Sue: It’s almost as if they were waiting for our book to go to print before they announced it!
This was Sue’s reaction to the news that an undisclosed number of missing episodes of Doctor Who had miraculously turned up out of the blue. It was incredible. Nobody had suspected a thing.
Sue: Neil? Why are you crying? Are you all right, Neil?
And that was my reaction to the very same news.
Sue: Oh no. If they’ve found 100 missing episodes, we’re completely screwed.
Nine episodes were safely back in the archives.
Sue: Phew! It’s only nine!
Me: Not only that, we can watch them all on iTunes straight away!
Sue: Oh ****.
Sue: So what score did I give to The Enemy of the World the first time you made me sit through it?
Me: I’m not telling you. I want you to watch this as if you’re seeing it for the first time, which shouldn’t be too difficult with your memory.
Sue: The title definitely doesn’t ring a bell. The Enemy of the World. Which monster is in this one again?
The theme music kicks in.
Sue: Aww, this is just like old times. Here, give us a cuddle.
This is actually the second time I’ve seen this episode; I watched it five minutes after it was released on iTunes in the middle of the night. Yes, I cried. And no, Sue was fast asleep in bed. And yes, it felt wrong somehow.
Sue: Has this episode been VidFIREd?
Me: Is that all you have to say? Look, woman! MOVING TROUGHTON!
Sue: Yes, Neil. It’s nice to have him back. He was definitely my favourite Doctor. If this was a Hartnell story, it would be a lot more onerous, believe you me.
The Doctor skips across a beach.
Sue: Oh look, he’s doing the Morecambe and Wise dance.
Me: When you watched this episode as a recon, you said you were relieved that you didn’t have to watch Patrick Troughton frolicking on a beach in his long johns. What do you think now?
Sue: Oh I don’t know. He’s quite cute when you can see him move.
A woman named Astrid is monitoring the beach from her futuristic office.
Sue: It’s Mildred from George and Mildred. When Mildred was fit.
Astrid contacts her boss, Giles Kent, via a video-link.
Sue: It wouldn’t have been easy to do that in the mid-’60s. That means the director is pushing the boat out and he cares about the show. So that’s good.
The Doctor and his companions are pursued by some gun-toting Australians in a hovercraft.
Me: You didn’t think much of that hovercraft last time.
Sue: It looks like a converted VW Campervan, but it does the trick, I suppose, even if it is a bit on the slow side. I bet it looked hi-tech when this episode was first shown.
Astrid comes to the rescue in a helicopter.
Sue: The vehicles in this episode probably cost more than the cast. I bet I thought that helicopter was a model in the recon. This is quite impressive, actually.
We are provided with definite proof that The Enemy of the World takes place in the year 2018. So at least Lance Parkin will get another book out of this.
Sue: This is basically a really cramped episode of Treasure Hunt.
Me: You said that last time.
Sue: It’s not my fault I’ve seen this before. Just cut and paste what I said last time. I’m sure nobody will notice.
Astrid takes our heroes to a nearby bungalow.
Me: Is this ringing any bells yet?
Sue: None whatsoever.
Astrid tells us why the Doctor is being chased – it’s because he looks like someone else.
Sue: These two are very flirty. I definitely don’t remember that! Look at the sly old dog.
However, before the Doctor can work his magic, some burly Australians burst into the bungalow, their guns blazing.
Sue: Strewth! They’re really overdoing the macho posturing. They look like they’re auditioning for a menswear catalogue.
The male models take off in Astrid’s helicopter, which promptly blows up.
Sue: This is much better than the recon, just so you know.
Me: Yeah, just a bit.
Astrid introduces the Doctor to Giles Kent, who, in turn, introduces the Doctor to his double, Salamander.
Sue: Ah yes! I remember this now. Something about a mad Mexican controlling the world’s weather or something. I didn’t like it very much.
Salamander is giving an important speech about corn.
Sue: Oh God, that accent! How could I possibly forget that accent? Did I compare Patrick Troughton to Seve Ballesteros last time?
Me: Not until Episode 5.
Sue: Did I also say Patrick Troughton is remarkably handsome when his hair is parted like that? Because he is, you know.
When she finishes acclimatising to Patrick’s accent, Sue settles down and begins to enjoy the story.
Sue: I think I was probably way off beam when I scored the recons. This is actually pretty good. What score did I give this? I bet it was something like a four or five out of 10. But this isn’t bad at all.
