DVD Review: Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World - Special Edition
More on Doctor Who
Some of the following is revised and updated from my previous DVD review of Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World, for this site in 2013.
The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Victoria (Deborah Watling) land on a deserted 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 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 Doctor 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 tele recordings were made for overseas sales but in time these too were junked, and by the time the BBC reviewed its archiving policy in the late 1970s, only the third episode was still held. The archives of foreign broadcasters which had shown Who stories in the 60s and 70s had 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 we still have the scripts, and soundtracks recorded off-air by fans at the time of broadcast. There were the novelisations published by Target, which introduced many young fans to stories they had not been old enough to see on 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 The Enemy of the World 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 The Enemy of the World, 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 The Web of Fear.
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. And then they were on DVD, with a soundtrack-and-telesnap reconstruction of the still-missing Episode 3 of The Web of Fear. Those DVDs, no doubt due to the short lead time between episode discovery and release, had none of the usual extras of other Who DVDs so I speculated that one day there may be a Special Edition. And now, for The Enemy of the World, here it is. At the time of writing, I have no information as to a Special Edition of Web of Fear, but I wouldn't be surprised if one wasn't on the way, but for more speculation see below.
The Enemy of the World is an odd story, barely science-fiction despite its near-future setting. 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 would have been, in fact was, 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. This no doubt reduced its appeal to the younger members of the audience, and this serial had smaller audience numbers and a lower appreciation index than the stories around it.
As played by Troughton in tan makeup and with a Mexican accent, Salamander is 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 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 antipodeans in the cast, including Bill Kerr, David Nettheim 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. Astrid, in the mould of a post-Avengers action woman, comes close to becoming an additional Doctor's companion for this story. Mary Peach was hired on the understanding that hers was the lead guest role, which meant that the final two episodes had to be rewritten as her character originally didn't appear in them.
Troughton's dual 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. Doctor 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 time-outs to allow for Troughton's costume and make-up change. His one scene in the first episode was pre-filmed.
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. Patrick Troughton's son David, then in his school holidays, makes a brief uncredited appearance as a guard, as does Ian Hines, brother of Frazer. Guyana-born Carmen Munroe, now an OBE for her services to drama, appears in three episodes as Fariah, an unusual example of colour-blind casting for its time.
The story 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 in collaboration with Robert Sloman but with only Sloman credited on screen due to Letts's also being the producer.
The Enemy of the World 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 on 1 July 1967. Enemy was the first Who story made on 625-line video, with the usual 16mm film for exteriors and Ealing Studios prefilming. It was still in black and white, though, as BBC1 and ITV did not start their colour service until 15 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. It had lower audiences and a lower audience appreciation figure than other stories in Series Five. Now that we can watch the story as a whole – and let's not forget that this and the also 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, but in its own lights it stands up well.
2Entertain's Special Edition of Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World arrives as two dual-layered PAL-format discs, both encoded for Regions 2 and 4. The release carries a PG certificate. Audio-descriptive menus are available on each disc.
Disc One contains all six episodes, with a Play All option (140:46 in total). They are presented in the correct 1.33:1 aspect ratio. There are details of the restoration process on Disc Two, of which more in a moment, but all six episodes are transferred from 16mm telerecordings derived from the original 625-line black and white broadcast tapes, with the prefilmed sequences telecined in at the time of production. Needless to say, we're a few generations away from the originals, but there's no doubt that the episodes look as good as they are ever likely to, with a few tweaks from the previous DVD.
The soundtrack is the original mono, with English hard-of-hearing subtitles available on all the episodes and all of the extras on both discs, except for the non-speaking “Restoring Doctor Who” (which has on-screen captions but no one speaks to camera) and the photo gallery on Disc Two. Also on each episode are information subtitles, provided here by Martin Wiggins. These were a highlight of previous Who releases, and I don't know why other discs don't use them. They tell you pretty much all you need to know about the making, background and reception of this story, and rather more besides.
The commentary track is moderated not by Toby Hadoke this time (he can be found elsewhere on this release) but by Simon Harries. Given that this serial is now fifty years old, and many of the participants have passed away in between, Harries does an able job of moderating, and keeping the memories of some now elderly people on track. He is joined over the six episodes by varying combinations of Frazer Hines, Mary Peach, Milton Johns (who played the villainous Benik), Gordon Faith (the guard captain) and make-up supervisor Sylvia James. Six episodes do allow for some digressions – such as Johns's experiences on Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – but not too many, and this is a worthwhile listen.
