'THE ENEMY OF
THE WORLD' DVD
RELEASED IN NOVEMBER 2013;
OR 'THE ENEMY OF THE WORLD' DIGITAL DOWNLOAD RELEASED IN OCTOBER 2013.
No sooner have the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria landed on a sun-kissed Australian beach than they are being shot at by murderous FANATICS! A dramatic HELICOPTER RESCUE places them in THE HANDS OF ASTRID Ferrier and Giles Kent, two people intent on bringing aBout the downfall of the world's most DANGEROUS MAN - who happens to look exactly like the Doctor.
Salamander's Sun-Catcher technology has been hailed as the answer to all the world's food problems. Yet is there more to his prediction of natural disasters than meets the eye? Could it be that the death and destruction which hE appears to foretell is in fact of his own creation?
23RD DECEMBER 1967 - 27TH JANUARY 1968
The Enemy of the World is perhaps best known for being the one serial of the 1967/68 run not to feature any sort of typical monster or alien menace. David Whitaker’s unusual script instead takes the key tenets of the ‘historical’ format last employed in The Highlanders, and shifts them into a near future that’s reminiscent of early James Bond films – a future that’s overcast by the dictatorial shadow of Salamander, the second Doctor’s unlikely doppelganger and quintessential Bond villain.
As five of this serial’s six episodes have been lost in time, a facet of it that’s often overlooked is Barry Letts’ stunning cinematography. This serial’s director and future series producer somehow imbued the whole production with a luxuriant sense of scale; indeed, it seems to exude expense. John Cura’s Episode 1 telesnaps, for instance, evidence a spectacular, filmic chase across an Australian beach that featured hovercrafts and helicopters. The Enemy of the World’s opening instalment was also the first to be shot with a picture resolution of 625 lines instead of just 405, helping to afford it that little bit of extra sheen, even in telesnap form.
“It was you… or someone like you.”
In fact, in production terms, The Enemy of the World has but two flaws. Firstly, the need to avoid recording breaks ruled out frequent costume changes for Patrick Troughton, the upshot of which was that the Doctor features rather less in the action than would normally be the case. Of course, Troughton’s thoroughly deplorable turn as Salamander more than makes up his cosmic hobo’s absence, but we can still lament the dearth of interaction between the story’s hero and its villain, who don’t actually meet face to face until the final episode’s dénouement. I understand that they were scripted to meet earlier in the tale, but the film jammed in the camera being used to shoot the split-screen effect.
“Which is good, and which is bad?”
Whitaker’s narrative is as ambitious as Letts’ quixotic direction, taking place all over the world, and, insofar as possible, resisting the temptation to fashion blacker-than-black heels and whiter-than-white babyfaces. Such aspects are typified by the serial’s second episode, which takes place in both the Central European and Australian zones (singular countries, it seems, have long-since fallen by the wayside) and presents the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria with an intriguing dilemma as they must weigh their new friends’ assertions that Salamander is a tyrant against all the evidence to the contrary.
“Some people spend their time making nice things,
and other people come along and break them.”
Inevitably though, it is the third episode of The Enemy of the World that people will be most familiar with as it still survives today and was recently released as part of the Lost in Time DVD collection. Its endurance may be why this serial is so often derided, as the slow and studio-bound episode lacks the action and scale of the first two, choosing instead to revel in the mundane misadventures of Deborah Watling’s Victoria. Judging from the surviving Frazer Hines-narrated soundtrack of the fourth episode, things didn’t improve much there - whilst Watling’s wailing Victoria is propitiously absent, so is Hines’ gung-ho Jamie, and the subterranean setting only seems to emphasise how firmly entrenched in exposition the plot has become. There aren’t even any telesnaps available to embellish the surviving soundtrack and help stir the imagination.
The serial’s final two episodes mark a glorious return to form, however, buoyed by the awesome performances of Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and two actors who would go on to play Gallifreyan Castellans: George Pravda, who plays the disgraced politician Denes; and Milton Johns, who plays the nefarious Benik. Punctuated by unforeseeable twists and turns and culminating in a sensational climax, The Enemy of the World’s final third exemplifies Whitaker’s writing at its best, and segues delectably into the opening of an adventure that many would argue was amongst the second Doctor’s greatest.
Despite its languid middle, The Enemy of the World is a distinctive and daring tale, and one that I dare say holds its own against many of Troughton’s finest. If you can swallow the dubious conceit that, just as the first Doctor had his evil doppelganger in the 16th century, the second Doctor has his in the 21st, and possess the patience to meticulously marry up John Cura’s telesnaps with the BBC Radio Collection’s soundtrack and the Lost in Time DVD, then you’re in for one hell of a trip around the world.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Design
and Patents Act 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.
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