Demon Music Group started out as Demon Records, a British record label, founded in 1980 by former United Artists A&R executive Andrew Lauder and Jake Riviera (aka Andrew Jakeman), and also, possibly, Elvis Costello! In 1998, Demon was acquired by Crimson Productions and the record label was merged with its Westside Records operation. The date that BBC Studios acquired Demon Records/Crimson Records and their subsidiaries and labels is not recorded.
As well as Doctor Who they also release many other items and specialise in the reissues of catalogue titles, with a focus on the various Record Store Days each year where many rare items are re-issued on vinyl specifically for sale at participating stores.
The Demon Records/BBC Doctor Who initiative came from Ben Stanley, Product Manager at Demon Records; their first Doctor Who release came in 2016 when they produced a new vinyl edition of the ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ adaptation (first issued in October 1979) for the April Record Store Day that year. They also put out ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ and ‘City of Death’ before Oink Creative and Michael Stevens came on board in 2019 to create a revamped look for ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’ soundtrack release.
As the years have gone by, the Doctor Who releases have become more elaborate and complex. From initial reissues of some of the single- and double-LP historic Doctor Who recordings, they moved into releasing LPs of the Doctor Who soundtracks in 2018 … and have since augmented the range with some reissues of Big Finish’s Doctor Who audios on LP as exclusives to certain retail stores.
The disks themselves are very nicely produced and packaged, and as the range has expanded, so various variants have been introduced. The soundtrack LP covers have been created by various artists at Oink Creative, including (but not limited to) Tom Fournier, Sam Goddard, John Conlon and Louise Barden. The packaging design is by Oink, based on art direction by Michael Stevens; Michael gives the team a detailed brief on each release and supplies photo assets, story detail, sleeve text and suggestions for key elements to illustrate. Michael and Oink decide the vinyl colours and effects between them and he then gives each one a story-appropriate name.
The pressing plant they use for the LPs is a dab hand at creating all manner of different effects on the disks, which Michael names with suitably ‘Who-ish’ descriptions for the releases: ‘Skaro swirl’, ‘Tibetan blizzard’ and ‘Animus splatter’ among them … and these are usually special releases exclusive to the online retailer Amazon.
Most of the Doctor Who soundtrack releases are re-issues of audio previously released on CD, with an overlaid narration from one of the actors from the show, but the release of ‘The Web Planet’ had not been previously made available and featured an all new narration from Maureen O’Brien. A CD release was subsequently made available the following year.
Looking at the most recent releases, and we have two soundtracks. One is a boxed set of three LPs covering ‘The Sensorites’, and the other is a two LP release covering ‘The Celestial Toymaker’. Each 25 minute episode of the original show takes one LP side, so the number of LPs is dictated by the number of episodes. And the packaging too, to some extent, though the releases have settled into something of a ‘format’. There is a box or gatefold case with stunning new artwork on the front, and then each LP has it’s own slipcase with a standard design on one side (colour themed to whatever the colour palette of the release is), and the other containing the cast and credits details for that episode. The outer sleeves within the box sets also have imagery on each side which, when placed together, makes up a larger picture.
‘The Sensorites’ also comes with an embossed, frameable art print of the cover artwork and the Sense-Sphere blue marble vinyl LPs are presented in individual pockets which, when placed in order, reveal a double-sided composite illustration, again of the cover artwork. An accompanying booklet supplies cast and credits, and inner bags feature complete episode billings. It’s an impressive package!
‘The Celestial Toymaker’ comes on red (king) and blue (queen) coloured LPs and is in a more simple gatefold packaging with inner bags.
If it’s sheer luxury you want though, then the two LP boxed set releases of two of Paul Magrs’ audio series for AudioGo really push the boat out.
Hornet’s Nest and Demon Quest were two 2009 and 2010 five-part audio releases featuring Tom Baker as the Doctor, but strangely having adventures in England while living in a cottage with his housekeeper, Mrs Wibbsey. There is a third series of adventures called Serpent Crest, coming on 23 May 2023! The stories were typically Doctor Who, and Baker effortlessly fell back into his classic portrayal … but here even more eccentric if that’s possible!
