In April 1971, a small village in the English county of Wiltshire was subject to an invasion. Not of Martians or extra-terrestrial lifeforms, but the cast and crew of the British sci-fi series Doctor Who. The village of Aldbourne had been chosen to be the location for the filming of The Daemons, a third Doctor story which was broadcast in May 1971. Twenty five years later, Aldbourne was once again invaded.
On the 27th April, 1996, a special convention was held in Aldbourne to celebrate 25 years since the filming of The Daemons. It was the first time a single story had had it's own convention and this in itself makes The Daemons unique.
The weather was beautiful with blue skies and warm sunlight. The event started at 9.30am, with guests arriving in the village from about 8am. Visitors to the event had special car parking passes with the UNIT emblem on them, and UNIT officials were on hand all day.
Around 500 avid fans of the programme, some of whom weren't even born when The Daemons was broadcast, turned up to see the village and to meet the stars and crew of the show. They were not to be disappointed. Of the original cast, many had made the journey to Aldbourne to celebrate with the fans, including John Levene who had travelled all the way from California to be there. Other cast members who attended were, Jon Pertwee, Nicholas Courtney, Richard Franklin, Damaris Hayman, and David Simeon. Of the crew, Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks were there. Unfortunately Katy Manning could not make it as she had other work commitments.
The day started with a showing of the first episode of The Daemons, which was followed by a number of interview panels, where delighted fans were able to hear Nicholas Courtney do a remarkable impression of Frankie Howerd saying the immortal lines,
"Jenkins...chap with wings, five rounds rapid.",
as well as hearing amusing anecdotes from John Levene about playing Benton, smelly yeti suits, life in America and waltzing with Fraser Hines.
John Levene was compere for the whole day, and regaled the fans with jokes, and stories for most of the day, some good, and some bad. Nicholas Courtney revealed which Doctor he best liked acting against, Jon Pertwee told of the fate of Bok and Richard Frankin talked of Bonnie and Clyde.
With the exception of David Simeon all the stars had autograph signing sessions. Somewhere in the queue for Richard Frankin's autograph a rumour flourished, "Mike Yates had a breakdown because Jo got married". Suggestions that this idea started with a lad in a Tom Baker scarf, his girlfriend (possibly known for writing fanzine articles) and Richard Franklin are not confirmed!
A barbeque was laid on for those fans who weren't venturing to the Cloven Hoof, in reality the Blue Boar and there was a beer tent for those who weren't driving.
Also in attendance at the event were a few characters not generally associated with The Daemons. There were two Daleks, one of which lurched across the grass drunkenly (maybe it had visited the beer tent!), an Ice Warrior, a Terrileptil and an Axon.
The event was rounded off by a marvellous firework display. Many fans had already left by this stage, and they missed a treat. Whilst waiting for the fireworks to begin, the organisers showed the video of the casts visit to Aldbourne in 1991, followed by a montage of Doctor Who clips with a themed piece of accompanying music.
Among the clips were modified pieces from the show, including hearing the Doctor swearing at the TARDIS in Spearhead from Space, and seeing a new line up of faces for the 2nd Doctor to choose from at the end of War Games.
Overall the day at Aldbourne was a great success, enjoyed by cast, villagers and fans alike. The number of people who turned up to the event, including those too young to remember the Jon Pertwee era can only be seen as a marvellous tribute to the sci-fi show which has enthralled young and old for over 30 years.
For information about the questions asked in the panels click here
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Last Updated: 22/05/96