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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue DVD now on the shelves !
The Pertwee era is my favourite from Doctor Who - although the Tom era runs it close. The Daemons epitomises my first-hand memories of the show when I was a child - the Doctor/Jo pairing, the Master, Unit, but all fans of the show will know the plot.

The restoration is a step up again from the previous attempt 20 years ago - advances in technology having made...
Published on 19 Mar 2012 by pertweefan

versus
13 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Devil's Hump, A Curate's Egg
"Coming up later tonight on BBC3, the forces of Satan himself are unleashed in a live broadcast from the hellmouth itself! But first, an all-new 'Snog, Marry, Avoid?'!"

There's a slight oversight on this DVD, unless it's in an easter egg I haven't found, and that's the continuity announcer from the repeat of episode three twenty years ago. "Only Doctor Who can...
Published on 17 Mar 2012 by P. Galey


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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue DVD now on the shelves !, 19 Mar 2012
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD] (DVD)
The Pertwee era is my favourite from Doctor Who - although the Tom era runs it close. The Daemons epitomises my first-hand memories of the show when I was a child - the Doctor/Jo pairing, the Master, Unit, but all fans of the show will know the plot.

The restoration is a step up again from the previous attempt 20 years ago - advances in technology having made this possible. For the first time, we see the raw material they had to work with and appreciate how much work has gone into this. See the decidedly mediocre picture quality on the Tomorrow's World clips, the terrible picture sparkle on the closing stages of the restoration test, and hear the wobbly sound particularly on the closing credits !.
To be picky, in general I think the location material looks a little inferior to the parts recorded in studio - just a little grainy, but nothing to worry about.

The extras are very well done. It's a pity that rights issues prevented Return to Devils End being included, but in its absense a nice "making of" story has been assembled - featuring some of the surviving cast and crew (but why no Stephen Thorne, who gave a good contribution to the recent Three Doctors rerelease ?). The tribute to Barry Letts is a fitting one to the late producer whom Who fans have much to thank for. And like the similar Hinchcliffe feature from the recently-released "Android Invasion" it prominently features his children, who knew him best. Some nice colour film from location,
the Tomorrow's World feature and colourisation test I have already mentioned and the usual photos and trailer (in this case for Nightmare of Eden) round things off.

Thoroughly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Down at Devil's End, 29 April 2012
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD] (DVD)
The fifth and final story from Jon Pertwee's second year as Doctor Who comes to DVD, with all five episodes on one disc. Plus a second disc full of extras.

At this time in the show's history, the Doctor was still exiled to Earth, and was working with U.N.I.T. to combat menaces that came their way. Such as rogue Timelord the Master. Who was up to no good in every story of the season.

In the usually quiet village of Devil's End, strange things are going on. An archaeological dig is about to open up an ancient burial site. One local eccentric predicts trouble will follow, but nobody takes her seriously. The new Vicar though looks a lot like the Master, and is very interested in what the dig will unearth. A deadly threat to all life on Earth.

Can the Doctor and U.N.I.T. save the day?

There comes a point in the life of many TV shows when they know exactly what they are doing and all involved, as a result, are at the top of their game. Thus whatever the quality of the script, anything they produce will always be something worth watching.

The Daemons does have a very good script. Coupled in this instance with a cast and production team who had settled into their roles and were producing quality work, the Daemons is a classic of the show because of that. With great moments for all the regular characters, a good setting, memorable monsters, and some very quotable lines of dialogue, the Daemons is a perfect example of the best of it's era. And it was a very good era. So it's a great story as a result.

For many years, as a result of the old BBC practice of wiping video tape they thought they'd never need to use again, the original colour copies of almost all of the Daemons were no longer with us. The BBC held black and white ones, and rather poor quality colour ones obtained from American broadcast of the show. Back in the 90's when it was first released on VHS, it was re-coloured, using techniques that were pretty new and very advanced. At the time.

But technology marches on, and this version has been re-coloured again. Using much more advanced techniques for that. The picture quality isn't one hundred percent perfect, but it's still entirely watchable. And you probably wouldn't even notice anything amiss if you weren't aware of the history of this aspect of the story in advance.

