The Enemy of the World was a bit different to what we had been getting over the past couple of months. For one thing it was not set in the snow and ice as the previous twelve episodes was, and started on a beach, and had the Doctor run into the sea for a paddle in the sea. That was one thing that was different for a start. Then they started getting shot at, which was certainly not a great start for them
At times this story was more like a James Bond film, or the ITC series beloved of ITV viewers of the time, rather than the sort of stories that we had been used to watching. It had a large cast of characters and was very expansive and looked like money had been spent on it, when it most certainly wouldn’t have been.
The most notable thing in this story however had to be the dual role played by Patrick Troughton doubling as the story’s main villain, Salamander, who would have made a decent Bond villain, let alone a Doctor Who villain.
In fact you could quite comfortably imagine this as Bond movie as there are very few traditional Doctor Who trappings in this story at all, such as there are no aliens, it is not set in the far, far future, there are no spaceships etc.
What with Patrick Troughton playing the villain with great gusto the Doctor isn’t really in the story that much but it doesn’t really matter as this allows Jamie and Zoe to take a greater part of the action than they might normally do and both excel here and make the most of their opportunity. Jamie gets a lot more to do here than Victoria does and Frazer Hines is once again excellent
There was also some interesting characters including Mary Peach as the very Avengers girl type character Astrid, Bill Kerr (very different to his persona in the Hancock’s Half Hour radio series) as Giles Kent, George Pravda as Denes, Carmen Munroe as Faria (in a great role for a person of colour at the time) and Milton Johns as Benek all make good impressions on the story.
Barry Letts did a great job on the story as it often looked very impressive on what was obviously a rather small budget. Mostly however it was a lot of fun seeing Patrick Troughton play the baddie for once and you can tell that really relishes playing someone other than the Doctor for a change and shows off Troughton’s acting chops.
For many years all we had was the third episode which is quite possibly the least impressive of the episodes but does feature a comedy Australian chef and that was all we had to go on until the rest of the story was found and it is a far better story than people thought it was after only seeing the third episode.
Yes, at times, it is not really Doctor Who but, hey, it works, and it is fun to watch and its great that we have it.