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The Dæmons (TV story)

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The Dæmons
Daemons title
Novelised as: Doctor Who and the Dæmons
Script release: The Daemons
Doctor: Third Doctor
Companion(s): Jo
Featuring: The Brig, Mike Yates, Benton
Main enemy: The Master
Main setting: Devil's End, the 1970s
Key crew
Writer: Guy Leopold
Director: Christopher Barry
Producer: Barry Letts
Release details
Story number: 59
Number of episodes: 5
Season/series: Season 8
Premiere broadcast: 22 May - 19 June 1971
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 5x25-minute episodes
Production code: JJJ
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Doctor Who television stories
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Memorable moment
Five rounds, rapid! - The Daemons - Doctor Who - BBC02:44

Five rounds, rapid! - The Daemons - Doctor Who - BBC

Another memorable moment
Bessie - The car that drives itself - The Daemons - Doctor Who - BBC01:58

Bessie - The car that drives itself - The Daemons - Doctor Who - BBC

Behind the scenes video
Exclusive First Look - Aldbourne - Doctor Who The Daemons - BBC02:20

Exclusive First Look - Aldbourne - Doctor Who The Daemons - BBC

More behind the scenes stuff
Exclusive First Look A stormy nights sky - Doctor Who The Daemons - BBC02:44

Exclusive First Look A stormy nights sky - Doctor Who The Daemons - BBC

You may be looking for the audio story.

The Dæmons was the fifth and final story of Season 8. It concluded a series-long succession of stories featuring the Master, ending with his incarceration. However, the character would continue to appear on an occasional basis during Season 9 and Season 10.

Synopsis edit

The Master, posing as a rural vicar, summons a cloven-hoofed demon in a church basement. Seeking to gain the ancient titan's demonic power, he gathers a cult and then corrupts and contorts the citizens of Devil's End to bow to his will. Dark elemental forces begin to disturb the village on the eve of May Day with unexplained murders, a flesh-smiting gargoyle, and a nigh-impenetrable infernal dome. With the Master fully prepared to rake the Earth apart with hellion agents of lore, the Doctor and UNIT battle against the wicked rites of a forbidden science, aided by a benevolent practitioner of witchcraft.

Plot edit

Episode one edit

During a storm that whips through the village of Devil's End in Wiltshire, a dog gets away from its owner. He pursues it into a graveyard, only to encounter something unseen and die. The local doctor says that it was a heart attack, but Olive Hawthorne, the local witch, insists that the man died of fright. She casts her runes to find that there is evil afoot.

Near the village, an archaeological dig is excavating the infamous Devil's Hump, a Bronze Age burial mound. The dig is being covered by BBC Three. The interviewer, Alistair Fergus, speaks to the cantankerous Professor Horner, who claims that the Hump holds the treasure and tomb of a warrior chieftain, and that he plans to open the tomb at the stroke of midnight on April 30, the pagan festival of Beltane.

The television coverage is being watched by the Third Doctor and Jo at UNIT. While the Doctor scoffs at Jo's notions of the coming of the Age of Aquarius and the supernatural, he feels that something is wrong with the dig. On the television, they see Olive go to the dig to protest, warning of great evil and the coming of the horned one, but she is dismissed as a crank. The Doctor tells Jo that Olive Hawthorne is right — the dig must be stopped. They start off to Devil's End.


Hawthorne calms the weather

Olive returns to the village, and a strong wind whips up out of nowhere. She raises her hands to dismiss it, not knowing that the local constable, PC Groom, has gone into a trance behind her and is about to strike her with a stone. The wind dies down as she chants, and PC Groom regains his senses before he lands the blow. Olive then goes to see the vicar, but he has been mysteriously replaced with a new one, Mr Magister. Magister — actually the Master — tries to assure her that her fears are unfounded, but his hypnosis fails to overcome Olive's will, and she says she will find someone who will believe her.

The Doctor and Jo, driving to Devil's End, get lost when a wind spins a signpost and points them in the wrong direction. Over at the Hump, tempers start to flare for no reason. When the Doctor and Jo stop by the village pub to get directions, one of the villagers goes and informs the Master of the Doctor's presence. The Master tells him to get dressed for the ceremony.

