STATE OF DECAY

Part One

State of DecayThe story begins with a castle overlooking a village.

Sue: Is this one going to be a period drama? We haven’t had one of those for ages.

Inside the castle’s Tower, Sue is immediately drawn to Aukon.

Sue: It’s Fish from Marillion.
Me: Are you insane?
Sue: If Fish had a beard and a wig he would be the spitting double of him. It’s uncanny – it’s the eyeliner that does it.

In a tavern, Ivo is preparing his villagers for an imminent inspection. At the very last moment, he tries (and fails) to shield his own son from the selection process.

Sue: Is this Schnidler’s List meets Thor?
Me: A bit.

On the TARDIS, the Doctor and Romana have decided to investigate a nearby planet so they can ask for directions.

K9: Atmosphere and gravity approximate closely to Earth normal.
Sue: How handy is that? I’m not complaining though, it means we can go outside and we won’t be stuck in a studio for four episodes.

State of DecayAs the TARDIS travels through space.

Sue: Why is E-space green?

And later…

Sue: Did Doctor Who fans buy Espace people movers in the 1980s? I bet they bloody did.

Romana’s latest outfit gets the thumb’s up.

Sue: I like it. She looks like she’s heading out for a nice country lunch. Very smart. Why doesn’t the Doctor change his coat any more? He’s been wearing that burgundy number a lot. He must stink a bit.

The TARDIS materialises on the planet.

The Doctor: It’s awfully nice out there, K9.
Sue: (As K9) I wouldn’t know, master, you never let me out. You are a very bad master, master, and I ****ing hate you.

The Doctor and Romana walk to the tavern. The captain of the Tower guards, a man named Habris, falls over himself to help them.

Habris: My lord, how may I serve you?
Sue: This makes a lovely change to being arrested for something they haven’t done. I bet the Doctor won’t know how to react to this. Ooh, that’s a nice willow fence they have over there.

As you know, Sue is easily distracted by wood.

When the Doctor and Romana leave the tavern, Ivo reaches for a walkie-talkie.

Sue: Nice twist. The plot thickens. Is this a medieval theme park where all the robots are out of control?

If you didn’t already know, Sue is obsessed with Westworld.

Huzzah! The adorable Adric is back.

Sue: Adric reminds me of Nicol’s ex-boyfriend.

I spill hot tea into my lap.

Me: Nicol’s going to love that!

Nicol’s ex-boyfriend looks like Adric in much the same way that Aukon looks like Fish. In other words, not at all.

Sue: Do you know what this story reminds me of?
Me: Go on.

I brace myself.

State of DecaySue: Zelda.
Me: What? Again?
Sue: It’s not just the music this time, it’s the whole thing. We just had a little cut scene where an old man gave them some information about their quest, and now they’re walking down the lane towards their next mission. They should be picking up gold coins or little hearts as they go.
Me: Let me get this straight: of all the things this story could be referring to, you think it’s Zelda, the video game series from Nintendo?

Sir Christopher Frayling will have a fit.

In the Tower, Sue gives the three who rule the once-over:

Camilla.

Sue: Siouxsie Sioux.

Zargo.

Sue: Russell Brand.

And Aukon.

Sue: Fish!
Me: He doesn’t look like Fish.

The Doctor and Romana encounter a group of rebels hiding in a cave. They are led by an old man named Kalmar.

State of DecaySue: He’s the first bald man I’ve seen with dreadlocks. That’s a great look. Bobby Charlton should have tried that look. I like his Fernando Torres headband, too.

The three who rule protect the villagers from something called the Wasting.

Sue: This reminds me of The Neverending Story.
Me: Does it? I’ve never seen it.
Sue: You’ve never seen The Neverending Story?!
Me: No.
Sue: You have to watch it. In fact, I insist on it. (Singing) “The Neverending Story!” Trust me, you’ll love it. It’s got something called the Nothing in it and it reminds me of this.
Me: I’ll have to take your word for it. You think Aukon looks like Fish.

Adric arrives at the tavern looking for the Doctor and Romana.

Sue: Look at him – look at that huge grin on his little face. He can’t believe his luck. This is his dream job.
Me: What? Working at a tavern?
Sue: No – working on Doctor Who. Look at him. He ****ing loves it.

Adric helps himself to some food.

Sue: He’s a growing lad. I just want to mother him.

Oh dear God.

State of DecayThe cave rebels are surrounded by antiquated computer equipment, which Romana eventually gets working again.

Sue: It’s Ceefax.

The computer tells them that a spaceship called Hydrax left planet Earth and presumably fell into a CVE before crashing onto the planet.

Sue: This is heating up quite nicely now. I’m getting more intrigued by the second.

