Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Blogtor Who Top 50 - No. 48

Here it is! Blogtor's personal countdown of his 50 favourite Doctor Who television stories, one a week till the big day in November 2013. Now, just to point out, this choice is purely my own. So don't expect reasoned debate or objectivity. Or even the need to please every fan out there. This is my list, and I stand by it. I will also add that I've seen every Doctor Who story released (at least twice), so I feel like I know what I'm talking about. Anyway, enough chittle of the chattle, let's begin...

48.The Dæmons
First broadcast 22/5-19/6/1971 starring Jon Pertwee

Many of you will already know that The Dæmons has quite the status in the world of Doctor Who "classics". And, as some of you may be aware, I'm not the biggest fan of the Pertwee era (now, that's not to say I dislike it, I'm just indifferent) but this five~parter (five???) is a supreme delight from start to finish. Even with the inclusion of UNIT (another facet of early 70s Who I'm not so keen on).

The opening few minutes alone are worth re~watching endlessly for its sheer eerie evocation of the sleepy English village, caught in a Satanic storm. Throughout the story, Devil's End, the village in question, is shot beautifully - once more reminding us just how stunning Doctor Who could look on film (a point I do make from time to time, sorry to be such a bore). The direction throughout is superb and hats off to cameraman Fred Hamilton for lending a cinematic eye to the proceedings.

Showing an awesome feat of prescience, BBC Three gets invented some thirty years or so before the digital channel would be vomited onto our screens. In fact, the first episode has an incredibly modern feel with the use of an live outside broadcast, behind the scenes and television stylings. Likewise the pace of the story is also upbeat; never lingering too long on one scene, constantly driving forward.

On the cast front, Pertwee and Manning are on top form. The grumpier side of The Doctor is seen during some delightful traditional pub scenes where his arrogance reminds us that the Time Lord has some social issues. Roger Delgado's Master is as suave as ever with the Gallifreyean endulging in some truly evil doings with utter delight. The evil in The Dæmons is portrayed spot on throughout and culminates in the gargantuan appearance of Azal and his little buddy Bok.

Full marks must go to actress Damaris Hayman, local "witch" Miss Hawthorne, who steals each scene she inhabits even in the company of the show's icons and characters. Who has a history of memorable and eccentric "older" women and Miss Hawthorne comfortable resides near the top of that particular list (note to self: do a Top 10 of Memorable and Eccentric "Older" Women in Doctor Who).

I'm often critical of stories that pass over the four episode mark but this tale treats each part with justice, delivering fully with no filler. Believe the hype, The Dæmons is a true classic.




1 comment:

The Vodka Yeti said...

I was a mere eight(and a half!) years old when The Daemons was first transmitted, so as you can imagine it scared the hell out of me, but I couldn't tear my eyes away!

A few years later my parents would let me stay up late and watch the Hammer horror films on late night telly, and it was all down to this wonderful story, which will always have a special place in my heart.

9/10.