in a moment. Why, they didn't also take The Ice Warriors, the one immediately before Enemy, of which four episodes out of six survive, is unknown. However, as we now know, copies of all six episodes were found in the store room of a relay station in that country, along with five episodes of Web. The rediscovery was announced, after months of rumours, on 11 October 2013 and at midnight that night the serial was available to buy on Itunes. It is now on DVD, and Web, with a reconstruction of the still-missing Episode 3, will follow in February 2014.
Enemy is an odd story, barely science-fiction despite its near-future setting. (And being able to watch the serial now enables us to establish when it is set. There is no indication of the date in the dialogue, but in Episode 5 we see a newspaper cutting from “last year” dated “Friday August 16 2017”. Actually, that day will be a Wednesday.) It's something of an odd one out amongst the stories of Season Five, not being a “base under siege” story and not featuring any monsters, unless you count Salamander as a human monster. However, as played by Troughton in tan makeup and with a Mexican accent, he's more of a Bond-like supervillain. Jamie and Victoria are somewhat out of character in their sidekick roles. Neither of them appear in the fourth episode as Watling and Frazer Hines were on holiday when that was recorded. The story has an international flavour, beginning Down Under with some dodgy Aussie accents (though there are real Aussies in the cast, namely main guest star Bill Kerr and, in Episode 3, Reg Lye giving an amusing performance as a cook put in charge of Jamie and Victoria. We then move to the “Central European Zone”, and of course the villain is a Central American. There's also a left turn partway through involving a colony of men and women in a bunker who have been convinced by Salamander that the planet's surface has been ravaged by nuclear war – a plotline oddly reminiscent of one in the later Invasion of the Dinosaurs.
Troughton's double role in the story does have a precedent, in the still completely missing The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve from February 1966, in which William Hartnell spent half the serial playing the Abbot of Amboise rather than the Doctor. It gets complicated, as Troughton is playing not just Salamander and the Doctor but also, for parts of the story, one man impersonating the other. Who was at the time recorded “as live” in the studio as much as possible, and you can see how the practicalities have been written in to the story, with Salamander often being on-screen for half an episode and the Doctor in the other half, thereby needing only one costume and make-up change. The two men finally meet at the end of the final episode, a scene brought about by the use of a stunt double (Peter Diamond) and one split-screen shot.
It does mark some significant endings and beginnings, though. It was the last story broadcast while the show's co-creator, Sydney Newman, was BBC Head of Drama. It was the last but one written by the original script editor, David Whitaker and the last to be produced by Innes Lloyd. However, it was also the first involvement with Who for a very significant later figure, Barry Letts, here as director. He was later to become the show's producer for all but one of Jon Pertwee's stories between 1970 and 1974, and also directed stories and wrote some, usually uncredited in collaboration with Robert Sloman. Enemy has some technical significance too. BBC2 had begun broadcasting in 1964 only on 625-line, as opposed to the previous standard of 405-line. This was in preparation for the introduction of a colour service, which began, the first in Europe, on BBC2 in the summer of 1967. Enemy was the first Who story made on 625-line video (with the usual 16mm film for exteriors). It was still in black and white, though, as BBC1 and ITV did not start their colour service until November 1969. Who was not made in colour until Jon Pertwee's first season in 1970.
While no one would begrudge any missing story being returned, it would be fair to say that Enemy was not the highest on most fans' wish lists. (The Web of Fear was another matter altogether.) Now that we can watch the story as a whole – and let's not forget that this and the once-lost The Tomb of the Cybermen, are at present the only complete stories of Season Five and the only complete stories of Deborah Watling's year on the show – we can reassess it. It still feels somewhat at odds with 1960s Who and the stories before and after it. Yet we are certainly glad to have it back, especially those of us who were too young to see it on its original broadcast.
The Enemy of the World is released by 2Entertain on a dual-layered disc encoded for Region 2 only. There is, as always, an audio-descriptive menu option. However, there are not the usual extras: no commentary, no information subtitles, no featurettes, no PDF Radio Times listings, no stills gallery. There is only a Coming Soon trailer. While this is understandable, given the time between announcement of rediscovery and release, and the wish to make the fruits of one of the largest-ever hauls of found episodes available to the public as soon as possible, I can't help wondering if there will be a Special Edition sometime in the future. This is of course entirely speculation on my part.
The episodes are in the ratio of 1.33:1, as you would expect from a television programme of this vintage. As mentioned above, this was the first Who serial to be made on 625-line video, though location work and pre-filmed scenes at Ealing Studios were shot on 16mm. Like the majority of the surviving 60s episodes, it exists as a 16mm telerecording. (The few exceptions were shot with video cameras – 405-line and later 625-line – but captured and edited on, and broadcast from, 35mm film.) The telerecording has been restored and had had its video-shot material VidFIREd for DVD. Given the jump in line-standard, the results look sharper and less soft than many of the earlier Who DVDs do. The film sequences are understandably grainier. This does still look fine, as good as we are likely to get, given the SD originating materials and the lack of the original tapes.
The soundtrack is the original mono, restored, and is clean and well-balanced. English subtitles are available for the hard of hearing.
As mentioned above, the only extra is a Coming Soon trailer, for The Web of Fear (0:51).
Last updated: 30/05/2018 23:55:55