The cliffhanger involves Salamander’s head of security, Bruce, coming face to face with the Doctor as he pretends to be the evil Mexican dictator.
Sue: That was brilliant. I really enjoyed that. It makes such a big difference when you can actually see the episode; don’t look at me like I’m stating the obvious, Neil. I didn’t even mind the silly accent that much. It’s not so bad when you see the whole performance. No wonder you’re pleased this has been found. Oh Neil, please stop crying. It isn’t very attractive.
Sue: Patrick Troughton is getting off on this. Just look at him go.
She’s referring to the actor’s bravura performance as Salamander.
Sue: He’s very handsome in this, too. He reminds me of the man in the advert where…
Me: The Milk Tray advert. Yes, we know.
Sue: You’re just jealous. At least he can part his hair.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Milton Johns as Benik!
Sue: He’s got a James Blunt thing going on. With a bit of Chris de Burgh thrown in for good measure.
There’s no love lost between Bruce and Benik.
Sue: There was a lot of tension in that scene. I think something happened at the last Christmas Party and they haven’t cleared the air yet.
Meanwhile, in an opulent palace somewhere in Hungary, Salamander meets with Denes, Controller of the Central European Zone.
Sue: The bad accents are coming thick and fast now.
Me: That’s George Pravda’s real accent, love.
Sue: Oh. Sorry.
Astrid accidentally puts her foot in her mouth when she tells Giles that the Doctor and his companions are “an odd lot”.
Sue: It’s much funnier when you can see Troughton’s reaction to that. I bet that was rubbish in the recon, not that I can remember it. Was it rubbish, Neil?
As if I can remember. Ha!
And then we meet Salamander’s food taster, Fariah.
Sue: She’s a slave. That’s shocking.
Me: It’s even more shocking if you believe she’s a sex slave.
Sue: Oh, I thought his sex slave was the guy with the beard in the gimp costume.
Salamander explains that Fariah agreed to work under him (quite literally) because she was hungry. Only now that she has all the food she needs, she seems to have lost her appetite.
Sue: That was definitely code for sex. I bet he wasn’t just putting food in her mouth.
When Jamie saves Salamander from an exploding intercom, the dictator chastises his security guards for failing to see that coming.
Sue: It’s not exactly Blofeld feeding his henchmen to the piranhas, is it? He just tells them off. He’ll never take over the world with an attitude like that.
After securing a job in Salamander’s palace, Jamie meets with Victoria to share the good news.
Sue: Is this back projection?
Me: Barry Letts was in love with CSO long before CSO was invented.
Sue: Actually, I take it all back. It’s really clever, this. It shows ambition.
The episode concludes with Salamander setting off some earthquakes.
Sue: I really have missed this, you know.
Sue: Yes, it’s the only time you listen to anything I have to I say.
The next day…
Sue: What are you doing?
Me: I’m putting a DVD on.
Sue: But I thought we were streaming the episodes via iTunes.
Me: I didn’t buy Episode 3. I’ve already got it on DVD.
Sue: Tight arse.
Me: Give me a break, I’ve already pre-ordered the new DVD, as well.
Sue: So you’re buying it TWICE? You haven’t got a job, Neil. You do know that, don’t you? Worrying about reviews of your book isn’t a full-time job (“A book without precedent in Doctor Who publishing” – Doctor Who Magazine). And neither is making me watch old episodes of Doctor Who again!
I ignore her as I insert the Lost in Time DVD into our ailing PS3.
Sue: So I must have seen this episode before. This episode wasn’t thrown away, right?
Sue: And I have to watch it again because…?
Me: I thought you’d want to watch it again. You seem to be enjoying The Enemy of the World this time, and I bet you can’t remember what happens next.
Sue: That is very true. And yes, I am enjoying it. But if I talk over it, I’ll probably just say the same things I said last time. And that will be even more boring than usual.
Me: I’ve already thought of that. Just sit back, relax, and soak up the episode. You don’t have to say a word. And then, when it’s over, I’ll tell you what you thought about it a couple of years ago, and you can tell me if you still agree with yourself or not. Okay?
And that’s what we did.
Sue: I enjoyed that. So what did I say about it last time?
Me: Well, you complained about the security corridor, and you thought all the money must have been spent on the helicopter in the first episode.
Sue: That sounds like the sort of thing I’d say. It didn’t bother me this time. I thought they were taking the piss. This is definitely a comedy. A very black comedy.
Me: Then you made some topical references to Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef.
Sue: The chef was a great character. Very funny.
