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Mar 11, 2007

Science not Sorcery

Get your free pair of Stephen Thorne earplugs in the latest issue of ‘UNIT Adventures’ on sale 14th June 1971, price 2d

The Daemons Part 5

So this is it - with the world perched on the edge of the ‘Greatest Danger it has Ever Seen’ (again) Sergeant Osgood revises his estimate for the energy exchanger like some cowboy builder trying to up-sell a conservatory. Meanwhile in the cavern - where back in the sixties he used to hang out with the Fab Four - Azal has finally risen to his somewhat lanky height and now prepares to give judgment on all Mankind. Problem here is that Stephen Thorne’s characteristically ‘vocal’ performance - see also ‘The Three Doctors’ and ‘The Hand of Fear’ for further examples of eardrum-damaging diction - makes it sound like he’s delivering his lines from the middle of a hurricane. Maybe the maxim ‘less is more’ should have been mentioned by Christopher Barry around this point..?

Anyway Bok’s in his element, dancing around like a cross between an over-excited toddler and someone’s sex-gimp, zapping anyone who moves a side-burned head in his direction. On which point, what exactly happens to those unfortunate to receive one of the gruesome gargoyle’s thunderbolts? Are they dead or merely shifted to some astral plane where they hang around for all eternity like people on the phone to the worst call centre in creation? Either way it’s a tough one to explain when UNIT get round to dishing out the condolence letters for the bereaved families. ‘Zapped by Animated Statue’ would likely leave you without a full sense of closure…

Maybe the maxim ‘less is more’ should have been mentioned by Christopher Barry around this point..?

(At this point, let us pause and hear it for ‘Chap with wings there - five rounds rapid’, seeing as it’s bound to give Nicolas Courtney another reason to write his memoirs.)

With the UNIT convoy finally breaking through the heat barrier - after some more Olympian dithering by Osgood - Azal has a sudden migraine and even Bok finds that all the random zapping he’s been doing has left him feeling like an oversexed homunculus who’s run out of Viagra. As the Master and his cohorts prepare Jo for sacrifice - causing Dennis Wheatley to spit his rich tea across the living room - the Doctor comes to a typically ungrateful rescue. And before you can notice that this story’s almost over and it’s the first time the Doctor and the Master have met, Pertwee is delivering another Barry Letts rant about Man’s use of knowledge to poison and destroy. As a result of which Azal - somewhat unexpectedly it has to be said - decides to confer all his powers on him rather than the Master.

With things looking grimmer than an Aldbourne housewife’s pulling potential - and UNIT spending all their time taking pot-shots at a midget in lycra - Jo offers herself as a sacrifice instead of the Doctor; causing Azal to question all logic and disappear in a Top of the Pops-style conflagration of bad visual effects. As a young Russell T Davies sits at home, marvelling at the genius cop-out of it all (while, no doubt, scripting his own equally implausible ending) everyone makes a run for it as the model church explodes so convincingly that some people were moved to write to Radio Times and complain about the sheer vandalism of it all. Seriously.

...a young Russell T Davies sits at home, marvelling at the genius cop-out of it all

With the day saved and the Master captured with all the skill of Group 4 on a particularly careless day, all is well once again. As the fiendish Jackanapes is driven away to the baying boos of a Jeremy Kyle audience, the Doctor and Jo join in with the Mayday festivities while the Brigadier and Yates decide that a pint is in order. Though knowing Nick Courtney it’s likely to be more than one.

Exit Season 8, rather charmingly.

(The Bumper Bok of Made-Up Daemons Facts has this to say about The Daemons 5: Sergeant Osgood’s later career as an electrician was recently investigated by the team from BBC’s Watchdog)

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