Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

At breakfast this morning, before embarking on my huge journey, I had a bit of unfinished business to clear-up.

My mum and I have been watching a reconstruction of the 1967-8 Doctor Who story The Enemy Of The World, and only had one more episode to go.

Watching a 'reconstruction' is the closest thing to watching the original episodes. As the BBC destroyed many of the tapes and films after transmission, today several groups of fans have acquired off-air recordings of the soundtracks, and synced them up with all the surviving photos and/or clips of each episode. The result can be a bit difficult to get into, but it's an absolute joy to view and listen to the library of media in the best possible context.

And The Enemy Of The World is a curiosity for several reasons.

Mid-way through production, the show switched from the old 405-line TV system, to the new 625-line one. (a big improvement in picture-quality, lost in the recon)

The actor playing the Doctor – Patrick Troughton – also plays the villain in this. As is usual with doppelgänger films, the only explanation in the narrative is one of coincidence, while the similarity in both characters' voices is simply never addressed. Well, we all know what the Doctor winds up having to do.

(Thanks to for this screencap)

Conversely, the actor playing the Guard Captain actually changes between episodes three and four. This really hit home for me, because the first actor later became one of my teachers back at college!

(I'm still using what he taught me today!)

I've no idea why he wasn't available to complete the story, but on this reconstruction they've got mixed-up, and used the wrong actor's photo! Hilarious.

The Enemy Of The World is not just a doppelgänger tale though. The evil Salamander is also effectively in control of two worlds, both unaware of the other's existence, and the political scheming involved to play them both off of each other is excellent material on its own.

It's always fantastic to watch these recons, and I'm extremely grateful to the hard-working fans who put these things together.

If only more of it had survived.

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