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'Doctor Who' top 10 best stories: 9 - 'The Daemons'

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Digital Spy readers named David Tennant as Doctor Who's greatest ever Doctor - now, with just 10 weeks to go until the 50th anniversary, DS is embarking on a new quest... to list the top 10 Who stories of all time.

We kicked off proceedings last Monday with William Hartnell classic 'The Aztecs' - now we travel seven years forward in time, for one of Jon Pertwee's all-time greats...

9. THE DAEMONS (1971) - Five episodes - written by Guy Leopold

Doctor Who - The Daemons (1971)

© BBC

Doctor Who - The Daemons (1971)



Season eight of Doctor Who - Jon Pertwee's second year with the show - represented the BBC sci-fi drama's second major creative revamp in two years. Just four stories on from a switch to full colour and new Earthbound format, Who found itself rejigged once again in 1971, with producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks eager to push the show in a new direction.

Sweeping change is always a risk, but as has happened many times throughout Doctor Who's run, what could've been a disaster turned out to be a revelation - and our pick for the show's ninth greatest story of all time, The Daemons, is a superb climax to a fantastically successful season.

It's been said that Doctor Who is at its best when its roots are showing - think The Robots of Death's Agatha Christie vibe or the Frankenstein roots of The Brain of Morbius - and that rule is especially true of The Daemons.



The story - credited to 'Guy Leopold' but actually penned by Letts and writer Robert Sloman - is a moody mixture of Hammer Horror and The Wicker Man. The Hammer influence is particularly strong - cast Peter Cushing in the Pertwee role and switch out Roger Delgado for Christopher Lee and you can easily picture The Daemons as an offering from Britain's foremost producers of horror.

The serial is five episodes in length - an unusual format for Doctor Who, but with a wealth of strong ideas, some brilliant visuals, fantastic action sequences and a series of absolutely terrific cliffhangers, The Daemons simply rockets along - all 125 minutes of it.

Jon Pertwee is, as ever, an exemplary leading man - somehow managing to be both the stern father figure and the mischievous child simultaneously - and Roger Delgado is never better. Here, The Master is a manipulator of men, preying on the personal weaknesses of the townsfolk.



With some striking direction from Doctor Who veteran Christopher Barry, The Daemons also provides a satisfying exploration of one of the show's most frequently revisited themes - that of science vs magic.

A tale with action, humour and scares, populated with wonderful characters, The Daemons is a perfect summation of all that Letts / Dicks wanted to achieve during their tenure on Doctor Who.

Are you a fan of 'The Daemons'? Does it deserve a place in our Doctor Who top 10? Share your thoughts below!

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