The Doctor and Romana set off for the Tower as night falls. A bat bites the Doctor on the neck.

Sue: Will he turn into a vampire in this story? How will he get the fangs in? His teeth are massive as it is.

The episode concludes with the Doctor and Romana attacked by a colony of bats.

Sue: That wasn’t the greatest cliffhanger in the world. We get bats up here at the time. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. It doesn’t help that they are throwing plastic bats onto the floor, either. They should have stuck with the stock footage and fudged it. Oh well, the rest of the episode was pretty good. I won’t let it spoil things for me.

 

Part Two

When the bats return in the recap, Sue has just the answer:

Sue: Use your catapult on them. You know, like in Zelda.

State of DecayThe bats bugger off.

Sue: I don’t like it when cliffhangers just resolve themselves like that without anybody doing anything clever. It feels like a cheat.

Meanwhile, Adric has settled into his new job at the tavern.

Sue: What is he doing? Why is he working at a medieval Wagamamas? Why doesn’t he just **** off back to the TARDIS? He could chill out with K9, watch a bit of telly, have a snooze. Why is he subjecting himself to this? The free bread can’t be that good.

Aukon enters the tavern in search of fresh blood.

Sue: (Singing) “Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly…”
Me: He doesn’t look like Fish!

When Aukon inspects Adric you can cut the sexual tension with a bread knife.

State of DecaySue: I bet this is what Matthew’s audition was like.

The Doctor and Romana arrive at the Tower.

Sue: I must say, the sets are beautiful. The BBC are great at this kind of thing. Hey, I’ve just noticed that Romana is wearing leg warmers. How 1980s can you get?
Me: Did you have a pair?
Sue: Of course I did. Didn’t you?
Me: I still wear them from time to time, but they tend to sag a lot nowadays.
Sue: Story of your life.

Fish brings Adric to the Tower so he can be admired by Siouxsie and Russell.

Sue: This is a bit… you know… isn’t it?

Back at the cave, the rebels are too frightened to overthrown their oppressors; Kalmar urges them to wait a little longer.

Sue: There’s a theme running through this season.

I will bet you any money she’s not thinking about entropy.

Sue: It’s all about people who sit on their arses all day doing nothing. Same as last week.

Zargo’s beard remains a source of fascination to Sue.

State of DecaySue: He looks like he should be a king on a pack of playing cards. Has anyone ever made a pack of cards based on this story?
Me: State of Decay playing cards? That’s a bit niche.
Sue: A bit niche! I’ve been to Forbidden Planet, remember. The Doctor could be the joker.

The Doctor and Romana find a service hatch and they explore the Tower/spaceship.

Sue: This is very clever. Only in Doctor Who could you find a castle disguised as a rocket.

The Time Lords discover a room full of dead bodies.

Sue: That’s a bit grim.

They follow some pipes that connect the corpses to a huge of vat of blood.

Sue: This is horrific. We haven’t had a story like this for a while.
Me: They were supposed to make this story a few years back, but they had to put it on hold when the BBC made a prestigious version of Dracula and they didn’t want Doctor Who sending it up.
Sue: I’ve missed stories like this. I don’t think they are sending things up at all.

The Doctor suddenly smacks himself in the head.

Sue: Did a blood-sucking mosquito just land on his face?

The episode concludes with Aukon introducing the Doctor and Romana to his domain.

Sue: That wasn’t even a proper cliffhanger. It was just a close-up of Fish’s eyes.
Me: I give up.

 

Part Three

State of DecaySue is really enjoying State of Decay.

Sue: The script is very engaging and everyone is giving it their all. It’s very good.

Aukon hypnotises the Doctor and Romana runs away. She breaks off a sharp stalagmite, which she then throws at Aukon.

Sue: I thought she was going to stake him in the heart with it. How disappointing.

The Doctor and Romana have both been chosen.

Sue: I bet the fans couldn’t wait to see Camilla turn Romana.

The Doctor tells Romana about a time when vampires swarmed through the universe and where a single vampire could suck the life out of an entire planet.

Sue: That’s just greedy.

In Gallifrey’s distant past, the Time Lords hunted down and killed these vampires.

State of DecaySue: So the Time Lords were vampire slayers? Where the hell did that come from?
Romana: So they were all destroyed?
Sue: Apart from the ones who went on to appear in Buffy and Twilight. They managed to get away it seems.

And then something delightful happens.

Sue: It’s Stuart Fell! Wait for it… Wait for it… There he goes! And yes, he fell very well.

Romana tells the Doctor that his TARDIS comes pre-installed with a copy of the Record of Rassillon.

The Doctor: (to Romana) You are wonderful.
Sue: Get a room.
Me: Funnily enough, they weren’t getting on terribly well when they were making this story. In fact, there are whole scenes where they won’t even look at each other.
Sue: Please don’t spoil the illusion for me. I don’t want to know.

