Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Enemy of the World – Loose Cannon Reconstructions

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Only episode three of The Enemy of the World is held in the BBC Archives.  It has been released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time. For the purposes of this marathon I viewed Loose Cannon’s masterful reconstructions of the remaining five episodes, links to which appear below.

Loose Cannon’s The Enemy of the World, Episode 1 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Enemy of the World, Episode 1 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Enemy of the World, Episode 2 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Enemy of the World, Episode 2 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Enemy of the World, Episode 4 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Enemy of the World, Episode 4 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Enemy of the World, Episode 5 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Enemy of the World, Episode 5 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Enemy of the World, Episode 6 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Enemy of the World, Episode 6 Part 2

Episode 3 of The Enemy of the World is held in the BBC Archives and has been released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time.  It was originally  broadcast in the UK between 23 December  1967 and 27 January 1968.

Episode 3 of The Enemy of the World is held in the BBC Archives and has been released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time. It was originally broadcast in the UK between 23 December 1967 and 27 January 1968.

The Enemy of the World

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Appearing exactly half way through Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Second Doctor, The Enemy of the World is an oft forgotten gem hidden amidst the monster laden fare of Season Five.  With only one of its six episodes held in the BBC Archives, The Enemy of the World is frequently overlooked because the single episode released on Lost in Time is so dissimilar to the other five. When I first watched episode three of Enemy I was knocked out by Reg Lye’s characterization of Griffin the chef.  The forthright Australian with the phenomenal panache for black humour explodes from the screen with an eccentric disposition that, despite its quirks, is readily identifiable with.  That being said, exactly what it meant and why it was included left me totally confused. Upon re-watching the episode during a viewing of Loose Cannon’s reconstructions, it quickly made sense. Griffin is the audience’s identification in a tale of multi-cultural, worldwide intrigue.

Reg Lye was phenomenal as the chef, Griffin

Reg Lye was phenomenal as the chef, Griffin

The Enemy of the World is Doctor Who’s first foray into James Bond action style conspiracies for world domination. As Barry Letts’ debut to the series as director, it foreshadows a style which will become quite familiar during Jon Pertwee’s tenure as the Third Doctor. With Letts as Who’s producer, action scenes such as those in the first half of episode one of Enemy of the World will become a great deal more common.  The hovercraft and helicopter scenes in Enemy are but a prelude to the chase extravaganzas of 1970’s serials such as episode two of Planet of the Spiders. It’s such a shame that all we have left to gauge the success of these Enemy scenes are telesnaps and the audio.

One of the many chase scenes from the Third Doctor's final serial, Planet of the Spiders

One of the many chase scenes from the Third Doctor’s final serial, Planet of the Spiders

What differentiates The Enemy of the World most from the other Season Five serials is that the only monster is a human.  Patrick Troughton was afforded the opportunity to play two characters in the serial with the second being perhaps the most sinister of all Who villains, the dictator Salamander. A Mexican national, Salamander is perceived as a hero to a world confronted by the ravages of war and world famine.  He invented the Suncatcher Mk VII, a device which collects and stores concentrated sun-rays. In a film clip showed to the Doctor by Giles Kent, an Australian whom the audience initially believes to be a principled opponent of Salamander, the impression Victoria receives is that the Mexican is indeed a generous public benefactor. Speaking of the successes of the Sun Conservation establishment at Kanowa, in the Australasian zone, Salamander states that his Sun Catcher has allowed the sun’s rays to be shone upon those areas most needing them.  Wheat is growing on the Canadian plains and the Ukraine is the grain field of the planet.  Corn is ripening on the Dnieper River where 10,000 robot harvesters are gathering fifty million tons of flour.  The impression given is that Salamander is the world’s saviour from starvation.

Salamander is not the virtuous philanthropist that he claims to be.  He is pictured here with Jamie

Salamander is not the virtuous philanthropist that he claims to be. He is pictured here with Jamie

The philanthropic ventures of Salamander are, however, a veil behind which he hides his plans for world-domination. Unbeknownst to all but Giles, Salamander has kept a group of English scientists captive underground for five years. The scientists are under the mistaken belief that a nuclear holocaust has devastated the planet and that it is not yet safe to venture outside.  Believing Salamander’s claims that the war is still ongoing, the scientists, by means unknown to the viewers, are creating a series of natural disasters with the intention of thwarting the “enemy”.  These supposedly natural disasters, such as a volcano in Hungary, are in effect part of Salamander’s plan to wrest control of all of earth’s regions.

I have to admit that my immediate thought on learning about Salamander’s enslavement of the scientist was the 1993 Australian movie, Bad Boy Bubby. In that film a man is kept captive in a putrid flat by his incestuous mother for 35 years. She claims that the air outside is poisonous and whenever she leaves to collect supplies she dons a gas mask. I wonder if Bad Boy Bubby’s  writer, Rolf de Heer, was watching Doctor Who in May 1968?

