Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Daemons

Burn him, he's a witch!
I know in principle I shouldn't like ‘The Daemons’. Quite frankly the whole story is pure nonsense with a scientific explanation thrown in to try and make it all palatable. The fact is though, I loved ‘The Daemons’, a story drawing on witchcraft, sorcery and the devil to entertain its audience. And entertain it did. This is the first, and I believe only, deliberate five part Doctor Who story. The two Troughton stories were altered to make five parts as one was too slow. It’s interesting that they never did a lot of five part stories. With 25 episodes in the first two Jon Pertwee seasons, it seems the logical thing to do, and four parters sometimes end a bit abruptly and six parters often drag out too long.
Is this romance for Benton and Miss Hawthorne?
Anyways, to this story with a wonderful amount of location filming in the town doubling for ‘Devil’s End’. It really adds to the feel of this story. The colour restoration on ‘The Daemons’ is excellent as well, the best of any story I’d have to say. The Master changes his name to Mr Magister and becomes the resident Vicar of Devil’s End, so that he can start a sort of demon worship to bring forth an ancient demon – really an alien naturally with super-powers, in the hope that the demon will let the Master rule Earth.
I the Master am in command of the CSO!
See – it’s very flimsy at best! There are ceremonies and robes and a bit of over acting here and there, and yet ‘The Daemons’ turned out to be one of the most enjoyable stories of all. It has a wonderful ‘family’ feel – the UNIT family. Jon Pertwee as the Doctor backed by Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin, Katy Manning and John Levene, again pitted against Roger Delgado’s Master. And essentially they are the principles of the story, with Stephen Thorne chiming in as Azal the demon and a very notable guest appearance by Damaris Hayman  as Miss Hawthorne, a crystal-ball wielding white witch!
Nothing says 'fun' like morris dancing!
They all clearly enjoy working together, and bring life to a story that done badly could be very bad indeed. Production-wise there are a few rough edges, mostly concerning CSO and the not-as-
Breaker Breaker where's the Brig when you need him???
tight-as-they-should-be tights of Azal and Bok, the gargoyle who comes to life. But those things are easily over looked. It has a wonderful dark-feel mixed with comedy and comradery. The Doctor’s car Bessie is almost a character in itself, and the town’s folk, although not playing a huge roll, are suitably eccentric and amusing to capture the feel of a town like Devil’s End.
All in all, it’s one of the most enjoyable Doctor Who stories I have watched thus far.


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