Enemy Within

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This article is about the Doctor Who television movie. For other, similarly titled science fiction, see: The Enemy Within (disambiguation).

Template:Doctorwhobox Doctor Who is a television movie based on the British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It was originally broadcast on May 14, 1996 on the Fox Network. In order to avoid confusion with the series name, the producer Philip Segal subsequently suggested that fans of the series could refer to the telemovie by the unofficial title Enemy Within although this title was never used during production.



The Master's last wish was for his old enemy, the Doctor, to bring his remains home. In San Francisco on New Year's Eve, 1999, a trap is sprung that could mean the end of the world. Only the newly-regenerated Eighth Doctor can stop the Master - if he can only remember who he is.


Missing image
In final battle?

On the planet Skaro, the renegade Time Lord known as the Master is put on trial by the Daleks, and executed. His last wish, however, is for his remains to be returned to Gallifrey by his greatest enemy, the Doctor.

In the TARDIS, the Seventh Doctor stows the urn containing the Master's remains in a container, locking it with his sonic screwdriver, then settles in for the trip back to the Time Lord homeworld. As he relaxes, however, he does not see the container shake and shatter. A gelatinous slug-like creature oozes out of the container and enters the TARDIS console, shorting it out. The Doctor tries to compensate, but the TARDIS systems indicate a critical timing malfunction and initiate an emergency landing. The Doctor finds, to his horror, that the Master's container is cracked open.

On December 30, 1999 in San Francisco, a Chinese-American teen named Chang Lee and his two friends run from rival gang members. An ambush opens fire on them, and as Lee is about to be shot, a high wind whips up in the alley and a police box materializes in front of the teen. The Doctor steps out only to be shot by the startled gang, and he falls. Lee finds his friends dead and the Doctor gravely wounded. He is unable to warn Lee about the worm oozing out of the TARDIS lock and following Lee as he calls for an ambulance.

In the ambulance, Lee signs the paperwork that Bruce, the paramedic, gives him, putting the Doctor's name as "John Smith". The Doctor is wheeled into the operating room while the worm hides in the ambulance, and then in Bruce's uniform. The medical staff are puzzled by the fact that the Doctor's X-rays reveal two hearts which are racing wildly. They decide to contact the on-call cardiologist, Dr. Grace Holloway, who is at a performance of Madama Butterfly when she is paged, to the annoyance of her boyfriend, Brian. She rushes back to the hospital, still in her ballgown.

Puccini plays as Grace starts to operate. The Doctor's eyes snap open and he tries to tell Grace that he is not human, and that he needs a beryllium atomic clock, but they put him back under. The use of a cardiac probe goes wrong as Grace is unfamiliar with the Doctor's physiology. The Doctor goes into a seizure and flatlines. Grace is angry and upset, demanding to see the patient's X-rays, and is disturbed when she sees the two hearts and realizes it is not a double exposure as assumed.

Grace tells Lee that "Mr. Smith" is dead, and when Grace figures out that he does not really know the dead man, Lee takes the Doctor's belongings and runs off. Now past midnight on December 31, the Doctor's body is put in the morgue freeze room. In Bruce's house, the worm creeps out of his uniform and forces itself into Bruce's mouth while he is sleeping next to his wife. The Master has taken over.

In the morgue, the body of the Doctor crackles with electricity, and he regenerates into the Eighth Doctor, who rises from the gurney, disoriented and amnesiac. The Doctor manages to pound the door of the storage chamber off its hinges, frightening the morgue attendant into a faint. Confused, he staggers into a disused section of the hospital, clad only in a sheet and the tag still on his toe. As he spies his reflection, he cries out in anguish, "Who am I?"

As dawn comes to San Francisco, the Doctor rummages through the worker's lockers, finding pieces of costumes for the New Year's Party. Lee searches through the Doctor's things and finds the TARDIS key. The Master awakens in Bruce's body, saying that he needs to find the Doctor, and that the body will not last long. When Bruce's wife sees the green glow of his eyes, he kills her.