Me: You reckoned Jamie looked kinky in his leather uniform.
Sue: I still do. At one point, I thought I was having a hot flush, but it was just Jamie unzipping his jacket. I’ve never really thought about Jamie that way before. Isn’t that odd?
Me: Giles Kent’s caravan reminded you of the Lyndhurst 2000, obviously.
Sue: Yes, it was very cosy. I bet it doesn’t take him long to clean it. I miss our caravan. I miss our caravan a lot.
Me: You were insane two years ago, and you’re still insane now.
Sue: Don’t be surprised if we end up in a Lyndhurst 3000 one day.
Me: You weren’t that impressed with the plate smashing last time.
Sue: This time I thought it was funny.
Me: Oh, and you thought Jamie and Victoria were an item because they were wearing matching outfits.
Sue: Well that goes without saying. Although matching leather uniforms would take it to a whole new level.
Me: And last, but not least, you thought it was a bit racist.
Sue screws up her face.
Sue: Did I? Yes, well…
Me: You didn’t understand why the villain was Mexican. You thought it would have been better if the bad guy was German.
Sue: Oh no. That would have been even worse!
Me: You’re arguing with yourself, love. Although you did make an interesting point. Why he is Mexican? Why choose a nationality that requires Troughton to black-up? Why not play him as a… I dunno… a Hungarian?
Sue: Maybe Troughton couldn’t do a Hungarian accent.
Me: And he can do a Mexican accent? Are you mad?
Sue: It’s supposed to be funny!
Me: Doesn’t that make it worse?
Sue: It does now that you’ve pointed it out to me. I was enjoying this until you opened your big mouth. Let me think about it.
Me: You take all the time you need. We can discuss it while we watch Curry and Chips on DVD later tonight.
Benik sends his men after Astrid.
Sue: What I want to know is this: Who cut Benik’s hair? He looks a right clip. I bet he does it himself; I can’t believe he’d let somebody to do that to him. The Lady in Red will not be impressed.
Fariah and Astrid join forces.
Sue: See! This story can’t be racist. Fariah is a great character. Oh why did you have to point out the racist bits?!
The Doctor correctly surmises that Giles Kent wants him to assassinate Salamander.
Sue: Even if Salamander was evil, this Doctor wouldn’t kill him. One of the other Doctors might, but not this one. Now, if Salamander looked like Sylvester McCoy, all bets would be off. But not him. No. Never.
Benik’s men surround the apartment block that’s currently occupied by our heroes.
Sue: Did an old lady with a pram accidentally walk into the shot just then?
Me: This reminds me of Brazil.
Sue: We’re in Brazil now? I thought this was supposed to be Hungary?
Astrid holds off Benik’s men while the Doctor and Giles escape through the apartment’s air vents. Which, you have to admit, is a bit like Brazil too.
Me: Barry isn’t very good when it comes to directing the fight scenes, but at least he’s trying. This is basically The Avengers meets James Bond meets absolutely no money whatsoever.
Benik really loves his job.
Sue: Chris de Burgh is hilarious. I could watch him camp it up all day. If you treat this as a comedy, it’s great.
Fariah is shot and killed.
Sue: Oh. That wasn’t very funny. That wasn’t very funny at all.
Salamander locks himself in a room and refuses to come out.
Me: This infuriated us when we saw the recon. The only thing we had to go on was that bloody ringing noise.
Sue: I hate to break it to you but it’s still infuriating. I still don’t know what’s going on!
Salamander climbs into a capsule, which takes him into the bowels of the Earth.
Sue: This is impressive. It’s even more like a James Bond film now.
As soon as he reaches his destination, Salamander changes into something a little more tatty.
Me: Do you remember the big twist, Sue?
Sue: I have no idea.
Me: Really? You don’t remember?
Sue: Something about earthquakes. Or volcanoes. I don’t know.
A crowd has gathered to celebrate Salamander’s glorious return.
Sue: I know! This lot think they’re on a spaceship, but they are actually in a shed somewhere.
I think she’s misremembering Invasion of the Dinosaurs.
Sue: Is he running his own subscription-based version of Big Brother in his basement?
Salamander pretends to be riddled with radiation.
Sue: Oh, I remember this now. He’s conned this lot into believing there’s been a nuclear war, and they’re too ****ing stupid to realise that he’s lying. Yes, I definitely remember this. It’s ****ing mental.
Salamander has been leading a double life.
