Doctor Who Serial 040 – The Enemy of the World

Synopsis: The Doctor is mistaken for Salamander, a man who is trying to become dictator of the world. Salamander’s enemies try to convince The Doctor to impersonate the evil man and help take him out.

In the 1970s, the BBC was junking old TV shows in its archive. Back then, reruns didn’t exist, and the concept of home video and DVD would have been ridiculous. The shows were recorded onto video, and rather than buying new tapes, it was easier to blank the existing ones. They also had 16mm prints which were used to sell shows to foreign markets. Since film takes up a lot of space, those were destroyed to clear up space in the archive.

From time to time Doctor Who stories have found their way back from TV stations in foreign markets that still had prints lying around. Recently, at least two serials were recovered from Nigeria, The Enemy of the World (040) and The Web of Fear (041). 

Rumours are persisting that the BBC has recovered more than just those two, that perhaps they have recovered close to 90 missing episodes, leaving the number of lost episodes into the single-digits. For now, though, we’ll take what we can get.

The Enemy of the World is not great. The entire concept of a duplicate Doctor is kinda hokey, and Troughton’s accent when playing Salamander (or The Doctor pretending to be Salamander) is horrible.

The most interesting part of the story is The Doctor’s reluctance to trust Giles Kent, who is trying to overthrow Salamander.

Overall, its worth watching. I don’t think I’d have come back to this serial if not for my project of watching the whole series. Actually, this inspired the project.

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