One of the irresistible tropes of spy and science fiction is that of the doppelganger. Certainly Doctor Who is no stranger to this temptation, and best of all there are all of the variations on the trope. Alien impersonation was done in Meglos and Arc of Infinity. Clones are always a neat way in as shown in The Almost People or even Journey’s End. Androids came in handy in The Android Invasion, The Androids of Tara, The King’s Demons, and The Caves of Androzani.
But the true doppelganger has only been used in Doctor Who a few memorable times. In The Massacre the first Doctor came up against the Abbot of Amboise who bore a striking resemblance to the Doctor. In Black Orchid Nyssa looked a lot like Ann Talbot. But, and especially for the purposes of Classic Capitology, this time, we focus on the most extreme example of a Doctor doppel, that of the second Doctor and (Ramón) Salamander in The Enemy of the World. The 2013 find of The Enemy of the World was one of the biggest stories in the world of Doctor Who as part of the run-up to the 50th Anniversary.
In some ways it was a bit too easy to overlook The Enemy of the World when the (almost complete) find of The Web of Fear was also announced. Historically The Web of Fear is the more important story as it signals the direction Doctor Who would take over the next six years, but The Enemy of the World pulled off the neater trick, and it’s all due to the inestimable Patrick Troughton. Salamander was so distinct from the Doctor that the characterizations of each, even down to each having to pass themselves off as the other when needed, are a wonder to watch.
The story itself is a neat little spy/political drama, though it gets a bit creaky when the underground ‘survivors’ are introduced in episode 4. Still it’s a marvellous time capsule of a story, and in a year (2013) full of Doctor Who surprises, this was one of the nicest of all. The new caps aren’t bad either.
Modern Recap-itulation finally gets back in the game next time. Christmas in July anyone?