Disc one of this two disc dvd has all five episodes of the story.

The language and subtitle options [for this as well as the extras on disc two] are as follows

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English.

It's also English audio captioned.

Disc one also has a commentary on the story from three of the cast plus the director.

Disc two has the following extras:

Radio Times listings for the story as a PDF file.

Production information subtitles.

A photo gallery of stills from the story and it's production.

A trailer for the next release in this dvd range [epileptics beware some fast editing in this].

There's also:

The Devil Rides out: a thirty minute [approx] long and typically excellent making of documentary.

Remembering Barry Letts: a thirty five minute long feature about the producer of the Pertwee era of the show. A good tribute that also covers his earlier years as an actor. And offers some interesting glimpses of long forgotten tv.

Location film: a six minute long film of the story being made on location. There's no sound but some memorable images of actors and crew at work and waiting to work.

Tomorrow's world: a five minute long clip from a 1990's edition of the bbc show about new inventions that looks at the way the story was re-coloured for the VHS release.

And there's also colourisation test: the first episode of the story after the original test, back in the 90's to see if it could be re-coloured. This test wasn't quite successful thus the version shown here is of less quality than the one on the VHS release. But it's an interesting curio should you be interested.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Pertwee, 18 Mar 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD] (DVD)
After watching a later story titled 'The Time Warrior' also starring Jon Pertwee as the third Doctor, and loving it immensely; I thought that I would try watching 'The Daemons' and frankly it did not disappoint. One of the few stories never to actually show the Tardis, this story is very enjoyable with Delgado as the Master. It has transpired that Pertwee's era of Doctor Who has actually become one of my favourite so far; I love how he uses Venusian fighting to get himself out of difficult situations, however I am deviating. Back to the story, you get to see a bit more outside the Unit headquarters for a change, and delve into a mysterious archeological dig which the Doctor tries to stop. Failing, he is knocked out cold and finds himself along with Jo Grant in a little village. The Master is at work summoning demons for his plan, and the Brigadier gets to deliver one of his most famous lines. I won't spoil anymore of the plot, as most reviews will have covered it already, however a worth buy.

4/5 Stars - A fantastic and classic third Doctor story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cloven Whoof, 27 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD] (DVD)
A devilishly fine tale of pastoral horror, with demonic rites, sacrifice, witchcraft and Morris dancing! Spin this magical DVD and unleash the power of `The Dæmons'! 5*

All was quiet in the sleepy village, dreaming in the spring sunshine on the chalk downs of Wiltshire - until one day the Vicar popped round to raise the devil. `The Reverend Mr. Magister' is not reverent at all, but a fallen Time Lord with a greed for power and a secret alien science at his command, though the `devil' he wants to raise is real enough ...

`The Dæmons' may well be the best of all the Jon Pertwee-era stories. It's a strong field (`The Sea Devils', `Inferno', `Day of the Daleks' and more) but this is a serious contender for the prize, because it combines all the classic elements that make up this era and it's very nearly perfect. This is quite a long review, so thanks if you get to the end, but this is one of my all-time favourite stories and the definitive `Doctor Who' tale of good over evil.

Almost half the story is location filming and Aldbourne looks perfect as the `stunt double' for `Devil's End'. Christopher Barry's direction and experimental multi-camera technique get the best out of their two weeks on location; the English countryside in spring looks beautiful and is put to great use in the story. Roger Ford's studio sets are so believable - the pub, the vicarage and the church. You won't find a hellish cavern crypt under many English churches (!) but that looks great too, as do most of the special effects - the famous model work in the final episode is impressively realistic no matter how many times you've seen it.

The storyline is less unbelievable than the fact that the BBC junked all but one colour episode of this enchanting creation. In an impressive display of technical wizardry, surviving mono film was mixed with a personal NTSC colour recording in some electronic cauldron to raise `The Dæmons' back to life. I still remember the excitement in 1992 when this was first done and watching one of the TV classics of my childhood again. This new, colour reprocessed DVD release is even better. The sound is still slightly harsh in some places and episode 4 does stand above the others in all its original colour glory, but the overall result is - magic.

