The Enemy of the World

Pinch me, 'cause I'm still in shock from actually
seeing this long lost story in its entirety on DVD!
Region 1

NEW for
May 20, 2014!
Region 2

NEW for
Nov. 25, 2013!
CD Audio - 2 discs
(Doctor Who Story No. 40, starring Patrick Troughton)
  • written by David Whitaker
  • directed by Barry Letts
  • produced by Innes Lloyd
  • featuring a few classical library music tracks
  • 6 episodes @ 25 minutes each, all recovered!
Story: Landing on a beach in Australia in the 2010's, and quickly swept up in a deadly spy game, the Doctor discovers that he is the spitting image of a sly Latin-American politician who is suspiciously rising to greater and greater power. How is Salamander able to predict natural weather disasters with such accuracy? Will Budapest hand over control of the central European zone next? And will the Doctor agree to impersonate Salamander to discover the truth?

The DVD's include:

  • Six digitally remastered complete original episodes! (#1,2,3,4,5,6)
  • Coming Soon trailer for the DVD of "The Web of Fear" (the next story)

In-Depth Analysis Review

by Martin Izsak

WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for those who have
already seen the program. To avoid the spoilers, read the Buyers' Guide version instead.

This story represents a much needed relief from the monster-threat base-defense formula that had taken over Doctor Who writing at this period. It is a truly welcome breath of fresh air, as a character-driven political thriller set in the near future, with a doppelganger twist thrown in for Patrick Troughton. Unfortunately, it does not turn out to be all that great a story. As with "The Power of the Daleks" (story no. 30) before it and "The Wheel in Space" (story no. 43) afterwards, writer David Whitaker focuses a little too much on characters, particularly ones who will wallow in their own flaws, and not enough attention is paid to crafting a solid, riveting on-screen plot.

Episodes one, two, and four seem to offer the best bits. The action opening works fairly well on television, offering some unique visuals for Doctor Who at this time, and incoming director Barry Letts makes an impressive debut here. There's a good level of energy present on the audio as well, but this is not as atmospheric or unique as other Doctor Who shows, and in the novel the action opening comes off as rather boring reading. Episode One really needs to be seen to be appreciated. Narratively, since nobody knows who's Who yet, there's just too much confusion and silliness in it for my liking. We're unable to root for the three new thug characters, who are far less than believable allies of Kent to go as far against him as they do while still supposedly sharing his views. And as for the series regulars, the sequence raises a question that should have remained resting in peace: why bother to step outside the TARDIS? If you get to see the Doctor's beach antics, there's entertainment value here, but if only reading or listening, curiosity is just not what it should be, until conversation with Astrid and Kent takes place later on, at last providing interest in this specific time-space location. The doppelganger idea, combined with careful character investigation, is pushed to the forefront of the discussion, until a threat arrives and the Doctor makes his first move at impersonation...... if this doesn't build good anticipation for the rest of a story, nothing will! Great stuff.

Episode two completes the impersonation scene nicely, leaving the Doctor in good standing with his new friends and his TV audience. The hero at work. The rest of the episode demonstrates the evil Salamander's scheme, which isn't too far off of some of the wilder theories I've heard about Hurricane Katrina. Has reality been inspired by fiction? In this Doctor Who story at least, we get a nice twist of sci-fi elements on a grand scale (Google the HAARP project for a possible real-world equivalent), deftly used by a political magician to create the illusion that will give him the power he wants. A classic ploy, making for good drama here as it usually does wherever it is used. (See the rise of the Emperor in the Star Wars Prequels for another example.) Also, Budapest is one of my personal favourite cities, and the thought of being able to get there from virtually any civilized point in the world in less than two hours makes good fantasy. It is most heinously unfair that the Doctor must let his two companions go there, but not be able to get to the place himself for fear of split screen challenges! As an explorer, the Doctor should always get at least one scene in every set.

Episodes one and two (particularly two) are also notable for their use of complex visuals composed of layers of elements, this time through using a back-projection system with a pre-filmed insert playing behind the actors in the video studio. Though much of the studio material featuring in this era of Doctor Who is almost claustrophobic in its use of tiny spaces (and stories like "The Web of Fear" play on this to their own atmospheric advantage), "The Enemy of the World" takes a different tactic in artificially blowing the space open with these trick shots. Very nice, and thoroughly more appropriate for this story. It's easy to see how this story's director Barry Letts would go on to become such a strong advocate of the BBC's then-experimental CSO chromakey process when he takes over as producer in the colour era of the early 1970's. But apart from some very interesting model work debuting in episode four, the visuals for "The Enemy of the World" seem to be decidedly less complex and inspiring in the following episodes.

