Sunday 29 May 2011

188 The Enemy of the World: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Enemy of the World: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 06 January 1968
WRITER: David Whitaker
DIRECTOR: Barry Letts
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time
TELESNAPS: The Enemy of the World: Episode Three

DVD time: we have pictures!

Salamander gives poison to Fedorin for him to administer to Denes. Bruce is surprised to see Jamie there dressed as a guard and wants to know what "Salamander" was talking to Kent about. Victoria assists Farriah and Grif the cook in the kitchen. Jamie arrives and tells Victoria that Salamander wants to replace the honest Denes with the weak Fedorin. Jamie speculates about the Earthquakes as Giles Kent outlines to the Doctor the same suspicions that he has, showing him television pictures of the destruction. The Doctor hides as Benik arrives, argues with Kent and has his caravan smashed up. The Doctor says he needs facts and hopes Jamie will provide them. Astrid arrives at the European palace with a message for Salamander. She sneaks away and speaks to Victoria and Jamie. She tells them to cause a diversion at 11 o'clock. Victoria takes Denes his food, but Fedorin bumps into her in the corridor and sends her away while he poisons the food. The Guard Captain recalls seeing Astrid to Salamander. Victoria stays with Denes. Fedorin tells Salamander he couldn't bring himself to poison Denes: They drink together and Fedorin is himself poisoned by Salamander. Jamie claims to have spotted someone in the garden: shooting starts and Astrid enters the palace to rescue Denes. Jamie & Victoria are brought to Salamander for interrogation. Bruce asks Salamander what's going on and Salamander finds out Bruce had seen him with Kent, Jamie and Victoria in Australia.

Enemy of the World 3 is the only episode of this story to exist. I first encountered it on the Troughton Years VHS and hated it. Very little Doctor, very little of the main villain, no Monsters. "What's this doing on the tape when I could be watching Web of Fear 1 and getting some more Yeti action?". In the context of the rest story I can see it makes sense and has a function. I still don't think it's the greatest example of sixties Doctor Who though.

A piece of film familiar to Doctor Who fans pops up in this episode: When Kent is showing the Doctor footage of the Volcanoes erupting a piece of stock footage is used. The same piece of film, albeit in colour, later resurfaces in Inferno as the background for the custom story and episode slides seen after the title sequence.

So given that it's so bad, why have we still got it? An episode being "good" or "bad" doesn't seem to have any effect on if they were kept or not. But Enemy of the World 3 does have some significance which *may* have contributed to a film telerecording of it being retained by the film & video library: it's the first episode of Doctor Who to be broadcast using the higher definition 625 line video tape. Previously Doctor Who had been broadcast off of 405 line video tape but this enhancement produced far better picture quality for those with a TV set capable of receiving it. BBC2 adopted the 625 line standard at launch in 1964 but it took BBC1 a further few years to convert to it. The BBC continued to transmit BBC1 using the 405 line standard all the way to 1985! Nowadays the 625 line standard is referred to as 576i (576 lines interlaced) The discrepancy in the two numbers is caused by the remaining 49 lines being used for other data like a time-code and teletext. No 405 line videotapes for Doctor Who survive, but many of the 625 line tapes do as we shall see shortly. But till the end of the Troughton era episodes will survive either as 16mm telerecordings or 35mm broadcast prints. Once Pertwee and colour arrive things will get much more complicated.

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