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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

24 Comments

  1. David
    May 30, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    I love The Enemy of the World too! Absolutely brilliant stuff and ever since I heard the CD in my mid-teens I decided it was one of the best. The quality of the dialogue and characterisation is superb. If only Who could always have been like that.

    Mind you, I'm also a big fan of Marco Polo and The Massacre. I'm a sucker for the historicals.

    Reply

  2. BatmanAoD
    May 30, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

    I'm sorry, but I feel like I missed something–how exactly is it a brilliant subversion to have Salamander's underground lair be filled with grumpy British men? More importantly, how does it show that Salamander is capable of breaking the rules of the narrative?

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  3. Rob
    May 31, 2011 @ 2:23 am

    Add my voice to the chorus of The Enemy of the World lovers!

    As you've been doing this blog, I've been reading the episode summaries beforehand to ensure that I actually remember the plot. Most of the time I think "I sort of remember this, but it was an entirely forgettable reconstruction", but with this episode I remember finding it very compelling and it stuck out in my mind as a great one.

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  4. Elizabeth Sandifer
    May 31, 2011 @ 5:28 am

    BatmanAOD – Largely because a bunker full of grumpy Brits doesn't go with everything else. Salamander slips out the back door of the narrative – a narrative that's thus far been about his political manipulations and how he's assassinating his way into power – and we discover that his real source of power is this entire second civilization he's manipulated his way to the top of and now has helpfully causing natural disasters. We spend four and a half episodes thinking that the story is about Salamander's manipulative global conquest (which seems to involve some means of causing natural disasters) only to find out that it's actually about a fairly small scale bit of manipulation – a couple of guys in a bunker that Salamander lied to – that is way more ludicrously weird than playing global powers off of each other to assume control. And the bunker doesn't feel like it should be part of the same story as this big glitzy jet set spy story. (Although Griffin the Chef has provided a helpful tonal bridge – by making the story about ordinary people in episode three, we're at least used to the story being in the register it needs to be for the bunker to work in episode four)

    And that's the subversion. Salamander isn't actually playing the James Bond game we thought he was. He's playing a far, far stranger game that doesn't fit smoothly into any genre – much like Doctor Who itself. Which is why he gains such power in the narrative once he does that – because suddenly there's two powerful figures that don't belong in a James Bond story, not just one.

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  5. talestoenrage
    May 31, 2011 @ 7:19 am

    One thing that struck me about Salamander after reading this is that he's like Troughton as the Doctor, at least in his willingness to take down civilization because he doesn't think it's right. Of course, he's doing it because he thinks the right thing is that he should be in charge.

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  6. mengu
    November 26, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

    Using the TARDIS to show a person being equal with the Doctor. This, actually, makes me jump to River and Rose: having Rose as Bad Wolf and River as the Child of the TARDIS gives them a connection to the TARDIS which is… there's a point there, I'm sure there is.

    (Actually, that sounds like the start of a joke: What does River Song have in common with Salamander from The Enemy of the World?)

    Reply

  7. Eric Gimlin
    January 27, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    Coming in well after the fact here, but this one has always sounded like the high point of season 5 to me. I just listened to the audiobook, and this one is easily in my top three Troughtons I would love them to find. (The others are the two Dalek serials.)

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  8. orfeo
    April 7, 2013 @ 2:00 am

    I enjoyed Enemy of the World without adoring it. Best story yet? Certainly not for me. But I have to admit, the twist in Episode 4 was one HELL of a twist.

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  9. Phil
    August 10, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

    Dropping in on a long-dead comment thread just to register my assent. I'm watching ENEMY OF THE WORLD right now and it rules. Just the magical right amount of surrealism to make '60s DOCTOR WHO really sing.

    Also, it's amusing that when Salamander (a racially problematic character, but we'll all live) catches Victoria and Jamie et al. trying to rescue that guy in the third episode, he tells off Jamie as follows: "Ingenuity requires a constant stream of new ideas." You could pretty much put this on a T-shirt with David Whitaker's face next to it, and Salamander's next words ("Yours seem to have run out") pretty well encapsulates what seems to be Whitaker's whole beef with this season.

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  10. Chris
    October 10, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

    Super excited that this was just announced as recovered. Been wanting to watch this one for a long time.

    Reply

  11. Daru
    October 11, 2013 @ 3:39 am

    Soooo looking forwards to watching this now it has ben found. Glimpsed a little of the first few minutes after buying it and it looked marvellous. I agree that it looks like a now no longer lost great!

    Going to watch this and Web of Fear with my partner. Will surprise her tonight and serialise the episodes for the next few weeks, which should be fun!

