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State of Decay
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Synopsis


The Three Who Rule
The Three Who Rule
 Still searching for a way out of E-Space, The Doctor and Romana – and a new companion, the young stowaway Adric - land on a planet that is similar to Medieval Earth. They soon encounter a village where the people are living in fear of the Three Who Rule, cruel lords who ruthlessly suppress all learning to keep the people ignorant and helpless.

 The Doctor falls in with some rebels, and discovers hidden advanced technology banned by the Three Who Rule to keep the planet in a state of decay. Meeting the lords and exploring their tower, he and Romana uncover a chilling secret...

 What dark forces are the planet’s rulers protecting? Why do they thirst for blood? The Doctor realises that an ancient evil is rising once again - a terrible threat to the universe once fought by his own race long ago, and one that only he can destroy now…

Source: BBC VHS Video


General Information

Season: Eighteen
Production Code: 5P
Story Number: 112
Episode Numbers:538 - 541
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Working Titles:"The Witch Lords", "The Vampire Mutation", "The Vampire Mutations" and "The Wasting"
Production Dates: April - May 1980
Broadcast Started: 22 November 1980
Broadcast Finished: 13 December 1980
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: BBC Television Centre (TC3 and TC6)
Location: Burnham Beeches (Burnham, Buckinghamshire), Lucas CAV (Acton, London) and KJP Trading (Western Avenue, Acton, London).
Writer:Terrance Dicks
Director:Peter Moffatt
Producer:John Nathan-Turner
Executive Producer:Barry Letts
Script Editor:Christopher H Bidmead
Editor:John Lee
Production Assistant:Rosalind Wolfes
Production Unit Manager:Angela Smith
Assistant Floor Manager:Lynn Richards
Designer:Christine Ruscoe
Costume Designer:Amy Roberts
Make-Up Designer:Norma Hill
Cameraman:Fintan Sheehan
Incidental Music:Paddy Kingsland
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Dick Mills
Studio Sounds:John Howell
Lighting:Bert Postlethwaite
Visual Effects:Tony Harding
Fights Arranged By:Stuart Fell
Title Sequence:Sid Sutton
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Peter Howell
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 3The Companions: John Leeson (voice only) (K9 Mk II), Lalla Ward (Romana 2) and Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) Additional Cast: Emrys James (Aukon), Rachel Davies (Camilla), William Lindsay (Zargo), Clinton Greyn (Ivo), Rhoda Lewis (Marta), Thane Bettany (Tarak), Iain Rattray (Habris), Arthur Hewlett (Kalmar), Stacy Davies (Veros), Dean Allen (Karl), Stuart Fell (Roga), Stuart Blake (Zoldaz)Setting: Unnamed planet in E-Space (32nd century) Villain: Great Vampires

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
538Part 122 November 198022'24"5.8PAL 2" colour videotape
539Part 229 November 198023'16"5.3PAL 2" colour videotape
540Part 306 December 198024'13"4.4PAL 2" colour videotape
541Part 413 December 198024'54"5.4PAL 2" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 35 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 5.2
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)73.86%  (Position = 45 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)71.79% Lower (Position = 87 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)71.94% Higher (Position = 109 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist as PAL 2" colour videotapes.



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Notes


This story was the second of three loosely connected stories known as the "E-Space trilogy". The trilogy began in the previous story, "Full Circle", and concludes in "Warriors' Gate".

This story was a re-written version of a story called "The Vampire Mutations" (also known as "The Witch Lords") which Terrance Dicks had submitted to the show in 1977. However, it had to be put on hold just before production began due to fears of a possible conflict with the BBC’s Count Dracula - a high-profile adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic novel "Dracula". Terrance Dicks’ replacement script, to open Season Fifteen, was "Horror of Fang Rock".

The final script, for "State of Decay" had to be reworked from previous drafts as they included Leela – The Doctor’s companion during 1977 – instead of Adric. Terrance Dicks however, struggled to add Adric into the revised script and so this character has little input to the main plot.