Sue: This is like Patrick Troughton’s real life, isn’t it? You know, when he had more than one family to take care of, and he kept running backwards and forwards between them. It must have been exhausting.
Sue can remember tittle-tattle like that, but she wouldn’t know a Macra if it jumped up and pinched her on the arse.
Anyway, not only has Salamander kept these people underground for five years, he’s also persuaded them to wage a fake war against humanity by setting off earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Sue: He thinks big, I’ll give him that.
Back on the surface, the Doctor has just finished blacking-up when an uninvited guest turns up…
Sue: It’s good, innit?
Me: You slagged off that cliffhanger last time.
Sue: Did I? Then I must have been mad, because this is great.
The feet in the last episode belonged to… Bruce!
Sue: Who else was it going to be? I wouldn’t have lost any sleep over that.
Bruce throws a tracking device at Giles, who promptly drops it.
Sue: He’d be hopeless at cricket. I thought he was supposed to be Australian?
Me: That reminds me, Sue – is this story racist?
Sue: **** off, Neil.
The Doctor persuades Bruce that his boss isn’t who he seems.
Sue: Bruce is my favourite character. He’s got a face you can trust. And he isn’t trying to put on a funny voice, either. He doesn’t sound Australian at all.
Me: Firstly, just because his name is Bruce doesn’t mean he’s Australian. And secondly…
Sue: You’d think Salamander’s henchmen would be Mexican, wouldn’t you? You’d think he’d surround himself with his evil Mexican friends. It doesn’t make sense when you stop to think about it.
It’s business as usual for the inhabitants of Salamander’s underground bunker – either they’re setting off volcanoes or stocking up on milk.
Sue: What are they wearing? Is Salamander trying to take over the world with Judo?
A ‘survivor’ named Swann is unpacking Salamander’s supplies of meat and milk…
Sue: I hope he hasn’t forgotten Colin’s monthly supply of Valium.
… when he comes across a scrap of newspaper. It looks like Salamander’s game is up, but – and this is incredible – the dictator decides to front it out. He starts by asking Swann what he thinks happens to people who have been in a nuclear war.
Sue: I’m pretty sure they don’t go on cruises around the Mediterranean, mate.
Swann finds the whole thing hard to swallow. But not that hard.
Sue: I know Salamander had to make that up on the spot, but was that really the best story he could come up with? I bet he was mentally kicking himself as he said it. And yet this moron is going along with it. Unbelievable!
Meanwhile, Benik is toying with Jamie and Victoria in a prison cell.
Sue: This has to be one of the most over-the-top performances I’ve ever seen in Doctor Who. And I’ve seen them all.
Benik threatens to put a bullet through Victoria’s leg.
Sue: This is horrific. One minute it’s a comedy, the next minute it’s a gritty thriller, which doesn’t pull its punches. God knows what the kids who saw it in the 1960s must have thought. Actually, they were probably bored. There aren’t any monsters in this.
The Doctor convinces his companions that he’s an evil Mexican dictator.
Sue: His accent keeps slipping. Either Troughton was flagging when they shot this scene or it’s a clever performance and he’s supposed to sound a bit shit. I’m going with the latter. It is Patrick Troughton, after all.
And then the Doctor convinces his companions that he isn’t Salamander by playing an invisible recorder for them. They celebrate with a group hug.
Sue: Aww, even I thought that was sweet, and I hate it when he plays that bloody recorder.
Salamander leads Swann back to the surface of the planet.
Sue: He is so dead. And he won’t be taking any cruises as a zombie, either.
At least Astrid still impresses Sue.
Sue: She would have been an interesting companion, and a good contrast to Victoria. They could have had a love quadrangle in the TARDIS.
The episode concludes when Astrid finds Swann above ground, nursing a nasty head wound.
Sue: They missed a trick there. Instead of Astrid wandering around an indoor garden centre, they should have had a scene where that poor guy saw daylight for the first time in five years, and then Salamander nobbled him from behind. That would have been more dramatic. Actually, why not kill him underground where no one would find him? Did Salamander feel sorry for him? Did he want to give the poor man one last taste of freedom? Maybe he felt bad about it. He looked as if he was looking for an excuse not to kill him earlier. And, finally, if you’re going to kill someone, make sure you actually kill them! If he’s supposed to be the enemy of the world, he isn’t a very good one.
We settle down with a nice cup of tea (“Warm and enjoyable” – Doctor Who Magazine) to watch the final episode, when Nicol decides to join us.
Nicol: Is this one of those ‘missing episodes’ you keep going on about?