For these special LP releases Demon Records have really gone the extra mile!
For Hornet’s Nest, the set comes with an exclusive, frameable portrait of the Fourth Doctor – every copy of which has been individually signed by Tom Baker himself. There’s an impressive, die-cut removable outer sleeve housing a hornet-adorned lidded box, inside which are ten individual, alternating yellow and black vinyl LPs, within exquisitely illustrated LP sleeves featuring full cast and credits for each story. Also included is The Doctor’s Journal, a large 16-page full colour booklet detailing the Time Lord’s notes and illustrations from his battles against the hornets.
Demon Quest also has ten LP records, alternating red and black, each one containing one episode of the series. Every copy of the vinyl edition includes an exclusive, frameable portrait of the Fourth Doctor, again hand signed by Tom Baker himself. There’s an intricately die-cut, removable outer sleeve revealing a demonic lidded box, inside which are ten individual illustrated LP sleeves featuring full cast and credits for each of the five stories. The Time Lord’s encounters with the mysterious demon are detailed in The Doctor’s Journal, a large 16-page full-colour booklet featuring notes and illustrations from this epic pursuit through time.Each are superbly produced and are in themselves true works of art. Sadly the cost reflects this – they’re not cheap, each retailing for around £190 each! But some outlets have them discounted … so shop around! As a very special present for the Doctor Who fan in your life, they’re probably hard to beat!
Coming for Record Store Day 2023 (22 April) is another Demon release, this time of stories in part from The Amazing Worlds of Doctor Who hardback book, published in 1976 through a special promotion with TyPhoo teabags. The promotion included 12 collectible photo-cards given away with the boxes of tea, and a poster onto which they could be mounted.
This 2023 audio edition includes ‘The Sinister Sponge’ (also in The Doctor Who Annual 1976, previously released on CD on The Sinister Sponge and Other Stories (2019)), ‘The Vampires Of Crellium’ (original to The Amazing World of Doctor Who), ‘On The Slippery Trail’ (original to The Amazing World of Doctor Who) and ‘The Mission’ (also in The Doctor Who Annual 1976). There are two stories not contained in the book The Amazing World of Doctor Who: ‘A New Life’ (from The Doctor Who Annual 1978) and ‘Avast There’ (from The Doctor Who Annual 1976). The release also contains audio adaptations of two comic stories: ‘The Psychic Jungle’ and ‘Neuronic Nightmare’ (both also in The Doctor Who Annual 1976).
Dan Starkey (Strax), Louise Jameson (Leela) and Geoffrey Beevers (The Master) read these weird and wacky stories. Published in Doctor Who‘s 60th anniversary year, the 140g clear vinyl LPs are presented in a gatefold sleeve with illustrated inner bags. Chris Achilleos’ iconic artwork for the original book provides a stunning front and back cover to the LP release.
The May 2023 Serpent Crest release follows the pattern of the two earlier box sets. This time the colour theme is green and black, and there’s the usual quality booklet, art print personally signed by Tom Baker, ten LP records (alternating black and green) and artwork adorning the whole package. This time the slipcase has ‘serpent scale’ cutouts in the outer box and the whole package just screams ‘luxury’.
