C040 The Enemy of the World


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Another Doctor Doppelgänger and almost as many parallel plots as there are plot twists. Fantastic!



Any fan of Patrick Troughton is going to be thrilled by this serial. Not only does Troughton portray the Second Doctor, but he also portrays the antagonist, Ramón Salamander!

The Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive in the distant future of ca 2017, in Australia, where they’re immediately hunted because The Doc looks remarkably like the potentially current, potentially aspiring, dictator, Salamander. What follows is an amazing 6-episode ark with so many twists and turns – not to mention the sudden introduction in Episode 4 of an almost entirely independent subplot very reminiscent of Emir Kusturica’s ‘Underground’ – that this serial easily earned high scores.

That being said, we found a lot of plot holes to deride, plus penis-shaped helmets, crockery-hating guards and much, much more.

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Here's what we think

Ponken

@ponken

4.4

Nikulele

@nikulele

4.5

Here's what you think

7 Responses to “C040 The Enemy of the World”

  1. Trenton Bless | @TrentonBless

    Good grief, is it that time again already, Podcast Land? I’m back with another Troughton Serial review, this time we’re here to review “The Enemy of the World”.

    As always, it’s time for a fact file! And boy, do I have a massive fact file today!

    – The end of this story leads into the beginning of The Web of Fear.

    – This marks the second time that a doppelganger of the Doctor has been featured (giving the lead actor a dual role), following William Hartnell’s double performance as the First Doctor and the Abbot of Amboise in The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve (if you haven’t yet, tell the listener to go listen to this review).

    – Patrick Troughton’s son David appears as an uncredited Guard in episodes five and six. (DWM 219)

    – Neither Deborah Watling nor Frazer Hines appear in episode four, as they were on holiday the week it was recorded.

    – This is the final story overseen by producer Innes Lloyd.

    – On its original broadcast, episode six of The Enemy of the World ended with a trailer promoting the next story, The Web of Fear. The trailer featured specially shot footage of the Doctor in the London Underground talking to the audience about the impending return of the Yeti in the next story, before fleeing at the sound of distant shooting. Although episode six has now been returned to the BBC Archives, this unique trailer remains lost, although it survives on audio, so the trailer is included on the BBC Audio release of the story (You can also find an animated version of it on YouTube if you look for it).

    – Episode four is the only episode of the story for which no tele-snap record exists; it is unknown as to why this episode was not covered. (Thankfully, this episode survives in full.)

    – Images of Troughton as Salamander have often been used to illustrate the Second Doctor in books and magazines, even though technically the images are not actually of the Doctor (although the fact the Doctor impersonates Salamander complicates matters). These images are easy to spot due to the fact Salamander (or Doctor-as-Salamander) wears his hair parted and has a ruddier complexion than the Doctor.

    – Episode six is notable for its sudden ending, which omits any resolution with regards to whether the people trapped underground are ever rescued (I think they were. Hopefully. We may never know.).

    – Before 2013, all but episode three of the serial were missing from the BBC archives. However, in October of that year, it was announced that episodes one, two, four, five and six (together with four previously lost instalments and a higher quality copy of the only existing episode from The Web of Fear, we’ll get to that) had been located in a relay station in Jos, Nigeria, and it therefore became complete. (Thank you, Phillip Morris!)

    Wow, that was a looooooong fact file. Anyways, on to the review!

    The Enemy of the World… There’s something arresting and indefinably great about that title. If only the same could be said of the six episodes it encompasses.Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad serial, but it could have been so much more. Here, let me explain. Coming midway through a season rich in classic monster tales, it does what it sets out to do: provide a breather and some contrast. But it still has it’s problems. But for now, let’s focus on the positives.

    This is Patrick Troughton’s showcase. Much as I dislike the preposterous notion of doppelgangers (cf The Massacre), this is the USP of The Enemy of the World. It almost goes without saying that Troughton excels himself. He’s fully in character as the Doctor – paddling with glee in a Victorian bathing suit; being enigmatic with Astrid about his “Doctorate”; taking the moral high ground and refusing to help Kent until episode five. He is also completely convincing as sinister Salamander, with darker complexion, hair in a neat parting, and unwavering Mexican accent. (The Doctor deduces Salamander is from the Yucatan.)

    Even more impressive are the many scenes where Troughton shows the Doctor getting into character as Salamander, pretending to be him in front of various people, but still showing us, the viewers, it’s really the Doctor underneath. In the finale, we even get the fourth combination, as Salamander hoodwinks Jamie and Victoria into thinking that he is the time traveller to gain access to the TARDIS. Sadly, this dramatic (and only) head to head between Salamander and the Doctor was drastically curtailed after a filming cock-up.

    David Whitaker gives us a police state, large videoscreens, talk of natural disasters and geographical Zones reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984. He also provides striking characters for whom director Barry Letts has assembled a decent cast. Swooping in by helicopter, Mary Peach lands a meaty role as Astrid, and is clearly influenced by Emma Peel and the Bond girls. Better known for comedy, Bill Kerr plays the duplicitous Aussie Giles Kent. Carmen Munroe imbues Salamander’s food-taster Fariah with passion, and Milton Johns is perfectly vile as sadistic Benik. Benik was maybe the best of the bad guys in this serial. He definitely was a nasty little boy, as Jamie pointed out.