The 1993 Australian movie Bad Boy Bubby

The 1993 Australian movie Bad Boy Bubby

The exact environmental message that the writer, David Whitaker, is intending to make is a little difficult to discern.  Whilst concentrated solar power is perhaps seen as a favourable development, human intervention has devastating effects on the environment. Perhaps an analogy is being made between the deliberate human destruction wrought by the enslaved scientists, and the deterioration suffered by the environment from everyday human activity.

What’s less difficult to ascertain is the anti-corporate and anti-big government messages that Whitaker peddles in The Enemy of the World. In the 21st Century we are used to large scale corporations controlling large segments of the economy.  A cursory perusal of the Forbes listing of the World’s Biggest Companies exhibits that six of the top 10 provide banking and financial services, three have oil and gas holdings and one is a conglomerate.  Industry was much more local and small-scale in the 1960s, however the consequences of allowing the accumulation of much power into the hands of few was nonetheless appreciated by some.

Salamander with the short-lived Fedorin

Salamander with the short-lived Fedorin

Similarly, The Enemy of the World evidences a concern for the consequences of big government.  In the serial the world is divided into a small number of zones which presumably contain previously independent countries. Zones named in the serial include the Central European, African and Australasian.  Travel between zones is undertaken by rockets, with the journey between the Australasian and Central European zones taking only two hours. Transport costs are presumably reasonable and certainly within the means of government and corporation officials.  Even without the internet, the world of the near future is much smaller. The dismantling of small nation states has made the possibility of multiple zones being controlled by one person or organization frightfully real.  In the decades following the Second World War and Hitler’s conquest for European domination, such fears were well founded.

Australian actor Bill Kerr played Giles Kent

Australian actor Bill Kerr played Giles Kent

Imagine for a moment, if you will, that The Enemy of the World  was set in our current era. Substitute Bill Gates for Salamander and you may begin to understand the concerns raised.  Having established one of the world’s largest corporations, Microsoft, which is currently number 41 in the Forbes listing, Gates is revered by many for his generous philanthropic works.  Just imagine that there were some who believed that Gates had an ulterior motive, viz, to take control of the governments of the world. I’m not suggesting that Gates’ philanthropy is anything but wholly virtuous, however the scenario should be sufficient to contextualize Salamander’s motives within a 21st Century schema.

Mary Peach, a contender as Diana Rigg's replacement in The Avengers, played Astrid

Mary Peach, a contender as Diana Rigg’s replacement in The Avengers, played Astrid

That the serial is set in the near future is only a presumption because nowhere in the script is it specifically stated.  As Wood and Miles point out in About Time 2, this question could be easily resolved if episode five was recovered.  A close up telesnap of a newspaper shows a masthead, however the photo is not clear enough to enable the date to be read. Given that the recovery of The Enemy of the World  is mooted in the current missing episodes rumours, it’s somewhat possible that this question may be answered in the future.

Special Feature – Enemy of the World – Lost Serial

When Salamander was ultimately defeated at the serial’s end by the TARDIS, of all things, I was left somewhat concerned by the Doctor’s inaction. In the fifth Series episode, The Time of  Angels, the Doctor saves River Song who, like Salamander (and Katarina before him), was swept out into the vortex.  Clearly the Doctor is able to navigate the TARDIS with such precision as to be able to collect persons left floating around in space. Whilst acknowledging that David Whitaker was not Steven Moffat, and the whole concept of the TARDIS as a mid-space rescue vessel had not been dreamed up in 1967, it’s nonetheless disturbing that the Doctor’s stated aim of Salamander facing judicial justice was allowed to dissipate with the blast of air out of the TARDIS.

The Eleventh Doctor saves River Song in The Time of Angels.

May I conclude with a short discussion on casting.  The Enemy of the World has the distinction of being the first Doctor Who serial to feature a black female in a speaking part.  Carmen Munroe played the role of Fariah, Salamander’s official food taster, a position that reminded me of the First Doctor’s The Romans in which poisoning was perhaps the most common means of homicide.  Fariah is one of many well rounded characters which also includes Giles Kent, which was played brilliantly by Australian Bill Kerr, Donald Bruce (Colin Douglas) and Benik, Salamander’s assistant (Milton Johns).  Enemy was the first of three appearances by Johns in Doctor Who. Mary Peach, who played the Bond type girl, Astrid, was at the time of filming in the running to be Diana Rigg’s replacement in The Avengers. Finally, I would be remiss to forget Patrick Troughton in his role of the Doctor’s doppelgänger, Salamander.

Carmen Munroe as Salamander's official food taster, Fariah

Carmen Munroe as Salamander’s official food taster, Fariah

Episode 3 of The Enemy of the World is held in the BBC Archives and has been released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time.  It was originally  broadcast in the UK between 23 December  1967 and 27 January 1968.

Episode 3 of The Enemy of the World is held in the BBC Archives and has been released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time. It was originally broadcast in the UK between 23 December 1967 and 27 January 1968.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

 

REFERENCE:

Tat Wood & Lawrence Miles, About Time. The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who 1966-1969 Seasons 4 to 6 Volume 2. Mad Norweigan Press: Illinois, 2010.

