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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best for Pertwee, Manning, and UNIT
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...
Published on August 19, 2001 by Daniel J. Hamlow

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "There's no need to make a production number out of it!"
Once regarded as one of the great stories of the Jon Pertwee era, "The Daemons" unfortunately falls short of achieving "classic" status. It is a story propagated by nostalgia; the fond memories it gave viewers are probably better than the actual story itself. This is not to say that "The Daemons" is bad. On no account. It has great...
Published on March 31, 2000 by Brian May


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best for Pertwee, Manning, and UNIT, August 19, 2001
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 Dćmons 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. "Thanks to you, he can blow up the world and he probably will. He can poison the river, the land and the air he breathes, he's already started." When the Master says that he alone possesses the strong leadership needed, the Doctor retorts with "I seem to remember someone else talking like that. Who was the bounder? Hitler. Yes, Adolf Hitler. Or was it Genghis Khan?" The Doctor's moral character in the confrontation distinguishes him as a champion for Earth and its people.
One of the best cliffhangers of the series comes at the end of Episode 2, when Bok, the stone gargoyle, traps the Doctor and Jo inside the cavern where they find Azal's miniaturized spaceship. How is it resolved? Yeah, right, like I'm going to tell you.
One goof noticeable is the fight between Sergeant Benton and Garvin, the Master's servant. The shotgun held by Garvin breaks during their struggle and he carries on, holding both pieces together.
The appearance of the heat barrier, the thick black marks on buildings denoting its presence, and the attempts to penetrate are some of the outstanding special effects.
The Daemons is one of those stories whose colour prints were lost during the BBC purge. Episode 4 survived, but the colour synchronized restoration from the black and white prints of the other four episodes gives it a film look. With #4 still in its original condition, the interior video shots are a big contrast to the outdoor film footage. It makes me wonder, well, why not do it to the B&W print of #4 to give the whole story a film look? Still, this is only a minor complaint.
The regulars give their best as usual, but Damaris Hayman (Miss Olive Hawthorne) is one of the best non-regulars I have seen in the entire series. John Scott-Martin has a non-speaking role as one of the villagers, and John Owens (Thorpe) may be familiar as a recurring character in The Two Ronnies.
Jo Grant is the hero of the hour, as what she does causes Azal's defeat. No, you have to watch it to find out what I mean.
The debate between science and magic is another subtopic presented here, between the Doctor and Jo and later, he and Miss Hawthorne at opposite ends. What appears to be magic in conjuring the Daemon is explained as highly advanced science, with the ceremony a means of controlling the psionic forces and the Daemon himself. To the Doctor, anything can be explained by science, as he demonstrates with to Jo by causing his yellow Roadster Bessie to run by itself via solenoids and a remote control.
Yet, let's get one thing straight here. Azal is amoral, not evil, as the Doctor points out. Take Prometheus, a cousin of Azal. In Greek mythology, Prometheus was punished by the gods for giving fire to man. He eventually escaped with the help of his brother and continued giving knowledge to man. As a Rational, Prometheus is my hero, but should he have perhaps let mankind develop at its own pace, as the Doctor claims Azal should have done? Series producer Barry Letts, using the alias Guy Leopold, wrote the story, and how wonderful it was to have had an introspective, intellectual philosopher at the helm of Doctor Who!
The Daemons remains one of my favorite Who episodes. At the end, the Doctor tells Jo, "There is magic in the world." as they and villagers dance around the Maypole. You tell'em, Doctor!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five rounds rapid, February 1, 2012
By 
feedthecat (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Daemons (Story 59) (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. Benton (John Levene), and UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Task force), but, as it turns out, it's Jo, the Doctor's assistant/"companion" (no, not in THAT sense), who is of most help to the Time Lord.

And, as one of several great Doctor Who stories wherein supernatural occurrences are "explained away" with science, it's fitting that THE DAEMONS should feature an indestructible stone gargoyle - named "Bok" (played by Stanley Mason) - that's brought to life in the service of Azal, a demonic-looking creature. Taken together, it's not surprising that this story consistently gets voted among "classic" Who's all-time top 25.

Enjoy.