    There are, however, still multiple problems with this serial. For example, it purports to be a political thriller and is far from thrilling. It’s written on a grand-ish scale to which the budget cannot stretch, so we’re left with tracts of dull, repetitive dialogue. Action switches abruptly from Australia to Hungary then back again, but we never really get the sense it’s set in either. Caravans may have been the in-thing in the late 60s, but a tedious amount of time is spent in Giles Kent’s tiny trailer on the outskirts of a research centre. And are we seriously expected to believe Salamander’s subterranean dwellers Down Under can set off volcanoes in Hungary? Please!

    The Doctor’s companions are shoehorned into episodes two and three with material quite unsuited to their characters. Perhaps we might have bought the contemporary, more grown-up Ben and Polly being taken seriously in Salamander’s court, but not the Hansel and Gretel figures that are Jamie and Victoria. Indeed, so superfluous are they, they make no appearance at all in part four – the only companionless episode until 1977’s The Deadly Assassin (that’s another story for another time) – and have barely a handful of scenes in parts five and six. (Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling were given a lighter workload over the Christmas/New Year period.) Other than that, there aren’t really any major faults worth mentioning.

    What’s more, this serial actually exists in it’s entirety! Yep, that’s right! All six episodes were recovered from Nigeria in 2013 and were released soon after they were restored. The Restoration Team did a wonderful job restoring these episodes to their former glory, and I thank Philip Morris and his team for recovering these episodes for all of us to enjoy!

    Overall, I would give this serial a 2.95 out of 5. This serial is far from perfect, but the story was a nice breather from the usual monsters and such. Nice change-up I’m sure fans in 1967 didn’t expect at all.

    Next time, the Doc and co. return to London where they get into a spot of trouble with (spoilers) the Yeti 2.0 and the Great Intelligence. Action and the debut of a very familiar face are abound here. It’s called “The Web of Fear”, and I’ll be there to review that one, too! See you then!

    Reply
    • I think I’ll change my rating. Perhaps a 4/5 would seem more appropriate after rewatching the serial a couple times. It’s still a little bit much on a low budget, but the story is great and Troughton’s acting is superb. I don’t really know why I rated it so low initially. Maybe because I had watched it so many times and I was just bored with it. I guess that’s just me.

      Reply
    • Honestly, I didn’t mean to rip on this story. If there is a Troughton story I want to rip on… no, no. You’ll get to it. When you do, you’ll definitely know what serial I’m talking about.

      Reply
  2. Stephen | @sgamer82

    The first thing that really occurred to me while watching Enemy of the World is that, despite the future outfits and overlarge ray guns, the serial did not really feel like a sci-fi story. As contradictory as it sounds, the relatively mundane setting actually put me in mind of a Historical serial set in the future. A sci-fi feel of any kind didn’t kick in until Salamander entered the “ball wall room” and we saw the underground lair, and that was a con job.

    I don’t consider this a bad thing. The first half of the story, with the Doctor and his companions determined to get evidence before they acted, put me in mind of the Doctor’s and Jamie’s detective style investigation in “The Evil of the Daleks”, which was something I personally liked. This serial also ended up showing us what I think was a great example of the Doctor’s cunning, as we learn that his insistence on absolute proof, which initially struck me as, if not out of character than unusual for the Doctor, was apparently done because the Doctor suspected Giles Kent was just as guilty as Salamander.

    Speaking of Salamander, while this isn’t the first time the Doctor had a doppleganger antagonist (the first being The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve), this story made much better use of that idea. While we only saw the Doctor impersonating Salamander towards the end of the serial, when we did see it he was impressive, and it just shows Patrick Troughton’s abilities as an actor. I’m genuinely curious how they did the scenes of the Doctor and Salamander face to face, since that sort of trick was not common in 1960s television as far as I know. Salamander himself was a cool villain, though I don’t think we got to see enough of what was supposed to be his utterly beloved reputation compared to his darker side.

    We got some great side characters in this story. Bruce was probably the most reasonable obstructive security/military man to date. Astrid was pretty awesome, particularly at the end where even as the Research Center caved in around her she was determined to save the people she had promised a dying man she’d protect. Faria the taste tester was another great character, who ultimately helps get the ball rolling on Salamander’s downfall, and Benik is just such an evil little pimple. But the highlight has to be Salamander’s chef and his Eeyore levels of pessimism giving us the bulk of the comic relief in this story.

    I really enjoyed this serial and feel it deserves a 4.4. My only true complaint is that, of all the things to be the spanner in Salamander’s works, it was not the Doctor but rather a random newspaper clipping that slipped into the fake base’s food supplies. Unless I missed something that seemed to come out of nowhere and seems like a weird oversight to make in an otherwise meticulous-seeming plan. That seemed just a bit too “random plot device to move the story along” for my liking.

