This is another one of the largely lost stories. Episode Three still exists, and was included in the "Lost in Time" collection. The story is set in the not-too-distant future, and the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria get caught up in the political machinations of the evil Salamander, who just happens to be that old TV standby - the (Just Happens To Be An) Exact Duplicate, in this case the exact duplicate of the Second Doctor, except that he dresses a little flashier and has a somewhat cod Mexican accent. Has anyone ever encountered an exact duplicate (who wasn't a twin sibling) in real life? I've encountered some near-misses, but never an exact match.
It's hard to tell from just one episode, but it seems to be an unusual story - a sci-fi setting with no alien menace, just political intrigue. Troughton seems to be having fun playing Salamander. There's another fun character, Griff the Extremely Pessimistic Cook. Jamie seems reasonably bright in this, with a good understanding of power politics: "Remove the honest man, and put a weaker man in his place." A good line also form the Second Doctor: "People spend all their time making nice things, and other people come along and break them."
What remains of it is interesting enough to wish that one could see more of it.
[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]
The TARDIS materializes on a beach in Australia in the near future. [TIMELINE NOTE: The shooting script identifies the year as 2017, although it is not specified in the story as broadcast.] The Doctor immediately removes his shoes and begins to frolic in the surf with the intention of building sandcastles, but he settles down after he painfully stubs his toe. Suddenly, a band of armed men arrives and begins shooting at them. They are rescued by a helicopter sent by a woman named Astrid Ferrier. It turns out the Doctor bears a striking resemblance to the titular “Enemy of the World,” Salamander. PatrickTroughton plays both roles, and seems to be enjoying himself immensely judging from his performance.
Salamander is a popular ruler (the Sun-Catcher technology which he controls has been hailed as the answer to the world’s food shortage problem), but there are those who believe he actually causes the volcanoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters his regime predicts. In a season characterized by the prevalence of Cybermen, Abominable Snowmen and Ice Warriors, this story of political intrigue stands out as an exception. The serial is written by David Whitaker (the series’ original story editor) and directed by Barry Letts (who would later become the series’ producer).
Because these lost episodes were never intended to be enjoyed audio only, I am always pleased when at least one episode survives on the “Lost in Time” collection, making the identification of characters that much easier. Although the linking narration (by Frazer Hines) helps, close attention must be paid to differentiate when the Doctor is masquerading as Salamander and vice versa.
There is an interesting exchange between the Doctor and Astrid Ferrier in the first episode after he, Victoria and Jamie have been rescued.
“You’re a doctor?”
“Not of any medical significance.”
“A doctor of law? Philosophy?”
“Which law? Whose philosophies, eh?”
“Oh, I see. You’re determined to be mysterious. A doctor of science. [Guessing; he ignores her.] A doctor of divinity, then.”
“You’ll run out of doctors in a minute!”
The action soon shifts to Salamander’s Hungarian palace (a two hour rocket ride away), where the Doctor must impersonate the dictator, and Jamie and Victoria must join the palace staff in order to get to the bottom of the situation and to stay alive. They ultimately discover that Salamander has duped a group of scientists, who live underground because Salamander has convinced them the surface world is an uninhabitable nuclear wasteland, into using their technology against his enemies.
Salamander almost succeeds in convincing Jamie and Victoria that he is the Doctor and escaping in the TARDIS, but Jamie grows suspicious when Salamander orders Jamie to take the controls. Just then, the real Doctor shows up and a scuffle ensues. The TARDIS dematerializes but someone bumps against the door control in the confusion, Salamander is swept out into the vortex, and the TARDIS is at the lost in the time-space continuum!
NEXT: “The Web of Fear”
Sorry, Bob. Because this is a “lost episode,” I didn’t even look to see if a previous discussion existed; I had forgotten your recent comprehensive sweep covered the lost episodes as well. I'll be sure to post future comments to the existing discussions. Thanks for pointing them out! I don’t want to screw up your index, so I deleted the discussion I just started and posted my comments to the existing one. We seem to have hit on a lot of the same points. You know what they say: "Great minds run in the same channel" (or is that "Fools think alike"?).
I'm just upset because you're a better writer. ;)
The deceived underground people element of the plot is paralleled by a strand of the plot of the 1995 Emir Kusturica film Underground, where the deception is intended as a metaphor for life under the deceptions of Communist rule.
This was released on disk yesterday. No extras whatsoever, just the story. I'm sure we'll see a "special edition" somewhere down the line. Some thoughts in addition to the above:
Overall: Interesting stuff, a bit different from the usual Troughton era story. It's amusing to see a late 60's prediction of what our era would look like. I wonder what people in the 23rd Century will make of the original Star Trek? It's a rare experience to see a story from the old series that I haven't seen a dozen times already.