The hospital administrator discusses the Doctor with Grace, and burns the X-rays so that they can cover up the death of the patient. Grace is adamant, however, and threatens to resign. She gathers her things and leaves the hospital, followed by the Doctor, who in his confused state latches on to someone he recognizes. Grace tries to fob him off, thinking that he is insane, but he climbs into her car anyway. Suddenly the Doctor screams as he removes the remains of the cardiac probe from his chest. As the Doctor tells her that he has two hearts, Grace begins to realize that this might be the same man, as impossible as it seems. The Doctor cries for Grace to drive off and she does.

The Master goes to the hospital to find the Doctor's body but is told it is missing. A nurse tells "Bruce" that the Doctor's property is with the Asian boy, and the Master thanks her and goes off. When Grace and the Doctor arrive at her home, she finds that Brian has moved out and taken most of the furniture. Grace listens to the Doctor's chest and confirms that he has two hearts. The Doctor starts to remember details, saying that he was dead too long this time - the anaesthetic nearly destroyed the regenerative process. Grace asks the Doctor not to talk to her like she is a child; the dead stay dead, but is startled when he tells her that about her dream as a child to hold back death, and that she will do great things.

In Chinatown, Lee uses the key to enter the TARDIS, and is shocked when he sees its dimensionally transcendental interior. The TARDIS also seems to respond to Lee, powering itself on when he touches the console. Somehow, the Master is already there, and hypnotises Lee into giving him the Doctor's belongings. He tells Lee that the "dead man" has stolen his body and they need to find him before the Master dies.

Grace and the Doctor go for a walk, where she theorizes that he might be the product of a genetic experiment. The Doctor remembers more details - he is from Gallifrey, and remembers a meteor storm he saw with his father. In the TARDIS, he convinces Lee that the Doctor is the evil one and that they must stop him. The Master brings him to the Cloister Room, where the Eye of Harmony is housed. The Master uses Lee's retinal pattern to open the Eye. As the Eye opens, the Doctor's memories start flooding back and he kisses Grace in joy.

The Eye projects images, first of the Seventh, then the Eighth Doctor - and his retinal structure, which is human. The Master concludes that the Doctor is half-human. Meanwhile, the Doctor senses that the Master has opened the Eye, and that he will be able to see through the Doctor's eyes. He shuts them, but not before the Master spots Grace. The Doctor tells Grace that the Master wants to force him to look into the Eye, so that the Doctor's soul will be destroyed and the Master can take his body. He explains that if the Eye is not closed, the planet will soon be sucked through it, and that he needs an atomic clock to fix the timing mechanism on the TARDIS to prevent this. They have until midnight.

Grace, now believing the Doctor to be insane, runs back into the house to call an ambulance to take the Doctor away. The Doctor convinces her, showing that the molecular structure of the planet is changing by walking through her picture window. The Master hears all this and goes with Lee to drive the ambulance to Grace's house as "Bruce". On the television, the Doctor sees reports of weather patterns changing around the world, and then a report of an event in San Francisco showcasing the unveiling of an atomic clock at the Institute of Technological Advancement and Research.

The Master arrives at the door but the Doctor does not recognize him. They ask him to take them to the Institute. The ambulance lurches as they stop for a traffic jam, and the Master's sunglasses fall, revealing his alien eyes. The Doctor takes a fire extinguisher and fires it in the Master's face as he spits venom at them, hitting Grace in the wrist. Grace and the Doctor escape from the ambulance. The Doctor commandeers a police motorcycle by threatening to shoot himself. The ambulance, driven by Lee, races the Doctor and Grace on the motorcycle towards the Institute.

When the Doctor and Grace reach the Institute, they see the ambulance in the parking lot. Grace and the Doctor mingle at the reception, introducing the Doctor as "Doctor Bowman" from London, but are blocked from entering the room with the clock. They manage to sneak up there anyway, where the Doctor removes the timing chip. As they make their way out, they see Lee and the Master and try to avoid them, running into a group of security guards who have been paralysed by the Master's venom. The Doctor triggers off the fire alarm as he and Grace head for the roof, descending to the ground using a fire hose. They get back on the motorcycle and ride back towards Chinatown and the TARDIS.

