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Doctor Who: State of Decay (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

State of Decay originally aired in 1980. It was the second instalment of the E-Space Trilogy.

You are incredible.

Yes, I suppose I am, really. I’ve never given it much thought.

– who says Romana and the Doctor weren’t meant for one another?

Just when it seemed that the John Nathan-Turner era was going to be all about hokey pseudo-science concepts and galaxy-conquering cacti, State of Decay comes along and offers a good old-fashioned gothic science-fiction adventure from long-time writer Terrance Dicks. It feels like a very conscious throw-back in the midst of an otherwise new and distinctive season, but I honestly don’t mind this story about vampires on an alien world, if only because it feels right that Baker should get to do one last gothic horror before he finishes up in the lead role.

Towering over the locals...

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Doctor Who: Stones of Blood (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Stones of Blood originally aired in 1978. It was the third part of The Key to Time saga.

Doctor, might I ask you  a personal question?

Well, I don’t see how I could stop you from asking.

Are you from outer space?

No.

Oh.

I’m more from you’d call inner time.

Ah.

– Professor Rumford and the Doctor clarify things

Stones of Blood was a bit of a landmark for the television show. Not only was it the 100th Doctor Who story broadcast, but it also aired remarkably close to the show’s fifteenth anniversary. The Three Doctorshad demonstrated that the show could celebrate its anniversaries in style, but producer Graham Williams seemed to want a more restrained celebration of the show’s run – vetoing an early scene in the TARDIS where Romana and K-9 give the Doctor a birthday cake and a present (a new scarf). Instead, it was decided that the show would celebrate its time on the air by returning to two of its more defining genres, blending those two distinct types of story into one four-part adventure. So we end up with a story that is half gothic horror and half outer space adventure.

A celebration, out of the blue!

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