This story has strong roots with the vampire genre (K9 mentions ‘the legend of Count Dracula’'), especially "Vampire Circus" (vampires killing children), "Kiss of the Vampire" and the rest of Hammer vampire cycle (the castle, the villagers terrified of strangers, etc.).

This was the first script worked on by new Script Editor Christopher H Bidmead, as the previous production team had not left any scripts for the new team in any sort of preparation for another year.The director assigned to this story was Peter Moffatt. This was his first Doctor Who credit, although other commitments had forced him to turn down previous offers of work on Doctor Who by the shows’ previous Producer, Graham Williams. Peter Moffatt had previously directed programmes like All Creatures Great and Small (with John Nathan-Turner), No Hiding Place, Dial M For Murder and Juliet Bravo.As well as directing this story Peter Moffatt was also tasked with helping John Nathan-Turner and Executive Producer Barry Letts to find an actor to play the part of Adric. During March, a young BBC filing clerk named Matthew Waterhouse was suggested to the team by internal casting adviser Jenny Jenkins. Matthew Waterhouse was a long time fan of Doctor Who and at the time held a membership in The Doctor Who Appreciation Society as well as having had a letter published in the fledgling Doctor Who Weekly magazine. Matthew Waterhouse was just embarking on his acting career, having recently been cast in two episodes of To Serve Them All My Days. Nonetheless, the production team was impressed by Matthew Waterhouse’s obvious energy, and decided to give him the role of Adric.

"State of Decay" was the first story Matthew Waterhouse filmed. Adric actually appeared in the preceding story but only becomes a companion in this story having stowed away in the TARDIS at the end of "Full Circle".

Having already requested that a more permanent ‘uniform’ for The Doctor be introduced in "The Leisure Hive", John Nathan-Turner similarly asked that Adric be given an outfit which he would wear regularly. This was created by Costume Designer Amy Roberts.

Having been sick throughout the making of “The Leisure Hive“, the previous story to be recorded, for the only time during his era as The Doctor, Tom Baker had to have his hair permed before filming commenced as his ill health had resulted in his hair losing its natural curl.

There is no voice credit for K9 in Part Two as he does not speak in this episode.

This story was the fourth story to be transmitted during Season Eighteen, although it was the second that went into production.

Only two days of location footage in Buckinghamshire were used for this story.

The name of the spaceship of ‘The Three Who Rule’ was amended from the Hyperion to the Hydrax when it was realised that another vessel called the Hyperion had already appeared in the 1972 Third Doctor story "The Mutants".

Unfortunately, designer Christine Ruscoe’s attempts to portray the sets as being made of ancient metals appeared more like wood on camera, undermining Christopher H Bidmead’s attempts to play up the science-fiction aspects of the scripts.

This story and the following "Warriors' Gate" featured an improved K9 prop.

K9 is heard to state that there are 18,348 emergency procedures in the TARDIS data core and that his memory contains vampire legends from 17 inhabited planets.

K9 also states that the planet has a day equivalent to 23.3 earth hours, a year to 350 earth days and that the planet has remained unchanged for thousands of years. If The Doctor is correct, in the 1986 The Trial of a Time Lord season of stories, about the Time Lord war with the Great Vampires taking place ‘back in the misty dawn of history, when Rassilon was young’, it could be millions of years.

It is revealed that the Earth ship Hydrax was en route to Beta Two in the Perugellis sector when it was drawn through the CVE into E-space by the Great Vampire, using science officer Anthony O’Connor as a conduit.

The Doctor mentions his childhood on Gallifrey when he is heard telling RomanaThere was once an old hermit from the mountains of South Gallifrey...'. It is generally felt that these references refer to K'Anpo (see the Third Doctor stories "The Time Monster" and "Planet of the Spiders"). The hermit used to tell The Doctor ghost stories, one of which concerned the Time Lord’s war with the Giant Vampires (‘They came out of nowhere and swarmed... all over the universe’).