They gain access to the TARDIS with the spare key the Doctor keeps in a cubbyhole above the "POLICE BOX" sign. As they enter, they hear the cloister bell signalling disaster. The Doctor installs the beryllium chip into the console and closes the Eye, but it may be too late - the Eye has been opened too long. The only way to prevent the destruction of Earth is to go back before the Eye was opened, but the TARDIS is out of power. Grace challenges the Doctor to think - his knowledge of what happens to her in the future must come from somewhere. The Doctor proposes directing residual power from the Eye directly into the time rotor, jumpstarting the TARDIS. But as the Doctor sets things up below the console, the Master's venom takes effect on Grace, making her take up a tool and knock the Doctor out, just as the Master and Lee enter the console room.

The Doctor wakes up in the Cloisters, strapped down. He tries unsuccessfully to convince Lee that the Master has been lying to him. The Master, in the meantime, has changed into Gallifreyan garb. Grace, still possessed by the Master, chains the Doctor on the upper balcony, attaching a metal harness on his head designed to keep his eyes open while he stares into the Eye of Harmony. The Master tries to get Chang Lee to open the eye but makes a slip which makes the boy realize the Master has lied. The Master breaks Lee's neck, and uses Grace to open the Eye instead.

The glow from the Eye focuses onto the Doctor and the Master, linking them both and starts to transfer the Doctor's regenerations to the Master. The Doctor shouts for Grace to go to the console room and divert the power to start the TARDIS or everyone will die. As the clock counts down to midnight, Grace struggles with the console circuitry, and manages to connect the wires just as the clock strikes midnight. The time column starts to move and the TARDIS goes into a temporal orbit, suspending everything at the moment of destruction. Grace runs back to the Cloisters and tries to free the Doctor from his chains but the Master pushes her over the side of the balcony and kills her.

The Doctor and the Master battle over the Eye of Harmony, and in the struggle, the Master gets sucked into the Eye and is seemingly destroyed. The clocks on the TARDIS continue ticking backwards, and a glow from the TARDIS washes over the bodies of Grace and Lee, bringing them back to life as the Eye closes once more. The Doctor then resets the console and brings them back to December 31, just at the stroke of midnight, and time proceeds again as normal.

Back in San Francisco, Lee returns the Doctor's things to him. The Doctor tells Chang Lee not to be around next Christmas, and the teen leaves. The Doctor asks Grace to go with him, but she declines, saying that she's not afraid of life anymore. The Doctor kisses her goodbye, and enters the TARDIS, which then dematerialises. The Doctor settles back in his chair in the console room, off for further adventures.


  1. The telemovie received disappointing ratings (partly due to the popularity of the programs it was up against, and partly because of unfamiliarity among average American TV viewers with the British series). When shown on BBC One in the United Kingdom thirteen days after its American broadcast, however, it received 9 million viewers.
  2. The movie was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, the first time any Doctor Who story had been filmed in the "New World". It also had its debut broadcast in that city, on the local CityTV station on May 12, two days prior to the Fox Network showing.
  3. Producer Philip Segal had been trying for some years to launch a new American-produced series of Doctor Who, but the Fox Network - the only American network that showed any interest - was only prepared to commit to a single telemovie. It was hoped that, if the telemovie were successful, Fox might be persuaded to reconsider a series; however, the telemovie's ratings performance was not strong enough to hold Fox's interest. Reportedly, Fox had the choice of commissioning a new Doctor Who series or greenlighting an original project called Space: Above and Beyond and chose the latter.
  4. Chang Lee gives the unconscious Seventh Doctor the alias "John Smith". The Doctor's use of that alias has a long history in the series, beginning with The Wheel in Space and then several times thereafter, in particular during the Third Doctor's tenure with UNIT as "Dr John Smith". The alias is next mentioned in the 2005 episode The Empty Child. For other aliases used by the Doctor, see The Doctor - "Doctor who?"
  5. It remains Paul McGann's sole televised story as the Doctor. It has nonetheless had a significant impact, with the ongoing Doctor Who novel line, comic strip, and audio series all featuring the Eighth Doctor from the telemovie.
  6. In addition to the controversy surrounding the plot (see below), there is some disagreement over exactly what to call the movie. The production documentation only referred to the project as "Doctor Who". Segal suggested the unofficial title "Enemy Within" as an alternative at Manopticon 5, apparently after being repeatedly asked what the actual title for the movie was. When the DVD was released it was labelled as "Doctor Who: The Movie". The most common fan usage appears to refer to it as "the television movie", the "TVM", or variations thereof. See: Doctor Who story title controversy
  7. The controversial kiss between the Doctor and Grace is obliquely referred to by the Ninth Doctor in The Long Game when he explains that time travel means immersing oneself in the period, including "kissing complete strangers... or is that just me?"
  8. The movie was released on home video in Britain the week prior to its debut broadcast on BBC One. The unedited version was released on DVD in 2001. Both versions have also been released in countries such as Australia and New Zealand. However there has been no home entertainment release of any form in North America owing to complicated licensing.
  9. The book that The Doctor sits down to read at the beginning and the end of the movie is The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. The Doctor shared an adventure with Wells in the 1985 Sixth Doctor serial Timelash. In 1973's Frontier in Space, the Master is seen reading Wells's The War of the Worlds.
  10. John Debney was commissioned to write the score for this film, and intended to replace Ron Grainer's original theme music with a new composition. Ultimately, Debney did in fact use Grainer's music for the theme, although Grainer was not credited.
  11. Instead of designing a new Doctor Who logo for this film, it was decided instead to use a modified version of the logo used during the Jon Pertwee era of the original series (1970-1973). Pertwee died a few days after the US broadcast of the film, and the UK broadcast included a dedication to the actor.
  12. Commercials on the Fox network advertising the film used special effects footage from the 1986 story The Trial of a Time Lord, even though this footage was not used in the movie. This marked the first time that footage from the original BBC series had been shown on a major American network.
  13. 1996 also saw Fox broadcast another television movie titled Alien Nation: The Enemy Within; "The Enemy Within" was also the title of an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series.
  14. Grace technically "kills" the Seventh Doctor on the operating table, triggering his (delayed) regeneration. This is the only time in the series history that a companion has been directly responsible for the change (albeit unintentionally).