Producer Barry Letts and Robert Sloman wrote a superb script, under the pseudonym `Guy Leopold' because of sensitivity at the BBC about producers writing their own shows. It's wonderfully atmospheric, with pitch-perfect dialogue between the regulars, well written guest characters and a terrific pace. Admittedly it does borrow elements from `Quatermass' and `The Midwich Cuckoos', but an unmistakably `Doctor Who' twist is put on them to create an unforgettable story - fiendish horror fit for a teatime audience and a `black magic' plot which is revealed to be science fiction.

Miss Hawthorne is convinced it *is* black magic. As the local witch, ("white, of course") she's horrified by the plans of the BBC and Professor Horner the distinguished archaeologist to open the mysterious Bronze Age barrow known locally as `The Devil's Hump'. If that wasn't bad enough, they plan to do it live on TV, at midnight on April 30th - Beltane, second only to Halloween in the occult calendar.
Damaris Hayman is superb as the good witch; there was a suggestion she should play the character as more `dithery', which would have been a major mistake. Fortunately, her wish to give a serious performance was granted and she conjures up one of the most memorable `good' guest characters of the Pertwee years.

Because Miss Hawthorne really is a witch; some of the villagers, chatting over their pints at `The Cloven Hoof', think she's more than eccentric but her otherworldliness and visions are the sort of thing that happens if you grow up in the village of Devil's End, where strange forces have been at work for centuries. She taps into fragments of that power for `good' as a white witch; the Master has greater knowledge and very different plans but the source of his power is the same. The idea that identical knowledge may be used for good or evil, and that a choice must be made, is at the heart of this story and is ultimately played out with the Doctor and the Master representing the two `sides'. It's a constant theme of `Doctor Who' but never expressed more clearly than here.

Back at UNIT HQ, the Doctor is watching the archaeological dig on television, sees Miss Hawthorne prophesying doom (live on BBC3(!)) and dashes off to Devil's End in Bessie, not helped much by Jo Grant's map reading skills! The Brigadier is off out to a dinner (and looking very smart in his regimental mess jacket), while Captain Yates and Sgt. Benton are left on duty with TV rugby and corned beef sarnies ... by the time they switch back to watching the dig, all hell has broken loose in Devil's End and the Doctor is at death's door, so off they fly to the rescue ("MY helicopter?" demands the Brig. in outrage!) The opening episode is possibly the best ever, superb writing and filming and the first of four terrific cliffhangers.

The Doctor and Jo need all the help they can get, because from the ancient, pagan cavern beneath the church at Devil's End, the Master and his village coven are raising the primeval force that lay sleeping in the barrow - Azal, last of the Dæmons. His presence is felt throughout the whole story with special effects and camera work, but cleverly, we never actually see him until the episode 4 cliffhanger, when Stephen Thorne explodes onto the screen, bringing Azal to thunderous life. It's a full-on performance and exactly right for Azal's Earth-shaking personality.

Even the Master is afraid - he's in control of the village, through a mix of fear, hypnotism and temptation, but the Dæmon is beyond anyone's control - though that won't stop the Master from trying every incantation he knows, in a brilliant performance. This is probably Roger Delgado's best story; always excellent, in this one he brings new range to the Master - the rational `Vicar', the scheming would-be dictator, the Time Lord fearful of what he has summoned but driven on by pride and a lust for the power he assumes is his for the taking - but the choice is not his to make.

Flying in to the rescue at Devil's End (above a track of terrifyingly large hoof prints ...) Richard Franklin and John Levene have two great roles as Yates and Benton, and slightly unfortunate 1970s taste in `plain clothes'! There's plenty of action to share around, Mike Yates joins an exciting chase sequence and Sgt. Benton is faintly embarrassed to become Miss Hawthorne's "very perfect gentle knight" after he rescues her. She later returns the favour, wielding a deadly handbag containing a witch's secret weapon ...

All the UNIT `family' have beautifully written parts and play them perfectly. Nicholas Courtney gives the Brigadier a wonderful blend of determination and exasperation at his inability to do anything very useful! By the time he reaches Devil's End the village is sealed off behind a barrier of hellish heat, and it takes all of the Doctor's scientific genius, some shouting and the just-about-adequate skills (the bloke's not a Time Lord!) of Technical Sergeant Osgood (Alec Linstead) to break through it.

