‘STATE OF DECAY’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
An Adventure in E-Space with Vampires
This is the second story of ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ and it’s a gothic tale, full of blood-curdling proportions. The Doctor and Romana visit an alien planet, whilst journeying through E-Space in order to escape.
They discover the planet is in decay with scared villagers, under the rule of the vampires who want blood and to rise up into the sky. Can the Doctor and Romana stop the terror of the Three Who Rule?
I’ve had the DVD cover of ‘State of Decay’ signed by Matthew Waterhouse at the ‘London Film and Comic Con 2017’, Olympia, July 2017. I enjoyed hearing from Matthew how he considers ‘State of Decay’, ‘The Keeper of Traken’, ‘Kinda’ and ‘The Visitation’ as his favourite stories from the TV series.
This four-part story is by Terrance Dicks and was originally called ‘The Vampire Mutation’. In 1980, producer John Nathan-Turner asked writer Terrance Dicks to write this story for Tom’s final season.
I don’t like vampires, but I enjoyed watching this story and the world Terrance Dicks creates with the vampires. It’s a wonderfully directed tale by Peter Moffatt and suits the Tom Baker era beautifully.
There were behind-the-scenes tensions between Terrance Dicks and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead on the changes made during the story. Thankfully, Terrance’s story came out alright in the end.
Peter Moffatt was chosen to direct this story on the basis that it would be a gothic tale. Peter managed to persuade JNT to revert the script back to its gothic form after it became too futuristic and scientific.
Matthew Waterhouse as Adric appears in this story, after stowing away aboard the TARDIS. Adric soon gets lured by the vampire lords who offer him immortality. Will he serve the vampires forever?
I like Tom Baker’s Doctor, as he’s pretty aloof and has some funny lines. I liked it when the Doctor says “Hello!” to one of the villagers and he runs away . I also liked it when the Doctor reacts to Romana stepping on his toe.
Lalla Ward as Romana is pretty good too. I loved it when the Doctor and Romana climb into the inspection hatch. They both witness the chamber of dead bodies and fuel tanks dripping with blood.
K-9 (voiced by John Leeson) spends most of the time in the TARDIS. But he becomes useful when helping the Doctor to find out more about the vampires and he gets to overthrow the vampires’ castle.
The Three Who Rule vampires are terrifying and hungry for blood. These vampires include William Lindsay as Zargo the King; Rachel Davies as Camilla the Queen and Emrys James as Aukon the Councillor.
The frightened village is led by Clinton Greyn as Ivo. He’s a weary-beaten man looking after his people; keeping the village together and selects those victims who are to be taken for the feasting.
I liked the design work on this story as it feel pretty gothic and unnerving for a 1980s ‘Doctor Who’ story. I love the concept of a castle turning out to be a spaceship, even when it blasts off during ‘Part Four’.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s an enjoyable commentary with director Peter Moffatt, writer Terrance Dicks and Matthew Waterhouse. There’s also an isolated music option by Paddy Kingsland and an info-text commentary option to enjoy.
There’s a making-of documentary called ‘The Vampire Lovers’ with cast and crew interviews; film trims and two vampire documentaries called ‘Leaves of Blood’ and ‘The Blood Show’. There’s also ‘The Frayling Reading’ analysis on ‘State of Decay’, continuities announcements; a photo gallery of the story and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story.
There’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for the ‘The Rescue’ and ‘The Romans’ with William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill and Maureen O’Brien.
‘State of Decay’ is a chilling and disturbing gothic tale that started off a trend of vampire stories in ‘Doctor Who’. You’ll need a strong stomach and a bolt of steel to brave your fears against vampires!
‘State of Decay’ rating – 8/10
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