    Finally, two fun little observations I had: The first is when Jamie and Victoria wake up captive in the Research Center, and Benik is on the other side of the door JUST as Jamie tries to leave. What I have to ask is, how long was Benik standing outside of that door just so he could have that entrance? The second is the final scene, in which Jamie and Victoria mistake Salamander for the Doctor. He never talks until the Doctor himself shows up, and it occurred to me there’s a very simple reason for that: As far as I remember, he never  heard the Doctor speak, so he didn’t know how he was supposed to sound.

    Reply
  3. Peter Z

    There’s a certain feel about this production that almost makes it earn the label of “the first John Pertwee” production. It really feels less like a Doctor Who story and more like The Avengers or something similar. With no insult or compliment to anyone, there’s much of this that to me feels like a Hollywood production of the time. We could be watching Some Carey Grant or Abbot and Costello movie (mind ep3’s reference to Jekyll and Hyde) with such unique characters stealing the scene from each other. It’s a very different feel than anything that has come before, or will come again for yet a while.

    What indeed can be said of Patrick Troughton flexing his acting prowess here? He’s simply overwhelming. The two characters hold nothing in common, from their stance to their reactions, it’s all different and believable “people spend so much time making nice things only for others to come along and break them”. On top of that, he adds a third personality that uniquely blends the two characters. That’s three characters and you can instantly tell when each of them is on the camera. Truly brilliant.

    Let’s not stop there though. The cook’s short time on camera is a show-stealing performance (“…the firing squad would miss me”). Jamie steps up his game, playing the loyal guard well, and Victoria is alternately brave and out of place, each at just the right moments.

    On the downside, there are tons of mistakes in the corners of the camera from boom mics popping in, to doors and people moving around in the background when someone is supposed to be alone. There’s also one major jump cut during the foiled rescue attempt. Not the kind where someone shifts position, more like the film ran out so they cut the scene early. This isn’t recon related either, it’s a production problem. I would have liked to have heard the story behind it.

    As fast-paced as this story is, there are stretches with little happening but dialog, and the maneuvering and intrigue during these moments is not always enough to keep the level of interest on overdrive. There’s also a guard who hates crockery. Kent must be British because they feel that if all the teacups are smashed then he has no reason to stay in the RV. And there were dishes for 20 but only three could comfortably sit in that camper, and what were they going to eat? There was no food in there. Perhaps that’s why there were no dirty dishes.

    I find the plot twist half way though brings the story to a whole new level. Perhaps though some of it should have been there at the beginning to add some depth. This weeks posthumous script revision goes to teasing the underground.

    I was not a fan of this episode watching the telesnaps, but my opinion of the story grew immensely now that all the footage is back. Much of that is due to the actors. Perhaps half an episode too long but I find this a great story. 4.0

    Reply
  4. Chris

    If you’re lucky you managed to find the full serial. For years only episode 3 was available and we had to
    make do with trying to guess which Patrick Troughton was on screen. Seeing it in full, as I did for the
    first time on this re-watch, is a very different experience. You really get to see the depths of Troughton’
    s acting. In addition, the effects were fairly good for the time. In addition to these reasons I also like this
    episode because it gives me the opportunity to use one of my favorite word ͞Doppelgänger.͟

    The serial creatively jumps into a variety of different familiar Doctor Who narratives, but it doesn’t feel
    forced. We start with a simple and possibly deadly mistaken identity story line (like The Myth Makers,
    The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve, and The Gunfighters, and many more to come). Then at the end
    of episode three through the middle of episode four it looks like it is going to be all about the bad guy
    who has political power and good PR (like The Power of the Daleks, & new Who’s Harold Saxon
    episodes). But, then in the middle of episode four we get a surprise twist. The Doppelganger goes to an
    underground society that seems to be in a completely different serial. He’s fooled them into thinking the
    surface is dangerous and uses them to cause nature disasters on the surface (like almost all Silurian
    serials). The Doppelganger is evil to both groups, but no one can prove it to be so. I don’t always like
    them jumping all over the place, it often feels like they are grasping at straws. But it worked here. The
    only thing I didn’t really buy into was that the Doctor says that he was suspicious of Kent all along. This
    sounds to me like the doctor’s impersonation of your douche bag friend who wants to convince you that
    he got the plot twist before you. ͞I knew it from the beginning, because I’, super clever. I didn’t say
    anything cause I didn’t want to ruin the surprise.͟

    Now scoring. I liked it, but it had some flaws (ie. it went on a little long at times, and what the hell kind
    of name is Salamander). I’m going with 4.0. Next up is also one that I have yet to watch the newly
    recovered episodes. I can’t wait to actually see, rather than just hear, our first appearance of [SPOILERS!!!].

    ~Chris

    Reply
  5. Arglebargle IV

    Coming out of lurkdom just to mention my favorite-so-far Troughton line, which I don’t think was mentioned on the podcast or other reviews:

    ASTRID: “I suggested that we meet under a disused jetty by the river.”
    DOCTOR [startled]: “A disused Yeti?!”

    Reply

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