This is, without a doubt, the best of the early Doctor Who stories. It has great acting, great writing, and Patrick Troughton in two roles! What’s not to like?
Well, as a minor complaint, what’s not to like is the DVD. The disc has the episodes and…that’s it. Nothing else. No interviews, no commentaries, no behind-the-scenes stuff, nothing. Very irritating, especially given the quality of previous releases.
This story had been missing for nearly fifty years before it was recovered in Nigeria, along with almost all the missing episodes of the next story, “Web of Fear”. I’m very happy that it was recovered, because it really is amazing.
First off, Troughton is just incredible as both Salamander and the Doctor. He oozes just the right level of menace and charm for Salamander. It’s a shame that we didn’t get more than a few seconds of the two characters on screen together.
I really also liked the various supporting characters, especially Astrid and Bruce. He especially could have been written as a very one-dimensional bad guy, but instead proved to have several layers.
I also find it quite interesting that the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria really just…don’t do much in this story. It’s not that they aren’t there or active, but it’s very clear that the revolution that’s shown likely would have happened in a few months anyhow. They kind of push things forward, but that’s it.
So that’s that. If you haven’t seen this story, seek it out. It’s very good.
|Directed by||Barry Letts|
|Written by||David Whitaker|
|Script editor||Peter Bryant|
|Produced by||Innes Lloyd|
|Incidental music composer||Stock music by Béla Bartók|
|Length||6 episodes, 25 minutes each|
|Date started||23 December 1967|
|Date ended||27 January 1968|
Next time: “Web of Fear”