Monday 19 September 2011

301 The Dæmons: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Dæmons: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 05 June 1971
WRITER: "Guy Leopold" (pseudonym for Robert Sloman and Barry Letts)
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who: The Dæmons
Episode Format: 16mm b&w film recording recoloured using 525 off air video

The Doctor repels Bok using a Venusian lullaby. He returns to the village and researches what he's seen in Miss Hawthorne's books. The Brigadier confirms that the barrier encompasses the village on all sides and over the top. The Doctor believes they are fighting a Dæmon from the planet Dæmos, powerful beings that have been influencing mankind's development. The local squire calls a village meeting where the Master has Bok kill him to ensure the obedience of the rest of the villagers. The Doctor plans a machine to deal with the barrier and travels to the barrier to explain it to the Brigadier. One of the villagers is sent to pursue the Doctor and he steals the Unit helicopter from the village green, pursued by Yates on a motorbike. Making a mistake while flying he crashes into the heat barrier and is killed. Jo is injured in the pursuit so Mike takes her back to the village in Bessie. The Master summons the Dæmon again and it appears in the cavern towering over him.....

This story is rolling along quite nicely with all of the main cast being given something to do. Roger Delgado is superb, pretending to be the local vicar. This isn't the last time we'll hear the Venusian Lullaby as it's sung in two stories time to the tune of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" while the Master's black mass used at several points in the story is "Mary had a little lamb" spoken backwards. There's a mistake repeated through the story though: Bok isn't a Gargoyle, which has a water spout in it's mouth, he's a grotesque. I was a little taken out the story by the noticeable improvement in picture quality as this episode concludes: the very end is taken from the following episode which survives on it's original video tape while the others, including this one, are colour recovered film recordings.

The majority of the location filming for this story takes place in Aldbourne in Wiltshire. Almost all the locations surround the village green which, coupled with the story's popularity in the 70s & 80s, led to it being a popular destination for Doctor Who fans. Indeed a pilgrimage to Aldbourne was for many years considered a rite of passage in fandom. (Train to Swindon, short walk to the bus station then a 46 or 48 bus to the village). As long term readers of this blog will remember I took a group of friends there in April when we accidentally gate crashed a Doctor Who convention being held there!

Shooting for this story took place from the 19th to 30th April 1971. Problems were encountered on the morning of 23rd April when the cast & crew awoke at their Marlborough Hotel to discover snow had fallen overnight. Doctor Who's favourite get out clause "freak weather conditions" was swiftly inserted into the script to cover the sudden appearance of snow on the ground!

The Village Church forms a central part in this story with the Master posing as it's vicar, but great care is taken not to show inside the church itself, with the cult's actions taking place in a cavern bellow it. In this instance the chosen location works wonders with the Aldbourne Village Church being located on a mound. We've previously seen a church in The Smugglers, and the Awakening will later ape the Dæmons by doing a story set in an English Churches Village with the church as it's centrepiece that is then destroyed at the story's climax. The Doctor *nearly* enters a church for a funeral in Remembrance of the Daleks, but instead choose to makes his exit at this point, while the Curse of Fenric again features something buried in a church.

No comments:

Post a Comment