Second Doctor story ‘The Enemy of the World‘ has been re-released on DVD. After being returned to the BBC in 2013 the previously lost story was quickly released onto iTunes and DVD for fans to enjoy. Now it has been given the Special Edition treatment in a deluxe 2 disc release.
For so long only Episode 3 of the six part story existed in the archives. It was released on VHS in The Troughton Years in 1991 and later on the Lost in Time DVD set in 2004. With the remaining five instalments returned to the BBC, fans were able to put down their Target novelisation, turn off the soundtrack recording and reevaluate the story, watching it for the first time in over 45 years. ‘The Enemy of the World‘ comes midway through the monstrous Season 5. It is a series of stories that feature two appearances by the Cybermen, two from the Yeti and the introduction of the Ice Warriors. Within that context ‘The Enemy of the World‘ was a deviation. However, it is an enjoyable venture into a futuristic Earth, a rarity during the 1960’s.
Patrick Troughton is undoubtedly the star of the show. Playing the dual roles of The Doctor and the villainous Salamander must’ve been a tough task. However, Troughton delivers two performances with enough variation to convince. The plot is intriguing, carefully unravelling after a bold and energetic opening. It’s often forgotten how ambitious stories in the 1960’s were. For instance, an Australian setting could easily be achieved in West Sussex. Unfortunately, the story loses it’s way after Episode 4. Colin also proves to be one of the most irritating characters in Doctor Who’s history! That said the conclusion of the tale is exciting and leaves viewers with a cliffhanger to lead into the next story. Although comparisons with a James Bond-style thriller are a little off the mark the story has plenty going for it.
The six episodes have had another run through the restoration process and are presented in pristine condition. It’s hard to think that they looked this good back in 1967/68 let alone 50 years later. Footage of the restoration process is included on the second disc of this set. The careful procedure of peeling off 45 year old sellotape makes for a surprisingly riveting watch. Whilst technology moves on there remains something almost romantic and magical about moving images on celluloid. The work of the restoration team is meticulous and the stunning results speak for themselves.
This special edition release has a variety of new features. Opening the second disk is ‘Treasures Lost and Found’ presented by the wonderful Toby Hadoke. A treasure hunt format attempts to refresh the standard behind the scenes storytelling. Frequent messages from ‘BBC Worldwide’ are an unnecessary feature, merely a contrived method to move our presenter onto his next interview segment. It’s far more enjoyable to watch Toby and Richard Bignell watching previously unreleased clips from Barry Letts’ 2008 interview. Seeing the two of them chuckling and reacting to his comments provides some nice moments. Several individuals are interviewed by Hadoke and those form the bulk of the feature. There is an ease and relaxed tone with seemingly no time restraints.
The near hour-long feature provides individuals such as the fabulous Mary Peach to tell non-Doctor Who related tales and the final product is all the better for that. Hadoke sets out to uncover previously unknown information about this story and delivers. Small tip-bits of information were fresh to me and left this viewer enlightened. The theme of nepotism provides a curious thread, accurately reflecting TV production at the time. Closing the feature is also something touching and emotional which I won’t spoil here. Although clunky in it’s set-up, ‘Treasures Lost and Found’ is an undeniable triumph.
Recovering the Past – The Search for The Enemy of the World
A brand new interview with the man who made this release possible is also included. Episode hunter Philip Morris tells the tale of how he discovered ‘The Enemy of the World‘ in Nigeria. He provides an insight into his meticulous methods and delicate negotiations that occasionally lead to these exciting discoveries. It is a fascinating interview and a real highlight of the release. Morris also suggests that the recovery of Episode 3 of ‘The Web of Fear’, which went missing after it’s discovery, is close. Perhaps a Special Edition of ‘The Web of Fear’ might also be on the way? Keep your fingers crossed. Morris is an individual who warrants gratitude and who knows what else he may discover in the future. His belief that the number of missing episodes will not remain at 97 is a positive message.
Remembering Deborah Watling
Sadly production on this Special Edition DVD release came after the passing of the lovely Deborah Watling. As a result her memories are represented through archive interviews but she is remembered with this touching tribute. Produced by original BlogtorWho Cameron K McEwan are reflections on Deborah from family and Doctor Who alumni who became friends. This tribute doesn’t require extravagance. Simple storytelling and memory sharing of a wonderful lady is more than ample to bring a tear to the eye. Deborah Watling is sorely missed but fondly remembered.
In addition, there are Production Subtitles that are always informative, a Photo Gallery and Script PDFs. Also included are short clips that Jon Pertwee filmed for The Troughton Years VHS release. These provide fond memories for me and watching Pertwee’s eyes widen is a wonderful moment. This is the DVD release that ‘The Enemy of the World‘ deserved. The classic Doctor Who range set a high benchmark for DVD releases. Whilst fans were keen to watch the episodes in 2013, it was only right that this story received the proper treatment that it warranted. Expertly put together, as usual, ‘The Enemy of the World‘ should be in every Doctor Who fan’s collection. It is a story worth revisiting and re-evaluating and now has the bonus features to make it an essential purchase.