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Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

For the Big Finish audio drama, see The Demons.

"Chap with wings, five rounds rapid..."

The Dæmons
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 8
Story Number: 59
Doctor: Third Doctor
Companions: Jo Grant
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Captain Mike Yates
Sergeant Benton
Enemy: The Master
Setting: Earth, Devil's End, circa 1970s
Writer: Guy Leopold
Director: Christopher Barry
Broadcast: 22nd May - 19th June 1971
Format: 5 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: Colony in Space
Following Story: Day of the Daleks

The Dæmons was the fifth and final story of Season 8. It concluded a series-long succession of stories featuring The Master (though the character would continue to appear on an occasional basis for the next year or so).

Contents

Synopsis

The Master, posing as a rural vicar, summons a cloven-hoofed demon in a church basement.

Plot

The Doctor becomes alarmed on seeing television coverage of an archaeological dig by a Professor Horner into an ancient barrow near the village of Devil's End. He hurries to the scene with Jo.

The Master is posing as the local vicar, Mr Magister, and using black magic rituals to summon Azal, the last of a race known as the Dæmons, whose miniaturised spaceship is buried within the barrow. Benton and Yates arrive in a UNIT helicopter but, before the Brigadier and his troops can join them, a heat barrier appears and cuts the village off from the outside world.

As the Doctor attempts to breach the heat barrier, they must contend with Bok, a living gargoyle. The members of the community, under the Master's possession, attempt to burn the Doctor at the stake for being a witch. He is saved with the assistance of Miss Hawthorne, herself an actual witch.

Azal will appear three times and on the last of these occasions will decide whether to transfer his awesome powers to another or to destroy the planet as a failed experiment. The Master hopes to be the recipient of the powers, but in the event Azal offers them to the Doctor instead. The Doctor declines, arguing that the human race should be allowed to develop at its own pace.

Azal decides to kill him, but Jo then offers to take his place and, unable to comprehend this act of self-sacrifice, the Dæmon self-destructs. The Master is finally captured by UNIT and taken away to await trial for his crimes against humanity.

Cast

Crew

References

  • The Master has taken over as vicar in Devil's End.
  • Azal is one of the Dæmons from the planet Dæmos.
  • The Doctor has fitted Bessie with a remote control.
  • It is implied that Azal (or his race) destroyed Atlantis (which makes it the second explanation of how Atlantis fell).
  • The dig is broadcast on BBC3.

Story Notes

  • The shot of the exploding helicopter is actually a scene taken from James Bond film From Russia With Love.
  • The Master's summoning phrases for Azal is 'Mary had a little lamb' backwards.
  • 'Guy Leopold' (the writer), is a pen name for Robert Sloman and Barry Letts.
  • This story had the working title; The Demons.
  • The area under the church is always referred to as 'the cavern' and never 'the crypt'. This was a BBC requirement to avoid the risk of causing offence to viewers with religious sensibilities. Similarly, much to director Christopher Barry's amazement, no mention of God was permitted to be made in the story's dialogue, in case this was considered to be blasphemeous – although references to the Devil were acceptable.
  • The Doctor calls himself "the Great Wizard Quiquaeqoud". Qui, quae and quod are, respectively, the masculine, feminine and neuter forms of the Latin word for "who".
  • Despite a request made by Barry Letts whilst he was still producer for the 625 line PAL Colour Videotapes of the story to be preserved in the BBC Archives as an example of 1970s Doctor Who, for some unknown reason only Episode Four was kept. The 625 line PAL Colour Videotapes of Episodes One, Two, Three and Five were either erased for reuse, junked or lost, with only 16mm Black & White Film telerecordings made for overseas sale being retained.
  • In the DVD featurette Terrance Dicks: Fact & Fiction (included on the DVD of Horror of Fang Rock), Dicks confesses that he originally cut out the famous "Chap with the wings, five rounds rapid" line, but it was reinstated at Letts' request.
  • It was believed by a number of viewers that the model of the church blown up for the final episode (a replica of an actual church) was in fact real. Calls were received by the BBC deploring the destruction of the church.