The only other extra on the first disc is a trailer (1:04) for the story, which had been broadcast the previous Saturday, immediately after the conclusion of The Ice Warriors.
Disc Two starts off with “Treasures Lost and Found” (59:27) which hangs on the rather contrived premise of Toby Hadoke being sent on a treasure hunt to find something brand new about this serial, complete with clues and text messages sending him on his path. On the way, he meets (via archive interviews) Barry Letts and Deborah Watling, and in real life Who historian Richard Bignell at the BBC Written Archive Centre, and then on to the discoverer of the lost episodes Philip Morris (more of him in a moment), Mary Peach, Sylvia James, Frazer Hines, David Troughton and finally Sarah Lisemore, who played one of the shelterers (and also Deborah Watling's stand-in on the location shoot). She was the wife of the serial's unit production manager Martin Lisemore.
He was clearly a high-flyer, and by the turn of the decade was a producer in his own right. His credits included The Pallisers, the BBC's epic (26-episode) serial from Anthony Trollope's novels, and I, Claudius. He died in a road accident in 1977, aged just thirty-seven. There is very little known footage of him but some has been found, from a BBC location report on the making of The Pallisers. Hadoke shows this to Sarah Lisemore and her and Martin's daughter Jo Evans, who was five years old when Martin died. She's moved to tears and you may well end up with a lump in your throat too.
“Recovering the Past: The Search for The Enemy of the World” (14:15) is an interview with Philip Morris, who found the missing episodes in film cans in a relay station in Nigeria. Morris spends his time tracking down missing television programme, which sends him from country to country, and episodes can turn up in places they were never sold to. The 16mm film prints were originally sold to Hong Kong and moved on to other countries, finally finding their resting place where Morris found it. He confirms that twelve episodes were actually found: including the two already held by the BBC...but also Episode 3 of The Web of Fear, which was lost in transit, but he intriguingly hints that there may be progress in relocating it.
How many more of the still-missing ninety-seven episodes will be found is a good question. Morris says that the film prints may have deteriorated beyond saving if they hadn't been found, and could have been junked. The serial Morris would like to find is The Evil of the Daleks, Victoria's introductory story, of which currently only one episode out of seven survives.
“Remembering Deborah Watling” (30:46) is a tribute to the actress, who died in 2017 aged sixty-nine. She was born into an acting family: her parents were Jack Watling (who played Professor Travers in The Abominable Snowman and The Web of Fear, alongside her) and Patricia Hicks, and of her three siblings, two became actors: her older half-sister Dilys Watling, and her younger brother Giles Watling, who became in 2017 the MP for Clacton. He is interviewed, along with their younger sister Nicky Matthews and brother-in-law Seymour Matthews, though Dilys Watling is not. Also talking about Debbie (as she was known) are Louise Jameson, Colin Baker, Anneke Wills, Frazer Hines and Sylvia James. This is a warm tribute, though less of a biographical piece – no mention of her two marriages, for example.
Next up is Jon Pertwee (1:04), from 1991 and the VHS release The Troughton Years, introducing Episode 3, all that then survived. “Restoring Doctor Who” (8:12) is a short piece on how the film prints are cleaned up, repaired and then digitally scanned and restored, clearly meticulous work, even with the one episode which had been kept by the BBC, which had two negatives – picture and sound. Finally, there is a self-navigating photo gallery (3:56), mostly of production stills, mostly in black and white but with some in colour.
Also available on the disc in PDF form are the shooting scripts for all six episodes, and Radio Times cuttings from the time of the one and so far only UK broadcast. These show that Mary Peach, Bill Kerr and Colin Douglas were billed above Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling. There's also an amusing (in hindsight) column by “Orbiter” from the New Year 1967/68 edition, which speculates on what the fashions of 2017 would be, based on what Mary Peach and Bill Kerr are wearing on the show. The January 20-26 1968 edition (the week of Episode 5) gave Doctor Who its colour cover and had a feature, also in colour, in its central pages, “The Monstrous World of Doctor Who”, also reproduced here.