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  12. Yonatan
    October 11, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

    Yay for more posting in long lost threads!
    The thing about the last scene in the TARDIS is the raw power that the Doctor is showing in his confrontation. I hope that in a few years the "we're going to put you outside Salamander" line will enter the Cannon of most powerful speeches (though it is so short)

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  13. Daru
    October 13, 2013 @ 1:17 am

    Yes! Let's kickstart the old threads!

    Agree – absolutely amazing moment. Jaw dropping.

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  14. Chris
    October 15, 2013 @ 9:39 am

    I'm amazed at how good and convincing Bill Kerr is as Giles Kent. As someone who knew him only as Tony Hancock's dimwitted foil, its a revelation to see him come across as ruthless and gritty. He and Reg Lye (Griffin) played serious substantial roles in Australian films but were restricted to being feeds for British comics like Hancock and Dick Emery over in Blighty.

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  15. encyclops
    October 16, 2013 @ 11:04 am

    Yes, yes, yes, to pretty much everything you wrote about this. I thought this was really good up until the bunker reveal and then I thought it was pure genius. Either one of those premises — the dictator on the rise or the scientist duping a group of people who think they've survived a nuclear holocaust — would have sustained a lesser Doctor Who episode, but putting them together not only establishes Salamander as an almost peerless villain but elevates this to classic status. It might just be the blush of "new" Who but I'm pretty sure it's cracked my top twenty with ease.

    Salamander's accent and slight coloration didn't really bother me, except that to me he sounded more Spanish than Mexican. It all seemed pretty tastefully done to me. I was more bothered by my initial misconception (I assume) that Fariah was supposed to be Mexican also, but now I can't remember where I got that — her use of the word "brujo" maybe?

    That Salamander not only looks like the Doctor but echoes his traits in a lot of ways — the "sorcerer" and "scientist" elements to his character, his role as ostensible savior to the bunker people, his ability to breach the TARDIS — just adds to the brilliance of this. I'm really glad to be catching up on 60s Who; your admiration for Whitaker looks more and more justified to me with every story I (finally!) check out.

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  16. Chris
    December 8, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

    Totally agree. I watched it today, and the bunker reveal simply shot the story into overdrive. It's a Moffat-style move done 40 years early. And the pacing was fantastic, especially for a six-parter. We can start pointing to this story in addition to City Of Death as a Classic Who that acts as a precursor to the new series.

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  17. timelord7202
    May 26, 2014 @ 2:05 am

    I totally agree with encyclops as well.

    But this is Whitaker's style, one that Moffat (and others) innovated upon (or at least copied) later on. The way you wrote it, it comes off as if Whitaker used Moffat's idea, which certainly isn't the case.

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  18. Michael Fuller
    February 17, 2015 @ 8:39 am

    I'm going back through this blog and … MAN does this story come alive when restored to actual movement.

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  19. Matt
    March 9, 2015 @ 2:55 am

    A bit of Googling has revealed the private life of Patrick Troughton – apparently he had two families that he maintained over a lengthy period of time. Basically he was Salamander (without the mass murder obviously).

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  20. kristinking.org
    May 2, 2015 @ 5:06 am

    This is one of my Top Ten Doctor Who episodes. The one piece of historical context I wish I had is — why is the villain Mexican? At that point in history, what was Mexico to Great Britain? Or was it some random choice?

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  21. Dan Brown
    May 28, 2016 @ 4:01 am

    I’ve just started reading Vol. 2 of the Eruditorum books, and I’m wondering if you’ll ever publish an updated edition taking into account the fact that Enemy of the World and Web of Fear have now been restored.

    Reply

  22. ladysugarquill
    July 5, 2017 @ 12:25 am

    This is an awesome story. one of my favourites ever.

    “The thing is, Salamander is Mexican”

    Is he? Is it ever actually mentioned in the story?

    “(Indeed, in one of the few somewhat tacky bits of the story, Troughton plays him slightly blacked up”

    Does he? The whole point of the story is that the Doctor and Salamander are identical, and one can pass as the other with a quick costume change. That falls apart if they have different skin colors.

    I think the darker skin in some points is more likely an artifact of the lighting – it only happens in certain scenes, and Salamander wears black, while the Doctor wears white.

    Reply

    • darkspine10
      July 23, 2017 @ 6:40 pm

      Astrid is seen applying makeup to the Doctor in one scene, presumably to help him match Salamander’s slightly darker skin tone.

      Reply

  23. David Bateman
    January 31, 2018 @ 9:14 am

    Bill Kerr as Giles Kent strongly reminds me of John Simm’s Master.

    Reply

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