Thursday 14 November 2013

189 The Enemy of the World: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Enemy of the World: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 13 January 1968
WRITER: David Whitaker
DIRECTOR: Barry Letts
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: iTunes The Enemy of the World
DVD Preorder:: Doctor Who - The Enemy of the World
TELESNAPS: The Enemy of the World: Episode Four

"I think you'll find this interesting."

Salamander decides to return to the research centre. The Doctor & Kent are waiting for Astrid who arrives then contacts them by vidphone, alerting them authorities before she switches to a secure transmission. Denes is dead: shot in the back during the escape attempt. Farrier has followed Astrid: she has come to see Kent with information for him. Farrier has been observed by the guards as well. Farrier tells how she was blackmailed into serving Salamander: she now has evidence that he engineered the schemes that Fedorin was accused of. Kent wants the Doctor to execute Salamander: he refuses. The guards close in on Kent's office but the occupants escape. is killed on the street after the escape. Salamander locks himself in the record room. He accesses a secret lift which takes him to hidden underground chambers. Bruce is angry with the guard outside the room that he can't get access to Salamander. Underground Salamander announces his return to those in the underground shelter. One of the men, Swann, meets with Salamander who claims he has been irradiated and must be decontaminated. He has brought them food back, and reports that it's terrible on the surface. Those in the shelter have been there for five years: they believe there has been a war on the surface which continues to this day. Those in the shelter are creating the natural disasters believing they are striking at those causing the war. Salamander tells them they cannot return to the surface till it's safe to do so. One of the survivors, Swann, wishes to go to the surface but his wife Mary reminds him that of the others that have made the journey only Salamander has returned. The Doctor is being made up to pose as Salamander when Bruce arrives with guards.

The Enemy of the World has had a three and a bit episode run up but finally during this episode it dives head first off the deep end. Up until now we've had a spy story with a little bit of a hint that Salamander has been causing some natural disasters. Then all off a sudden we've got a hidden underground base complete with survivors sheltering from the after effects of a (presumably nuclear) war who rely on Salamander venturing to the surface for their food. Bwah? Where did that come from? Not even a remote hint of this exists in earlier episode. As plot developments go this one is absolutely barking mad.

Six part (or longer) Doctor Who stories frequently have to do something different at some stage. Changing location is a good one: The first few episodes of the Daleks are in the city while the last deal with the attack. The The first half of Dalek Invasion of Earth is in central London before the action moves to the mines. Marco Polo, Keys of Marinus, The Chase & The Dalek Masterplan all change location most episodes. Evil of the Daleks travels from 60s London to Victorian Canterbury to Skaro. Inferno, famously, has a four episode alternate universe in the middle of it. Other stories introduce new characters or plot elements: The Optera in the Web Planet for example. But the new plot element here just comes from left field completely.

When I introduced this episode on FB I said it features "the most bonkers plot twist in Doctor Who". My friend Tim Walker replyed

Oh, I don't know - some of the current series' plot twists run it jolly close...
which got me thinking....

Most Nu-Who plot twists have some signposting or make sense afterwards. This one? Completely barking mad!

The thing is this plot twist has come from nowehere. Really the only element of Salamander's story that's slightly loose from the first few episodes is how he's causing the natural disasters. It had been a few years since I last listened to Enemy of the World so I was putting that down to his Suncatcher technology mentioned in earlier episodes. It turns out those inn the shelter are responsible but never explains how. My money's still on the Suncatchers: I've seen enough Bond films to know that Supervillains can't resist using satelites to threaten the world. We don't see Salamander disappearing off for stretches of time, we don't hear about his unexplained absences or days spent labouring in the research room. Nothing until he goes down in the lift. David Whitaker's got to the end of part 3 and gone "oh ****, I've got three more episodes to fill and thrown in the first idea that's popped into his head...... And, as we'll see he's not given how he's wrapping this up much thought either.....

No Telesnaps exist for this episode so the BBC website had a rough go using shots from other episodes. Now the episode is returned to the archives we get our first proper look at it. It's the third telesnapless episode to be returned in recent times since the existence of the telesnaps was discovered with none existing for either Galaxy Four episode 3: Airlock or The Dalek Masterplan episode 2: The Day of Armageddon. Of all the episodes to reconstruct from scratch this is one of the easiest: part 1 by comparison would have been a nightmare. All the main cast in this episode are in others. Most of the sets - Kent's office, the Research Centre Records room and the shelter - are too. But there's still some surprises in the episode.

It was known that Villier's House in Ealing featured in footage used in Enemy of the World that had been lost. We find out now that the scenes shot here are what the Doctor's group can see when they look out the windows to see the guards coming:


The thing that stands out in that shot is the woman pushing the pram. She bears no relevance to the story and yet it adds something making you realise this all occurring in an populated area. One of the guards in shot is long time Doctor Who extra Pat Gorman.

The Villiers House location has another Doctor Who claim to fame though: it was the home of BBC Enterprises at the time and for nearly 20 years after. When the BBC vacated the building and it was being cleared out the four missing episodes of the Ice Warriors - 1 and 4-6 - were found!

There's two main studio settings that the BBC had no pictures of to use in their telesnaps mockup. We can now see for these locations for the first time. One is the street on which Fariah is killed:


Well that turns out to be one of the worst studio flats seen in the series so far! But we can finally see just how Salamander accesses his underground layer: I wonder immediately why he's mucking about with a capsule that moves from horizontal to vertical before descending when he could of just had a lift put in the shaft.




It's not a bad sequence on screen, very Thunderbirds.

Actually let's think about the capsule for a second: it does appear to go straight down, so it's a reasonable assumption that the shelter is directly under the research establishment at some depth. This isn't as silly as it sounds: Kanowna, where we think the Kanowa research centre is actually located, is a former gold mining town. I could see Salamander taking some of the former mine workings and adapting them to his purpose. But the important thing to note here is that the shelter is under the Research Centre in Kanowa!

As Salamander enters the shelter and we get out first view of it the music playing in the background is Bela Bartok's Adagio from Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. There's a bit of Bartok sprinkled throughout the production, perhaps appropriately because the composer was Hungarian and sections of the story, notably in episodes 2 and 3, are set in Hungary. However this piece is pretty distinctive and stuck in my mind..... because it famously features in the very next Doctor Who story, the Web of Fear! You can read more about Bartok's use in Doctor Who at

This episode doesn't feature Jamie or Victoria: Both actors were on holiday this week. I think this is the first, and only, time that more than one series regular is away for the same episode! Adam Verney, playing Colin, remind me of another actor but I can't think who right now. Neither he now Margret Hickey, Mary, have any significantly recorded TV career to speak of.

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