When he finally confronts the enemy, the Brig. is coolness personified: "Chap with the wings there. Five rounds, rapid." It doesn't do any good (as usual) because the "chap with the wings" is called Bok, shoots fire from his fingers and is made of stone ... The costume, makeup and Stanley Mason's performance combine perfectly to create this horrible little gargoyle. It would have been great to see Bok actually fly but I suppose the resources weren't available then, though it could certainly have used more Axon-style smoke and effects when some unfortunate villager gets vaporised.

Jon Pertwee gives a definitive performance and must have really enjoyed all his driving and motorcycle action filming. As the Doctor, he keeps everyone focused on the truth - they are facing "science, not sorcery", even if the science is from far beyond the Earth. And only he realises how great the danger is - it makes him quite tetchy at times; perhaps even the Doctor doesn't have a way to win, but he'll risk everything in the attempt. Katy Manning does seem to have quite a lot of getting into trouble to do as Jo Grant, but companions usually do; she has some lovely character moments, well written and acted and her choice at the end is Jo's finest hour, totally in character and an iconic moment.

To play devil's advocate for a second, you could say Azal's ending is slightly illogical in the context of "science, not sorcery", but having raised such an all-powerful adversary it was always going to be difficult to find a totally scientific way to defeat him. Perhaps there was some actual magic on May Day in Devil's End after all ...

This is a superb example of all that's best in Jon Pertwee-era `Doctor Who'. To have every story now available on DVD is a delight; to grow up watching this wonderful series was even better. In 1971, the thrilling final episode was the first colour television programme I ever saw, at a friend's house. A Saturday afternoon in June, but we were indoors and glued to the TV - no power on Earth (or from beneath it, or beyond it) was going to make us miss the last of `The Dæmons'!

"DVD with `The Dæmons' there. Five stars, rapid." 5*

DVD Special Features:
The commentary is excellent, as director Christopher Barry, Katy Manning, Richard Franklin and Damaris Hayman enjoy reliving the memories of a happy production. It takes a few minutes to `warm up' then it's fun and informative right through.
`The Devil Rides Out' (29 minutes) - a good `making of' feature with a nicely theatrical opening sequence but I think I enjoyed the commentary even more.
`Remembering Barry Letts' (34 minutes) - an excellent feature looking back at the life of the well-liked `Doctor Who' legend, with many contributions from family and friends. It's a reminder that the classic era was this good because of the quality of the people who worked on it. Producer, director and writer - and he could have guest-starred too!
`Location Film' (7 minutes) - this is a little gem, an 8mm silent colour film shot on the village green in Aldbourne during the story's location filming. So many details to take in, you'll want to watch this a few times. The amateur filmmaker isn't credited but deserves a big `thank-you' from fans.
`Colourisation Test' (25 minutes) - episode 1 as it looked after the first test of recolourisation in 1992. A very impressive demonstration, as is the improvement from there to the new DVD quality.
`Tomorrow's World' (5 minutes) - a segment from 1992 explaining the colourisation process, just before the re-broadcast of `The Dæmons'. This programme was *the* science magazine to watch, broadcast weekly on BBC1 in primetime for decades and very popular. Just like `Doctor Who' - and the BBC dumped both of them!
`Photo Gallery' (6 minutes) - a very good collection with some fun location pictures, and a little surprise ...
`Radio Times' Listings as a PDF, including a short interview feature with Katy Manning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor, The Devil & Rev Magister, 7 Sep 2014
By 
Timelord007 (The Eccentric Wanderer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD] (DVD)
Doctor Who - The Daemons (DVD).

