The Enemy of the World - DVD

The first of two previously-missing Patrick Troughton stories to be recovered and returned to the BBC in 2013 by episode hunter Philip Morris, The Enemy of World was restored by the team before an initial online release via iTunes in October that year. It was subsequently released on DVD a month later to tie in with the show's 50th anniversary, although the team had no further input to this release.

The Enemy of the World was personally returned to the BBC Archive Centre at Perivale, West London by Philip Morris late in the afternoon on Friday, May 31st 2013, along with five episodes of The Web of Fear. Within twenty minutes, the Restoration Team's Steve Roberts, Peter Crocker and Paul Vanezis were on site to take responsibility for the film cans as previously arranged with Morris, BBC Worldwide and senior staff at the Archive Centre. Vanezis had already done film prep on the story at Morris's house some weeks earlier, but this was the first time we had seen The Web of Fear prints, which required a thorough film check and prep to remove and repair old and disintegrating tape splices. Prep took about three hours, after which the team removed the films from the Archive Centre to a secure location, along with the BBC's own copy of episode one of The Web of Fear.

The next morning the team reconvened with audio expert Mark Ayres and colourist Jonathan Wood at the BBC's Digital Media Services facility in South Ruislip so that the films could be ultrasonically cleaned and transferred to video file format. As a safety measure, a test was done using the surplus-to-requirements print of Enemy of the World:3 (as the BBC hold the original film recorder camera negative of this episode). A small section of the print was transferred on the Spirit telecine, then  the print was ultrasonically cleaned and the same section retransferred and examined against the previous transfer to check that there was no chance of any damage from the cleaning process. Once the team were satisfied, the first episode of The Enemy of the World was cleaned and transferred in HD, with the other episodes being cleaned as a background task as previously cleaned ones were transferred. The prints of The Web of Fear were then cleaned and transferred, including the BBC's print of episode one in case one was better than the other. In the end most of the restored episode came from Morris's print, as although it needed more cleanup work it had the edge over the BBC's print when it came to shadow detail. It was also interesting to note that the BBC print and Morris's print did not originate from the same film recording negative, so at least two separate film recording runs were made.* At the end of the day, the films were returned to the secure location for the weekend and then taken back to the Archive Centre on Monday morning, where they were stored uncatalogued in a secure vault until after the iTunes premiere.

• 6 x 25 mins approx monochrome episodes with mono programme audio.

Coming Soon trailer, Programme Subtitles.


Copyright Steve Roberts, 9 April 2016. No reproduction allowed without written permission.

*Despite the two stories being consecutive, they couldn't have been more different as film recordings. The exposure levels of The Enemy of the World were very variable, whereas those of The Web of Fear were very consistent, although there was much more videotape damage / scratching on that story (particularly episode two). This leads us to the supposition that the negs used to make these prints of Enemy were 'first run', film recorded as the programme was being transmitted, using whatever film recorder channel was available that week. We might also suppose that the uniformity of The Web of Fear films and the amount of inherent tape damage suggest they were recorded one after the other on the same film recorder as a second run at a later date. This is, however, merely supposition.