Doctor Who: Season 8, Episode 21

The Dæmons: Episode One (22 May 1971)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
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The Master raises the Devil. The Doctor becomes a wizard.



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Title: The Dæmons: Episode One (22 May 1971)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Nicholas Courtney ...
Roger Delgado ...
Katy Manning ...
Richard Franklin ...
Damaris Hayman ...
Don McKillop ...
Rollo Gamble ...
Robin Wentworth ...
David Simeon ...
Alastair Fergus
James Snell ...
John Joyce ...
Eric Hillyard ...
Jon Croft ...


For 200 years the secret of Devil's End village has lain dormant, as the burial mound, the so-called Devil's Hump, has remained sealed. Until now, at midnight on April 30th on the greatest occult festival of the year, as Professor Horner prepares to break it open. But just what evil treasures lie buried there? Will the local white witch's warnings of doom and destruction be fulfilled? Who or what is the mighty Azal? But even more disturbing for the Doctor and Jo, just how is the Reverend Magister, alias the infamous Master, involved in the mystery? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

devil | master | witch | village | occult | See more »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 May 1971 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode was watched by 9.2 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »


Capt. Mike Yates: I see. So all we've got to deal with is something which is either too small to see or thirty feet tall, can incinerate you or freeze you to death, turn stone images into homicidal monsters and looks like the devil.
The Doctor: Exactly.
See more »


Referenced in Christopher Barry: Director (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

"A rationalist, existentialist priest indeed!" Excellent opening episode.

Doctor Who: The Dæmons: Episode One starts as the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) is told that an archaeological dig at a small English village called Devil's End is to be screened live on BBC television, the Doctor becomes worried when he recognises the name Devil's End & that the dig is taking place at a local barrow called the Devil's Hump & the fact that the date is 30th April, or Beltane the greatest occult festival of the year next to Halloween. The Doctor & his assistant Jo Grant (Katy Manning) leave for Devil's End straight away, meanwhile Professor Horner (Robin Wentworth) plans to break open the barrow at precisely midnight believing that a warrior chief is buried inside. Can the Doctor make it in time to stop him & why is the Master (Roger Delgado) posing as a local vicar & holding satanic rituals in the cavern under Devil's End church?

Episode 21 from season 8 this Doctor Who adventure originally aired here in the UK during May 1971 & was the fifth & final story from Jon Pertwee's second season playing the Doctor, directed by Christopher Barry one has to say The Dæmons: Episode One is one of the very best opening episodes to a story & sets things up brilliantly. Originally just called The Demons rather than The Dæmons the script was written by producer Barry Letts & Robert Sloman under the pseudonym Guy Leopold & is one of those religious themed sci-fi tales where some sort of scientific rationale is given to the unexplained, belief, legend & magic. Having said that the BBC apparently gave Letts & Sloman restrictions, for instance they were to call the crypt under the church a cavern, they had to move the actual satanic rituals performed by the Master from inside the church itself to the underground cavern & they weren't to mention God by name but references to the Devil were perfectly acceptable! The Dæmons: Episode One really builds up the story, it hooks you straight away & feels like a cross between the Hammer horror film The Devil Rides Out (1967) & the Quatermass films which is no bad thing. This is one opening episode which really grabs you from the offset & it's great. Like every other story from season eight The Dæmons features the Master but unlike the previous story Colony in Space (1971) his inclusion in The Dæmons is not hidden & his presence is revealed very early on. This is just a great opening episode to a great Pertwee five parter, most Doctor Who fans should love it.

Besides having a great story The Dæmons is one of the most impressive Doctor Who stories production wise, there's some terrific location filming including a wonderfully atmospheric opening set at night in Devil's End during a torrential thunderstorm that looks like it could grace any horror film out there. There hasn't really been any special effects so far apart from the use of a wind machine & certainly nothing you could criticise. Unfortunately the BBC didn't seem to like it as much as the fans & during the junking's & wiping's that took place in the 70's all but Episode Four was wiped considered of no further use. Luckily they made 16mm black and white film prints & using an off-air recording a fan made during the late 70's from an American broadcast Episodes One, Two, Three & Five were recoloured with tremendous results. I know I brought the VHS when it was released over here in the 90's & the way technology has moved on the DVD will almost certainly look amazing, maybe even better than the original tapes the way film & video can be remastered to such a high standard these days. Interestingly there is talk of BBC 3 during this episode which of course didn't exist at the time but does now!

The Dæmons: Episode One is a fantastic opening episode that comes across more like a horror film than a sci-fi show but I'll happily take that all day long! If your a fan all I can say is find a copy now & watch it as soon as you can.

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