DVD Info.
Format: PAL
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
Region 2
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
Number of discs: 2
Classification: PG
Studio: 2entertain
Running Time: 122 minutes

Special Features
* Commentary with Katy Manning, (Jo Grant), Richard Franklin, (Captain Mike Yates), Damaris Hayman, (Miss Hawthorne, the white witch) & director Christopher Barry
* The Devil Rides Out Cast & crew talk about the making of the story.
* Remembering Barry Letts A look at the life & work of Barry Letts.
* Location Film A mute amateur 8mm film shot in the village of Aldbourne during the location filming.
* Colourisation Test The original colourisation test version of episode one from 1992.
* Tomorrow's World An article on the technology used in the restoration.
* Radio Times listings
* Programme subtitles
* Production information subtitles
* Photo gallery
* Coming soon trailer
* Digitally remastered picture & sound quality

Cast.
Jon Pertwee - The Doctor
Katy Manning - Jo Grant
Nicholas Courtney -- Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Richard Franklin -- Captain Mike Yates
John Levene -- Sergeant Benton
Roger Delgado -- The Master
Stephen Thorne -- Azal
Stanley Mason -- Bok
Damaris Hayman -- Miss Hawthorne
Robin Wentworth -- Prof. Horner
David Simeon -- Alastair Fergus
Alec Linstead -- Sgt Osgood
Rollo Gamble -- Winstanley
Don McKillop -- Bert the Landlord
John Joyce -- Garvin
Jon Croft -- Tom Girton
Matthew Corbett -- Jones
James Snell -- Harry
Christopher Wray -- PC Groom
Eric Hillyard -- Dr Reeves
John Owens -- Thorpe
Gerald Taylor -- Baker's Man
The Headington Quarry Men -- Morris Dancers

Production
Writer : "Guy Leopold" (Barry Letts & Robert Sloman)
Director: Christopher Barry
Script editor:Terrance Dicks
Producer: Barry Letts
Series Season 8
Length - 5 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast
22 May-19 June 1971

Trivia.
1)Jon Pertwee named this as his favourite Doctor Who serial, Nicholas Courtney named it as his second favourite.
2)Due to the extensive amount of film footage on location for this serial, director Christopher Barry decided to use three film cameras which were crystal-locked together so that all three could be started & stopped simultaneously by remote control, similar to the multi-camera studio scenes on video. This was unusual as film footage would normally be achieved with just one camera, but using three enabled more scenes to be captured in the time available.
3)The documentary being made during this story is for a fictional channel, BBC Three - a channel that now exists on the BBC digital network.
4)This episode was watched by 9.2 million viewers on its original transmission.
5)The colour master videotape of this episode was erased by the BBC in the 1970s & the BBC only held a 16mm black and white telerecording. A poor quality colour NTSC version taped on a home recorder also existed. The episode remained only in black in white until the 1990s, when the colour signal from the NTSC version & the black & white telerecording were used to create a new colour master on D3 digital tape. The restoration of colour to this serial was considered a major innovation & was featured in Tomorrow's World in 1992, shortly after its restoration to colour, the serial was repeated by the BBC.

What's Up Doc.
In the peaceful village of Devil's End something very strange is happening, A professor is preparing to open a nearby burial mound & a local white witch has foreseen death & disaster.

Meanwhile, the new vicar looks suspiciously like the Master?, could he be using black magic to conjure up an ancient Dæmon.

Can the Doctor, Jo & UNIT stop their old enemy before he succeeds?

Timelord Thoughts.
This is thought to be considered the best serial of the third Doctor era & apart from a lacklustre & disappointing finale it could well have been so.

The story opens with a scene that could come straight out of a Hammer Horror film a drunken man staggers out of the pub & taking a short cut through the churchyard sees something so terrifying that he drops dead from sheer fright, the episode & the remainder of the episode & the subsequent episodes that follow involve the usual car chases & UNIT battles that are tightly directed & well executed by director Christopher Barry as the story build up tension & suspense which features the brainwashed morris dancers, satanic rituals in the church crypt & of course Bok the Gargoyle while the Master manages to resurrect a ancient all powerful daemon which gives the story a chilling supernatural feel.

Unfortunately the climax between the Doctor & Azal is a very disappointing conclusion, Azal is easily destroyed by Jo Grant who is willing to sacrifice her own life for the Doctor's, this ending feels like a complete cop out to a otherwise gripping & terrifying story that after the four episode build up left me very disappointed in it's fifth episode.

The late great Jon Pertwee is brilliant as ever as the dashing dandy man of action Doctor who gives a excellent gritty heroic performance here while Katy Manning as Jo Grant is in by far her best outing delivering a wonderful performance & shines throughout the adventure.

