Of the missing ‘Doctor Who’ episodes that were found some eighteen months back, the biggest surprise was getting the complete ‘The Enemy Of The World’. No aliens but certainly a monster in the form of a developing world dictator who apparently kept his hands clean while manipulating other people.
The TARDIS arrives on a beach in 2018 where the Doctor (actor Patrick Troughton) delights in a swim in the sea, back to the confused distain of Jamie (actor Frazer Hines) and Victoria (actress Deborah Watling). Things change to panic when the crew of a hovercraft shoots at them but they are rescued by Astrid (actor Mary Peach) who, together with her boss, Giles Kent (actor Bill Kerr) see the Doctor as the splitting double for upcoming world dictator Ramon Salamander. The Doctor is tested at short notice and fools Security Chief Donald Bruce (actor Colin Douglas) but is later not convinced that this Salamander is so bad if he is actually saving the world. They arrange for Jamie and Victoria to meet the real Salamander and get on his staff so they can see for themselves. In the meantime, Salamander has deposed world division head Denes (actor George Pravada) and killed his replacement, Fedorin (actor David Nettheim) when he fails to poison him. When security realise that Jamie and Victoria know an infiltrating Astrid who tries to rescue Denes but the latter is shot dead, they themselves become prisoners and tranquillised and taken to Salamander’s laboratory complex for interrogation.
The Doctor and Kent aren’t far from the complex themselves and when they join Astrid, they are also joined by Salamander’s food taster, Fariah (actress Carmen Munroe), who followed her with evidence, although it clearly isn’t enough proof. They escape one ambush, although Fariah is killed. Security Chief Bruce catches up with them and the Doctor convinces him to trust him far enough to find out the truth as to what is going on.
With the Doctor posing as Salamander, Bruce hears from Jamie and Victoria as to what is going on. Meanwhile, the real Salamander’s source of power is revealed illustrating what a manipulative bastard he really is but that’s a spoiler. Suffice to say, Salamander is manipulating far more people than anyone knows and is essentially a surprise spoiler in episode 5. Even more so, as to what happens in episode 6 and explains some of the Doctor’s suspicions as the tale gets ever more complex.
In many respects, this story could work outside of ‘Doctor Who’. After all, the plot of an impersonator replacing a prince or tyrant to save or depower is a very old story. In many ways, this is an untypical ‘Doctor Who’ story, not so much by its complicity but the added political intrigue. It’s also a real tour de force by Patrick Troughton playing two very diverse roles and even have them masquerading as each other.
Probably the biggest surprise was no extras. A rare event in the ‘Doctor Who’ DVD collection. Surely, someone must have had something to say about the material? It isn’t as though they’ve all kicked the bucket although I suspect that the urge to get it released stopped that happening. History in the making and only three years into our future. Beware of nuclear wars.
(region 2 DVD: pub: BBC BBCDVD3866. 1 DVD 139 minutes 6 * 25 minute black and white episodes. Price: £ 6.90 (UK) if you know where to look)
cast: Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, Deborah Watling, Mary Peach, Bill Kerr, Colin Douglas, George Pravada, Milton Johns and Carmen Munroe
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