Enemy Within has caused controversy within Doctor Who fandom, with some fans charging that it violates canon in several areas. Some Doctor Who fans have even gone so far as to disavow it from "official" continuity, while other fans insist that all of these points can be easily explained or interpreted in the context of the series. Plot elements that some fans consider objectionable include:

  • The Doctor is revealed as being half-human.
  • The Doctor and Grace enter into a romantic relationship (a taboo in the series)
  • The nature of Time Lord regeneration as explained in the movie does not match the television series version.
  • The Eye of Harmony is on Gallifrey in the television series, not in the TARDIS as shown here.
  • The interior of the TARDIS does not coincide with the television series version
  • The Doctor refers to a "cloaking device" as the reason why the TARDIS looks like a police box, while the traditional term used during the series had always been "chameleon circuit".

Script writer Matthew Jacobs claims that all of these elements were added at the insistence of network executives of the Fox Network. The writers of numerous original Doctor Who novels that followed the movie have attempted to reconcile these and other points with continuity, with varying degrees of success.

Several rebuttals have been made by other fans, starting with the argument that continuity in the original series was never strong anyway. Specific rebuttals include:

  • Nothing in the television series explicitly states that the Doctor is not from Earth. In fact, on several occasions it has been hinted that it is possibly his real home.
  • The Doctor had a romantic relationship in The Aztecs, and as he also had a granddaughter, presumably he had sexual relations at some point. In the 2005 series, the Doctor's relationship with his companion, Rose Tyler, seems to verge on actual romance, as did his relationship with the second incarnation of Romana.
  • The concept of regeneration has never been consistent and nothing in the telemovie directly contradicts the television series.
  • The Eye of Harmony shown in the telemovie was a power-tap; a dimensional link to the actual Eye of Harmony. This explanation has been used in further spin-off media.
  • The interior of the TARDIS can be reconfigured, and indeed was changed several times in the series. The console room was also radically redesigned for the 2005 series.
  • Different incarnations use different terminology. In 1965's The Time Meddler it was called a "camouflage unit". The term "chameleon circuit" was introduced in the Target Books novelisations and was only first used in the series in 1981's Logopolis. "Cloaking device" is a common term in late 20th Century English and would be instantly understandable where "chameleon circuit" would not be. In the 2005 series episode Boom Town, the Doctor clarifies that the TARDIS cloaking device is called the chameleon circuit.

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