On the way to the Hump, the Doctor's car, Bessie, is blocked by a fallen tree. Unable to budge it, the Doctor and Jo rush to the mound on foot. The Master, dressed in ceremonial robes and with a coven of thirteen acolytes, starts a summoning ritual in the church catacombs. As his chanting grows more frenzied, the Doctor and Jo reach the mound and the Doctor rushes inside to stop Horner, but it is too late. The tomb door opens and icy gusts of wind rush out and the ground begins to shake, toppling the camera crew and even the coven in the catacombs. The Master laughs triumphantly and calls the entity's name, Azal, and the eyes of a gargoyle, Bok, flare with a reddish glow. Jo enters the mound to find Horner and the Doctor motionless, covered with frost...

Episode two edit


Yates and Benton fly to Devil's End in the UNIT helicopter

Horner is dead, and the Doctor seems dead as well. The Master uses a knife to indicate a stone covered in ritual markings as the "appointed place", dismissing the coven. Back at UNIT, Captain Mike Yates and Sergeant Benton were watching the end of the broadcast as it went dead. They try to find out what's going on while attempting to contact the Brigadier, who had earlier gone for a night at the opera. Meanwhile, the village doctor discovers that the Doctor may not be entirely dead after all, but is puzzled when he hears the beating of two hearts. Jo telephones Yates, who tells her he will be there by helicopter in the morning, just as the line is cut off from the outside. The Master prays in the church as Jo watches over the still unconscious Doctor in the pub. At the dig, the ground shakes and the constable on duty sees something gigantic with heavy footsteps, and falls.

The Daemons Hoof prints

Hoof prints seen by Yates and Benton from helicopter.

In the morning, Yates and Benton fly by helicopter to Devil's End, and see burn marks on the fields before the village that resemble enormous footprints. Once in Devil's End, Benton decides to look around the village while Yates finally manages to contact the Brigadier, who is not pleased that Yates has commandeered his helicopter, and calls for a car. Benton, looking around in the church, finds Olive trapped in a cupboard, where the Master's verger, Garvin, had locked her. Down in the cellar to hide from Garvin, she tells Benton about Magister. Garvin comes down with a rifle, and Benton tries to disarm him. In the ensuing fight, Benton falls on the marked stone and seizes up. Garvin holds both of them at gunpoint and moves them outside, just as the ground starts to shake. Garvin fires up at something gigantic, but is engulfed in a fireball. The heat wave extends even into the village, knocking Jo and Yates down, just as the Doctor awakens with a start. Olive and Benton make their way back to the pub, and the Doctor discusses the incident with Olive, who says that she saw the devil, 30 feet high and with horns. The Doctor is told of the new vicar, and realises who is behind this, as "Magister" is Latin for "Master".

The Brigadier finds himself unable to enter the village, as there is a barrier surrounding it that causes anything trying to enter to heat up and burst into flame. He contacts Yates and is briefed on the situation while the Doctor and Jo return to the dig, an act the Master seems to be able to sense. They find the constable dead and a small spaceship in the mound the same shape as the Hump. Jo tries to lift it but cannot, as the Doctor explains that it weighs 750 tons. Suddenly, Bok leaps into the tent covering the entrance to the tomb, about to attack...

Episode three edit

The Doctor wards him off with some words in a strange language and an iron trowel. The Doctor explains to Jo that he actually used the words of a Venusian lullaby — it was the gargoyle's own superstition that drove it back.


The Master sends Bok on a mission of death

The Master, in the meantime, hypnotises the squire, Winstanley, as Olive and the Doctor debate about whether it is magic or science that is at work here. The Brigadier discovers that the heat shield is dome shaped, centred on the church, with a radius of ten miles out and one mile high. The Doctor shows the others pictures of various horned gods and demons from Olive's occult and history book collection, and explains that the creature Olive saw was an extraterrestrial, one of the Dæmons from the planet Dæmos, 60,000 light years away, who came to Earth one hundred thousand years before. The small spaceship's actual size is 200 feet long and 30 feet across, and the heat and cold waves they have been experiencing are the result of the energy displaced when the ship shrinks or grows. The Doctor further explains that the Dæmons have influenced Earth throughout its history, becoming part of human myth, and see the planet as a giant experiment. The Master has called the Dæmon up once, and right now, it is so small as to be invisible. The third summoning, however, could signal the end of the experiment, and the world. The Master uses Bok to scare the church masses into helping him summon Azal.