The Doctor returns to his TARDIS, leaving Romana to deal with problem of Adric.

Sue: They both look genuinely annoyed that they have to deal with him. I’m not sure if that’s acting or not.

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor has a task for K9.

Sue: I’m surprised that K9 hasn’t zapped the Doctor’s slippers while he was out. That’s what dogs do when they’re bored, you know.

K9 accesses the TARDIS’ memory banks.

Sue: Has he found an old episode of The Clangers in there? It sounds like he has.

State of DecayMeanwhile, in the Tower, Romana finds Adric, who is out for the count.

Sue: I really hope that isn’t Adric’s new costume. He looks like a page boy.

The Doctor finds a command from Rassillon himself, buried deep inside the TARDIS data banks: Kill All Vampires.

Sue: Right, pause it, please. I don’t get this at all. If that is the prime directive for all Time Lords, why hide it away like that? It took the Doctor 15 minutes to get at this instruction, and that’s only because he was searching for it in the first place. It doesn’t make any sense.

Romana and a rebel named Tarak try to wake Adric from his slumber.

Tarak: Maybe he’s still under hypnosis?
Sue: No, that’s just him acting.

The episode concludes with Camilla trying to get her claws into Romana.

Sue: Finally, a decent cliffhanger. I’m enjoying this.

 

Part Four

State of DecaySue can’t get over Zargo’s resemblance to Russell Brand, and when Aukon stops from him having his wicked way with Romana, Sue can’t help herself:

Sue: (As Russell Brand) It’s made Mr. Winky go right small it has. Oh yes!

Meanwhile, the Doctor is self-harming again.

Sue: Why does the Doctor keep hitting himself in the head really, really hard? He’ll do himself a serious injury if he’s not careful. Is this how he regenerates? Does he smack himself too hard on the side of the head?
Me: Don’t be silly. What kind of stupid regeneration would that be?

Adric and Romana are held captive by the three who rule. They pass the time bickering.

Sue: That’s not acting. Lalla Ward is really pissed off with him. I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Lalla Ward.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and the rebels plan their attack on the Tower.

Sue: Just send K9 in there. He could sort it out.

The Doctor takes Sue’s advice and K9 leaves the TARDIS.

Sue: Finally!

K9 leads the battle for the Tower but Sue isn’t feeling it.

Sue: I still miss Dudley. I don’t like the incidental music very much and the fights aren’t as good as they were in the 1970s either. They don’t have the same care and attention lavished on them.

Adric pretends to switch sides.

Sue: I know Adric isn’t great. I know that. But I can’t help but like him. It’s like we’re watching a boy who has been thrown into the deep end and he’s drowning.

The Time of Arising draws near.

State of DecaySue: I wish he would hurry up and get out of bed. There can’t be very long left and I still haven’t seen anything yet.

The rebels have taken the Tower and K9 sits on the throne.

Sue: How the hell did he get up there? I thought he wasn’t allowed on the furniture?

The Great One’s hand bursts through the floor.

Sue: The Great One doesn’t look so great. What a pity.

The Doctor launches the rocket. It comes straight back down again and it stakes the Great Vampire in the heart. We think.

Sue: Nice idea. Bad execution. That was an anticlimax.

The three who rule crumble to dust.

State of DecaySue: Now that was excellent.

Ivo is forced to apologise to K9 for an outburst he made earlier.

Sue: John Nathan-Turner should apologise as well. K9 is brilliant. K9 kicks arse.

The story concludes with the Doctor wishing Kalmar luck when it comes to finding a way out of E-space.

Sue: The Doctor knows damn well that they are completely ****ed. Still, there’s not much he can do about it, is there? Unless he wants to rent them some rooms on the TARDIS. What a downer.

The Doctor ushers Adric into the TARDIS.

The Doctor: You’re going straight back to the Starliner.
Sue: Yeah, right.

 

The Final Score

Sue: The ending let it down. It was heading for an easy 8 at the end of Part Three but the last part didn’t deliver. I know I shouldn’t complain about crappy special effects but it was an anticlimax for me at the end. However, I loved the set design, the acting was pretty good and the story was very engaging. Yeah, it wasn’t bad at all; Fish was really good.

7/10

 

We appeared on Bob Fischer’s BBC Tees radio show on Monday and we talked at length about the blog, the new series and, of course, Ian Levine. The full two-hour show is available on iPlayer for the next seven days – and includes music by Jon Pertwee, Fraser Hines, Mae West and Don Harper’s Homo Electronicus – and highlights from the show are also available via the following Soundcloud edit:

 

Coming Soon

 

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Comments

  1. Dave Sanders  August 21, 2012

    …Not if you insist on using THAT screengrab right at the start of episode one.