I hit pause so Sue can bring Nicol up to speed.
Sue: So there’s this man called Salamander, right, and he’s supposed to be Mexican.
Me: He is Mexican.
Sue: It’s complicated, Nicol. Anyway, Salamander has trapped all these people underground because they think the surface has been taken over by mutated zombies sailing around on cruise ships.
Sue: And he’s tricked them into setting off earthquakes and volcanoes. How they actually do this isn’t clear, but they can definitely do it. Anyway, one of them has discovered that he’s the victim of an elaborate practical joke, and the last episode ended when he almost got killed.
Me: Now tell her about the Doctor.
Sue: Oh yes, the Doctor just happens to look like Salamander, and some other people want the Doctor to impersonate him so they can prove he’s the one who’s killing the world.
Me: So the Doctor has to black-up.
Nicol rolls her eyes.
Sue: Look. This is what actually happened: the writer said, “Which accents can you do, Patrick?” and Patrick said, “Spanish!” and that was it. End of story.
Nicol: But you wouldn’t need to black-up if you wanted to be Spanish.
Sue: I suppose some fake tan would probably do it.
Nicol: It doesn’t sound like a normal Doctor Who story to me.
Sue: That’s because it isn’t.
The episode picks up with the “man who found out about the cruise liners” dying in the arms of “I’m not exactly sure what her job is”. Sue is deeply saddened by this turn of events.
Sue: I wanted him to survive. I wanted the episode to end with him going off on a cruise liner.
The Doctor impersonates Salamander one last time.
Nicol: His accent is terrible!
Me: Yes, that’s his terrible Mexican accent. His other Mexican accent is merely bad. There’s a subtle difference.
Bruce starts asking questions about the Doctor’s TARDIS.
Sue: Buenos TARDIS. I’m surprised they didn’t use that joke.
Sue is shocked when she discovers that Giles Kent was the bad guy all along. Even though she’s seen this before.
Sue: I didn’t see that coming. I know he was highly-strung and everything, but I honestly thought he was one of the good guys. Does that mean Astrid is a baddie, too?
Salamander peppers Giles with bullets.
Sue: That was a bit grim. This definitely isn’t for kids.
Nicol: I bet the younger ones were terrified because they thought the Doctor was doing that. I thought he was doing it, and I’m 25.
Giles’ final act is to blow the place up. Thankfully, Bruce rescues the Doctor and Astrid from the explosion just in time. And as if that wasn’t enough, he makes sure that Benik gets his just deserts, too.
Sue: Bruce is great. He should have been a regular character. He could have been the TARDIS bouncer. And good riddance to that creepy twat with the bad hair. He was horrible.
Jamie and Victoria welcome Salamander into the TARDIS with open arms, and he didn’t have to play an invisible recorder to gain their trust either. Thankfully, just when it looks as if the TARDIS will take off with the wrong crew, the Doctor strolls into the console room.
Sue: How brilliant is this?
The Doctor and Salamander slug it out in the console room. It’s very exciting.
Sue: Ooh, how good was that?
Salamander is sucked into the time vortex.
Sue: Wait! Was that the Doctor?
And then the episode just… ends.
Sue: Is that it? Can we watch the last scene again?
Sue: But I want to watch it again.
Nicol: Yeah, even I wouldn’t mind seeing that again.
Me: We can’t. I’m steaming this episode from iTunes to our PS3 so we can watch it on our telly.
Me: I can’t rewind it. If you want to watch the last scene, you’ll have to sit through the first 20 minutes again.
Sue: Maybe some other time.
Me: It could be worse. If you saw that episode in 1968, it’d be another 45 years before you saw it again. Twenty minutes doesn’t seem that bad.
Sue: Let’s leave it for 20 years and see how we get on.
Nicol: If anyone is interested, I thought that was pretty good. It was more like James Bond than Doctor Who, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
Sue: What did I give it last time?
Me: I’m not telling. And if you’re that bothered, you could have gone on the internet and found out.
Sue: I’ve got more important things to worry about. By the time the theme music has finished, I’m already thinking about something else. Anyway, I bet I gave it something like five out of 10. It’s definitely worth more than five out of 10.
Sue: Does that mess up the graphs?
Sue: Oh well, it was probably worth it. I really enjoyed that.
Me: Does that mean you’ll watch The Web of Fear with me?
Sue: Well, I never said that.
Me: It’s got Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in it. And some Yeti.
Sue: Oh go on then.