* UPDATE *

According to the website, dvdactive, episodes 1 & 2 supposedly look almost as good as the original Quad master tapes, ep 5 isn't far behind, but ep 3 looks "soft" by comparison. They didn't mention how well ep 4 turned out, but I wd assume that it must look very good becuz it was the only one that still existed in (colour) PAL format (for the 1993 VHS release of THE DAEMONS, the monochrome film of the other four ep's was overlaid onto the NTCS colour signal from an "off air" VCR recording of them). The site also noted that the video sequences looked better than the scenes shot on film. Hope that they're right and that this helps.

* UPDATE #2 *

Have since received the dvd and, yes, the Who restoration team did a bang up job considering how bad the "masters" that they were using were and that this story, again, was from 1971. The sound quality is also better than on the VHS offering, but that's not saying a whole lot since the story was recorded in mono. For fans of Barry Letts - of which I am one - this dvd is worth purchasing just for the featurette on his career.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Devilish Tale courtesy of Quatermass and Wheatley, October 9, 2002
By 
Junglies (Morrisville, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "There's no need to make a production number out of it!", March 31, 2000
By 
Once regarded as one of the great stories of the Jon Pertwee era, "The Daemons" unfortunately falls short of achieving "classic" status. It is a story propagated by nostalgia; the fond memories it gave viewers are probably better than the actual story itself. This is not to say that "The Daemons" is bad. On no account. It has great moments. The first episode is excellent - it builds up the tension and is extremely atmospheric. All the night scenes are wonderfully done, as are those in the pub. The second episode is also well done; unfortunately the story tends to sag during the third. It becomes a bit of an action for action's sake runaround - helicopter and motorcycle chases that just wear a bit thin. The attempts to break through the heat barrier go on far too long and are loaded with technobabble. The ending is also a bit rushed and is very implausible. However "The Daemons" is littered with some great moments. The gargoyle Bok is fun to watch (when he first moves in the cavern near the end of episode one it is downright frightening). The village meeting in episode three is an interesting probe into the lives of the inhabitants and there are nice directorial touches - for instance the shadow falling across the police constable's face when the unseen Daemon stands over him and the sweat on the Master's brow as he summons Azal at the end of part three (probably caused by the studio lighting, but works to terrific effect). Azal's presence in the cavern in the final episode is also well realised. I also feel this story is better in black and white. It was transmitted in this format the last time it was on Australian television and I feel that monochrome added to the story's horror atmosphere (especially the first episode). The colour reconstruction of episodes 1-3 and 5 give this effect slightly (you can tell it's from a black and white print), but part 4, the only surviving colour episode, just looks too slick and glossy for the type of story. All in all "The Daemons" is enjoyable - although it tends to deteriorate halfway through.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Daemons of the mind, February 26, 2005
After purchasing "the Daemons" from Amozon, I had my doubts, but that soon all changed when I watched the tape the entire way.

Roger Delago (who plays the Master) gives it his best in this 5 part half fantasy/ half science fiction story from the Dr. Who archive.

It starts out like any Dr. Who story with something odd happening,like a man walking a dog dissapearing in a gravevard in a small town called Devil's End, meanwhile BBC 3 is making a documentary about a tomb on a hill called the devil's hump, which a archiologist has suddenly discovered, which he thinks hold treasures of a warrior's tomb.

The Doctor of corse races to the digging with Jo to stop what he thinks is the returning of something evil.

The story gos on from there, with concepts of demons, devils, wiches, living gagoyle servents, and a Master all decked out in demon summoning clothes with a town of hypnotised followers to summon a great evil.

Delago does great scenes like the summoning of the Daemon Azal, and his mis-fired escape in the Doctor's car.

In all i believe this is a must for all Pertwee and Delago fans.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The reverend Doctor finds himself in a dust-up with Old Nick, May 5, 2012
By 
buckbooks (Hillsboro, Oregon USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Daemons (Story 59) (DVD)
"The Daemons" tells a so-so story with an unimaginative premise and a flimsy plot resolution, but its strong sense of characterization, smart use of location filming and masterful special effects on a shoestring budget made it an effective finale to Jon Pertwee's second season as the Doctor.

