Saturday 19 May 2012

544 State of Decay Part One

EPISODE: State of Decay Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 November 1980
WRITER: Terrance Dicks
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
SCRIPT EDITOR: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The E-Space Trilogy (Full Circle / State of Decay / Warrior's Gate)

The Tardis lands on a planet supporting a medieval level civilisation. The population are under the rule of the Three Who Rule who have recently selected young villagers and had them brought to the tower. K-9 picks up a trace of high technology, but is left in the Tardis while the Doctor & Romana investigate. The Doctor & Romana visit the village inn where the headman Ivor tells him that the Lords protect them from the wasting. Adric, who has stowed away in the Tardis, goes looking for the Doctor & Romana. While seeking another village the Doctor & Romana are captured by rebels. Their presence is reported to the Three Who Rule and the Chancellor Aukon dispatches his bat servants to find them. The Doctor & Romana are taken to meet Kelner, a man who is experimenting with some advanced equipment. He tells them they intend to overthrow the Lords. Adric arrives at the inn and is given shelter by the innkeeper and his wife, whose son has recently been taken to the tower. The Doctor is told that all science and knowledge is forbidden by the Lords. The Doctor & Romana discovers that the equipment is from an Earth vessel Hydrax that they think must have passed through a CVE. One of the rebels recognises the faces of the ships officers, found in a database, as the three lords. Leaving the rebel base, the Doctor & Romana are attacked by bats!

We've got bats, we've got a castle, we've got villagers in thrall to their lords who are nice and pale. Yup Doctor Who finally does Vampires it would seem. All done very well here but nothing extra special here.

Now where were? Ah yes: 19th Feb when we did Horror of Fang Rock part 1. Then script editor Robert Holmes commissioned his old friend (and former Doctor Who script editor) Terrance Dicks to write a story based on one of the few horror tales they hadn't previously "paid homage to" over the last few years: Dracula. Dicks duly supplied the scripts for "The Witch Lords"/"The Vampire Mutation" only to then have the story spiked (staked?) when high ups at the BBC realised it would be airing at a similar time to the prestigious adaptation of the original story, Count Dracula. So Terrance Dicks was sent away to write another script in an extreme hurry and given the instruction to "set it in a light house". Dicks' original script went into a drawer where it stayed for three years until John Nathan-Turner & Christopher H. Bidmead found themselves with no other script ready to go at the start of this season. Uncle Terrance gets a call and quickly refreshes his script to take into account the change in companions and that we're in E-Space. One quick change of title later and State of Decay was ready to go as the second story filmed that season, straight after the Leisure Hive and before Meglos & Full Circle which preceded it.

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