Saturday 16 November 2013

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: iTunes The Enemy of the World
DVD Preorder:: Doctor Who - The Enemy of the World
TELESNAPS: The Enemy of the World: Episode Six

"Thank you. You're doing so well impersonating me, ah, I thought I might return the compliment."

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.....

When I listened to this story for the blog I said

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.

The Kaptain, Karl Thurgood suggests to me the Philip K Dick short story The Defenders, which was turned into the novel The Penultimate Truth, as the source of my recollections but I have no recollection of reading either of these!

Finally able to watch it I think this episode has some problems.

All is going relatively well until the point the explosion happens. Where do Colin and Mary go after that? They're last seen clutching at each other as debris falls from the ceiling but just disappear after that:


Are they dead? Have they retreated to the shelter? You don't know. They're usefulness to the plot over, they're gone.

And then there's the logic of what happens next.....

The Doctor sends Jamie and Victoria straight from the Research Centre to the Tardis. They disappear at 5:27 and aren't seen again till 19:00 so are missing for 14 and half minutes, well over half the episode having been completely absent two weeks previous. But the point here is he sends them to the Tardis, he doesn't arrange for them to be taken here. The insinuation is the Tardis is nearby, in walking distance.

Then there's the explosion and Salamander's last seen in the tunnel. The Doctor leaves the research center, slightly injured and dressed as Salamander. A dazed figure dressed as Salamander wanders towards the Tardis and Jamie, like the viewer, mistakes the figure for the Doctor and lets him inside. Then the real Doctor shows up, changed into his normal clothes and with a plaster on his head which clearly enables us to distinguish him from Salamander in the fight that follows.

So to me it would appear as if Salamander has wandered out of the tunnel and, slightly dazed, stumbled on the Tardis. The Doctor meanwhile has returned to Kent's Caravan, which we know overlooks the Research Center (episode 3) which in turn is above the shelter (episode 4) which has as tunnel exit near the caravan (episode 5). This last point would make sense: Kent's parked the caravan near to both the tunnel and the research center so he can keep an eye on both. Having changed and tended to his wounds the Doctor makes his way to the Tardis.

Happy so far? Good.


We saw the Tardis land on the beach in episode 1, which was shown then to be on Cape Arid. At no point is it established that the Research Centre is also on Cape Arid! In fact it looks like Kanowa is a spelling mistake for at Kanowna 250 miles away! If it is then the episode really makes no sense with Salamander emerging from a tunnel 250 miles away from where he left and The Doctor, Jamie & Victoria having travelled 250 miles seemingly on foot.

Let's be charitable (very charitable!) and assume that Kanowa is in Cape Arid. So the Research Centre is above the shelter, whose tunnel leads out near the caravan overlooking the Research Centre. The tunnel exit is also near the beach which in turn is near the rented Bungalow. I think the script needs a little playing with here to definitively establish the Research Centre's location: I'd have had the Doctor and Kent observing it from the Bungalow. That gives the the property that a reason to be near to the sea where the Tardis lands, has Astrid aiming for a nearby location that she knows when the helicopter is damaged, has "Salamander" (actually the Doctor) believably near somewhere he's known to visit in part 1 for the Thugs to pursue him. Everyone can then make their journey from Research Centre to Tardis easily in episode 6 and as a bonus we've saved ourselves the cost of building the caravan set by reusing the Bungalow location. I've never read the Enemy of the World novelization but I picked the book off the shelf to see how Ian Marter handles this: he has everyone flying south in helicopters with the Doctor realising that Salamander's deceived him before he leaves Kanowa. This isn't terribly satisfying as it relies on Salamander knowing the Tardis is at Cape Arid. I suppose you could claim that agents loyal to Salamander followed Jamie & Zoe and conveyed that information back to him. Jamie does say he thought they were being followed, but I'd take this to mean followed by Salamander. Some blame needs to be laid at outgoing script editor Peter Bryant's feet for not picking this up. A little tweak to all six scripts would have made this, and a small hole in episode 1, make a lot more sense. In his book Who And Me Barry Letts, the director, criticises the scripts saying:

When I arrived to begin work on The Enemy Of The world I was presented with only a draft script of the first episode and just rough synopsis of the rest.

He then goes onto say

From what I learnt later when I took over as producer it wasn't likely that he [writer David Whitaker] was responsible for the indefensible position I was put in.
But, somewhat typically, doesn't then apportion blame for who was responsible!