A nationally televised archeological dig at an ancient burial mound outside the sleepy English village of Devil's End worries the Doctor, so he and Jo set off in Bessie to investigate. The Master is posing as the town vicar and using black magic to conjure Azal, a dead ringer for Satan who is actually the last of the Daemons, miniature aliens from the planet Daemos who have been visiting Earth for centuries, directing mankind along the generally self-destructive path it has followed throughout history.

Damaris Hayman steals the show as the town's resident white witch, Miss Hawthorne. Director Christopher Barry had originally visualized her character as a tweedy, dithering dabbler in the dark arts, but Hayman, who enjoyed some personal knowledge of the occult, refused to allow her character to be used merely for comic relief and made her a linchpin of the story. Although Miss Hawthorne mistakenly attributes the power of black magic to supernatural forces rather than to rational scientific phenomena as explained by the Doctor, she nevertheless understands how it works, if not exactly why, and therefore knows how to combat it. "The Daemons" also brings out the personal sides of the otherwise cardboard-cutout UNIT characters, such as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Sgt. Benton. When Capt. Mike Yates asks Lethbridge-Stewart if he'd like to dance in the May Day revels at the end of the story, for instance, the Brigadier thanks him but says he would prefer a pint and heads off to the town pub.

"The Daemons" is almost a master class in the clever use of low-budget special effects, which are key to the nostalgic appeal of Doctor Who as a sci-fi series. By miniaturizing the Daemons' spaceship and burying it in the ground, for instance, the show's producers were able to build the model spaceship required for about one-fourth of the budgeted cost. The micro-sized Daemon, which viewers otherwise never see, is then enlarged to its full 20-foot height by the use of colour separation overlay (or the "psychokinetic energy" of human fear unleashed by the Master's incantations, as the Doctor explains). A shimmering hole made in the story's "heat barrier" is produced by filming a simple metal frame festooned with tinsel through a filter smeared with petroleum jelly. Small explosive charges in objects, such as sticks, thrown at the heat barrier are detonated by an invisible nylon line attached to the actor. "The Daemons" also made substantial use of "mirrorlon," a flexible reflective material that allowed the crew to "shake" or otherwise manipulate a scene's image as it was being shot and then reverse the image electronically to disguise the fact it was mirrored.

Tapes of this story, like many featuring the first three doctors, were wiped in the mid-'70s as part of the BBC's infamous purge of its archives, so this DVD restores the episodes from black-and-white film of the original video and color from a video copy made by a viewer. The results vary: colors sometimes seem washed out and the picture fuzzy; other times the picture is sharp and the colors vivid. Not the best of all possible worlds, but better than the alternatives: black-and-white only or no record of the story at all.

The chief weakness of "The Daemons" as a story, besides the fact that much of it was lifted from "Quatermass and the Pit," is its lame plot resolution. Without giving away the ending, let it suffice to say that Azal is defeated by a psychological (some might even say spiritual) rather than physical or scientific means that even script editor Terrance Dicks found deeply unconvincing. This two-disc set comes with a wealth of Special Features not to be missed, however, including an informative making-of documentary and a moving, 33-minute tribute to producer Barry Letts, who enjoyed a lifelong career in acting, writing and directing at the BBC before succumbing to a three-year battle with cancer in October 2009. Before passing, he contributed hours of invaluable interviews about the making of Doctor Who for various features in the DVD series. It's easy to forget that producing Doctor Who was only one facet of his wide-ranging career.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumor, Witchcraft, and Ale: A Doctor Who Classic, April 18, 2012
By 
FYI (Rocky Mountain West) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Daemons (Story 59) (DVD)
This is one of the very best in the long line of Doctor Who sagas, from one of the very best eras. Jon Pertwee was superlative as Doctor Who, every inch the rogue gentleman and alien. As well, the DVD Specials include a wonderful tribute to producer/writer (former actor) Barry Letts, with memorable (as always) contributions by script editor/writer Terrance Dicks. These WWII vets heroically battled BBC suits to become the finest duo in Doctor Who's creation. I wish Terrance Dicks would write a memoir, or record a DVD, about his fascinating life and his involvement in shaping Doctor Who.

