The Daemons: Doctor Who: Season 8
The Daemons SYNOPSIS:
At the village of Devil's End, a nearby archaeological dig is being disrupted by the protesting Miss Hawthorne claiming to be a white witch warning of evil being awoken. Watching the T.V. coverage, the Doctor is convinced that something will be unleashed and leaves with Jo for the dig. Posing as Devils End's new vicar the the Master performs a ceremony that awakens Azal, last of the Daemons.
Azal secrets himself in the church catacombs where the ceremony was held and animates Bok, a stone gargoyle statue to do the Master's bidding. The village is isolated by a heat barrier after Mike Yates and Sergeant Benton arrive by UNIT helicopter to assist the Doctor. The Brigadier and his squad attempt to find a way in while the Doctor, Jo and the others fend off the villagers now under the Master's influence.
The Master is planning to use the ancient psionic science of the Daemons to summon Azal three times and on the third attempt Azal will grant the callers desire, including bequeathing his enormous power to him. The Doctor must break the Master's hold over the villagers and has a plan to drain off the Azal's power but this can only be done if the Brigadier can get his equipment through the heat barrier while avoiding the indestructible Bok.
Return to top of page
The Daemons DETAILS:
Return to top of page
The Daemons CAST & CREW
Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor)
Katy Manning (Jo Grant)
Nicholas Courtney — Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Richard Franklin — Captain Mike Yates
John Levene — Sergeant Benton
Roger Delgado — The Master
Stephen Thorne — Azal
Stanley Mason — Bok
Damaris Hayman — Miss Hawthorne
Robin Wentworth — Prof. Horner
David Simeon — Alastair Fergus
Alec Linstead — Sgt Osgood
Rollo Gamble — Winstanley
Don McKillop — Bert the Landlord
John Joyce — Garvin
Jon Croft — Tom Girton
Matthew Corbett — Jones
James Snell — Harry
Christopher Wray — PC Groom
Eric Hillyard — Dr Reeves
John Owens — Thorpe
Gerald Taylor — Baker's Man
The Headington Quarry Men — Morris Dancers
Production Staff for Serial JJJ:
Writer - Guy Leopold (Barry Letts & Robert Sloman)
Director - Christopher Barry
Script editor - Terrance Dicks
Producer - Barry Letts
Return to top of page
The Daemons REVIEWS
However it's pronounced "Demons" or "Daemons" couldn't really see what all the fuss was about with this one. Guess my expectations were raised too much by the time it came out on video. Anyway we're back on Earth and the Doctor is trying to fool Jo into thinking his car Bessie can drive around by itself. Then it's onto our UNIT chaps passing the time watching an archeologist digging into a barrow on T.V. Man is television portrayed as dull when people on TV shows are shown watching TV. Ok so it starts off slow, a death in a churchyard, the Master turning up (didn't see that coming) as the local vicar of a village where this dig is being held and a local loony white witch, Miss Hawthorne who runs around lisping of the danger if anyone dares open the barrow. She is the first of the batty, eccentric old spinsters who pop up in the series from here on in.
Then it suddenly speeds up to about 20 times the pace of the Colon In Space. The Master and his college drop out satanic cult cast offs manage to reactivate a 30 foot tall alien Daemon via an occult type ceremony. Interesting that Unca Barry let such subject matter through for story telling. The Daemon itself is well realised being only seen as a shadow or shot from either over the shoulder or from between it's legs, meaning it really makes an impact when we finally see him in all his glory with the first and best time actor Stephen Thorne is shown in all his ranting demi God glory. How would this guy 's acting style fare in a soap opera? For most of the story the resident monster we do see is the Daemon's servant Bok, a nimble stone gargoyle, that proves indestructible, even blown up in the last part only to pull itself back together.
The atmosphere is nice and creepy as the village is cut of from the rest of the world by a heat barrier. Like the effect when the Brig finally manages to get a tunnel through it. You can tell the cast all enjoy this one, the Doctor is indignant, frozen, super heated and tied to a maypole and just generally heroic and fatherly, Jo is silly, naughty and plain dumb. The Brigadier is quite capable, it's his electronics expert who takes the moron duties in this one. Yates and Benton actually have a lot to do for once and dash about trying to help the village residents and get the our two leads out of various scrapes. The same can't be said of the villagers, didn't relate or find any of them believable or interesting, they're the stock standard stereo types and no one stands out apart from Miss Hawthorne who wants to get in Benton's pants and maybe she did after he had a few pints with his UNIT chums…a UNIT piss up and THAT would be worth seeing...
Despite it all you finally get the feeling at the end that the Master just may not be back in the next story and we get a nice ending to the season, not sure of the Daemons classic status though it's great but not brilliant. 7.5/10
The dwarf in the lyrca bodysuit that is supposed to be a statue didn't do it for me. And the fact that the Daemon itself was actually Neil Barnett in hairy cargo pants (although that in itself was a surprise) was a bit of a let down thanks to some (once-again) dodgy use of CSO. The UNIT family are trundling along well, and Mike Yates isn't as much of a prat-dressed-up-as-cardboard as he usually is but you gotta wonder at his and Benton's choice in civvie clothes. Speaking of fashion; Jo is trundled off to be prepared for sacrifice and when we see her again she is a perfectly fitting virginal white dress. Where the fuck did THAT come from? Do they have various sizes and styles hanging on a rack to fit whatever virgin they can find? (although I wouldn't call Jo a virgin...)
In the end; I woudn't call it the classic that a lot of people say it is (or was) I'd give it 7/10.
Surely that's enough to make it a classic?
OK, the story's great too!
The first part is kind of fun, finishing with classic "how the hell are they going to get out of that one" moment… that's how first parts should be. Then we get a new option - technically not an alien invasion, and technically not a mad scientist… it's the summoning of a Demon. And as we've seen in Buffy, there are endless possibilities with Demon summoning… I'm assuming they've seen Buffy by this one, as it is set in the future with a BBC3 and everything!
All up, this is probably the Master's most logical plot of the series… he wants to use the power of the big hairy demon thing - and why wouldn't you? Have you seen that guy - he's ripped!
So this one ends up with some classic UNIT moments, a different menace, a well thought out story, and an interesting, if not slightly confusing, resolution (Jo saves the day… is she Bad Wolf too?!)
BTW - you know that Uncle Barry Letts co-wrote this one? Maybe he's not so bad after all!