Episode three is largely okay, proceeding logically from the consequences of the previous instalment, but not being entirely understandable all on its own. The acting is of a high quality by all participants, and of course Patrick Troughton's indulgence in his new alter-ego role is first-rate and very enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, this leaves the Doctor with virtually nothing to do in episode three, as he misses out on Budapest (dang it!) and spends half of his sole remaining scene hiding under the scenery.

What's worse, the dialogue explaining Denes's situation is too little and goes by too quickly to make an impression on those who hadn't seen previous episodes - the lack of reprise of episode two's last scene adds to this problem. The only pro-active plot for the good guys in this episode is the attempt to rescue Denes. First of all, attempting this makes Denes look guilty - he would be better off facing Salamander in public court as he wishes than in aiding the dishonesty of having someone impersonate Salamander, which could raise the question of whether or not the impersonator is the real culprit behind Salamander's crimes. But worse, the rescue attempt then goes without resolution in the final episode three product. This is not the work of Australian censors; this time around director Barry Letts cut the vital scene himself. Thus episode three virtually commits its own suicide of quality.

Music is virtually non-existent in episode three, which barely adds more than a dash to Denes's dinner along with the salt. It's not bad, but I can't say that it works well either - it somehow manages to seem out of place. Other episodes fare better, with episode one's action sequence getting good backing, and Bela Bartok's lovely piece used for many Underground Shelter scenes in the final three episodes. Douglas Camfield is about to steal that latter piece along with the Cybermen's unofficial Space Adventure theme for the next story.

Many of the cliffhangers in this story are fairly well written, but don't seem to have much dramatic punch to them in the way they were realized on screen. Episode three's cliffhanger is really the only one that actually seems to work well for me.

The episode hangs off as Salamander and Donald Bruce put their heads together, coming to the conclusion that someone must be impersonating Salamander. Salamander is visibly shaken for the first time that anyone, viewers or characters, can remember. This builds enormous anticipation for a juicy, dicey, Doctor vs. Salamander political intrigue conflict to follow, which is great. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort actually follows, as Salamander appears to forget this moment during the rest of the story and do next to nothing about the Doctor. Where's the plot? The audio (and now video) of episode four reveals something that must have been cut from the novelization - Salamander delegates the suppression of the impersonator to Donald Bruce, which is neither smart on his part nor a satisfying plot for the viewers.

But episode Four is not lost at all, what with yet another fresh new sci-fi element getting thrown in and explored. An entire colony of human beings living underground is getting duped by Salamander's charismatic charms, in his most elaborate con-job yet. Excellent stuff! Why Salamander chooses to hole himself up down there at this point in the story is not explained well in the novel at all. The publishers pared Ian Marter's novel down far too much, but even so, I don't believe the right stuff was in the television script to begin with. At least at this point, one can still believe that Salamander's counter-measures against the Doctor will become more obvious in later episodes when he feels the time is right to play his hand.....

Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling take a holiday, and Patrick Troughton makes up for their absence well by providing enough of an active, heroic Doctor and a sci-fi-concept-and-character-revealing Salamander to keep the ball rolling full steam ahead. A few questions are answered surrounding Donald Bruce between this episode's cliffhanger and the next one's first scene, and a few more questions about other characters are raised. The story is definitely still strong at this point.

"The Enemy of the World" falls apart in the final two episodes. The Doctor does not do all that much in the final instalments, and Salamander virtually disappears from both the underground and the surface worlds for no good reason - considering all that is at stake for him in the plot, he really is wasting valuable screen time trying to preserve his secret with shelter occupant Swann in the rock tunnels; this feels more like just another bout of Whitaker's addiction for secrecy taking its toll on his characters once again, not allowing them to come to grips with a true and solid plot. I think Whitaker himself got so absorbed in the lies that his various characters had told, he forgot what the truth about the situation was half of the time, and pursued too many distractions from what should have been the main plot. The Doctor should be Salamander's biggest concern, and vice-versa, but this is instead still being ignored by the script and tip-toed around by the production team, likely wary of their limits in realising Troughton's double role.