  2. Dave Sanders  August 21, 2012

    Be thankful you never saw The Neverending Story as a child Neil, because you ARTAX NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO would have had trauma flashbacks at the mere mention of it.

    …Wait, did something just happen there?

  3. David Embery  August 21, 2012

    Sue: Is this how he regenerates? Does he smack himself too hard on the side of the head?
    Me: Don’t be silly. What kind of stupid regeneration would that be?

    So so naughty.

    • Longtime Listener  August 21, 2012

      I still want a “Don’t be silly” counter.

    • wholahoop  August 22, 2012

      heh heh, the only possible circumstances where I could envisage this happening would be if the incumbent Doctor was sacked and declined the opportunity to film a regeneration story. As if that would ever happen….

      • wholahoop  August 22, 2012

        hang on a minute…

    • Professor Thascales  August 28, 2012

      It would make more sense than how the 6th Doctor regenerated.

      • Nick Mays  August 28, 2012

        I’m sure that was explained in one of those Virgin Fans New Adventures-Fit-The-Fanboy-Continuity novels … the 6th Doctor drank poisoned carrot juice administered by the Rani disguised as Mel, who thought, “Hey, this Mel disguise is a good idea I may use this again.” Then she bombarded the Tardis with whatever it was she used and brought it to the planet of the Lizard people who get blown up on bubble traps. Or Tetraps, or something. And of course, the Doc regenerated, which is what the Rani wanted, because she wanted him to be disorientated and easily manipulated.

  4. PolarityReversed  August 21, 2012

    Best wifery for ages! Can’t count the ways (it is a favourite story of mine, so maybe I’m biased).

    Somebody please produce State of Decay playing cards:
    “What have you got then?”
    “Full house, Romanas over Adrics. You?”
    “Flush, Aukon high.”
    “Want a chance to win some of your money back? I’ll toss you…”

    • encyclops  August 21, 2012

      I’m glad you like this one; I was worried you’d drift away from commenting once the JNT era got going.

      I never loved this one much as a kid, and I’m not sure why; maybe I took vampire stories too seriously and felt that this was kind of a watered-down half-assed one. But I watched it again the other night and had a great time; it’s more fun to watch than the rather wooden Full Circle, even if the ideas are (only) slightly less interesting.

      I feel the same way about Paddy Kingsland’s incidental music as I do about the new theme tune: I enjoy both of them as isolated pieces of music a lot more than I do the Simpson and Derbyshire stuff, though the latter are generally less intrusive and probably more appropriate to the program itself.

      • PolarityReversed  August 21, 2012

        Thanks. I’m around for a bit yet. But much past Lollipopolis and Castrol GTX and I won’t really have very much to contribute. The moment has been prepared for!

        I had a vampire thing too. Loved things like the hammy Hammers and Salem’s Lot (with, it transpires, a young Niles Crane alongside Det Hutch). Had a friend in the States who would always buy two of the latest Ann Rice on the first day, and ship me one at enormous expense. She was, in many ways, quite an Amazon.

        I think this story does pretty good service to the whole vampire vibe, within the Dr Who parameters of genre-bending – and for kids.

        Don’t mind Kingsland’s stuff so much, but it does have a sense of overblown solemnity to it that sits uneasily with me. Maybe I just prefer understated old-school shoestring-budget ingenuity to “hey guys, listen to what my new DX7 can do”, from an aesthetic POV. Delia and the gang were geniuses, and there seemed to be something still somehow organic and visceral about earlier electronic music. But I’ve spent most of my life in love with the piano and the orchestra – and the power that traditional instruments have to move. Just an old softy, really.

        • encyclops  August 21, 2012

          You could always start misspelling words and attacking soap opera as a genre, to make up for the die-off of the Hinchcliffe trolls. 😉

          One of my many issues with the Haemovores (they bother me less now) was that I felt their story had cribbed a bit from ‘Salem’s Lot, which at the time was easily the scariest vampire movie I’d ever seen, on TV or otherwise. It’s probably still up there, though Let The Right One In has given it a run for its money.

          Kingsland’s music always reminds me of Hitchhiker’s, so that helps me enjoy it. But I definitely see the appeal of the early experimental days, and no question that original theme was brilliant. I love traditional instruments too, absolutely, though after all the weird stuff we’ve had on this show over the years, good and bad, the Murray Gold stuff feels TOO traditional to me — he could be writing it for any show. I’d love to see a more experimental approach to the incidental music again, no matter what instruments are involved.