It is revealed that Romana used to work in the Bureau of Ancient Records and once saw a reference to ‘The Record of Rassilon’. This, The Doctor discovers, is held in all type 40 TARDIS’s on magnetic card. It describes how Rassilon created bow ships which fired bolts of steel to kill the vampires and that all except one were destroyed. A directive states that the vampires are ‘the enemy of our people, and of all living things’.

Vampire cardiovascular systems are very complex and hence they can only be killed by a direct blow to the heart. During Rassilon’s war against the vampires all but one was destroyed (the King Vampire).

The Great Vampires are mentioned by the Tenth Doctor in "The Infinite Quest".

Virgin Books’ The New Adventures novel "Blood Harvest", by Terrance Dicks, and The Missing Adventures novel "Goth Opera", by Paul Cornell, are both sequels to this story. Other Doctor Who stories featuring vampires include BBC Books’ The Eighth Doctor Stories novel "Vampire Science", by Jonathan Blum and Kate Orman, and BBC Books’ The Past Doctors Stories novel "Warmonger", by Terrance Dicks.

Many of the novels feature references to the war between the Time Lords and the Vampires. Another anti-Vampire weapon, the N-Forms, were introduced by Russell T Davies in Virgin Books’ The New Adventures novel "Damaged Goods". Bowships are mentioned in The Doctor Who Annual 2006 as one of the weapons used in the Time War against the Daleks, along with N-Forms and Black Hole Carriers.

The Fourth Doctor’s segment of the BBC Books’ The Eighth Doctor Stories novel "The Eight Doctors", by Terrance Dicks, in which the Fourth Doctor is captured by the last few surviving vampires and is rescued by Romana and the Eighth Doctor, takes place between the destruction of the Great Vampire and the end of this story (Adric and K9 miss the Eighth Doctor’s arrival due to them remaining in the TARDIS to recuperate from the events of this story).

The Big Finish Productions audio stories: "Project: Twilight", "Project Lazarus", and "Zagreus" refer to the vampires and to their history with the Time Lords. The BBC audio webcast "Death Comes to Time" also features a vampire named Nessican. The Doctor has also faced vampire-like creatures in the 1989 Seventh Doctor story "The Curse of Fenric", the 2007 Tenth Doctor story "Smith and Jones" and the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "The Vampires of Venice". All these stories except "Zagreus" depict vampires different from the ones seen in "State of Decay".

The Seventh Doctor’s companion Bernice Summerfield also encounters three sets of vampires, including a servant of the ancient Vampires from "State of Decay", in the novella collection "The Vampire Curse".

"State of Decay" features the largest quantities of blood ever seen in a Doctor Who story - by a considerable margin!

This story contains a number of errors: The Doctor says the Tower decor is rococo when actually it's late Saxon/early Romanesque; In episode three a rebel bursts into The Doctor’s cell catching him across the nose with the door (Tom Baker appears slightly stunned, and misses his next cue); Why is Kalmar so concerned to get back to Earth when he and his people have never been there?

At one point The Doctor misquotes William Shakespeare’s "Henry V" (‘He who outlives this day and comes safe home shall stand a tiptoe when this day is named and rouse him at the name of E-Space!’) and "Hamlet" (‘That is the question’).

A novelisation of this story, written by Terrance Dicks, was published, in hardback, by W. H. Allen Ltd in September 1981, with the paperback version, from Target Books, following in January 1982.

A condensed version of this book was also released on audio cassette narrated by Tom Baker, who was not in character as The Doctor. Originally this audio book was released on a single cassette by Pickwick International in 1981. It was then re-released on two cassettes by Ditto in 1985. In both versions it can be seen that the image on the cassette cover has been flipped, the writing on the TARDIS is a mirror image. The blurb on the back of the cardboard box, of the version released by Ditto, described the story thus: ‘Trapped in an alternative Universe The Doctor lands on a sinister planet ruled by an unholy trio of tyrants. Aided by Romana and the faithful K9, The Doctor must discover the dreadful secret of the Dark Tower and face the awakening horror that lies beneath it’.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by Peter Moffatt.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The Doctor and Romana Surrounded
The Doctor and Romana Surrounded

After leaving Alzarius (see "Full Circle") the TARDIS materialises on another habitable world in E-Space. The Doctor, Romana and K9 are however, unaware that Adric - an Outler from Alzarius has stowed away aboard the TARDIS.