The late Roger Delgado never gave a poor performance & is outstandingly brilliant in this adventure & seems to be relishing his duel role persona as the Rev Magister & The Master who simply oozes charm & evil who is a brilliant protagonist for the third Doctor.

Nicholas Courtney is superb as the no-nonsense Brigader Lethbridge Stewart & delivers his now famous line in this story of "Chap with wings there five rounds rapid" & would rather go for a pint at the end of the adventure instead of joining the morris dancers, something that actor Nicholas Courtney enjoyed doing in real life was a pint or two at the pub.

Stephen Thorne is chilling as the daemon Azal who's booming voice is genuinely terrifying & gives the character a sinister evil presence.

Extras include a insightful commentary featuring actor's Katy Manning, Richard Franklyn, Damaris Hayman & director Christopher Barry while "The Devil Rides Out" it is the main making of documentary that collects memoirs from the surviving cast & crew, while "Remembering Barry Letts", is a heartfelt documentary that pays homage to Doctor Who's most influential & creative writer/producer/director who passed away in 2009.

The DVD restoration is far better than the recoloured 1992 video release & now looks clearer & more vibrant that technical remastering techniques allow while the sound is lot sharper & credit must go to the restoration team who have put a lot of effort into the remastering of these episodes.

Overall, The Daemons is a solid third Doctor adventure that for the most part delivers great action & chilling supernatural horror with a great set of special features & has great performances by the cast & features tightly paced direction by the late Christopher Barry that is letdown slightly by a lacklustre conclusion.

Timelord Rating.
8/10
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would you believe, Magic?, 29 Mar 2012
By 
Phil Rosenbach (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD] (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 3½ 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 colour. 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 3½ 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars almost a five (-pointed) star, 28 July 2012
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD] (DVD)
Long-awaited DVD and a story that holds a special place in my memory. Still think it's a great story and I have had to struggle to make it 4 rather than 5 stars. It made quite an impact on first viewing back in 1971 but now I cannot quite shake off some niggles (and I am being pedantic now) such as why the Doctor held back so long before confronting The Master when he'd worked out early on who the vicar was and the Morris dancers' scene just doesn't have the same impact as I recall (of course in the intervening years we've all seen The Wicker Man - the original is a superb horror film by the way). OK niggles over. This story has some great characters and some great scenes; I worried that Azal might look superimposed in colour but it looks pretty good after all these years (no cringing needed). We get to see more of Sgt Benton and Capt Yates than normal. The action scenes are very well done and the excellent use of a helicopter and RAF jet scenes reminded me of the classic 1968 Invasion story. It feels now like a period piece with traditional local English villagers but that's to be expected - it's 40 years' old! Oh how I wish we could have had a few Boks running amok but the one used works well on screen with horrid little jerky movements like a monkey wanting to please its Master. I liked the sinister images of normal people being taken over by "evil" influence. If you like the Pertwee era then this has to go into your collection. The restoration team have given us back a classic and it's one that I will watch more than once.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Spare Lemon, 24 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD] (DVD)
Perhaps it was just the age of Aquarius, but I'm inclined to hope that there was more to this singular success than pseudo-science and a quote from Hair.

The script, certainly; penned by Robert Sloman and Barry Letts, it is tailored very strongly to the traits and strengths of well-known characters, the Brigadier getting most of the best lines, while Yates and Benton agreeably bicker about rugby and grumble about food - to be continued in the following story. The UNIT 'family' functioning at its best, and they're all out in the country for a picnic with Dennis Wheatley.

I don't think I've ever met a Satanist; Avebury, where I lived for a Summer season, had its magic (or is that Majick?) shop, but nobody ever introduced himself as 'I'm Damien; I'm a Satanist' (I did meet a self-confessed 'black magician' in Cardiff, come to think of it, but he just seemed to be a poorly-turned-out fraud with tomato soup in his whiskers, and his magical adventures seemed more inclined to summon the constabulary than the Lord of Flies). Be that as it may, in the Whoniverse every village - be it Devil's End, Fetchborough, the one nearest to the Nine Travellers, or Moreton Harwood - has its blood sacrifice cult* - providing that the local cannibals haven't eaten them - and this is the original example, the master print, if you like.