          • PolarityReversed  August 22, 2012

            Let me try that out, ahem:
            That Paul Davidson is totaly like lame in the one about the Blue Orkid. Nisa is a wuss and wot is she 4 anyway, lolz. Trouton is fit. Neighbors in space, innit?
            Nah, don’t think I’m really suited to it.

            I get the Kingsland Hitchhiker connection. I’d always thought that was a deliberate evocation of videogame-type style to go with the “book” sequences. One of my favourites in Hitchhiker is the cue for the bit about the two giant space armadas that eventually wind up getting swallowed by a small dog…

            As for Murray Gold, I agree – I think a lot of it is inappropriate. It’s like he’s indulging his inner John Williams. Overscoring, as it were. Matt Smith looks on enigmatically while Attila the Hun asks Amy for a ham sandwich, and we get a sort of epic Revenge of Indiana Who in the Vaguely Celtic Land of the Orcs, complete with half the BBC Wales Male Voice Choir drafted in for added heft to chant “mustard” in Finnish.

            Boy, are we off-topic now. To drag things back in the right direction, I think the incidental music for this period does have an interesting motific stress for the first time in a while (ever perhaps), but a rather soupy keyboard-derived organ-like quality, which I find rather limiting.

            But hey, that’s budgets. Perhaps the bloke they used to call in who could play everything from piccolo to bass clarinet had retired or had a perfectly respectable 70s-style coronary by then.

  5. Gavin Noble  August 21, 2012

    Fair score – it was nice that K9 had something decent to do in this story compared to the other series 18 stuff that went before.

    Surprised no comment was made about the door nearly knocking Tom senseless…

    • Dave Sanders  August 21, 2012

      You wouldn’t have been able to hear her over the Hanna-Barbera cymbal-clash impact sound effect.

  6. Marty  August 21, 2012

    “Only in Doctor Who could you find a castle disguised as a rocket.” Needs to be on a tshirt.
    Or your range of mugs.

    I think it’s great that Sue’s enjoying Adric and Matthew Waterhouse’s “acting”.

    • Nick Mays  August 21, 2012

      Sue: That’s not acting. Lalla Ward is really pissed off with him. I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Lalla Ward.

      Seems that Upper Class Totty can be Really Snotty!

      It must have been tough for Matthew Waterhouse having to cope with Lalla’s bitchiness as well as Tom’s grumpiness. I wonder how John Leeson was to him?

    • encyclops  August 21, 2012

      You could also find it in Elfquest, but that would still be an awesome mug.

  7. Jazza1971  August 21, 2012

    Sorry, Neil, but I agree with Sue…Aukon does look like Fish!

    • Fuschia Begonia  August 23, 2012

      Yep, have to agree – there’s definitely more than a passing resemblance…

      • PolarityReversed  August 23, 2012

        K9!!!!
        Is it too late to say I’m sorry?
        Or K9 can we get it together again?

  8. Richard Lyth  August 21, 2012

    Some great quotes here, from the hilarious “I bet this is what Matthew’s audition was like” to the poignant “It’s like we’re watching a boy who has been thrown into the deep end and he’s drowning.”. I’ve never been too keen on this story, but it might just be because the ones on either side of it are so much better. Good to hear the Perrymans on the radio as well, though I had to keep turning the volume down whenever they were interrupted by those bloody awful records. (Mae West?! Tony Blackburn?! Not even Alan Partridge would stoop to those depths!)

  9. Nick Mays  August 21, 2012

    And then Terrance Dicks carried on writing the same story for 20-odd years… Until he wrote “Exodus” which IMHO was the very best of the Timewyrm books.

    Then it was back to Vampires later on…

    But then when BBC books took over the franchise, he HAD to revisit State of Decay in “The Eight Doctors”.

    And people wonder RTD never invited him the write for the new series…

    • encyclops  August 21, 2012

      I can see why he felt there might be more to tell with this thread of Gallifreyan history, but in our vampire-saturated age it’s been difficult for me to warm to the various novels triggered by this story. Still, as far as I’m concerned Uncle Terrance can write whatever he likes at this point.

      • Nick Mays  August 21, 2012

        Don’t get me wrong, I was a huge fan of Uncle Terrance – after all, for a lot of the 70s, he WAS “old” Dr Who with the novelisations. Okay, he went through the motions with the later ones, but like I said, “Exodus” was a brilliant original novel.

        • encyclops  August 21, 2012

          I wish those were still in print. At the time I didn’t have the money or the inclination to collect and read them all, and now it’s a considerably more challenging proposition.

          • Richard Lyth  August 22, 2012

            They should definitely re-release all the Virgin New Adventures, at least as ebooks – Doctor Who’s more popular than ever now, surely it’s easy money? Or is the rights situation way too complicated now?

  10. Steve  August 21, 2012

    First ( and last ) time listening to that Beeb Tees show. Dreadful stuff. Felt like it took 5min introducing you all.