The Doctors Revisited Specials on UKTV this Sunday

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As part of UKTV’s ongoing presentation of the BBC America produced specials for the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, the 30 minute The Doctors Revisited programmes on the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors will be aired in Australia and New Zealand on Sunday 25 August. The four specials, played as a two hour block, will screen at 4:25 p.m. in Australia and 4:40 p.m. in New Zealand. The Eighth Doctor special will in effect be a World Premiere as it will not be shown in the US until 31 August.

Much to the chagrin of British fans of Doctor Who, the BBC has yet to air The Doctors Revisited specials in the UK. Exactly why American and antipodean fans can view them, and not the British, has not been addressed by the BBC. The exclusive preview of the 50th Anniversary trailer at the San Diego Comic-Con in July left a similar bad taste in the mouths of British fans.  To date the trailer has not aired in the UK and British fans are understandably disturbed that a select few American fans should be the only people who have seen it.

The 50th Anniversary Trailer has yet to be aired in the UK

The 50th Anniversary Trailer has yet to be aired in the UK

In anticipation of the screening of The Doctors Revisited specials tomorrow, check out the trailers for them which were originally broadcast on BBC America.

The Doctors Revisited – Peter Davison

The Doctors Revisited – Colin Baker

The Doctors Revisited – Sylvester McCoy

The Doctors Revisited – Paul McGann

Vivien Fleming

Missing Episodes Hysteria – Delayed Confirmation of Hartnell Interview Find Brings Hope

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An article posted today in the TV & Radio Blog of UK newspaper, The Guardian, has brought hope to some fans that the BBC may be withholding confirmation of missing episode finds.  In the post by Charles Norton it has been revealed that the rediscovered interview with William Hartnell was actually located by researcher Richard Bignell four years ago in 2009.  It had long been believed that no television interviews with William Hartnell existed. The interview, which had been held in the Bristol office of the BBC, was not digitized until the summer of 2011 and withheld from the public until a suitable DVD release. It will now be included as a special feature in The Tenth Planet DVD which is due to appear in November 2013.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of this find is Richard Bignall’s comment concerning keeping it a secret.  “It’s been quite a difficult thing not to say anything about it”, said Bignell. One is left wondering what else the BBC is not letting on that it has.  Four years of clock and dagger secrecy about a three minute television interview is bizarre, to say the least.

You can read Charles Norton’s blog post here. It also includes a quite fascinating insight into William Hartnell’s personality. My post about the BBC’s Hartnell interview discovery can be read here.

A fan produced mock DVD sleeve for The Tenth Planet.  Source http://blog.project76.tv/2006/06/5506/

A fan produced mock DVD sleeve for The Tenth Planet. Source http://blog.project76.tv/2006/06/5506/

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The Ice Warriors – Region 4 DVD Release 28 August 2013

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It is at this time in my chronological marathon of Doctor Who that I should be posting my review of The Ice Warriors. For the first, and most probably last time in this marathon, I’m been unable to watch a serial in its correct order because it has yet to be released on DVD.   As luck would have it, the six part serial The Ice Warriors will be released in Australia and New Zealand on 28 August 2013.  The Region 2 release is set for 26 August and the Region 1 for 17 September.  Despite what I said in my Complete DVD Collection post, I’ve pre-ordered the DVD and anticipate receiving it by the end of next week. I’m not very good at practising what I preach 🙂  Please stay posted for my review.

Episodes two and three, which are missing from the BBC Archives, have been animated for this DVD release

Episodes two and three, which are missing from the BBC Archives, have been animated for this DVD release

Together with the four episodes held in the BBC Archives, The Ice Warriors will include animations of the two lost episodes two and three. Together with a number of audio commentaries, the special features include Cold Fusion – Making the Ice Warriors (a making of documentary); Beneath The Ice (a featurette on the making of the animated episodes); VHS Links from the original VHS release; Blue Peter (Design-A-Monster segment); Doctor Who Stories – Frazer Hines (Part 2);  and Animated reconstruction of the original The Ice Warriors  trailer.

Whilst we wait for the release of The Ice Warriors DVD please enjoy the Coming Soon to DVD Trailer and the BBC’s exclusive animation preview.

The Ice Warriors – Coming Soon to DVD Trailer

The Ice Warriors – BBC’s Exclusive Animation Preview

 

ADDENDUM: You read my review of The Ice Warriors now.

Vivien Fleming

The Abominable Snowmen – Rare Yeti Photographs

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The Abominable Snowmen – Loose Cannon Reconstructions

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ImageOnly one of the six episodes of The Abominable Snowmen is held in the BBC Archives and has been released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time. The remaining five episodes can be viewed as reconstructions by Loose Cannon Productions.

Loose Cannon’s The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 1 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 1 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 3 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 3 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 4 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 4 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 5 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 5 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 6 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Abominable Snowmen, Episode 6 Part 2

Episode 2 of The Abominable Snowmen is held in the BBC Archives and has been released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time.  The Abominable Snowmen was originally broadcast in the UK between 30 September and 4 November 1967.

Episode 2 of The Abominable Snowmen is held in the BBC Archives and has been released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time. The Abominable Snowmen was originally broadcast in the UK between 30 September and 4 November 1967.