The Daemons Doctor and Brig Heat barrier

The Doctor and the Brigadier with the heat barrier between them.

The Brigadier contacts Yates and says he is about to try attacking the heat shield from the air. The Doctor warns him not to, saying that it would only strengthen it, and suggests they use a diathermic energy exchanger. When UNIT technician Osgood fails to understand what the Doctor is getting at, he says he will come out and explain. When he does so, Tom Girton, one the villagers working with the Master, hijacks the UNIT helicopter and uses it to attack the Doctor. The Doctor swerves Bessie out of the way and the helicopter explodes against the heat shield. As the Doctor relates his instructions to Osgood, who protests that it goes against the laws of physics, the Master summons Azal again. A heat wave and an earth tremor once again sweep through the village as Azal curses the Master for daring to summon him again.

Episode four edit

The Master tries to dismiss Azal with an iron candlestick holder, but it does not seem to work. He demands that Azal give him the power that is his right, but Azal warns him that he is not the Master's servant. Azal also senses the presence of another like the Master, and wants to speak to the Doctor to see if he is worthy to take over the world. Azal says on his third appearance, he will decide if Earth deserves to continue existing (during which, he makes a passing remark about how they destroyed Atlantis). If so, he will give it to the Master. Azal then vanishes in another heat wave.


Azal reveals his horrible countenance to everyone in the church

After explaining the process of creating the exchanger to Osgood, the Doctor returns to the village. However, the Master's agents are at work, and he is soon captured by a mob of villagers and tied up to a maypole, about to be burned alive. Olive goes to the mob and tells them that the Doctor is a mighty wizard, and with some help from Benton's silenced pistol and a remote controlled Bessie, convinces the mob that the Doctor does indeed have magical powers.

Jo has left the bed to investigate and encounters Yates, who tells her about the multiple traps laid throughout the catacombs. He demonstrates with the same force field that seized up Benton. The Master has gathered the people he had scared earlier to bring out as many negative emotions as possible. The Masterbegins to summon Azal. Jo tries to interrupt the ritual, but it is too late. Azal has summoned for his third and final time....

Episode five edit

With another rush of heat, Azal manifests himself, and Jo and Yates are taken prisoner. Outside, the Doctor explains to the now calmer villagers that his "magic" was due to science, and so is the Master's trickery. The rituals are merely used to focus the psychokinetic energy of humans that the Master needs to summon the Dæmons. As Jo is prepared as a sacrifice to Azal, the exchanger finally works and UNIT forces go through the gap created in the heat shield, but the gap only lasts a few minutes and the exchanger soon overloads. Mike escapes and tells the Doctor about Jo, but Bok is guarding the entrance to the catacombs. The use of the exchanger momentarily weakens Bok and Azal, and the Doctor rushes by the gargoyle. He makes it down to the cellar, where the Master is expecting him.

Azal defeated

Azal wracked in agony.

Outside, UNIT troops start firing at Bok, who can disintegrate objects and people with a wave of his hand, but he is also bulletproof. Even a bazooka does not work, as the pieces of the gargoyle reform almost instantly. Inside the church, the Master makes his case to the Dæmon that he will rule the Earth experiment's people for their own good. The Doctor argues that man should be given a chance to grow up. Azal finally decides to give his power to the Master, and fires electricity at the Doctor to kill him. However, Jo, steps in front of the Doctor, asking Azal to kill her instead.

Benton captures the Master

This act of self-sacrifice does not make sense to Azal, and the confusion sends him into an agony. He shouts for all of them to leave as he is dying. Bok reverts to his stone form, and as everyone runs out of the church, it blows up. The Master tries to escape in Bessie, but the Doctor's remote control brings the car back, and the Master is taken into custody, to be put in maximum security.

Olive Hawthorne hears the sound of bird songs and the smell of flowers once again, as the Earth is reborn each May Day. Olive takes Benton to dance around the maypole with the rest of the townsfolk, while Yates and the Brigadier go off to the pub for a drink. The Doctor and Jo join the dance, as the May Day celebrations continue and the Doctor remarks to Jo that perhaps there is magic in the world after all.

Cast edit

Crew edit

References edit

The Doctor's items edit

  • The Doctor has fitted Bessie with a remote control.

The Master edit

Species edit

Technology edit

  • When instructing Sgt. Osgood on how to build the heat exchanger, the Doctor tells him to reverse the polarity.

