Main content

The Fourth Dimension

State of Decay


The Doctor makes reference to an old man who lived in the South Mountains of Gallifrey who used to tell him ghost stories when he was young. This is almost certainly the same old man that the Doctor talks about in 1972’s The Time Monster and who we eventually discovered is called K’anpo when we met him in Planet of the Spiders in 1974.


The Three Who Rule, Aukon, Zargo and Camilla are actually the original captain, navigation officer and science officer of the Hydrax who have been turned into vampires. Their names are corruptions of their original names Anthony O’Connor, Captain Miles Sharkey and Lauren MacMillan. Their ship, the Hydrax , now masquerades as the Tower from which they reign over the villagers, descendants of the of the original passengers and crew of the ship.


Clinton Greyn plays the leader of the villagers, Ivo. He will return in The Two Doctors in 1985 to play the Sontaran, Group Marshal Stike.


The story that became State of Decay had originally been scheduled as the first story of Season 15 in 1977 when it was known as The Witch Lords. However, it was felt that a Doctor Who vampire story might undermine the credibility of a new adaptation of Dracula that was being shown by the BBC around the same time. So The Witch Lords was dropped and Horror of Fang Rock was made in its place.


As well as its original The Witch Lords title, the story would also be known as both The Wasting and The Vampire Mutations during its development for Season 18.


Stuart Fell, who plays Roga in State of Decay, had appeared in numerous Doctor Who stories throughout the 1970s. Most notably, perhaps, he played Alpha Centauri in The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon but he also featured in The Masque of Mandragora ,The Ark in Space and many more adventures. Fell’s film credits include Superman, Aliens and The Empire Strikes Back. State of Decay was his final appearance on Doctor Who.


State of Decay sees the Doctor Who debut of Stuart Blake, here playing Zoldaz. He returned to the show as the Commander in The Five Doctors and Scibus in Warriors of the Deep.


Although viewers met Adric in Full Circle, which was broadcast directly before State of Decay, this story was the first story which Matthew Waterhouse filmed. He remained with the show until Adric’s death in Earthshock but made a number of subsequent cameo appearances, briefly featuring in both Time-Flight and The Caves of Androzani as well as the 2013 special, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot.


All four episodes of State of Decay have been restored and remastered and have been released on DVD along with Full Circle and Warriors' Gate as part of the E-Space Trilogy boxset. The episodes are accompanied by a commentary by actor Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), director Peter Moffatt, and author Terrance Dicks. The disc also includes a documentary in which cast and crew discuss the making of the story; and the option to watch the story with an isolated music score.

Related Content