What this episode will rightly be remembered for is the confrontation between the Doctor and Salamander, two characters both played by Patrick Troughton. There's a lot of "one character played by a double with his back to the screen" during this sequence but there's one memorable face to face confrontation:


Quite rightly this is the image that the BBC Website chose to represent the episode when they did their Telesnap photo novel of the story. It also nicely turns the concept of the story, the Doctor impersonating Salamander, on it's head with Salamander impersonating the Doctor. But this meeting, which we've been building up to for 6 episodes, is over so quickly. Barry Letts had intended for there to be more shots with Patrick Troughton in view twice. However due to a film camera jam and Letts using an outdated technique, which he fully accepted responsibility for in his book, this one shot was all they got! Between the Doctor entering the Tardis and Salamander leaving it is a gap of just 45 seconds! And following the all we see is Salamander falling through the Vortex, that's it, end of episode. No reminder of the peril that the Doctor and co are in, which is picked up and resolved in the first 2 minutes of the next episode. If you check Enemy of the World 6 is 21:41 long, at the lower end of the running times for a Doctor Who episode (my thanks to Sean for bringing this to my attention when we were watching the episode on iTunes). In fact it's the shortest episode of Doctor Who so far, the first to be sub 22 minutes. Web of Fear 1, by contrast, is 24:53 at the upper end of the 25 minute time slot (a few episodes before now have gone over). If you took the first scene off Web of Fear, which runs from 0:29 to 2:16 which I make 1:47 long, you end up with Enemy 6 last 23:28 and ending on a nice resolution and Web 1 running to 23:06 and not suffering the intrusion of the previous story. (If anyone wants to make a cut of these episodes in this way I'd be interested) I'd always resented the section of Enemy of the World resolution in Web of Fear 1 and now I see Enemy of the World 6 it seems to me like it's more natural home is here. Yes I know Doctor Who was more serial in style in the 60s but generally the form for an episode is the last episode of the previous story has some form of "looking forward" to the next one like the Radiation Meter in Unearthly Child 4 or the Tardis being stolen in Faceless Ones 6, not resolving the story in the opening minutes of the next one. I could except the intrusion a bit more if we'd cut back to the Tardis console room at the end of this episode to show that the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are still in peril. As it is it feels like "Salamander's out of the Tardis, problem solved" especially in light of the specially shot trailer of The Doctor in the Underground tunnels that follows.

So Enemy of the World.


Episode 1: location shooting and helicopter shots
Episode 4: mad plot twist and Salamander's entrance to the tunnel
Episode 6: The Doctor & Salamander confrontation
Top work throughout from Patrick Troughton, playing two roles, and all the guest stars especially Colin Douglas as the hard by ultimately just security officer Bruce.
Attempting to do something different, a Bond/Spy story, with the Who format


Episode 3, so long the sole survivor, is dreadful.
The episode, as seen on screen here, breaks down geographically.
The ending, especially the confrontation, is rushed.
By having Patrick Troughton playing two roles either the Doctor or Salamander is absent for long periods. This is compounded by Jamie and Victoria both being absent for an episode and then being missing for a large part of the final one.

No Monsters!

It's hard to decide. I want to get past how dreadful episode 3 has seemed for many years and the series lack of Monsters. Like Underwater Menace 3 it's picked up by being able to see it in context a bit. If we'd had episode 1, or 4, all along the story would have had a bet pre recovery reputation. Now seen as a whole the flaws are more obvious, especially in this final episode. This story is really yo-yoing in my opinions every time I experience it!

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.

While searching Africa for missing episodes Philip Morris discovered copies of Enemy of the World 1-6 and Web of Fear 1, 2 & 4-6 at a television station in the Nigerian city of Jos. It hasn't yet been revealed exactly when he found it but a report in Doctor Who Magazine 486 has Morris talking about a church being blown up in the city while he was there. Enemy of the World thus becomes the second complete Troughton story in season 4, after Tomb of the Cybermen's 1992 recovery, as well as the second complete Troughton overall and also only the second complete Troughton 6 parter, after Seed of Death. Power of the Daleks, The Faceless One, The Abominable Snowmen, The Ice Warriors, The Web of Fear, Fury from the Deep, The Wheel in Space and The Space Pirates all have one or more missing missing episodes. Paul Vanezies of the Restoration Team had his hands on episodes 1-5 on 28th April 2013, episode 6 having been looked at previously. Peter Crocker started work on the picture restoration on 2nd June 2013 and delivered it on the 7th August. After much rumour the recovery, along with that of Web of Fear, was announced at a press conference on 10th October 2013 news of which was embargoed till midnight when the episodes were released on iTunes. The Enemy of the World will be released on DVD on Monday 25th November 2013, 2 days after Doctor who's 50th anniversary.

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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