Wednesday, September 2, 2009

JJJ5 - The Daemons 5

When watching The Daemons, it's quite clear that everyone had a wonderful time making it. You can almost feel the good vibrations coming through the TV screen from the cast and crew, and the village where this story was predominantly shot. (The fact that a Myth Makers video was made in 1995 featuring most of the actors and the village of Aldbourne itself is testament to the fond memories that came from the production). Not only do the actors appear to be having fun, but the characters almost seem more jovial here than in other stories.

While not perfect, and certainly not the highlight of the Pertwee era as it is often claimed to be, The Daemons is an enjoyable view. A romp, if you will. The debate between magic/superstition and science is one that surprisingly hadn't been dealt with at this stage in the programme's history. The approach that The Daemons takes with this is the best part of the story. In the first two or three episodes, events occur that have no definable explanation, and if The Doctor knows, he sure isn't telling. The events seem like magic at first glimpse - strange and sudden heat waves, The Master apparently using Satanic incantations to summon the Devil, and so on. They're deliberately shown to put the viewer off kilter. Is it magic? Has The Doctor finally met his match in his pursuit of bringing scientific reason to the world?

By the end, of course, The Doctor manages to explain everything via science, and superstition is defeated for another day. It doesn't seem to affect the villagers, though, as shortly after The Master is finally captured and carted off, the May Day revelry continues unabated, as if none of the terrible events from the past few hours (this story takes place over the course of less than 24 hours, remember) ever happened. The character of Miss Hawthorne, a white witch who should have been rendered useless by the end of this, reflects the mood of the village in noticing that the birds have started singing again, and life and hope have once again returned to the village.

As The Doctor says to Jo, "Perhaps there is magic in the world after all.", shortly after Yates and the Brigadier retire to the pub for a pint of beer. One of the best closing scenes ever in one of the most charming Doctor Who stories ever made.


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