March 24, 2018
Classic Doctor Who adventure The Enemy of the World is released on "Special Edition" DVD today in the UK. Read more about the 2 disc release here.
Missing from the archives for 40 years, the story was found in 2013. It’s unique amongst all the memorable monster adventures of the fifth season. A spy story, full of poisonings, helicopter chases and switching doubles, it’s an unusually grown up Doctor Who adventure…
Here’s everything you need to know about The Enemy of the World …
The Second Doctor, as played by Patrick Troughton.
Hailed as the "saviour of the world", Salamander has done more than anyone to relieve global famine. But why do his rivals keep disappearing? And how can he predict so many natural disasters?
The Doctor must expose Salamander's schemes – but thanks to an uncanny resemblance to would-be dictator, that’s far from straightforward…
The story so far...
- Jamie and Victoria have been travelling with the Doctor for some time.
- The events of recent adventures clearly stick in the minds of the TARDIS crew, with the Doctor referring to them having been "on ice" (in the previous story The Ice Warriors), and mishears "jetty" for "Yeti" at one point (The Abominable Snowmen).
- Enemy was written by David Whitaker, who served as the first script editor for Doctor Who’s first 51 episodes. Whitaker also wrote seven other Doctor Who scripts, including Patrick Troughton’s debut, the missing story The Power of the Daleks.
- Transmitted over Christmas and New Year 1967-8, The Enemy of the World was sold to Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Gibraltar and Zambia by BBC Enterprises. The final sale of this story was to Nigeria in October 1974.
- The BBC’s original transmission videotape for Enemy Episode Three still exists in the BBC Archives, but with an episode of Blue Peter taped over the top – an example of how tapes were wiped and reused.
- A copy of Episode Three survived on 16mm film as an orphan episode, most probably a copy from BBC Enterprises, lodged incorrectly at the Film Library.
“Sad really, isn't it? People spend all their time making nice things, and other people come along and break them.”
Why it’s worth a watch
In amongst the classic monster action of season five, The Enemy of the World is often forgotten, which is a terrible shame.
Troughton gives a fantastic turn as the Doctor, Salamander and the-Doctor-posing-as-Salamander, proving what a powerful and versatile actor he is. The plot twist of what lies beyond the Records Room (which we shan’t reveal here) is genuinely shocking and so totally out of left field as to be massively enjoyable.
David Whittaker’s script is full of exciting and rich characters, even in the smaller roles – the pessimistic Griffin, the pathetic Fedorin, the perverse Benik – plus, it has two unusually strong (for the series at this time) roles for women, in Astrid and Fariah.
And with the imagined future, where everyone travels by hovercraft or by rocket (only two hours between Europe and Australia!), and lives in a “zone”, this feels like a more glamorous version of 1984.