There is still a delicious double irony in the Master working as a country vicar - and moonlighting (literally) as the head of a Satanist coven. And you can see what might attract him; he needs to summon up the devil, therefore he needs the cult, but Satanism is taboo so he needs a legit occupation, so he could also be the leader of a different cult as a day job - same line of work, just for different firms. The fact that the two cults are supposed (by some humans anyway) to be on opposite sides of the moral coin is just one more twist on the joke, and the Master does love his little joke. I like it that his take on Christianity is to talk about rationalism and existentialism - rather as if he has a copy of Jesus For Dummies somewhere but hasn't actually got beyond the magazine 'Philosophy Today' that he got in the newsagent.

In terms of Satanic Black Magic, the Deamons really has got the lot; animated stone imps, hissing black cats, sudden death in the churchyard, possessed policeman, the aforesaid black-robed cult, widespread local corruption, and a village witch.

Now witches I have met, and in some number, and Damaris Hayman's portrayal of Miss Olive Hawthorne is pretty damn true to what form I've seen. I seem to recall her expressing at least a nodding acquaintance with magic in The Making Of, and it really does not surprise me, she is highly plausible, and Miss Hawthorne quite clearly knows her stuff - witness her banishing the evil influence that's possessing Constable Groom - whatever the power or rationale behind it, magic clearly works.

And this is one of the strengths of the story; whatever it tells us, it says it with a perfectly straight face - there is the BBC, there is the country village, there is rugby football, there is black magic, there is a fifty foot Deamon, there is the heat barrier, and that must be real because it's set fire to a bread van. The devil is a big idea, it doesn't matter if we really believe in him or not; this story makes him plausible by not getting operatic about him.

The village of Aldbourne is a delightful location, and still does quite well for Deamons tourists. A 'Third Lord Aldbourne' gets mentioned by the BBC anchorman.

My only misgiving is the explanation, and indeed the denouement. The idea of god legends being inspired by alien visitors was coined by Erich von Daniken in Chariots of the Gods three years earlier, and Dr Who returns to the notion (doing it rather better) in Pyramids of Mars, but while I can buy the 'Satan was an alien' bit, I'm not sure I'm so comfortable with the 'Humanity is an experiment' idea, or with the 'I'm going to hand on my powers to someone else' bit. It all seems a bit pat, when compared to the honest to badness 'I am the Devil, and I'm going to eat everyone's soul'.

And if Azal were simply the Devil, then Jo's melodramatic attempt at self-sacrifice might well banish him back to his pit of fire and brimstone, but if the horn'd beast is really just a disappointed scientist, he'd just knock Jo aside with a spatula and get on with killing the Dr.

Nice church explosion though, and the Morris Dancing set piece is wonderful, and the heat barrier is beautifully realised, and the ending is a delight.

*Or, in one conspicuous example, ridiculously well-equipped re-enactment society.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Re-Mastered, 13 April 2013
By 
Stevos (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD] (DVD)
The Daemons (where's the symbol to combine the a and e?) is often held up as a classic example of good 70s Doctor Who, and I am in full agreement. It has all the usual ingredients:
* UNIT family at the top of their game;
* the Doctor both stern and tender;
* lots of action; and
* the Master both suave, evil and likeable.

The occult framing device works well, as we get to see the Doctor's unswerving belief in science pitted against the villagers embracing devil worship.

Personally, I always felt the Daemons lacked something. I'm not even quite sure what it is. Perhaps the plot meanders just a bit too much... And yet I love The Sea Devils, which I'm sure the same accusation could be levelled at too.

I find myself agreeing with Terrance Dicks (in one of the extras) that the ending isn't totally satisfying.

The extras are all good, and the picture quality is excellent. Definitely worth buying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Doctor Who Classic, 24 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Doctor Who: The Dæmons [DVD] (DVD)
An excellent production, costume and special effects limited as you would expect as it was broadcast 41 years ago, but the lead characters are superbly acted and the plot line is very interesting. I am a big doctor who fan so really enjoyed this dvd. Jon Pertwee is as compelling as ever as the Doctor and Roger Delgado the perfect nemesis as the Master.
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