Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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State of Decay: Part One 

Looking for scientists to help them find a way out of E-Space, K-9 locates a habitable planet for them to check out. They find a tower harboring royals overlooking a single village of ... See full summary »


Peter Moffatt


Terrance Dicks (by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Tom Baker ... Doctor Who
Lalla Ward ... Romana
Matthew Waterhouse ... Adric
Emrys James Emrys James ... Aukon
Rachel Davies ... Camilla
William Lindsay William Lindsay ... Zargo
Clinton Greyn Clinton Greyn ... Ivo
Rhoda Lewis ... Marta
Thane Bettany Thane Bettany ... Tarak
Iain Rattray Iain Rattray ... Habris
Arthur Hewlett ... Kalmar
Stacy Davies Stacy Davies ... Veros
Dean Allen Dean Allen ... Karl
John Leeson ... Voice of K9 (voice)


Looking for scientists to help them find a way out of E-Space, K-9 locates a habitable planet for them to check out. They find a tower harboring royals overlooking a single village of grubby peasants, no fauna other than bats, and a band of rebels hiding out from a severe law that prohibits learning. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

22 November 1980 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Terrance Dicks had previously submitted a vampire-themed story in 1977, but it was rejected because of the BBC's prestigious adaptation of Count Dracula (1977). See more »


During the bat attack scene at the end of the episode, as the Doctor and Romana are stopped in their tracks, one of the prop bats falls to the ground in front of them and lies still. See more »


Habris: My Lord.
Doctor Who: No no no, please, just the Doctor will do. This is Romana.
See more »


Featured in Electric Dreams: The 1980s (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Strangers ? We Don't Get Many Stangers Here Sir
21 January 2014 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

Landing an unnamed planet in E-Space The Doctor and Romana ( Not knowing they've picked up a stowaway ) enter a village that resembles one seen in the Dark Ages of Earth . The Doctor is intrigued to find anachronistic equipment hidden in the village . Do the Lords living in the near by castle have anything to do with this and why do the villagers live in fear of the Lords ?

Terrance Dicks wrote this for the Hinchcliffe era in the mid 1970s but because the BBC was producing a prestigious version of Dracula starring Frank Finlay and Louis Jordan it was decided to dump Dicks script and instead he wrote Horror Of Fang Rock to kick start season 15 . I've always considered Fang Rock to be an overlooked masterpiece and in comparison State Of Decay is an inferior work . That's not to say it's bad , it's just not exceptional and to be fair it sticks out slightly more due to its homage to horror in general and Hammer horror movies in particular . There's even a nod to the old clichéd line of " Strangers sir ? We don't get any strangers here " and all the story needs is an appearance from Michael Ripper as an inn keeper to complete the illusion

Peter Moffat is considered to be one of the very worst directors to have worked on the classic series but his ill founded reputation is down to him constantly being assigned glitzy space opera type tales something he had no understanding or empathy for . Here as in next season's The Visitation he is on top form and shows he was a natural talent for directing stories that were pseudo historical fantasy . The location filming is very effective and moody with the right amount of lighting used and the interior sets look like they've come from the grimmest historical productions at the BBC and never fail to convince . Moffat also uses a couple of directorial flourishes such as a cutting cross fade of a Lord in to a bat

The script rattles on at a superb pace and is well directed for the most part but like a few other stories from the classic show what lets things down is the final episode , especially the climax which leads one to ask did the budget suddenly run out . The model work in particular is rather poor and is something of an anti-climax for the story . Another irritant is Adric who is supposed to be both a rebel and a mathematical genius but played by Matthew Waterhouse always comes across as a not very good actor playing a big girls blouse

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