    Laughed at how looking forward to Peat Davidsons seasons…seemed to ignore the fact that Baker was having to reel out vast amounts of rubbish towards the tail-end of his run…no question that he was the Doctor. Afterall, it is the stories which make or break the show the acting very much come second.

  11. Jazza1971  August 21, 2012

    Just listened to the radio broadcast. I think Sue should get her own show!

    • encyclops  August 21, 2012

      Agreed. I loved it.

      • Nick Mays  August 22, 2012

        Ditto that!

        So nice to hear a funny, friendly discussion between 4 people about Dr Who and not to descend into total send-up or geekiness. Just the right balance.

        And yeah, why hasn’t Sue got her own show?

      • Nick Mays  August 22, 2012

        Ditto that!

        So nice to hear a funny, friendly discussion between 4 people about Dr Who and not to descend into total send-up or geekiness. Just the right balance.

        And yeah, why hasn’t Sue got her own show?

  12. Paul Mc Elvaney  August 21, 2012

    Loved the radio broadcast and the ‘Next Time’ trailers are getting better and better!! Also, I never thought Sue could give me a perfectly valid reason to actually like Adric. Or at least tolerate him, ‘like’ is such a strong word.

  13. Simon Harries  August 21, 2012

    I love State of Decay… I always did and I still do, even allowing for some of the effects – which even for the 1980s were dreadful. ‘Button Moon’ anyone? I’m thrilled that it got a good mark off Sue. The Adric audition comment is priceless!

    • Frankymole  August 22, 2012

      “‘Button Moon’ anyone?”

      What, you mean “that old Devil Moon effect”?

  14. steve  August 21, 2012

    hummm right i see..so you delete constructive critism re the beeb radio show but it’s ok to leave on the ‘praise’ people give it. Whatever – says it all.

    Valid point well made re Baker…you can’t critise Tom because of the poor dialogue he was forced to read. I actually thought he acted pretty good.

    • Ribboh Wescraf  August 22, 2012

      If Steve and steve are the same person, then yes, it’s still up there. Though I can’t help feeling that the radio show falls into the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” category. You don’t have to critique *everything*.

      I thought it was funny and warm, nice to hear people having a genuinely good time and enjoying each others company.

  15. Noodles  August 21, 2012

    *Watch* “The Neverending Story”? *Watch* it? Bloody *read* it, you philistines. It’s a story *about* reading a book. And they only filmed the first half, anyway.

    Sorry.

    • encyclops  August 21, 2012

      There’s a sequel which as I recall includes at least some of the second half. I don’t think it will make you any happier, though.

      There’s a third and fourth sequel, even. Those will make you even less happy.

      • chris-too-old-too-watch  August 22, 2012

        I couldn’t understand how the “Never-ending” story could have a sequel – surely the first one didn’t stop?

    • DPC  August 21, 2012

      I gathered they made only 99% of it, but the last 1% goes on forever… 🙁

      If there was a sequel, or more, that just tarnishes what fun was in the original… 😀

    • Frankymole  August 22, 2012

      Hear hear. Or “read read”. Weren’t the early editions printed in different coloured inks, to emphasis the differering levels of fiction? I’ve avoided the film…

  16. Broadshoulder2  August 21, 2012

    You could hear fandoms perverbial jaw drop when Sue declares “she wants to mother him”. Never have I encountered a reaction like that to Adric. It just shows how different people perceive him.

    When watchiing them in order SoD is a one last gasp to savour the Tom/Lalla magic before it goes in the next episode.

    • encyclops  August 21, 2012

      I think those of us who don’t utterly despise him are often reluctant to say so. As was mentioned on the broadcast, Sue has allowed us all to come out of the closet about the poor Alzarian.

      I myself am looking forward to discussing the poor American. The very, very poor little rich American. Shudder.

    • DPC  August 21, 2012

      Most of the time, Doc4 and Romana don’t dare look at each other under some fear that they might turn into vampires if they do… 😀

      Still, given Romana not wanting to return to Gallifrey, I just pretend she’s so preoccupied with that or something and to the extent she’s focused on whatever is in front of her…

    • chris-too-old-too-watch  August 22, 2012

      Should that have been “I just want to smother him”?

  17. Pete Galey  August 21, 2012

    I’ll always have a soft spot for this one, thanks to wearing the “talking book” version down as a child. Even just a list of the characters names transports me back. Tom Baker was a born to narrate a story about people called Kalmar, Zargo and Habris.

  18. Ryan Hall  August 21, 2012

    Ahh i proper luved this one , i was pretty much into my Hammer Dracula movies around about the time when this was on so Dr Who + vampires was gold!!! and K9 fighting them aswell….tv was made for this…

    “i bet Mathews audition was like this”……just brillant….i wonder if he’s reading all this?

