The question that remains then, is was Enemy of the World worth the wait? The answer? Of course it was! So much so that I would go so far to say it is easily one of my favourite Patrick Troughton stories if not my absolute favourite. The story is pretty unique in the history of Doctor Who stories, playing out much like the pure historical of the Hartnell era (the travellers land in a time period and become embroiled in events) but set in the far distant future and pitting the Doctor against his body double, dictator Salamander. Salamander has discovered a way to secretly create natural disasters, the rest of the world seeing how accurate his predictions are, are quick to put him in a position of power and it doesn’t take long for Salamander to try and work (or murder) his way to the top.
Perhaps the best thing about Enemy of the World is just how good it manages to look. After learning their lesson with Tomb of the Cybermen (1967), Doctor Who fans are now always slightly wary that a story that seems too good in their imagination may not appear that way on screen, due to low budgets and hardly perfect special effects. Well ‘Enemy of the World’ never suffers from this, in the first episode we get a much praised chase sequence featuring a Helicopter, a fantastic Balcony set in Episode 2 and a great fight sequence between the Doctor and his Double in the final episode. In short, if someone told me that the majority of the Season 5 budget had been spent on this one story I would believe them. The script is certainly a demanding one, hopping to various countries and featuring a huge amount of action, but director Barry Letts and designer Christopher Pemsel do admirable job with hardly a dull moment in site. I want to draw particular attention to Patrick Troughton’s fight scene in the final episode. If you consider when this story was made and what it was made for, you would hardly be judged if you expected something less than underwhelming when the story calls for Patrick Troughton to literally get in a fist fight with himself. Preparing myself for notable doubles and obvious camera tricks, I was simply blown away when I finally saw it. It really does look incredible and is for me personally, the highlight of the entire 6 part story.
Speaking of Patrick Troughton, he really is good isn’t he? It’s a heck of a challenge for an actor to play two main roles in the same story but make the audience believe they are different people but it’s something Mr Troughton does brilliantly. His portrayal of Salamander is exceptionally well preformed; I particularly loved his scenes with the character of Fedarin where he blackmails him but in the most charming of fashions. Sometimes I struggled to believe it was the same man who played our loveable Cosmic Hobo but the vast differences between the two characters is something Troughton uses to his advantage; we really do get the building up of a show down between Salamander and his mysterious impersonator.
If you haven’t seen ‘Enemy of the World’ yet, Doctor Who fan or not, I recommend that in some way shape or form you try and track down a copy. It’s amazing to think that at the start of the year, this was still only available to listen too (in fact I ended up downloading the soundtrack in May, not ever thinking I would get a chance to see it!). It truly is a remarkable achievement for 60’s Doctor Who and dare I say it- but 60’s British Television.