As to the venerable episode itself, set in a perfect English village, it has all the right ingredients: an archaeologically rich mound called the "Devil's Hump," a magnificent old church with a cavern underneath, U.N.I.T., Jon Pertwee as Doctor Who, Katy Manning (the good sport) deftly being helpless, Roger Delgado as the Master, a white witch wailing warnings, and locals in the delightful pub gossiping about evil goings on and the untimely death of livestock. The narrative by Barry Letts and Robert Sloman (Guy Leopold) is a masterful piece of storytelling. Enjoy!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quiet fun, July 5, 2002
By 
Matthew ulmen (East Wenatchee, Washington United States) - See all my reviews
This one is a good example of why dr who is so good. One thing i like about it is it strays a bit. usually toward the end of every episode te doctor is in danger. Well in this one our old frind the Master ends up on the short end of the stick at the end off one. I thought that was neat as the master almost always has everything under control. Good show even if the brigadier wasnt in the action like you know he would like to be.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and entertaining, for the most part., June 14, 1999
By A Customer
Takes a while to get going, and I don't like the ending at all, but inbetween this is among the best of the Jon Pertwee years. The Master attempts to control the power of the awesome Azal, last of the Daemons, for whom Earth is a scientific experiment gone wrong. The more interesting bit, though, is how the Master uses "black magic" to manipulate the miserable townspeople into doing his bidding, and how the Doctor (with help from an eccentric white witch) turns them against him. Actually co-written by producer Barry Letts and Robert Sloman ("The Green Death," "Planet of the Spiders"). Note: the recolorization isn't as good as "The Silurians" or "Terror of the Autons," but the tape includes the original color print of episode 4.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would You Believe, Magic?, March 22, 2012
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Daemons (Story 59) (DVD)
The Daemons is, in my humble opinion, one of the higher ranking stories during the Pertwee Era. I'm not going to recap this story, because any web search on this will give you approximately four hundred million billion hits. Research the story line elsewhere if you must, but I'm not going to beat a dead horse, or sacrifice a live goat. I will tell you one thing about this story though, for all of you Bible thumpers out there, no churches were blown up in the making of this story.

The picture quality of this DVD has improved considerably, as we would hope it would. Additionally, the text and audio commentaries, as well as the other special features, do their usual job of enchancing the viewing of this story which I appreciate. Regarding the audio commentary, it consists of director Christopher Barry, and the actors, Katy Manning, (Jo Grant), Richard Franklin, (Captain Mike Yates), and Damaris Hayman, (Miss Hawthorne, the white witch). Listening to these four was delightful, insightful, and entertaining. Better still, Toby Hadoke was NOT in any way a part of the commentary.

Now as much as I love to gripe about 2|entertain, I have to say that this release did make it over the Devil's Hump, but just. It's too bad that they were not able to include "Return to Devil's End" with this release. Although from what I understand, it couldn't be included due to some copyright matter. In its place, a `making of' feature is included which helped to partially fill that void. I feel that the most notable extra is a tribute to Barry Letts. At the time of writing this, it has been a little over two years since he was given his own TARDIS, and departed from us. You may think me strange for saying this, but I truly miss this man whom I never met. But thanks to his numerous commentaries on other Doctor Who DVDs, and the special features he took part in, I can honestly say that, in my opinion, he was one THE BEST producers to date.

If I were able to give a fractional rating, I would give this 3˝ pentagrams, due to the fact that I feel that this release should have had MORE special features. Only two or three of them were worth taking the time to watch. One of the special features is little over 6 minutes of silent footage which was somewhat interesting, but the "Colourisation Test" was just the first episode with crappy color. A side by side comparison of the picture would have been interesting, but to just show us the crappy version is just lazy. But since I cannot give a 3˝ pentagram rating, I'll round this up to 4 pentagrams.

My bottom line is... (I REALLY need to come up with something more original than "My bottom line is")... any fan of the Pertwee Era, as well as that of Roger Delgado and U.N.I.T., should make this a MUST HAVE for their collection.

Referring back to the content of this story, which again you should know by now before reading my review, let's just say that for those of you who have a problem with the idea of Devil worship, well then, the Hell with you. Just Kidding.

I hope that this review was helpful to you, and please tell me your opinion(s) on my review so that I can hopefully improve upon future ones. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and hopefully, consider my humble opinion(s).
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Doctor Who: The Daemons (Story 59)
Doctor Who: The Daemons (Story 59) by Christopher Barry (DVD - 2012)
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