Ratings

  • Episode 1 - 9.2 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 8.0 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 8.1 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 8.1 million viewers
  • Episode 5 - 8.3 million viewers

Myths

  • There was a sixth episode planned, where the Master escaped UNIT. (This was an April Fool's joke in the fanzine DWB.)

Influences

  • This story makes a few nods towards Quatermass and the Pit, and not just for the idea that stories of devils and demons may be a race memory of horned aliens who conducted a eugenics experiment on early humans. Devil's End is essentially the same as Hobb's End, the fictitious London setting of the earlier story, Hob being an old name for the Devil. The use of iron to hold both Azal and Bok at bay is an old folk superstition that is also referred to in the Quatermass story. (See also DW: Image of the Fendahl.)
  • The large hoof prints left by Azal as he walks around the village of Devil's End and encircles the community with a heat barrier brings to mind a famous and well-documented case. On the morning of 9th February, 1855 the inhabitants of several villages and towns in Devon awoke to find what appeared to be the tracks of a hooved, two-legged creature in the snow, traversing a total distance of one hundred miles, going over rooftops, a 14-foot wall, and even apparently leaping across a two mile wide estuary. Many believed that the Devil himself had walked through Devon the previous night.

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Various pronunciations of 'Dæmons', 'Dæmos' (and all other permutations) are used throughout the story. The characters could be unsure of how to pronounce it, or simply make errors in doing so.
  • No explanation is offered for why Bok - a stone automaton animated by Azal and mind-controlled by the Master - shares the superstitious credulity of the villagers when it comes to iron and Venusian lullabies. Furthermore, if he is so cripplingly frightened of iron-based metals, he ought to be terrified whenever he passes through the church gate (though he opens it with no apparent reluctance in episode 6). (Bok isn't mind controlled by the Master, he is brought to life by Azal's power and works under the Master's direction. As a gargoyle, he was built to represent the villagers' superstitions, so of course he would beleve in them. As for the gate, it is unknown if it is made of iron, or if it's the combination of iron and the Venusian lullaby - which sounds like a spell or hex - that scares him off.)
  • A signpost next to the heat barrier says: 'Devil's End 1'. However, in episode two, the barrier has a five mile radius, centered on the church. Signposts usually list distance to the border point of a town. Depending on how large the township of Devil's End is within that border, this would not be an inconsistency.
  • If the "breached" heat barrier is still hot enough to make the Brigadier's swagger stick smoulder so profusely, it ought to have some fairly unpleasant effects on human flesh (but the troops pass through entirely unscathed).
  • In episode three, the energy exchanger interferes with radio communication, but by episode five it has lost this side effect.
  • Surely any alien race that has taken such a keen interest in the development of homo sapiens and their direct evolutionary predecessors over the last hundred thousand years, would be aware that altruism and the capacity for self sacrifice is a key human trait, and arguably is one of the major contributory factors in allowing them to survive and become Earth's dominant species. Would Azal then, really by so shocked by Jo's attempt to protect the Doctor to the extent that it leads to his own destruction? Depends which humans he had met previously. Not many would really so readily sacrifice their lives for someone else.

Continuity

DVD, Video and Other Releases

Video Releases

  • The Dæmons was released on VHS in the UK and Australia in 1993. This was a color restored version of the story completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.

Novelisation

Main article: Doctor Who and the Dæmons

Script book

  • The Dæmons was released by Titan Books as a script book in November 1992.

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: The Dæmons
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Dæmons
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Dæmons
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - The Dæmons
Season 8
Terror of the Autons  • The Mind of Evil  • The Claws of Axos  • Colony in Space  • The Dæmons
The Master - TV Stories
Terror of the Autons  • The Mind of Evil  • The Claws of Axos  • Colony in Space  • The Dæmons  • The Sea Devils  • The Time Monster  • Frontier in Space  • The Deadly Assassin  • The Keeper of Traken  • Logopolis  • Castrovalva  • Time-Flight  • The King's Demons  • The Five Doctors  • Planet of Fire  • The Mark of the Rani  • The Ultimate Foe  • Survival  • Doctor Who: The TV Movie  •
Utopia/ The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time LordsThe End of Time

This article uses material from the "The Dæmons" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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