On leaving the TARDIS, The Doctor and Romana discover a medieval village. They also discover that the native villagers live in fear of ‘the Wasting’ and of ‘The Three Who Rule’.

‘The Three Who Rule’ live in a high, imposing tower overlooking the village and they demand humans, whom their guards select from the village and take to the tower never to be seen again.

King Zargo
King Zargo

Just outside the village The Doctor and Romana discover evidence of technology considerably more advanced than the medieval conditions in the village. With such technology just lying around, The Doctor and Romana wonder what happened in the course of the planet’s development to cause it to evolve backwards to its current rustic condition - to be in a ‘state of decay’.

They are soon to discover that it is ‘The Three Who Rule’ who have been keeping the villagers in ignorance although there is a small secret group of scientists who are struggling to rediscover, and keep alive, the knowledge of electricity and technology.

Zargo and Camilla on the Throne
Zargo and Camilla on the Throne

‘The Three Who Rule’ are Camilla, Zargo and Aukon. They are in fact vampires and are the surviving crew of the Hydrax, a spacecraft sucked like the TARDIS into a Charged Vacuum Emboitment into in E-Space, who have become vampire servants of the Great Vampire. The Great Vampires are a race referred to in Time Lord mythology who are thought to have all been exterminated by the Time Lords.

The TARDIS has arrived just as The Great Vampire is about to be revived from its resting place deep underground beneath the Tower. The Doctor discovers that the tower is the shell of the original spacecraft in which The Lords, in their original human forms, came to E-Space.

Unbeknown to The Doctor and Romana their stowaway, Adric, has followed them to the village. He is discovered and captured by Aukon, who sees him as an alien and worthy of becoming one of the ‘chosen ones’. The Lords have also learnt of Romana and The Doctor, and Aukon sends a flock of his winged servants, bats, to menace them.

The Three Who Rule
The Three Who Rule

After Romana is captured by The Lords, The Doctor and K9 return to the TARDIS to review old stories about vampires. They learn that Rassilon defeated The Great Vampires by designing and building metal bowships - fast ships that fired steel bolts that speared the monsters through the heart.

Meanwhile Aukon makes preparations for Adric to become a Chosen One and, on discovering that Romana is a Time Lord, for her to be sacrificed at The Arising and so become the first taste of revenge for their master.

With the villagers and K9 making an assault on the Tower, The Doctor climbs to the very top of the Tower – There he is able to launch one of the spaceship’s three shuttle craft. As it tries to lift off it plummets to the ground, piercing the awakening Great Vampire through the heart. Deprived of their master and with their controlling influence removed, Camilla, Zargo and Aukon crumble to dust.

With the Great Vampire dispatched, and the three vampire Lords reduced to dust, The Doctor finds Romana and Adric and they depart in the TARDIS hoping that the planet, now it is free from the corruptive effect of the vampires, will develop naturally once again.

 
Adric
Adric
Romana and The Doctor Meet The Three Who Rule
Romana and The Doctor Meet The Three Who Rule
K9 on the Throne
K9 on the Throne
Adric and Romana
Adric and Romana
 
Romana on the Sacrificial Slab
Romana on the Sacrificial Slab
The Great Vampire
The Great Vampire
Zargo, Aukon and Camilla Dying
Zargo, Aukon and Camilla Dying
The Doctor with Romana and Adric
The Doctor with Romana and Adric




