Wednesday 1 June 2011

191 The Enemy of the World: Episode Six

EPISODE: The Enemy of the World: Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: 27 January 1968
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 Six

Bruce is having difficulty believe the Doctor, Jamie & Victoria when Benik arrives with papers for "Salamander" to sign. The Doctor examines them and finds they're for food deliveries for 30 people which is suspicious because only a dozen work at the centre. As he dies Swann gets Astrid to promise to rescue those in the shelter. The Doctor arranges for Bruce to release Jamie & Victoria: they're told to contact his deputy Forrester with a code word summoning him to the research centre. Astrid arrives at the shelter: the inhabitants initially are scared of her, fearing Radiation contamination but she proves to them that Salamanders radiation detection instruments are faked. She, Colin and his wife Mary return to the surface. Giles Kent has entered the research centre and goes to confront Salamander in the records room but it's the Doctor he meets. Astrid arrives with Mary & Colin who identify Kent as the man that took them to the shelter. He set the scheme up with Salamander but they disagreed and parted company: Colin & Mary believe he'd been killed. The Doctor was suspicious of Kent from the start. Kent escapes into the lift to the underground tunnels where he intends to detonate explosives stored there. Forrester arrives and under Bruce's orders arrests the research centre staff including Benik. Salamander is waiting for Kent, having observed the confrontation in the records room. They fight and Kent is killed detonating the explosives. The people in the shelter survive the blast as do those on the surface. Astrid explains the shelter can be reached via the tunnel she found and Astrid & Bruce lead the rescue attempt. The Doctor, seemingly wounded returns to the Tardis where Jamie & Victoria are waiting and beckons Jamie to take off. Jamie is suspicious: he was told never to touch the console. Rightly so: This is Salamander exposed when the real Doctor arrives. In a scuffle the Tardis starts to take off with it's doors open and Salamander is sucked out leaving the time travellers at the mercy of the forces pulling through the open doors.....

Not a bad climax to a story that's proved much better than I recall it being. The plot twist half way through the story is barkingly mad and completely unforeseen: here Kent's true motives have at least been hinted at with his quickness to violence. It's by no means a typical Doctor Who story being more closely related to a James Bond spy thriller with just the hint of science fiction with the villain's ability to cause natural disasters, his Suncatcher energy satellites are mentioned in the first episode - if I was re-writing I'd make them involved in the process some how and connect them with the work being done by the people hiding in the shelter from the war that never happened. This plot element reminds me of something I saw in my younger days but I can't think what. It's a little similar to the Silurians in Hibernation waiting for the Earth to recover from the moon hitting it, the people in the "Spaceship" in Invasion of Dinosaurs and of course Japanese soldiers marooned on remote islands convinced the second world war goes on, but the "sheltering from the nuclear war that never happened" idea rings big clear bells.

A couple of changes behind the scenes happen at the end of this story. Innes Lloyd departs the producer's role. Never happy with science fiction he was more than willing to vacate his seat for Peter Bryant. Despite his feelings about the show Lloyd did a top job, producing many memorable stories and introducing several important elements to the series. It's also the last story overseen by Head of Drama Sydney Newman, who'd helped create the series. After leaving his post he returned to his native Canada.

This story was followed by a specially recorded trailer for the next story, The Web of Fear, featuring Patrick Troughton warning children at home that their parents may find it frightening.

Enemy of the World was novelised by Ian Marter in 1981 during a period when few Hartnell and Troughton stories were being produced by Target Books. It's television author David Whitaker had started work on it but died before much could be produced. The Soundtrack was released on CD in 2002 with narration by Fraser Hines. Unlike the stories either side of it, it can be currently had for pennys. The soundtrack to the Web of Fear trailer is included as a bonus.

Next up I get to spend six days talking about two of my favourite subjects at once: Doctor Who *AND* the London Underground. Be here tomorrow as we WATCH Web of Fear Part 1.

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