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Recap / Doctor Who S5 E4 "The Enemy of the World"

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The Enemy of the World
The Doctor? Or Salamander? YOU make the call!note 
Written by David Whitaker
Directed by Barry Letts
Production code: PPnote 
Air dates: 23 December 1967 - 27 January 1968
Number of episodes: 6

"Dinner tonight's going to be a national disaster! First course interrupted by bomb explosion. Second course affected by earthquakes. Third course ruined by interference in the kitchen. I'm going out for a walk. It'll probably rain..."
Griffin the chef

The one where the bad guy looks like the Doctor in brownface.

The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria arrive in Australia in the year 2018 only to discover that the Doctor bears a great resemblance to Ramon Salamander, would-be world dictator. Salamander is a scientist turned politician who has perfected a technique for storing and distributing solar energy, feeding a world ravaged by storms, volcanoes and earthquakes.

The Doctor ends up in the company of Astrid Ferrier and her employer Giles Kent, a dissident who is one of the few who knows that Salamander is busy setting himself up as a dictator rather than the world-saving hero everyone else believes. He convinces the Doctor to investigate. Jamie and Victoria head to Hungary with Astrid, while the Doctor and Kent go to Salamander's research station. Jamie and Victoria are initially successful in infiltrating Salamander's inner circle, but are soon discovered and arrested.

Salamander himself is responsible for the natural disasters. He creates them with the help of a group of humans living in a bunker underneath his research station. This group were selected for an endurance test five years ago, and believe that there is a war going on above and they have been striking back at the enemy by engineering the natural disasters. When the leader of the group insists on accompanying Salamander back to the surface, Salamander attempts to kill him, but the man survives long enough to be found by Astrid, who in turn discovers the bunker. Between her discovery and the Doctor tricking Kent into confessing his part in the whole scheme, Salamander's crimes are finally made public. Kent originally worked with Salamander on the project, but now returns to destroy the base.

Salamander attempts to escape in the TARDIS by impersonating the Doctor, but the Doctor catches up with him before he can trick Jamie into operating the controls. In the ensuing fight, Salamander activates the dematerialization control, but he doesn't know that the door must be closed first and is dragged screaming into the Time Vortex.

With the exception of the existing Episode 3, this story was missing from the BBC archives until all six parts were recovered from a TV relay station in Jos, Nigeria, along with most of the following episode, "The Web of Fear" (actually all of it, but Episode 3 was stolen before the BBC could claim it). The discoveries were made public in October of 2013.


