The rest of the cast are awful charicatures, including a very stern K9, an out of sorts Lalla Ward (who at least admits it in the commentary) mug their way through four episodes of increasingly decent story which is let down terribly by awful production. The direction from Christopher Barry is uncharacteristically flat, actors hide behind plant pots to conceal themselves and a subplot concerning a group of hairy biker-alikes sounding like faux Fagans is a great idea badly executed. Costumes are mostly terrible dodgy bondage things, with masks, and the Huntsman with his whip, hands on hips and man boobs really is funny.
Myra Frances is gorgeous though, and demented as Adastra, and Bayldon plays “mental old man” very well, and Tom is clearly loving bouncing off them. When things go underground, good lighting is ruined by Matt Irvine’s embarrassing Erato – the titular Creature – which his own team describe as The Dick in the Pit – but this doesn’t make it a bad thing. Tom Baker has a ball with the phallic shaped monster and it really is achingly funny watching him and Bayldon tear the script to pieces.
And a decent script it is too. As expected from David Fisher this is a multi-layered and imaginative story with plenty going on. It’s just a pity not everyone was on the same page.
If you’re looking for dark, scary, meaningful Who, you won’t find it here. This is definitely on the Nimon-scale of slap stick. But if you like a laugh, and love Tom when he goes off on one, this will make you giggle.
Commentary for this is supplied by Myra Frances, Lalla Ward and Matt Irvine, one of whom is having a ball, one of whom is hoity but honest and one of whom tries to get out of taking the blame. I’ll let you guess who’s who. It’s quite a flat commentary though, surprisingly, and could have done with Tom stomping all over it, or perhaps an ajudicator.
The Extras too are a mixed bag. A fifteen minute biog and interview with Christopher Barry on the set of The Daemons is a bit slow and introspective, and has little to do with the story, but, well, it’s Christopher Barry, so respect. Team Erato talks to the culprits for the dick in the pit, with everyone blaming everyone else, saying how hard it was (yik) and how they never had enough money. What comes out from it is that the story was bigger than the budget, which, I suppose is nothing new. It just depends whether you give up the ghost or not. Finally there’s a funny little scene from set with Tom as the Doctor talking directly to the audience from Animal Magic, randomly. And very randomly, as is usual for Tom. It’s another thing, like his lucky number, which will make you laugh.
This is typical Season 17 fare. If you know what to expect, and are in the right frame of mind, you’ll enjoy the ride and laugh along. If it’s not for you, nothing in the world will make you enjoy it.