Enemy Of The World
The TARDIS materializes in the Australian surf in the future, and the Doctor excitedly tries to get Jamie and Victoria to help him build a sand castle or two. When a hovercraft teeming with armed guards appears, though, the time travelers become less relaxed – especially when the hovercraft starts firing at the Doctor in particular. The time travelers are rescued when a helicopter piloted by a woman named Astrid appears, offering them a ride back to her base, but the Doctor and his friends are no safer there. Astrid works for a man named Giles Kent, who says he’s leading a resistance movement against the ruthless dictator known as Salamander – a man who looks exactly like the Doctor. Kent wants the Doctor to impersonate Salamander in an effort to discredit and topple the man’s corrupt regime, but the Doctor is certain he hasn’t been told the whole story. When Kent also hatches a plan that involves Jamie and Victoria going undercover, the stakes are even higher. But can Salamander’s opponents prove that he is the monster that they say he is? And do they even know the whole story?
Guest Cast: Henry Stamper (Anton), Rhys McConnochie (Rod), Simon Cain (Curly), Mary Peach (Astrid), Bill Kerr (Kent), Colin Douglas (Bruce), Milton Johns (Benik), George Pravda (Denes), David Nettheim (Fedorin), Patrick Troughton (Salamander), Carmen Munroe (Fariah), Gordon Faith, Elliott Cairnes (Guard Captains), Bill Lyons (Guard), Reg Lye (Griffin), Andrew Staines (Sergeant), Christopher Burgess (Swann), Adam Verney (Colin), Margaret Hickey (Mary), Dibbs Mather, Bob Anderson, William McGuirk (Guards)
Note: Considered “lost” for decades following a purge of videotape and film stock in the BBC’s archives, all six episodes of Enemy Of The World now exist thanks to the 2013 discovery of 16mm film copies in a broadcast transmitter hut in Nigeria.
Broadcast from December 23, 1967 through January 27, 1968
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: For years, I’ve read descriptions and summaries of this six-part story that seemed convoluted and confusing; I thought that maybe the absence of everything except part 3 from the BBC’s video archives was a factor. For this story, much hailed as a tour de force performance by Patrick Troughton as both the Doctor and his “evil twin” of sorts, I sought out a “reconstruction” of the missing footage. In the 1960s, before video recorders were a commonly available item to the public, Doctor Who fans had two avenues for preserving the stories they watched: holding a cassette tape up to the TV’s speaker, and in the case of a handful of the show’s most ardent admirers, taking photos of the TV screen, often under less than ideal conditions. This material has circulated through the years, along with a handful of actual video of short scenes excised by network censors in Australia, and some Enterprising fans with access to video editing gear have reconstructed the episodes by showing the most appropriate photos available at a given moment. Occasional captions slide along the bottom of the screen like weather warnings, describing purely visual action that can’t be discerned from the audio alone. It’s a bit like watching an educational filmstrip about intergalactic evil-doers.
The point of all this explanation is that some scant visual record exists of the missing episodes 1, 2 and 4-6. Did they help? Sometimes. Sadly, I came to realize that Enemy Of The World is an overlong, overcomplicated faux epic that attempts to push the Time Lord and friends into James Bond territory – unsuccessfully. Enemy wouldn’t be memorable at all if not for the aforementioned dual performance by Mr. Troughton and the notoriety of being AWOL from the archives. To make matters worse, a fairly major (and completely bizarre) plot strand about Salamander subjugating a whole other population that he keeps underground pops up out of nowhere halfway through the story, feeling like nothing so much as a late-in-the-day attempt to pad the story out to six parts. Several characters switch sides, and these various betrayals come across as the same thing – something to fill six 25-minute scripts. Enemy could have been told in a much more economical four episode format.
Troughton’s performance as Salamander is quite interesting, though, and almost manages to keep the whole thing afloat. It’s about 50% “outrageous accent-a!” (as Monty Python would’ve put it) and 50% just being everything terrible that the Doctor isn’t. Troughton was, first and foremost, a character actor, and there are numerous shades of subtlety within his performance. In part six, when Salamander tries to turn the table and infiltrate the TARDIS, it’s actually more than a little bit chilling.
Enemy is also notable for being the first Doctor Who stint for a director named Barry Letts. He would become the show’s producer mere seasons later, and would institute major changes to the show during the Jon Pertwee era.
Early on in the development of the new (2005-present) series, Russell T. Davies said that under his aegis, we would not see human beings firing a gun at other human beings in Doctor Who – i.e. the series wouldn’t try to concern itself with plain old human evil. He then proceeded to leapfrog over that rule at the end of the third season – go figure. But that though occurs that Enemy is the point at which that corner was turned in the original series. There is no malevolent alien intelligence forcing people to act strangely (a defense that Davies could at least claim by pointing out that the Master had the world’s population in his thrall). No one is possessed. Salamander’s brutish, cruel henchmen aren’t hypnotized or under any form of mind control – they’re just simple thugs.
I can hear an argument that Doctor Who, then and now, shouldn’t shy away from purely human, non-alien-influenced foibles, but I could just as easily make an argument that there are other shows I watch for that sort of thing, and would like Who to remain relatively escapist. I’m still not sure I can even resolve that debate with myself, let alone with anyone else. But Enemy Of The World is one example to cite here – by dragging things out to an improbable length, it makes plain old human evil seem boring.