Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Book Review


Doctor Who and the Dæmons


Author: Barry Letts
Read by: Barry Letts
BBC Audio
RRP: £17.99 (CD), £10.80 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 405 68762 1 (CD), 978 1 405 60954 8 (download)
Available 14 August 2008

The Doctor is strangely concerned about Professor Horner’s plan to cut open an ancient barrow near the peaceful English village of Devil’s End. Equally worried is Miss Hawthorne, the local white witch, who foretells a terrible disaster if he goes ahead. The only person who wants the Professor to open the barrow is the new vicar, Mr Magister (in truth the Master), whose secret ceremonies are designed to conjure up a horribly powerful being from another planet. The Brigadier and Jo Grant assist the Doctor in a confrontation with the forces of black magic...

It may seem unusual for the author of this audio book to also be its narrator, but Barry Letts (Doctor Who’s producer between 1969 and 1974) actually started his career as an actor, so he has experience in speaking roles. He also recently narrated the audio book of his autobiography, Who & Me.

The reading gets off to a bit of a shaky start, with little to distinguish the voices of the locals of Devil’s End. However, Letts soon hits his stride, especially when the wonderful Miss Hawthorne enters the story. The author/narrator accurately captures the slight lisp that the actress Damaris Hayman possesses in the original television serial. I suspect that Letts is intimately familiar with the production, as he even manages to create an impression of Azal actor Stephen Thorne struggling to talk around his mouthful of fake Dæmon teeth!

The novelisation sticks closely to the original script (which Letts wrote pseudonymously with Robert Sloman as Guy Leopold), making a number of additions and improvements along the way. Here, for instance, it is not immediately obvious that Mr Magister is the Master (well, unless you read the synopsis on the back!) because initially we only see him through the eyes of characters who don’t know who the Master is. The embarrassing scene on screen of Sergeant Benton and Captain Yates watching football on TV, in a failed attempt to make them look like regular blokes, is all but gone. Instead we learn that Benton has a girlfriend called Mavis, who likes to take him ballroom dancing - which makes Miss Hawthorne’s subsequent devotion to her “knight in shining armour” all the more amusing. The novelist also makes up for the show’s technical and budgetary shortcomings by describing Azal walking around outside (on TV he was only ever seen in the crypt) and by giving the gargoyle Bok the ability to fly.

With a running time of six hours, you’ll have a hell of a good time listening to this audio book.


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£10.79 (
£8.99 (
£10.79 (
£13.49 (
£16.99 (
£17.09 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.