  19. Ryan Hall  August 21, 2012

    Ooohhh and is sue wants to see a vampiric Romana , tell her to go check out Hammers “the vampire circus”…

  20. William  August 21, 2012

    So looking forward to the next one. The Warriors’ Gate Episode 3 cliffhanger is one of my favourites of all classic Who.

  21. DPC  August 21, 2012

    This blog keeps getting better and better!

    I love vampire stories and if you have Dawnguard for Skyrim, yup, I took the vampires’ side… so, Zargo, if you’re out there, initiate me!! Yum!

    “Sue: Is this Schnidler’s List meets Thor?” was the most poignant of the bunch, but there’s nary a comment I didn’t like… and, yep, there’s a theme – even “Meglos”, rubbish as it often sadly was, still hints at the overall theme – which is so wonderfully new wave (and why it’s held up better and longer than bubblegum buck rogers…)

    Personally, I’d rate it 8 or 9… probably 8 because Doc4 and Romana can’t seem to be bothered looking at each other face-to-face,t but it’s a thrill ride with suspense and danger not felt so wonderfully for such a long period of time…

    I’d say more, except I’d run the risk of adding in even minor spoilers or expectations, which would not be fair, and Sue’s responses as they are happen to be why this site is so entertaining, and if a full book is made I’d buy it as well… it’s such a novel take, far more than the typical fan-centric fare…

  22. Ribboh Wescraf  August 22, 2012

    Though it predates him, my headmaster at primary school was the spitting image of Aukon (without the bob). He even had the beard-and-no-moustache combo.

  23. Ribboh Wescraf  August 22, 2012

    When Bob Fisher mentioned Irish psychedelia, I thought, “Orange Machine!” I wonder if there was only one psychedelic band in the whole of Ireland. Dr Crippen’s Waiting Room is one of my favourite obscure singles of the era (and easily better than Three Jolly Little Dwarfs):

    • Paul Mc Elvaney  August 22, 2012

      I’m shocked Ireland had any psychedelic bands at all, and I’m Irish!! We didn’t really have a swinging 60’s until, well, the 70’s…

      • Dave Sanders  August 22, 2012

        The future’s bright, but not necessarily Orange.

  24. Frankymole  August 22, 2012

    Can’t wait to see how the Werewolf stories get on…

  25. chris-too-old-too-watch  August 22, 2012

    Absolutely correct Sue: great story, rubbish ending. I would have been so much more impressed if “The Great One” had looked more like a normal sized ordinary human, rather than a giant rubber hand, because I’ve never found Marigolds that scary

    • PolarityReversed  August 23, 2012

      Marigolds scare the bejasus out of me. Or used to, come washing-up time.

      I quite liked the ending. Okay, the rocket going up and coming down again was visually naff, but it has that neat sense of resolution that Who occasionally does really well. The solution to a desperate situation is there all along, it just takes imagination and improvisation to use it. As opposed to, say: “oh look, I’ve just found something in my pocket that happens to cause every Cyberman in the vicinity to go into a spectacular dither about unreturned library books from another reality, or something. Leg it!”

  26. BWT  August 22, 2012

    Thanks Sue. Thanks for causing me to listen to Marillion’s “Lavender” while I read this. That hurt me.

    I did love Sue’s K9, though, “You are a very bad master, master, and I ****ing hate you.”

    Oh, hang on… Is Tom Baker the Master then?

    • BWT  August 22, 2012

      Oh, and Aukon does look like Fish. A bit. Come on, Neil, admit you know the truth of it…

      • BWT  August 22, 2012

        And I can totally see Siouxsie Sioux (where are the Banshees?).

        But Russell Brand for Zargo? Nah. Maybe Fargo, but Zargo? No. Thank god.

  27. John G  August 22, 2012

    I think you may have packed more great quotes into this post than in any previous, though others have already picked out all the best ones! I’m amazed that Neil has never seen The Neverending Story. One of the seminal films of my childhood, and the scenes in the Swamps of Sadness left me traumatised for years. Best to draw a veil over the sequels, though…

    Glad Sue enjoyed State of Decay, as it is one of my favourites from Season 18. Great atmosphere, good acting for the most part (not that Lalla needed to act when she was snapping at Adric, as Sue so rightly points out) and the most creditable of Peter Moffat’s directorial efforts on the show. God knows what she will make of the next one – I’m still not quite sure what to make of it myself…

  28. Paul Mudie  August 22, 2012

    I think this one would have been great if it had been made back in the Hinchcliffe era, but it’s always felt like a bit of a missed opportunity to me. The 80s production team just didn’t have the same feel for gothic horror.

