Doctor Who
The Enemy of the World

Starring: Patrick Troughton
BBC Radio Collection
RRP 13.99
ISBN 0 563 53503 2
Available now

The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria materialise on an Australian beach in the near future, where they are shot at by gunmen. The reason for this attack, they soon discover, is because the Doctor looks uncannily like a man called Salamander, a cruel individual with plans for world domination...

The fifth season of Doctor Who is best known for its monsters. The Earth was attacked by various invaders, ranging from Ice Warriors and Yeti to weed creatures, over the course of five stories, and human explorers were menaced by Cybermen on the planet Telos in The Tomb of the Cybermen. Making a nice change from all that is this adventure, a monster-free tale of action and suspense with shades of the James Bond movies.

David Whitaker's script is a little more gritty and adult-orientated than usual for the time. This is partly due to its more down-to-earth qualities, such as the use of projectile weapons instead of ray guns. Milton Johns is splendidly sinister as the security guard Benik, and when Jamie (Frazer Hines) threatens to kill him, lest he harm Victoria (Deborah Watling), it seems rather shocking.

Of course, the visual appeal of this story - which is notable for its expensive use of both a helicopter and a hovercraft - is lost on this audio recording. Nor do we get to see the physical transformation of the Doctor when he impersonates Salamander, although we do get to hear an impressive display of Patrick Troughton's vocal range in his dual role.

There is a bit of aural confusion between the very similar surnames of Astrid Ferrier (Mary Peach) and Salamander's food taster Fariah (Carmen Munroe). The recording quality of the sixth and final episode is unfortunately rather poor, being prone to distortion of the "S" sounds. On the plus side, however, the episode does come complete with the original BBC1 trailer for the next story, The Web of Fear.

This is certainly an unusual tale, and an exciting thriller to boot.

Richard McGinlay

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