Here’s a quick checklist of all the Doctor Who LPs that Demon Records have released so far …
Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks 16/04/2016 DEMREC160
Doctor Who and the Pescatons (Victor Pemberton) / Doctor Who Sound Effects No 19 22/04/2017 DEMREC202
Doctor Who: City of Death 21/04/2018 green vinyl DEMREC254
Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen 21/04/2018 silver vinyl DEMREC253
Doctor Who: Cold Vengeance (Matt Fitton) 19/10/2018 DEMREC327
Doctor Who: Galaxy 4 13/04/2019 2x180g splatter vinyl DEMWHOLP001
Doctor Who: Destiny of the Daleks 13/04/2019 2x180g splatter vinyl DEMWHOLP002
Doctor Who: The Daleks’ Master Plan 15/02/2019 6x180g translucent blue vinyl. DEMWHOBOX001
Doctor Who: The Daleks’ Master Plan (Amazon) 15/02/2019 6x180g translucent ‘splatter’ vinyl. DEMWHOBOX001X
Doctor Who: The Creeping Death (Roy Gill) 24/05/2019 DEMREC433
Doctor Who: Wave of Destruction (Justin Richards) 02/08/2019 ‘ocean swirl’ vinyl. DEMREC453
Doctor Who: The Evil of the Daleks 19/07/2019 translucent red vinyl. DEMWHOBOX002
Doctor Who: The Evil of the Daleks (Amazon) 19/07/2019 ‘Skaro swirl’ vinyl. DEMWHOBOX002X
Doctor Who: Death and the Queen (James Goss) 06/09/2019 DEMREC370
Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen 27/09/2019 3x180g white vinyl DEMWHOBOX003
Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen (Amazon) 27/09/2019 3x180g ‘Tibetan blizzard’ vinyl DEMWHOBOX003X
Doctor Who: Max Warp (Jonathan Morris) 15/11/2019 DEMREC554
Doctor Who: The Web Planet 13/12/2019 180g pink vinyl. DEMWHOBOX004
Doctor Who: The Web Planet (Amazon) 13/12/2019 180g ‘Animus splatter’ vinyl. DEMWHOBOX004X
Doctor Who: The Paradise of Death & The Ghosts of N-Space (Barry Letts) 28/02/2020 3x180g blue vinyl & 3x180g yellow vinyl DEMWHOBOX005
Doctor Who: The Paradise of Death & The Ghosts of N-Space (Barry Letts) (Amazon) 28/02/2020 3x180g space world splatter vinyl and 3x180g spectral splatter vinyl DEMWHOBOX005X
Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace 06/07/2020 180g ‘volcanic eruption’ vinyl. DEMWHOLP004X
Doctor Who: The Massacre 29/08/2020 ‘Parisian blaze’ vinyl DEMWHOLP003
Doctor Who: Marco Polo 11/09/2020 sandstorm vinyl DEMWHOBOX006X
Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious: The Minds of Magnox (Darren Jones) 04/12/2020 DEMWHOLP005
Doctor Who: The Edge of Time (Richard Wilkinson) 22/01/2021 140g red and purple vinyl DEMREC713
Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock 19/02/2021 140g Rutan blob green vinyl DEMWHOLP006
Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors 04/06/2021 molten ice vinyl DEMWHOBOX007
Dalek Terror 12/06/2021 2x140g ‘extermination splatter’ vinyl DEMWHOLP007
Doctor Who: The Myth Makers 27/08/2021 ‘Trojan sunset’ vinyl DEMWHOLP008
Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet 18/03/2022 ‘sky demon’ splatter vinyl DEMWHOLP009
Doctor Who: Dead Air (James Goss) 23/04/2022 2x140g soundwave green vinyl. DEMWHOLP010
Doctor Who: Hornet’s Nest: The Complete Series 06/05/2022 10x140g alternating yellow and black vinyl DEMWHOBOX009
Doctor Who: The Sensorites 22/07/2022 3x140g Sense-Sphere blue marble vinyl. DEMWHOBOX008
Doctor Who: The Celestial Toymaker 30/09/2022 2x140g king and queen (red and blue) vinyl DEMWHOLP011
Doctor Who: Demon Quest: The Complete Series 02/12/2022 10x140g alternating red and black vinyl DEMWHOBOX010
The Amazing World of Doctor Who 22/04/2023 2x140g red and orange vinyl REF: DEMWHOLP012
Doctor Who: Serpent Crest: The Complete Series 26/05/2023 10x140g alternating green and black vinyl DEMWHOBOX011