    • DPC  August 23, 2012

      Unfortunately, the story was originally commissioned for season 15. After Hinchcliffe was removed from the show. 🙁

      While the Hinchcliffe era would definitely have done this story the most justice, I’d much rather see JNT’s lot produce the story than having it camped up and back with uber-panto for season 15. The story was nixed because the BBC did not want WHO to send up vampire lore, and season 15 readily shows it was thrusting in rather a lot of silliness…

      I rewatched the story and while some scenes do fall short, some scenes are still remarkably effective (especially given the type of content), and I couldn’t imagine (nor would I want to try) to see this story made in seasons 15-17.

      At least it wasn’t made in season 24! 😮 😀

      • John G  August 23, 2012

        Mind you, this story was originally intended to occupy the Fang Rock slot, and I think like Fang Rock would probably have come across more like a hangover from the Hinchcliffe era (in which it was conceived) than a light-hearted Williams tale. We will never of course know for certain, but that’s my suspicion.

      • Paul Mudie  August 23, 2012

        It’s a shame. A vampire tale made under Hinchcliffe’s supervision might have made a nice companion to similarly Hammeresque stories like Pyramids of Mars, Brain of Morbius, Seeds of Doom and Talons of Weng Chiang. But alas, times had changed and I don’t think it really fits in season 18. It’s hard to sustain a gothic atmosphere when you have K9 on board!

  29. Who lagoon  August 22, 2012

    Whilst I actually enjoyed much of S18-22 I could never get over the need for the characters to have uniforms. The side of me with the inability to suspend disbelief asked the same question that Wis did regarding smelly costumes unless there was a kind of shower in which the Doctor would wash both himself and his clothes

    • Wholahoop  August 22, 2012

      Damn you spellchecker it’s Wholahoop!!!!

      • Jazza1971  August 22, 2012

        Now, that made me laugh!

    • DPC  August 22, 2012

      Not entirely fair.

      Doc1 always wore the same outfit.

      Doc2 rarely changed clothes.

      Doc4 seemed to change his outfit only 3 times…

      They must’ve stunk up the joint pretty badly too… 😮

      I’ll save other observations for seasons 18-22 to prevent spoilers, ironically… 😀

      • PolarityReversed  August 23, 2012

        What about 10’s stinky Converses or 11’s knackered Chelsea boots?
        Does the Tardis still have a *huge* boot cupboard, or did it get, y’know, jettisoned somehow? Might be a blessing.
        Tegan’s WingeAir uniform? Reckon I’ve smelt worse on low-budget flights. But as for Adric’s pyjamas, OTOH, uggghhh. Crinkly.
        Another thought occurs – do Sontarans sweat?

      • Graeme Robertson  August 24, 2012

        The 1st Doc did vary his costume, possibly more than we could percieve, given lack of colour.

        And the 4th Doctor does vary his costume somewhat over the years (you can usually tell the season from a photo of him), sometimes noticably (The Armageddon Factor/Nightmare of Eden trousers as a good example).

        The JNT costume rule really does bug me too (though it relaxes after S22 – anyone know why the change of heart?) and I think caused production headaches such as when Mark Strickson shredded Turlough’s trousers through all the duct crawling in Terminus.

        G

  30. Jazza1971  August 22, 2012

    As you discussed this on the radio show I’d thought you’d like to know that you are correct about the new series start date. This has just been posted by the Doctor Who Facebook page – “The news you’ve all been waiting for – we can confirm that Doctor Who will return in the UK, US and Canada on 1st September with Asylum of the Daleks!

    UK – 7.20pm on BBC One”

    • John G  August 22, 2012

      The 33rd anniversary of broadcast for Destiny part 1 – let’s hope that is not an omen…

  31. John G  August 22, 2012

    Incidentally, I am a bit surprised Sue hasn’t commented on Tom’s physical appearance in this season, as he was quite badly ill during the first few months of production (particularly during this story) and looks very gaunt and haggard on screen. Perhaps Sue has ascribed it to a few heavy nights down the pub…

  32. Ritch Ludlow  August 22, 2012

    The anticipation is killing me.

  33. nick-pm  August 23, 2012

    I enjoyed that commentary more than I’ve ever enjoyed the story itself. Particularly the bits about Fish of Marillion – but then I had a Misplaced Childhood…

  34. Colin.  August 23, 2012

    The thing is we had plenty of Gothic/Hammer stories under Hinchcliffe/Holmes so personally I think it’s a good thing to see this type of story done by a different production team. Vive le difference and all that. Also why would the presence of K-9 be incongruous if the basis of the story is a spaceship and it’s crew stranded in an alternate universe. Don’t let the Vampires blind you to the SF side to the tale.