Sunday, 13 December 2020

547 State of Decay: Part Four

EPISODE: State of Decay: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 13 December 1980
WRITER: Terrance Dicks
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
SCRIPT EDITOR: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The E-Space Trilogy (Full Circle / State of Decay / Warrior's Gate)

"The girl is a Time Lord. One of the ancient enemies of the Great One. She is to be held for sacrifice at the time of Arising!"

Aukon restrains Zargo & Camilla from drinking Adric & Romana's blood. The Doctor persuades the rebels to help him and with K-9 they storm the castle. As the three who rule prepare to sacrifice Romana, The Doctor launches one of the castle's scoutships which falls back to the ground, piercing the great vampire through the heart and killing it. Zargo, Camilla & Aukon, freed from their master's powers, age rapidly and crumble away into dust. The Doctor leaves the rebels and tells the stowaway Adric he's taking him home to Starliner.

Not a bad episode at all!

Lots of the Vampires hamming it up....

4a 4b
AUKON: We stand on the very threshold of our triumph. I have communed with the mind of the Great One and he is ready. Thanks to the blood and souls we have fed to him for so long, his body is healed of wounds, regenerated and whole once more.
ZARGO: And he will arise tonight?
AUKON: It is certain. When all is prepared we will go to the resting place and summon him.
CAMILLA: When he wakes, he will be hungry.
ZARGO: Ivo and his faithful villagers will be able to perform one last service for their masters.
CAMILLA: And when they are consumed
AUKON: We shall leave this miserable space trap for the real universe. Rich, fat worlds teeming with life. We shall suck their life blood until they are empty husks, and pass on to more worlds, and yet still more.
CAMILLA: Countless inhabited planets all waiting to feed our hunger.
ZARGO: I have served a thousand years for this.
AUKON: At midnight, our servitude will end and our glory begin. But the proper rituals must be carried out, or the Great One will be displeased. Zargo, Camilla, you will initiate the boy, after I have sacrificed the girl.
Lots of Tom being Tom....

4c 4d
DOCTOR: Lack of weapons. No experience. Odds almost insurmountable. But! He who outlives this day and comes safe home shall stand a-tiptoe when this day is named and rouse him at the name of E-space!
DOCTOR: Well, that's the problem. There's got to be an answer.
DOCTOR: That's the question.
VEROS: We must join forces with Ivo and attack the Tower. Tarak was right!
DOCTOR: Yes, yes.
KALMAR: Where is Tarak now? We dare not attack the Tower until we are ready.
DOCTOR: You've got to be ready. You people have had a thousand years to rid yourselves of this evil and now all you've got are three hours.
KALMAR: Do you really expect us to believe that some great creature sleeps beneath the Tower and is about to awake and destroy us?
DOCTOR: Where do you think Zargo and his friends got their powers?
KALMAR: I don't know.
DOCTOR: No, and that's the very devil of it. If I had any instruments with me, I could show you.
KALMAR: The scanner.
DOCTOR: Scanner. Scanner?
KALMAR: The console you got working for us. I discovered another facility.
DOCTOR: Range?
KALMAR: It should reach the Tower.
DOCTOR: Right, Now, Kalmar, you'll see I'm telling you the truth. Gather round, gentlemen. Hang on a minute, hang on a minute. It'll take a moment or two for the picture to steady. There we are. Oh, it seems to scan right through the spectrum.
KALMAR: There's the Tower.
DOCTOR: Yes. The spectrum's a bit weak at the moment. Infra-red. Picking up sleeping life forms. Now we're going into x-ray. Watch the area below the Tower.

4e 4f

VEROS: What is it?
DOCTOR: The heartbeat of the Great Vampire.

But how can we slay the monster?
KALMAR: You said your people killed thousands of them.
DOCTOR: Yes, but that was after a long and bloody war, and they had bow ships that fire mighty bolts of steel and pierced each vampire's heart.
IVO: Maybe there's another way to kill them?
DOCTOR: Their cardiovascular system's incredibly efficient. They can just seal over minor wounds. Yes, there's a very practical reason for the traditional wooden stake.
IVO: If we sharpened a tree trunk
DOCTOR: No, I doubt if even that would be big enough, and anyway, how could we propel it? Mighty bolt of steel.
IVO: A catapult?
DOCTOR: Of course. Of course! An arrow of steel, and I've been looking at it all this time.
It's time to take Chekov's Gun down off the wall where Uncle Terrance hung it in episodes 2 & 3!
DOCTOR: Three scoutships, three chances. Now, which one first? This one.

DOCTOR: Come on. Dead as a dinosaur. The circuits must be corroded. Have to try one of the others.

DOCTOR: Come on..... One to go.

DOCTOR: Come on. Come on! What happened to all that Earth craftsmanship, eh? Just because you've been laid up for a thousand years. A scintilla of power left in the energy cells, a few drops of fuel. Oh, lovely Earth craftsmanship. That should do it. Short trip, quick flip. Time to be going, Doctor.

4g 4h

AUKON: The ship!
ZARGO: What's happening?
DOCTOR: Romana! Right, time for me to tell you what happened.
ROMANA: You sent the scout ship on a little trip.
DOCTOR: Right. Yes.
AUKON: He rises! See, the Great One rises!
AUKON: He comes! The Great One comes!
DOCTOR: Don't worry, don't worry. Have you ever heard the expression what goes up must come down?
DOCTOR: I wish I hadn't.

The big problem here is the Scout Ship model sequence: you watch it turning round and you hold your head in your hands and weep.

4i 4j

It's a shame because the effects in general have been very very good this story.

4k 4l

They have saved one of the best effects for last: after the scoutship has killed the Great Vampire, his servants age rapidly and crumble to dust!