  • Air-Vent Passageway: Used by Giles, Fariah and the Doctor to escape a security cordon. (The actual air vent is not shown, only the hatch they enter through; when next seen they have already emerged from the far end.)
  • And I Must Scream: Salamander's fate. He ends up falling into the Time Vortex after trying to hijack the Doctor's TARDIS with the doors open.
  • All There in the Manual: The first names of Fedorin and Benik are never mentioned in the serial, but the novelisation revealed them to be Nicholas and Theodore respectively.
  • Answer Cut: When Astrid and Denes are meeting, Astrid asks Denes if there's any chance his assistant Fedorin will betray him, and Denes says he can think of no reason why Fedorin would. Cut to Salamander blackmailing Fedorin over to his own side.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Astrid apologizes to a guard she met earlier when she has to punch his lights out.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": A more layered example, as Salamander and the Doctor take turns impersonating each other. The Doctor's performance starts out slightly wobbly but steadily improves, while Salamander is only able to keep up the impersonation by remaining silent, to the point where it eventually gives him away by forcing him to act out of character.
  • Beneath the Earth: Salamander has essentially imprisoned a group of people in an underground bunker by leading them to believe that the world above has suffered from a nuclear war.
  • Big Bad: Salamander.
  • Blackmail: How Salamander keeps a hold on Fedorin. He also blackmails Fariah into working as his food taster, which is why she hates him so much.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Fedorin points out that the dossier Salamander has on him constitutes blackmail, but Salamander prefers to describe it as "comprehensive insurance".
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Patrick Troughton plays the Doctor and Salamander both impersonating the other's accent (with varying degrees of success depending on position in the story). The voice Troughton used for the Doctor wasn't even the same as his natural voice to begin with.
  • Brownface: In-universe, because Salamander's darker skin-tone is the only physical difference between him and the Doctor, so the Doctor has to do this to pull off the impersonation. A relatively justifiable real-life use for Salamander himself, because the Doctor's physical double couldn't have been believably played by anyone other than Patrick Troughton.
  • Chekhov's Gun: One that's loaded and fired within the same episode. When Astrid rescues the Doctor from the gunmen in her helicopter, a stray bullet hits the fuel tank, and she comments that there's now a danger the helicopter will explode, but they complete the flight without incident. Later, the gunmen take the helicopter to pursue them by air, and are not so fortunate.
  • Cliffhanger: The story ends with one, one of few serials after the First Doctor era to do so. The Doctor and Salamander duke it out in the TARDIS before the latter tries to take off without closing the doors first. Salamander falls into the Time Vortex, while the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria are left grabbing on to whatever they can find to not meet the same fate.
  • Continuity Nod: In a nod to "The Abominable Snowmen", the Doctor mishears "disused jetty" as "disused yeti".
  • Coordinated Clothes: Victoria wears a variation of Jamie's normal jumper-and-kilt costume.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: Salamander. Mostly played for drama rather than laughs.
  • Decontamination Chamber: The underground bunker has a decontamination chamber with a prominently-displayed radiation meter that Salamander makes a show of going through every time he returns from the supposedly-ravaged surface. One of the ways Astrid persuades the bunker people that she's telling the truth is by deducing and then demonstrating that the meter is rigged to show a high level of radiation that falls as "decontamination" takes place and will do so regardless of what goes in the chamber.
  • Dirty Coward: Benik panicking and begging for a "fair trial" after Salamander is exposed.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Done jokingly by Griffin the Chef, who says the food is so terrible he might get shot. He says he won't have to worry anymore, then miserably says this wouldn't happen and the firing squad would miss him.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Jamie says he got past the guards at Salamander's headquarters by having Victoria pass by them.
  • The Dragon: Benik to Salamander
  • Earthquake Machine: Operated by the people in Salamander's underground bunker. Salamander's ability to 'predict' these disasters is used to enhance his prestige and weaken his enemies.
  • The Eeyore: Griffin the chef, as seen in the above quote. Some fans have wished he could have been given a Spin-Off series, only half-jokingly.
  • Emergency Impersonation: The plot is centred around the Doctor impersonating wannabe world dictator Salamander in order to uncover information that would discredit him.
  • Engineered Heroics: Twice in one story, no less.
    • To infiltrate Salamander's security, Jamie stages an attempt on Salamander's life so that he can save the man at the last minute, earning jobs for both himself and Victoria.
    • Salamander's whole plan to sway public opinion in his favour hinges on causing natural disasters so that he can "predict" them and save people by warning them and evacuating affected areas.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even Bruce is moved to sympathy for "those poor people" when he witnesses the volcanic eruption. It is ultimately revealed as foreshadowing that Bruce is more principled than he first appears.
  • Evil All Along: Giles Kent initially seems like the Big Good of the serial, having found out about Salamander's plot years ago and doing everything he can to take him down. Near the end of the last episode, it's revealed that he and Salamander were originally partners and helped create the underground bunker. The only reason he is trying to take down Salamander is so he can take his place.
  • Exty Years from Publication: The story was broadcast in 1968 and set in 2018, 50 years in the future.
