Oh My Giddy Aunt: David Whitaker can always claim to do something really interesting with all the regulars he is dealing with and with Power & Evil of the Daleks and Enemy of the World he gives us some of the most thoughtful characterisation of the second Doctor. By this point I am used to the subtle intensity and childish glee that he can bring to the part but Whitaker (like with Power of the Daleks where he was looking to contrast Hartnell and Troughton so dramatically) there always seems to be something a little jarring and fascinating about his portrayal. In Evil it was the Doctor at loggerheads with Jamie for real (bizarrely this never happened again in their two seasons together afterwards) and his skill with psychology that stood out, here it is his inactivity (there isn't a single adventure where it takes Troughton this long to get in on the action, not even The Space Pirates) and his caution. It feels as if he is extremely worried that his presence could cause real problems, something he is frightened off enough that he sends Jamie and Victoria in to check out the situation first before daring to take his part in Giles Kent's plan. Usually he jumps right in and bollocks to the consequences so he must really have a bad feeling about this place. For once the Doctor wants to leave and his companions want to stay. I feel as if I have been more critical of the portrayal and characterisation of the second Doctor and the first so I think I should point out at this stage that I simply adore Patrick Troughton and pretty much anything he is involved in (yes even The Underwater Menace) is automatically elevated because he is involved. A consummate actor, he can play comedy and drama with equal conviction. A superb Doctor. It's just there were a few anomalies in his time that are so fascinating simply because they are different.
He’s like an excited kid screaming ‘We’re by the seaside!’ and he wants to play sand castles! I love the image of his splashing about in his long johns, like some excitable middle aged kid. When Astrid refuses his medical aid he proves to be quite assertive, not taking no for an answer. He’s not a Doctor of any medical significance, perhaps a Doctor of divinity? ‘I’m the nicest possible person!’ He always was interested in phonetics but suggests he needs several weeks to learn Salamander’s accent and mannerisms, not the few minutes he is forced to. Clearly the Doctor doesn’t like being told who the villain is, he likes to make that decision for himself. He will expose Salamander for the fraud that he is but the Doctor will not dish out private justice and murder him. I love his wily cunning, pretending to his friends to be Salamander to see what they really think of the dictator since only their opinions matter to him. He mocks tooting on his recorder to prove he is who he says he is and it was enough to fool me. Secretly I think he rather enjoys playing the villain, it gives the Doctor a chance to ham it up for a change. ‘No friends, no safety, nothing’ – the Doctor is willing to put Salamander outside the TARDIS to face those that want his blood. ‘You’ll run but they’ll catch up with you.’ Nasty. Troughton really seems to appreciate the chance break out of playing the Doctor for the majority of this story and get his teeth into a juicy villainous role but the result of that is that when does play the Doctor he is sweeter and more imminently huggable than ever. The Doctor is smart enough to play Salamander to expose Giles' hand in these events and his true motive and when the time comes he doesn't hold back in darkly condemning the would-be dictator. Whether it is by accident or design, this is a Doctor who can watch a man being sucked out into space, dust his hands down, turn to his friends and say 'where shall we go?' People say only the new series Doctor's have a warped sense of justice.
Sexy Scot: I really like how Whitaker writes for Jamie as an action hero and a ladies man, playing up to Hines' biggest strengths. He leaps straight into action when being hunted on the beach, screaming ‘Craig au Tuire!’ and rushing at an armed man. It is a nice moment of culture shock when Jamie and Victoria cling onto each other in fear as they ascend in a helicopter, the pair of them never seeing such a ‘flying beastie’ before. He’s cleverer than he looks, jumping in to save Salamander’s life and thus gaining his confidence. His cover story is that he is on holiday with his beautiful girlfriend, which is clearly a backstory that Jamie is loving and can completely buy into. He sums up Benik perfectly in one sentence - ‘You must have been a nasty little boy…’. He asks if Redhead is a codeword, clearly having nothing but sex on the brain. Mind you at that age, didn't we all? He really loves Victoria, when Benik starts lusting after her and attempting to menace her he stops fighting with him and agrees to do what he wants.
Screaming Violet: Victoria was never a favourite of mine, she’s cute in a pathetic sort of way but like Susan before her there was just too much snivelling and whimpering for any real effective character to emerge. Look at her in episode one ('I can't! I can't!') …I would never try and stimulate violence towards women but she was getting so hysterical she was clearly in need of a good slap. it isn't Watling's fault, she is only bringing to like the character as written and when she finally gets something to run with beyond hysterics like her comedy of manners with Griffin in the kitchen she relaxes into it and has fun. She makes a typically Victorian menu of soup, fish, meat and pudding and talks about her family’s whoosh up Kaiser Pudding. It's hardly amazing development but I appreciated the tiny insight into her life back home that she will never return to. Griff sums her up beautifully: ‘You’re a bit too smart for me!’ When she introduces Jamie Griff asks ‘He not cook like you I hope?’ suggesting she wouldn’t have made the best of domestic wives.
Sparkling Dialogue: ‘Yes I’ve got a job for you alright…peel those spuds, yeah now!’
‘People spend all this time making nice things and other people come along and break them.’
‘The history of Hungary is about to be rewritten!’
‘You try, you fail. So what, huh? The moon doesn’t fall out of the sky!’
‘I can only die once and someone’s beaten you to it.’
The Bad Stuff: There are some really dodgy accents in the first episode. Even though it is well played and scripted it is such a shame that we can only see the cheapest episode. The story stutters at this point and is padded out with (hilarious) material in Griff's kitchen but it gives completely the wrong impression about this epic, expensive looking, (generally) fast paced story.
The Shallow Bit: Wow, this might be my longest ever shallow section! Jamie looks thirst quenchingly hot in his tank top and is matched by Victoria who is adorable in her kilt. Troughton looks years younger when dressed in a roll neck with combed back hair. Astrid wears kinky leather boots and very tight trousers. Jamie is dressed head to toe in leather…what are they trying to do to me? Fariah is a rarity in Doctor Who at this point, a confident and intelligent and utterly gorgeous black girl! Benik’s campness is pretty menacing, he manages to make every threat sound like a menacing come on. Astrid flirts outrageously with cute guard Yanos.
Result: A dramatically played story, which is attention grabbing from the very first scene. The Enemy of the World is another story that has had its reputation poisoned by the Howe/Stammers/Walker guide books, long considered the odd man out story of season five for adverse reasons (it is amazing how a few guide books could have embedded into fan consciousness) and it pleases me greatly that so many people have rediscovered this little classic and realised it is quite the contrary. David Whitaker has written an exquisite script with lots of ambrosial touches and a dedicated cast bring the story to life and create some captivating drama. It plays out very much like one of the old Hartnell historicals, with characters coming to the fore and their dynamics proving the linchpins in the plot. Doctor Who doesn't have to be about monsters week in, week out to remain interesting and this is a very bold and successful attempt at detailed world building and captivating spy drama. Troughton aces his role as Salamander and creates one of the series’ most venomous nasties and as a result of this his Doctor seems cuddlier than ever. Barry Letts comes down quite hard on his directional debut but this might just be his finest work on the series, displaying none of the technical difficulties of his later tales and coaxing some lovely performances from his cast. For a six parter it is pacy and always throwing new things at you and there are some tasty twists in the last episode and a cliffhanging final scene. It makes me wonder what I think of the era as a whole because Enemy of the World is proof that the Troughton anomalies are my favourites (Power of the Daleks, The Mind Robber, The War Games are my other treasures). Always a joy to a listen to and now thanks to the recent discovery...a joy to watch!: 9/10