Kate Lethbridge-Stewart responds to a desperate message
from ex-UNIT operative Douglas Cavendish, who claims to have
seen a ghost. When she arrives at his country retreat, she
realises that Cavendish is key in a plot to summon the Daemons
back to Earth...
Rising is Reeltime Pictures' first Doctor Who spin-off
drama in four years, but was it worth the wait?
some respects it is a more modest production than Downtime
or the two Mindgame video releases, with a tiny cast
and a limited number of Earthbound locations. It reunites
two characters from Downtime, Douglas Cavendish (played
by Reeltime and Big Finish stalwart Miles Richardson) and
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's daughter, Kate (Richardson's
real-life spouse, Beverley Cressman). Joining them is Andrew
Wisher (whose father Michael played a variety of roles in
Who and Reeltime productions) as "the ghost", a character
who proves to have a connection with Telos Publishing's new
Time Hunter range of novellas.
In other respects, however, the production values have moved
forward in leaps and bounds since Mindgame: Trilogy.
Special effects are used sparingly, but to good effect, which
is entirely the right approach for producer/director Keith
Barnfather to have taken. The ghost effects are subtle, as
is the illusion of Kate's unnatural reflection. Most impressive
of all is the creation of a CGI Daemon. David J Howe's script
challenges Azal's belief, in the 1971 Who serial The
Daemons, that he was the last of his kind. Likewise, the
radically different design of the creature challenges the
assumption that all Daemons look like blokes with horns and
chosen locations are impressive, too, including a picturesque
cottage and the creepy Kents Cavern.
script is by no means perfect in terms of its structure. It's
a little slow moving to begin with, though atmospheric. The
halfway point is heralded by a cumbersome dumping of information.
The ending, like that of the original Daemons, is a
rather talky affair. Fortunately, familiarity with the Time
Hunter series is not required, though knowledge of Doctor
Who's UNIT era is fairly crucial, particularly during
the scenes involving Cavendish's "memorabilia".
DVD contains 45 minutes of documentary featurettes, including
plenty of behind-the-scenes footage; short interviews with
the original writers of The Daemons, Barry Letts and
Robert Sloman; and an examination of the painstaking creation
of a very convincing looking "stone" gargoyle.
some minor flaws, Daemos Rising certainly was worth
the wait, an impressive production with performances to match.
Go on... be a devil and buy it!