Language edit

  • The Master uses the alias "Magister", which the Doctor confirms means "Master" in Latin.
  • Untranslated, though, is the name the Doctor chooses for himself — "Qui Quae Quod". This are three Latin conjugates of the word "who", continuing on the "Doctor Who?" running joke.

Story notes edit

  • This story had the working title The Demons.
  • The shot of the exploding helicopter is actually a scene taken from James Bond film From Russia With Love. The sequence looked so convincing on-screen that a popular myth persists to this day that a helicopter was actually destroyed during filming.
  • 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.
  • The area under the church is always referred to as "the cavern", 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 blasphemous – although references to the Devil were acceptable.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for episode one was accompanied by a black and white illustration by Frank Bellamy depicting Miss Hawthorne, along with the Doctor and Jo driving towards Devil's End in Bessie, with the accompanying caption "Dr. Who drives into a new adventure: 6.15". That for the omnibus rerun of the story on 28 December 1971 was accompanied by another black and white illustration by Bellamy depicting the Doctor with the Master in the background, with the accompanying caption "Dr. Who meets The Master in the Daemons: 6.20".
  • 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".
  • The 625 line PAL colour videotapes of episodes one, two, three and five were either erased for reuse, junked or lost — despite a request made by Barry Letts during his time as producer for the story to be retained complete as an example of 1970s Doctor Who. For some unknown reason, only episode four was kept in this format. Only 16mm black & white film telerecordings made for overseas sale were retained for the other episodes.
  • 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 Barry Letts's 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.
  • When the sign pointing to Devil's End is shown in episode two, another sign can be seen to read "Satanhall".
  • This is the only story to end an episode on a cliffhanger of the Master in peril.
  • The dig is broadcast on BBC3. This revelation will be taken differently by different audiences. At the time The Dæmons was broadcast, there was no such thing as BBC3. Consequently, to the contemporaneous audience, this was an indication that the story was not set in the present day, but a few years in the future. The writer and producers perhaps felt that BBC3 was no more than a few years off, therefore allowing them to sneakily set the story in the late 1970s. It made sense, at the time, to include these little nods to the future, as it was the general intent of Sherwin/Letts/Hinchcliffe-era UNIT stories that they be set in the slight future. However, in this case, the trick falls flat on a modern audience. In real life, BBC3 wasn't launched until 2003, which only adds to the broader UNIT dating controversy, since the story is otherwise quite evidently not set in the same time period as, say, Rose. Very young audience members won't be troubled by the remark at all, since, for them, BBC3 has always been around. Likewise, non-Britons will likely not understand the gag at all, regardless of their age.
  • To add to/confuse matters still further, the most recent broadcast of this story on the BBC was on 21 and 22 October 2007 - not on BBC 3, but on BBC FOUR. (The broadcast compiled episodes one, two and three into one broadcast on October 21 2007, and episodes 4 and 5 the following evening.)

Ratings edit

  • Episode one - 9.2 million viewers
  • Episode two - 8.0 million viewers
  • Episode three - 8.1 million viewers
  • Episode four - 8.1 million viewers
  • Episode five - 8.3 million viewers

Myths edit

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

Influences edit

  • 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 Lane, 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 TV: 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 9 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 edit

Production errors edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • Various pronunciations of 'Dæmons', 'Dæmos' (and all other permutations) are used throughout the story.

BBC holiday repeat edit

On 28 December 1971, The Daemons became the very first serial to be rebroadcast by the BBC complete, in omnibus form. Billed as Dr. Who and the Daemons in Radio Times, this was the first time a "complete adventure in one programme" — to quote the programme listing — had been shown, and would set a trend for many such reshowings over the next few years.

The repeat broadcast attracted 10.5 million viewers, the show's highest rating since 1965.[1]

Continuity edit

Home video and audio releases edit

VHS releases edit

Episode five was included in black and white on the Pertwee Years video in 1992.

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

DVD Releases edit

The story was released on DVD on 26 March 2012.

Script book edit

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

Other publications edit

  • Countdown Annual 1972 contains an article about the location filming for this story. The article is listed in the contents page as "Filming Dr. Who", but is actually titled "A Day with Dr. Who". The author is Countdown editor Dennis Hooper (who misspells "Bessie" as "Betsy").

External links edit

Footnotes edit