Friday 27 May 2011

186 The Enemy of the World: Episode One

EPISODE: The Enemy of the World: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: 23 December 1967
WRITER: David Whitaker
DIRECTOR: Barry Letts
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World
TELESNAPS: The Enemy of the World: Episode One

The Tardis materialises on a sea shore. They are observed by a group of men from a hovercraft who report what they see to Astrid. They defy her orders and attack but the Tardis crew are rescued by Astrid in her helicopter under orders from her boss Giles Kent. The helicopter is damaged and leaking fuel so she takes them to her nearby Bungalow where the Doctor treats her wounds. She tells him that the men have mistaken the Doctor for someone they hate. He resembles Salamander a would be world dictator. She wants to take the Doctor to see Kent. The thugs from the hovercraft arrive and a fire fight ensues killing one of them, while the other two die trying to escape in the helicopter. Giles Kent is amazed at the resemblance between the Doctor and Salamander. Kent leads a resistance against Salamander. He has been tracking men on his staff who have died. Salamander has tried to kill Kent too. Kent wishes for the Doctor to enter a research centre posing as Salamander. The Doctor refuses but they learn Salamander's security Bruce is coming forcing the Doctor to assume the identity of the dictator.

Welcome to another entry in the story sub genre "The Doctor's Double". Part of the plot with The Massacre, where Hartnell's Doctor failed to meet his double the Abbot of Amboise, was not knowing if the Abbot was the Doctor or not. Here *we're* certain who's the Doctor and who's Salamander, but the likeness is played on as a central element of the plot as Kent gets the Doctor to pose as Salamander. And the stakes have been upped too: while Hartnell's double was a powerful cleric, Troughton's is a would be world dictator. It's also a little amusing that I've ended up talking about a story featuring the Doctor's double just as the new series is in the middle of a 2-parter story featuring a double of the Doctor!

The story of how Barry Leopold Letts (the middle name will become important later) became first an actor and then a director has been told perfectly well elsewhere: Who And Me: The Memoir of Barry Letts is well worth a read. This is his first Doctor who directing role: four more follow, plus an extra uncredited one when someone else was taken ill. He's most famous though as the producer of Doctor Who for the first half of the Seventies.

It's interesting that Barry Setts makes his Who debut in this story and in the next one his script editor and great friend Terrance Dicks joins the show as assistant script editor.

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