  • Fakeout Escape: At one point, Benik's security men have Astrid surrounded in Kent's office. They break in to find the room apparently empty, and an air vent hatch ajar, and rush off to try and intercept her at the air conditioning plant. Then the camera pans down to reveal she was hiding under Kent's desk.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Floating around, lost in the Time Vortex, Salamander probably wishes that Kent's explosives really had killed him.
  • Fictional United Nations: In the future, the world has been divided up into Zones, overseen by the United Zones Authority which meets in a building that looks a lot like the United Nations building in New York.
  • Foreshadowing: The Doctor mishears Astrid over the phone and asks, "Disused Yeti?" Also a Call-Back to "The Abominable Snowmen".
  • Genre Refugee: The story is a James Bond pastiche, with Astrid and Fariah as "Bond girls", and Salamander who as a Bond-style Diabolical Mastermind. The Doctor is charmed by Astrid but does not seem to enjoy being in the company of this setting at all — he constantly tries to dodge espionage and only agrees to go undercover when absolutely forced. Young, handsome and resourceful Jamie is a bit more at home.
  • Glad You Thought of It: Salamander plots for Fedorin to replace Denes as Controller of the European Zone, but doesn't say anything about it to anyone but Fedorin until Bruce remarks that with Denes gone, Fedorin is the obvious replacement, to which Salamander's response is, "Oh, what an interesting idea".
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Salamander is a heavy cigar smoker, which is used as one of the distinguishing points between him and the Doctor.
  • Hate Sink: Salamander is an outright villain, but it's hard not to admire his style and audacity. His deputy, Benik, on the other hand, is a thoroughly sadistic, cowardly and contemptible little man.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Donald Bruce, initially introduced as a sinister heavy, turns out to honestly care about doing the right thing.
  • Hey, Wait!: When Astrid infiltrates Salamander's HQ in Hungary disguised as a messenger, she passes a guard, who calls her back — to ask her to have drink with him when they're both off duty.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Benik straight-out threatens to rape/mutilate/do extremely unpleasant things to Victoria and make Jamie watch.
  • Impersonating the Evil Twin: The Doctor impersonates Salamander and vice-versa.
  • The Infiltration: Jamie does this by staging a rescue on Salamander's life. And who can complain about being a guard for the bad guy when he gets to wear that leather uniform?
  • Insult Backfire: When Benik, Salamander's deputy, threatens Jamie and Victoria with torture, Jamie shows his contempt:
    Jamie: You must have been a nasty little boy.
    Benik: Oh, I was. But I had a very enjoyable childhood.
  • I Want My Jetpack: The world of 2018 has passenger rockets, robot harvesters, earthquake machines and satellites for creating artificial daylight.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Imagine the Doctor sounding like Speedy Gonzales, but with more of an edge to his voice (or alternately, him doing a Tony Montana impression 15 years too early). Patrick Troughton used the same "foreign" voice in other TV series such as The Persuaders!.
  • The Ketchup Test: In one scene, Astrid and Giles fake Giles's death, using kitchen materials to make a phony bloodstain. At the end of the scene, Giles dips his finger in the "blood", tastes it, and makes a face.
  • Last Request: When Swann, the leader of the bunker, begins to doubt Salamander's account of the surface world, Salamander takes him up to see for himself and then kills him. He doesn't die immediately, and after Salamander leaves he is found by Astrid. He asks her to promise to rescue the rest of the people in the bunker, and she does.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: The TARDIS tilts sideways while the Doctor is fighting against Salamander, with everyone except for Salamander hanging onto the ship. This was resolved at the beginning of the next serial.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Episode 3. Once the rest of the serial was recovered, it became more obvious that the scenes with Griffin the chef were meant to show the perspective of a common man disconnected from the world-shaking plot.
  • Manchild: When the TARDIS materialises at the seaside the Doctor asks Jamie and Victoria to get buckets and spades, then goes for a swim.
  • Match Cut: The scene where Salamander and Bruce realise there's a fake Salamander on the loose ends with a close-up of Salamander's face, which dissolves to a close-up of the Doctor's face that begins the next scene.
  • Newspaper Dating: Jamie finds out he's in 2018 by looking at the expiration date of the tax disc on the helicopter that's just picked him up.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Salamander's fate.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: When the Doctor introduces himself to Astrid, he clarifies that he's not a doctor "of any medical significance", then deflects her attempts to find out what kind of doctor he is.
    Astrid: Doctor of law? Philosophy?
    Doctor: Which law? Whose philosophies, eh?
  • Oh, Crap!: Kent, when he reminds Salamander of an aspect of their old plot — oops, that's actually the Doctor.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: After everyone reunites in the TARDIS at the end of the story, Jamie figures out that "the Doctor" is actually Salamander when the latter silently motions at him to take off in his stead. Jamie quickly points out that the Doctor never lets either him or Victoria touch the controls, and is immediately proven correct when the real Doctor shows up to confront Salamander.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: This is Doctor Who doing Spy Fiction — the Doctor goes undercover like a 60s super-spy, and the villain is an evil human politician 20 Minutes into the Future with no monsters involved. It's also the only story in the whole season that isn't a Base Under Siege.
  • The Plot Reaper: Fariah successfully steals all of the documents implicating Salamander as a criminal and is going to bring them to the Doctor. She gets killed because it is a six-parter and if she'd managed, the plot would have stopped. Instead, the Doctor has to come across the information by other means.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Salamander's guards are generally presented as fundamentally decent people who are just doing their jobs. The captain who holds Fariah as she dies is particularly gentle.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Bruce may be ruthless, but he's willing to listen when presented with evidence that Salamander isn't what he seems to be. The Doctor even notes this: "I think I know what kind of man you are, honest and reasonable."