Quote of the Story


 'They came out of nowhere and swarmed... all over the universe.'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Audio
LP
Science-Fiction Sound Effects No. 261981REC 420Sound Effects
Audio
Tape
Science-Fiction Sound Effects No. 261981ZCM 420Sound Effects
Video
VHS
The Tom Baker YearsSeptember 1992BBCV 4839PhotoClip only Introduced and commented on by Tom Baker Double cassette release
Video
VHS
State of DecayOctober 1997BBCV 6231Photo-montagePart of the "The E-Space Trilogy Boxed Set" box set (BBCV 6229) along with "Full Circle" and "Warriors' Gate"
Video
DVD
State of DecayJanuary 2009BBCDVD 1835Photo-montagePart of the "The E-Space Trilogy Boxed Set" box set along with "Full Circle" and "Warriors' Gate"
Audio
CD
sci-fi Sound EffectsApril 2013CD release of the Science-Fiction Sound Effects No 26 LP
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 18 (Limited Edition)Mar 2019BBCBD 0462Photo-montageBlu-Ray Limited Edition boxed set containing 7 specially restored stories
Video
Blu-Ray
Time Lord Victorious - Road To The Dark TimesNovember 2020BBCBD 0518Photo-montageBlu-Ray set containing 7 stories containing legends of the Dark Times, the Dalek Empire and the Time Lord Victorious.


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Tape
Tape
State of Decay1981BBC AudioTerrance DicksPhotographAbridged version read by Tom Baker. Single Cassette
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the State of DecayJanuary 1982Target No. 58Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterISBN: 0-426-20133-7
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the State of Decay1982Target No. 58Terrance DicksBook: Andrew Skilleter
Box: Bill Donohoe
Re-released as part of The First Dr Who Gift Set
ISBN: 0-426-19270-2
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the State of Decay1983Target No. 58Terrance DicksBook: Andrew Skilleter
Box: Photo
Re-released as part of The Fourth Doctor Who Gift Set
ISBN: 0-426-19430-6
Tape
Tape
State of Decay1985Ditto AudioTerrance DicksPhotographAbridged version read by Tom Baker. Double Cassette. DTO 10517
CD
CD
State of DecayJanuary 2016Target No. 58Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterAudio version of the Target Novel read by Geoffrey Beevers (The Master).
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 49 (Released: March 1994)
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/FeatureIssue 48 (Released: January 1981)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 288 (Released: March 2000)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 371 (Released: July 2006)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 490 (Released: October 2015)
Doctor Who Magazine Special - Archive1984 Winter Special (Released: 1984)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 86 (Released: April 2012)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
Tom Baker
The Fourth Doctor

   

John Leeson (voice only)
K9 Mk II
Lalla Ward
Romana 2
Matthew Waterhouse
Adric
   




On Release

Audio LP - Sound Effects No. 26
Audio LP - Sound Effects No. 26

BBC
AUDIO
Audio Tape - Sound Effects No. 26
Audio Tape - Sound Effects No. 26

BBC
AUDIO
Tom Baker Years VHS Video Cover
Tom Baker Years VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
sci-fi Sound Effects
sci-fi Sound Effects

BBC
AUDIO
The Collection Season 18 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover
The Collection Season 18 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Time Lord Victorious Blu-Ray Cover
Time Lord Victorious Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   



In Print

Pickwick Audio Cassette Cover
Pickwick Audio Cassette Cover

Pickwick
TAPE
Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
The First Dr Who Gift Set
The First Dr Who Gift Set

Target
NOVEL
   
The Fourth Doctor Who Gift Set
The Fourth Doctor Who Gift Set

Target
NOVEL
Ditto Audio Cassette Cover
Ditto Audio Cassette Cover

Ditto
TAPE
Target Audio CD Cover
Target Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD
   


Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 49
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 49

CMS
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/Feature: Issue 48
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/Feature: Issue 48

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 288
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 288

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 371
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 371

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 490
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 490

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine Special - Archive: 1984 Winter Special
Doctor Who Magazine Special - Archive: 1984 Winter Special

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 86
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 86

GE Fabbri


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