State of Decay


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State of Decay

Serial Code


First Transmitted

22 November 1980

Final Ratings






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Regular Cast

Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Lalla Ward (Romana), John Leeson (K9), Mat thew Waterhouse (Adric)

Guest Cast

Emrys James (Aukon), Rachel Davies (Camilla), William Lindsay (Zargo), Clinton Greyn (Ivo), Rhoda Lewis (Marta) [1-2], Thane Bettany (Tarak), Iain Rattray (Habris) [1-2, 4], Arthur Hewlett (Kalmar), Stacy Davies (Veros), Dean Allen (Karl) [1], Stuart Fell (Roga) [3], Stuart Blake (Zoldaz) [3].


Written by Terrence Dicks
Directed by Peter Moffatt
Produced by John Nathan Turner


Searching for a way out of E-Space, The Doctor and Romana, joined by a young stowaway, land on a planet eerily similar to Medieval Earth. Its people live in fear, under the thumb of the Three Who Rule, cruel lords who suppress all learning to keep their subjects ignorant and helpless.

The Doctor falls in with a group of rebels and discovers a cache of advanced technology banned by the Three Who Rule. But who are these ruthless monarchs? Meeting the lords and exploring their tower, he and Romana uncover a chilling secret. The Doctor realises an ancient evil is rising once again, a terrible threat to the universe fought by his own race long ago, and one that only he can destroy now.


  • This is the second part in the E-Space Trilogy, which began in Full Circle and concludes in Warriors’ Gate.
  • Romana used to work in the Bureau of Ancient Records and once saw a reference to the Record of Rassilon.
  • The Vampires return in Goth Opera, Project: Twilight, Blood Harvest, The Eight Doctors, and Vampire Science.
  • In between their defeat of the Vampires and their departure, Fourth Doctor and Romana had a run-in with some other vampires, and are barely saved by The Doctor in The Eight Doctors.
  • The story was originally entitled The Witch Lords and was written by Dicks to open Season 15at that time (mid-1977) the BBC was preparing to mount a major production of Dracula and so cancelled the story. Dicks’ replacement script was Horror of Fang Rock. The script was kept and then put into production. Dicks struggled however to add Adric into it.
  • Working titles for this story included, The Wasting, The Vampire Mutations and The Witch Lords.
  • For the only time during his era as The Doctor, Tom Baker had to have his hair permed before filming commenced. It had lost its natural curl due to the actor being in ill health.
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