  • Recycled Premise: Both this story and the previous adventure have as their premise food shortages caused by overpopulation; in this case, Salamander is exploiting the need for farms to produce multiple crops in a season to amass power.
  • Scotty Time: The Doctor tells Kent that it will take him "three weeks, perhaps four" to work up a convincing impersonation of Salamander. Kent tells him that they're about to be raided by Salamander's security forces, so he's got two minutes.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Benik.
  • Something Only They Would Say: When the Doctor infiltrates the research station disguised as Salamander, his impersonation is so good that Jamie and Victoria aren't sure it's really him until he mimes playing his recorder (and complains about Jamie making him leave the actual recorder in the TARDIS).
  • Staff of Authority: Donald Bruce, Salamander's head of security, carries a swagger stick.
  • The Starscream: At first, Giles Kent says he wants the Doctor to expose Salamander's actions to the world, but in truth he wants to kill Salamander and run his operation for himself.
  • Stock Footage: The helicopter explosion is taken from From Russia with Love.
  • Taking You with Me: When Giles is shot by Salamander he sets off the explosives. However Salamander survives.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Salamander blackmails Fedorin into disposing of Denes by poisoning his food, but Fedorin is unable to go through with it. Salamander then disposes of Fedorin by poisoning his drink with the poison he was meant to use on Denes.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: An interesting case: the trailer announcing that the story, having been found, will be released on iTunes ends by showing the last scene: the TARDIS taking off with the doors opened, and Salamander being sucked out into the Time Vortex. Oops.
  • The X of Y
  • Undercover as Lovers: During his infiltration, Jamie introduces Victoria as his girlfriend. Or perhaps she really is his girlfriend.invoked
  • Vanilla Edition: Because the episodes were lost for years and only recovered only in 2013, after most of the series was out on DVD already, the initial DVD release contained no bonus features so that it could be released as soon as possible after the recovery became public knowledge. A new special edition DVD followed a few years later (in, appropriately, 2018) with the kinds of bonus features that are usual for the series.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Salamander's invention, the Sun Store, is helping to feed the world. Three or four crops can be grown in a single growing season, and formerly arid areas have become productive areas when it comes to producing food. This has resulted in enormous popularity for Salamander.
  • Wham Line:
    • In the midpoint of the last episode, after Kent is holding "Salamander" hostage, and reveals he knows the secret of the hidden passage in the research center, "Salamander" has this to say:
    The Doctor: [dropping his Salamander accent] Well that's very interesting Mr. Kent. Why didn't you tell me that before?
    • At the climax of the last episode; Salamander, having been mistaken for the Doctor by Jamie, is asked by the companions to have the TARDIS take off. Not wanting to give himself away, Salamander silently motions to Jamie to do it for him:
    Jamie: Me, Doctor? [motions to close the doors, then stops] ...but you said we were never to touch the controls.
    The Doctor: [speaking from behind them] Quite right, Jamie.
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: One of the reasons that the Doctor thinks that Salamander might be evil (though he wasn't yet totally convinced) is because one of his flunkies breaks Kent's crockery.
    The Doctor: Sad, really, isn't it? People spend all their time making nice things, and other people come along and break them.
  • World of Snark: Most of the topside characters are snarky.
    • Astrid.
      Really, as Head of Security, you should have more reliable guards.
    • Benik.
      Bruce: [puzzled about Salamander's apparent unannounced departure] Did you see the rocket take off?
      Benik: Do you mean did I stand there waving my handkerchief? Hardly.
    • The Doctor, naturally enough, exchanges snark with Salamander when they finally meet.
      The Doctor: [after the Out-of-Character Alert blows Salamander's cover] Welcome to the TARDIS.
      Salamander: Thank you. You were doing so well impersonating me, I thought I might return the compliment.
    • Fariah, who even dies with a snark.
      I can only die once, and someone's beaten you to it.
    • Griffin, the pessimistic chef.
      Well sit down and write out the menus. First course interrupted by bomb explosion. Second course affected by earthquakes. Third course ruined by interference in the kitchen.
  • Written-In Absence: Jamie and Victoria are absent from the fourth episode, as Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling were on holiday. This is covered in the story by Jamie and Victoria being captured at the end of Episode Three and held prisoner somewhere off-screen until being brought out for interrogation in Episode Five.
  • You Have Failed Me: Salamander dispatches Fedorin for not killing Denes as he promised to.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Why Salamander discredited Giles Kent. When Kent offers to work with him at the end Salamander shoots him.


Video Example(s):


An imposter among us

Having just helped defeat the Doctor's evil doppelganger Ramon Salamander, Jamie reunites with what appears to be the Doctor and brings him into the TARDIS. However, when Jamie and Victoria ask the Doctor to take off, the latter silently asks Jamie to do it instead... which puzzles Jamie, because the Doctor usually doesn't let him or Victoria touch the controls. His suspicions are confirmed when the real Doctor shows up, revealing that the man at the console is actually Salamander.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / OutOfCharacterAlert

Media sources: