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Doctor Who: The Daemons (Story 59)

41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Doctor Who: Daemons, The

The Doctor and Jo travel to Devil's End village to probe the centuries-old secret of the Devil's Hump, a mysterious burial mound.

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Only the Doctor can get away with dismissing magic while rattling off ridiculous sci-fi technobabble. When a quiet English village seems to be visited by the Devil himself, the time-traveling alien known as the Doctor (in the form of Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor of the series) steps in to save the world. Along the way, he's attacked by a helicopter, a stone gargoyle come to life, his great nemesis the Master (Roger Delgado), and a crew of mummers and morris dancers. This five-episode story chugs along with vigor, packed with action and more than a few chills, though it's not particularly concerned with wrapping up the details (it's never explained why someone died of fright in the very beginning, among other loose threads). Pertwee's version of the Doctor is high-handed and imperious, but he lacks the manic unpredictability that's made so many other versions charming--Pertwee just comes across a bit stuck-up. Still, he rattles off "Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!" with aplomb while Delgado chews scenery with megalomaniacal relish. The special effects are classically rubbish and the supporting cast is staunch, if a bit bland, including Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), who's there to demonstrate the futility of brute force. The Daemons may have been an influence on the movie The Wicker Man, which has some striking similarities--primarily the atmosphere of evil lurking under the ordinary surfaces of life. The DVD extras include two extensive and engaging featurettes, one about the making of The Daemons and one about writer-producer Barry Letts, along with an eerie silent film of location footage. All in all, an enjoyable contribution to the long-running series. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin, John Levene
  • Directors: Christopher Barry
  • Writers: Barry Letts, Robert Sloman
  • Producers: Barry Letts
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2012
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0072BNJGC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,396 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on August 19, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The final story to Season Eight has its detractors, who consider it a load of rubbish, and its supporters, who declare it as one of the best in the series. I'm happy to say I belong to the latter group.
The plot: Professor Horner, an archaelogist is digging into a barrow at Devil's End that he claims contains treasure by a Bronze Age chieftain. Local resident and white witch Olive Hawthorne is against the dig, as she claims Satan will appear. After all, it is Beltane, 30 April. Something clicks in the Doctor's mind and he and Jo rush over to Devil's End. He is too late, and powerful forces send the Doctor and kills Horner.
The forces have been unleashed by the Master, masquerading as the local reverend, and he intends to invoke Azal, the last Daemon, so he can rule the world with the power given by the Daemon. The Dæmons were an alien race who gave mankind knowledge to evolve, but amorally. To make matters worse, the Master has Azal create a heat barrier encircling Devil's End, trapping the local inhabitants in, and locking everyone else out, so the Doctor and his friends are left to fend for themselves.
Here is one story where the fan/viewer can see the entire UNIT team at work, not only professionally, but in a family sort of way, where everyone looks after each other and shows genuine concern. Yates and Benton are akin to the big brothers to Jo's little sister, the Doctor is the grandfather, and the Brigadier is the uncle of the family. Jo's concern for the Doctor is all so apparent here.
In the confrontation scene between the Doctor, the Master, and Azal, who is a fearsome, satyr-like creature standing 30' tall, the Time Lord launches effective arguments for why Azal should just leave and let mankind grow up, at their own pace.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Junglies VINE VOICE on October 9, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
One of my favourite Jon Pertwee era stories originall broadcast May 22 through June 19 1971, this adventure was extremely controversial in the UK at the time with campaigner Mary Whitehouse calling for it not to be broadcast.
Full of references to withcraft and mysticism the story combines ancient English practices of Morris Dancing and the Maypole with Dridic and Celtic legends. Throw in some witchcraft, black and white and Satanism and you have all the makings of a good science fiction story.
Actually the story links the magical elements more with superior science than with devil worship and clearly attempts to show that the representations of the horned demons owes more to early visits from aliens than satanism. The rites and rituals thus evolved as ways of communication with the aliens and ways to cope with their powers.
This story owes a lot to the earlier Quatermass movie where a strange spaceship is discovered in a London Undergound station in an area dominated by streets with devilish names. It is soon discovered to contain elements of Martian life which have a devilish appearance and which cause the local inhabitants to indulge in group killing and other alien behaviours.
There is also a strong undercurrent of the writings of Dennis Wheatly in the script as the devil worshipping practices are measure and correspondent to Christian ones, with the Master assuming the role of the High Priest.
Towards the end of the story the portrayal of the Daemon as being intelligent armed with superior science but with a simplistic moral code is a dramatic scary affair but which makes a good point.
Highly recommended.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By feedthecat on February 1, 2012
Format: DVD
Classic Who story #59 is finally being released and, quite rightly, is being offered up with more than a few bangs and whistles on its two disks, incl an audio commentary track with Katy Manning ("Jo Grant"), Richard Franklin ("UNIT Captain Mike Yates"), Damaris Hayman ("Olive Hawthorne"), and director Christopher Barry, and a "making of" doc entitled "The Devil Rides Out", featuring the above plus script editor Terrance Dicks and an archival interview with the late producer Barry Letts, who was at the helm during Jon Pertwee's years as the (third) Doctor. Speaking of, the dvd extras include a "tribute doc" called "Remembering Barry Letts". Sadly, contrary to what I and, no doubt, many others were hoping, the extras do NOT include the straight-to-video documentary RETURN TO DEVIL'S END (in which Pertwee, who passed away in 1996, talks about the story that he deemed his personal fav - the doc/dvd is, however, available on sites such as timesforgottendvd).

As for the story ... well, let me just state for Who fans who haven't had the opportunity to see this five episode 1971 story that it features "the Master" (gloriously portrayed by Roger Delgado) once again stirring up trouble, this time at a prehistoric barrow near the village of Devil's End, in Wiltshire, in a quest to attain the power of Azal (played by the excellent Stephen Thorne, though in this appearance as an alien, he's sporting cloven hooves rather than Wellies), the last of the Daemons, a race of powerful beings who have helped shape the course of human history. If that's not enuf, there's also the involvement of the Brig (Nicholas Courtney), Capt. Yates, Sgt.
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Doctor Who: The Daemons (Story 59)
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