The Enemy of the World: Episode One
First Broadcast December 23rd, 1967 @ 5.25pm (6.8m viewers)
Thanks to episode hunter Philip Morris ‘The Enemy of the World’ has been revisited by fans. For many years only Episode Three of this six-parter was known to exist, appearing on The Troughton Years video and the Lost in Time DVD set. In 2013 it was announced that all the other five instalments had been rediscovered in Nigeria. Released first onto iTunes and then on DVD, fans could watch ‘The Enemy of the World’ for the first time in over 45 years. This has allowed us to re-evaluate this very unique story.
Embedded deep within Patrick Troughton’s monster era, with ‘The Ice Warriors’ and ‘The Web of Fear’ either side, this tale takes place in Earth’s future. It features no peculiar alien creatures, and the villain of the piece bears an uncanny resemblance to the lead hero. The whole story is a globe-trotting adventure and begins in the Australasian Zone. To date, it is the only televised Doctor Who story to occur, in part, “down under”. In a twist of irony, the broadcast deep within a British winter perhaps makes the viewer long for warmer climates. A beach in West Sussex covers neatly for Cape Arid in Australia and provides the location for a dramatic chase sequence which set the pace. Unfortunately, a six-episode story cannot maintain this pace, but for these 23 minutes, it tears through at a very fast pace.
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
From the moment The Doctor comes out of the sea after a refreshing dip the foot is heavily planted on the accelerator pedal. Director Barry Letts has both a helicopter and a hovercraft to play with, vehicles which would haunt him as a Producer a few years later. With The Doctor and his companions under fire, the gloriously glamorous Mary Peach comes to the rescue. It is no coincidence that the most memorable publicity photos for the story, which appeared in Radio Times and influenced novel covers, featured her in character as Astrid.
After some minor explanation and a second escape, all the gaps are filled in and we see Troughton as his villainous doppelgänger Salamander for the first time before finally The Doctor himself tests the accent in the cliffhanger. The remainder of the story is equally watchable, largely due to Troughton’s impress double duty which he delivers spectacularly well. Granted it falls apart towards the end of Episode Four and Colin remains one of the most excruciatingly irritating character in Doctor Who’s history. But the fact that we are now able to watch this unique story, in its entirety, whenever we like is a real thrill.
Also First Aired On This Day…
- The Power of Kroll: Part One
Available on DVD
Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World is available for purchase on Amazon.