4m 4n

4o 4q

This was the first story filmed featuring Matthew Waterhouse as new companion Adric. He actually has very little to do in it and his most major scenes are in this episode which seem to imply he's thrown in his lot with the Vampires:

ADRIC: So the vampires in the stories are just pale imitations of the real thing?
ROMANA: If the Doctor's suspicions are right.
ADRIC: Oh yes, the Doctor. Is he coming back from the Tardis?
ROMANA: Well, we were supposed to join him there after we'd rescued you.
ADRIC: Only you didn't, did you.
ROMANA: Didn't what?
ADRIC: Rescue me. Tarak got killed, you got caught, and the Doctor's safely out of it. He can clear off in the Tardis whenever he likes.
ROMANA: How dare you, Adric!
ADRIC: It looks as if this is one time the goodies don't win after all. Still, I'm all right, aren't I.
ROMANA: Oh yes, you are all right. You haven't done so much better yourself. You stow away in our Tardis, you expect us to
ADRIC: Now look! I've been offered a partnership. Power and eternal life, they said.
ROMANA: They are vampires, Adric. Do you want to become one of them?
ADRIC: You said yourself, you're on the menu. If it's a choice between that and joining the diners, I mean, there's no sense in two of us getting the chop.
ROMANA: When the Doctor gets back from the Tardis, he is going to need your help.
ADRIC: Why am I being kept prisoner like this? She's the sacrifice, not me. I'm supposed to be a Chosen One. I'm sorry, Time Lady. One of my family's died for your lot already. I reckon one's enough.
ROMANA: Adric, do you know what happens to vampires when they die?
ADRIC: But they don't die, do they, Aukon.
AUKON: Release him, and prepare him for the ceremony. Prepare the sacrifice also. It is time.
5r 5s

Later a brief, easily missed, line to Romana makes you think he's putting it on:

ADRIC: Listen, I've got a plan. Can you hear me?
I've not spotted this before and indeed later stories where Adric sides with the wrong people reinforced my original view!

There's some more Guards who only appear in this week's episode:

Richard Sheekey had been a a PC & Audience Member/Stagehand/Doorman (Fred) in Talons of Weng Chiang, a Guard in the Armagedon Factor, and a Double for Scaroth (Mask) in City of Death. He returns as a Double for The Brigadier in Mawdryn Undead In Blake's 7's he was a Prisoner in Cygnus Alpha & Federation Trooper in The Harvest of Kairos. In Doomwatch he was a Man in Flight Into Yesterday.

Ian Sheridan was a Patient in the Armageddon Factor and a Guard in City of Death. In Blake's 7's he was a Kairos Guard / Labourer in The Harvest of Kairos and a Federation Trooper / Rebel in Rumours of Death.

Michael Brydon had been a Tourist in the Louvre in City of Death and a Ceremonial Deon Guard in Meglos. In Blake's 7's he was a Kairos Guard / Labourer in The Harvest of Kairos and Guard in City at the Edge of the World.

Barney Lawrence had been seen as a Marshmen in Full Circle, but this appearance was filmed before that, He returns as a Foster in The Keeper of Traken, a Kinda Hostage in Kinda, the Male Android Silhouette in Earthshock, Air Steward Dave Culshaw in Timeflight, Tanha’s Bodyguard in Snakedance, a member of Striker's crew in Enlightenment, a Marine Guard in Warriors of the Deep, and a Trooper in Resurrection of the Daleks. He was in Blake's 7 as a Federation Trooper in Time Squad & Bounty, a Guard in Traitor and Zukan's Technician in Warlord.

4y 4z AC

It's also a penultimate Doctor Who appearance, as a guard, for Alan Chuntz. Chuntz was previously a UNIT Soldier in The Invasion, Technician Harvey & a Security Guard in The Seeds of Death, one of Collinson’s Men & a UNIT Soldier in the Ambassadors of Death, a Technician, UNIT solider and RSF Soldier in Inferno, during which he was injured when Jon Pertwee ran him over in Bessie, an Auton in Terror of the Autons, a Prisoner in Mind of Evil a Sea Devil & Sailor in The Sea Devils, Omega's Champion in The Three Doctors, a Security Guard in The Green Death, a Guard in Planet of Spiders, a soldier in Genesis of the Daleks, a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen, the Doctor's stunt double in Planet of Evil, the Chauffeur in Seeds of Doom, a Horda Pit Guard in Face of Evil and a Coolie in Talons of Weng-Chiang. He returns as a Masked Villager in The Visitation.

He also did stunt work on the Sean Connery James Bond film You Only Live Twice and on The Italian Job.

Over the years I've struggled a bit with State of Decay. My first encounter with it was as an audio cassette of Terrance Dicks' 1982 novel which was read by Tom Baker. I got a copy of it as a youngster and was very disappointed that it wasn't the audio of the story, which I hadn't seen when it was broadcast thanks to watching Buck Rogers in the 25th Century on ITV, and that it didn't have the Doctor Who theme on it. I suspect this biased me against the story for some time..... Watching it twice for blogs, it's easily the most improved Tom Baker story over my expectations. It's quite interesting watching it as it's effectively a Holmes era script but done in the 1980s. You sit there at times thinking "What would be different if it was filmed three years earlier and with Leela instead of K-9 & Romana"?

The E-Space Trilogy, containing Full Circle, State of Decay & Warriors' Gate, was released on video in 1997 and on DVD on 26th January 2009.

Doctor Who Season 18, including State of Decay, was released on Blu-Ray on 18th March 2019.

Following this episode's broadcast we get 2 weeks without Doctor Who over the Christmas period with the show returning on 3rd January 1981.

No comments:

Post a Comment