An attempt to cover some of the slack in the plot brings Benik more to the forefront, where his moronic attempts at sadistic torture become quite boringly one-dimensional, working against the complexity of intrigue one hopes for. The revelation of Giles Kent's final secret is somewhat interesting, but does little to satisfy the anticipation of a political doppelganger thriller-story that was set up earlier. Kent failed to win me over on the complete audio and video, his lack of sensitivity seeming far more obvious than the plot requires in early episodes.

Neither the Doctor nor his companions get to explore the underground shelter, a setting which fares worse than Budapest in the end, nor do the Doctor or his companions deliver any last-minute heroics either. Instead the Doctor rather lamely requires rescuing, which of course he is lucky enough to get. Not so for many others. The body count amongst the good-guys of the story is high, eating deeply into the feel-good rating of the story. Indeed, had Denes or Fariah made it through, the story could have earned much greater esteem, and it's hard to see how the plot, such as it is, could be in any way hindered by their survival.

On video, the story seems to have a decent energy to it that keeps the pace up much better than in the audio-only CD version or in the novelization, which helps to mask some of the inadequacies of plot or character motivation, and the first five episodes seem to move along entertainingly enough. But quality does seem to decline as one goes along, and the last episode falls apart quite a bit, as there seems to be no good explanation why many elements of this story were plotted as badly as they were. Simple adjustments to timing and the placement of characters, their proactive actions, and the barriers that challenge those actions, could have elevated the resolution of most story threads enormously.

Salamander's lack of believable motivation continues as he abandons the society he could manipulate so well, to try his hand at time-space travel. We have to believe he's completely clueless as to what he's getting himself into in the TARDIS, which does not do his character any credit. Unfortunately, the film camera chewed up half of the split-screen material, and the long-awaited meeting of hero and villain in this story is too short and anti-climactic to really deliver on what had been set-up in earlier parts of the story. At least these days we can continue on to watch the next episode and most of the next story, which does at least deliver a half-decent bit of explanation and payoff.

As a very recently re-discovered story, this one has been rushed through restoration and onto DVD release quite quickly, without any real extras on the DVD at all. Though the ability to finally watch the entire story will be attractive enough to many die-hard fans to get them to buy this one, I'm always going to be a bit sorry that it wasn't re-discovered several years earlier, such that its late director Barry Letts could have participated in a set of audio commentaries and interviews, and had a unique interaction with the Troughton era regulars to counterpoint all the excellent ones he has had with those from his own Pertwee era team.

This fantastic concept for a story just doesn't seem to have been done true justice at any stage: scripting, production, film archiving at the BBC, or novelizing. ...Or now DVD special features. That said, it does work considerably better when one can view the entire story, and it has enough points of merit to it that it might just be able to successfully challenge some of its closest rivals in season five's ranking. However, its sloppy ending still hangs like a dead albatross around its neck. The idea for the story is great, and dramatic anticipation is built up extremely well, but like so many season two offerings, it fails to deliver in the end.

International Titles:

Magyar: "A világ ellensége"

Français: (L'Ennemi du Monde)

Русский: "Враг мира"

"The Enemy of the World" USED TO BE a story with most of its episodes missing....

Now ALL of the episodes have been recovered, making this yet another rare COMPLETE Patrick Troughton story.
All six episodes have undergone film restoration, and are now available on DVD!

Region 1 U.S.

NEW for
May 20, 2014!
Region 1 Canada

NEW for
May 20, 2014!
Region 2 U.K.

NEW for
Nov. 25, 2013!

The DVD's include:

  • Six digitally remastered complete original episodes! (#1,2,3,4,5,6)
  • Coming Soon trailer for the DVD of "The Web of Fear" (the next story)

Doctor Who: Lost in Time - Patrick Troughton
2 DVD discs

(also included in Lost in Time Boxed Sets)

Coverage on The Enemy of the World includes:
  • Episode 3
More details & buying options for "Lost in Time" DVD's
Audio CD - Doctor Who - The Enemy of the World.

This audio CD set features the complete audio tracks of all 6 television episodes of this story, narrated by actor Frazer Hines (who also played Jamie McCrimmon) to help listeners follow what used to be visual aspects of the story. This version is playable in any normal audio CD player.
Doctor Who: The Troughton Years
introduced by Jon Pertwee

1 VHS video tape

Coverage on The Enemy of the World includes:
  • One complete episode:
    • Episode 3
More details & buying options for missing episode VHS videos
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Read the In-depth Analysis Review for the next story: "The Web of Fear"

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